How to Be Fearless in the Kitchen!

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  1. Ariana Perazzi says

    Thank you so much! I came looking for genoise and I’m leaving with tons of ideas.
    Thank you, I will be coming back.

  2. valdas srinivas says

    Thank u so much Madam….you have cleared so many doubts which were lingering in my mind for a long time about the magic of egg in the recipes…
    I always wonder….why we need to water bath the caramel custard during baking?
    But now I know the reason…..that’s only because of you !!
    Thank u so much…

    Can I ask you, Madam, one more favour:-
    1) I would like to know While making Italian Meringue why we need to pour the sugar syrup at the temperature of 121 Degree Celsius?

    2) I witnessed while making pudding or clafoutis, the whole mixture turns to curdle during the addition of Eggs……some say while pouring the egg into the hot liquid….the hot liquid temperature must be around 80 to 85 Degree Celsius or else there are many chances of the final mixture to get curdle. If it is so then why not with Italian meringue cream??

    • says

      Good questions, Valdas! First, you have to let the sugar get to the hard ball stage (240-ish) F so it will be “sturdy” enough once it cools to support the egg whites without drooping or weeping. Plus that heat of course cooks the whites as well.

      The difference between clafoutis and Italian meringue are several, and those differences dictate how you successfully introduce a hot liquid into eggs. First, Italian meringue is whites only, and the whites don’t curdle when you add the hot sugar syrup because you are also constantly agitating them at a very high rate of speed with the whisk attachment on your mixer. With clafoutis, the batter will be baked, so I honestly don’t see a huge reason to use a hot liquid since it’s all going in the oven anyway. But, when you build a custard for baking, the general rule if you’re going to heat it is to whisk the eggs really well with a portion of the sugar to start to denature the proteins and then slowly whisk in your hot liquid into the eggs, a bit at a time, to bring them up to temperature slowly and avoid curdling. If the mixture curdles, it’s either because there was no tempering step or the eggs were poured into the hot liquid and were “shocked” into curdling rather than pouring the hot liquid into the eggs.

      I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have other questions!

  3. Imane Daher says

    I’m trying to learn what to substitute for alcohol in my baking? I appreciate if you can help me in this matter. I want to make an ice cream that calls for alcohol because it seems alcohol will make the ice cream smoother, What can I substitute it for without changing the texture please????
    Thank you for your help,
    With all my gratitude

    • says

      Hi there. What you really need is something that will impede crystallization so your ice cream stays nice and creamy and smooth. You can accomplish this a few ways other than with alcohol. Look into making Sicilian gelato which has a starch-thickened base. Since some of the moisture is bound to the starch, the risk of big ice crystals is much reduced. You can also use a bit of invert (liquid) sugar for part of the total sugar amount. Depending on the flavor you’re going for, a bit of honey, corn syrup or even maple syrup can help. Also, bases with higher fat content are less likely to crystallize. If I’m not using starch or invert sugar, I use half and half as my base rather than milk. (I find using all cream is a bit too fatty for my taste, but you could try it or go with a mixture of cream and half and half (light cream or coffee cream, depending on where you live). Custard bases are less likely to crystallize as well. So make a cooked base that contains egg yolks rather than one that doesn’t call for eggs/yolks. Hope that helps!

  4. Nancy Robinson says

    I just found your web site by searching for how to replace cool whip with REAL whipped cream…and I am loving your site! Looking forward to
    learning from you!

  5. Bob Baker says

    Dear Jennifer,

    Thank you for all your work! On fixing the problem with de lamination of Cinnamon Raisin, do you mix the egg into the mixture of sugar, cinnamon and raisins and then spread it onto the flattened bread? Also you talk about putting egg was onto the back of the dough as you roll it up but it’s not listed in the recipe. Is it a good thing to do or is it too much? Also do you know Peter Reinhart? Did you meet him back in the eighties in Sonoma County? Thank you for your time.

    • says

      Hey Bob! No, I’ve never met Peter Reinhart, but I do know who he is of course. Bread guru!

      You can mix the egg into the cinnamon sugar to make a paste, and/or you can add starch to the cinnamon sugar. I think if you make an egg paste you shouldn’t have to brush egg on as you roll. I brushed water on as I rolled onto the one I made with the starch figuring extra water would help the starch gelatinize. I think I decided against doing that with the egg because I didn’t want the filling to end up too “eggy.” The good news is that you can experiment to find the method that works best for you and all your experiments will be delicious! Thanks so much for stopping in and for commenting. I hope I was able to clarify. Take care!

    • says

      Hey there, Annette. I have a very few gluten free recipes on the blog (if you’re talking about dishes that are ususally full of gluten like cakes, cookies, and breads), but there are plenty of recipes, like my ice creams and sorbets that are naturally gluten-free. If you are looking for websites that do nothing but gluten-free recipes, my go-to sites are The Heritage Cook, by Jane Evans Bonacci, and Smith Bites by Debra Smith, Jane also has a gluten free bread machine cookbook out that you might enjoy since bread is always a difficult one to sub for gluten-free flours. I hope that helps, and good luck!

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