Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pastry In Europe: Recipe Testing

Whenever I review a cookbook I like to test the recipes to see how they turn out. Here are a few quick and easy ones to get things rolling.

First are the Congolais (p. 211)

100 g Grated coconut
125 g Sugar
40 g AP Flour
100 g Egg Whites
Combine all ingredients in mixer with paddle. Let rest for 12 hours. Make half balls with a melon scoop, by hand or I used a silicon form. Bake at 230F for 20 minutes. When done, combine two halves, roll in coconut and eat.

I had to bake much longer than 20 minutes, but I always have the alttutude excuse. And making half balls was not as easy as you might think. I would recommend using coconut flour (grind the flakes) for the balls and then flakes for the rolling decorations. These were very good tasting.

Spun Chocolate (aka Chocolate Nests) p. 45

Fill a bowl with Everclear and freeze overnight. Melt chocolate and put in piping bag. Pipe chocolate into alcohol.

I did not bring my chocolate into temper and it worked fine, although it would be interesting to see if its strength improved by being in temper. Also, I tried different tips to make spaghetti, lignuine and other shapes. The spaghetti worked best. This one couldn't have been easier.

Sugar Cellophane p. 65

Heat sugar to 320F and cool a bit. Dip a small iron pipe into the sugar and blow gently.

Okay, their instructions are a bit vague, but we finally got this to work. Think of it as the jars of soap that you used to blow bubbles from as a kid. I used my large pastry tip set to blow through (it did get a bit hot for my lips after a while). Blowing in a sugar hot box is best if you actually want to do cool things with this, but I think they make nice decorations anyway. I also would like to play with adding glucose to attempt to get more flexibility as they become very brittle very quickly.


Manggy said...

Mm-hmm, you just had to break out the illegal spirit to make that awesome chocolate nest! I wonder if ice-cold neutral oil will do just as good a job (I realize water will seize the chocolate, right?). The nest will be gross and greasy, but at least I can find it here! :)

(How about laboratory-grade absolute ethanol?)

Gfron1 said...

I think the lab grade stuff would be better - the idea is that the alcohol will dissipate so don't even mess with the oil.

Tri2Cook said...

Fun stuff Rob. Looks like an interesting book and it's cool that you wasted no time in putting it to the test.

Manggy: I agree with Rob that alcohol would be best but another option, depending on the intended use, might be a flavored oil or nice, fragrant nut oil followed by a gentle cold water rinse. That way any residual oil would at least be tasty.

Cramped Kitchen. said...

the spun chocolate looks amazing!..i have to try it.