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Wendy,


In the latest issue of Chocolatier there is an article, with recipes, on caramel apple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Boy, I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong but I can't land carmel apples (at home). The first time I made them (after it was way too late I realized my thermometer was totally off/like broken, so I guessed at my stage and over heated), then I made them today (with a new candy thermometer) and I still screwed up.

I know I hit my temp. right. Put the pot in a ice bath for a min. or so to stop the cooking. Dipped the first 5 apples everything is fine then as the carmel cools down the butter starts to seperate. So then the carmel won't stick at all to the apples and leaves them with a film of butter. Even the extra carmel I put on wax paper is fine (tasting and consistancy) but there is a ridge of butter film around it.

There's only 2 things I can think that went wrong. First I used salted butter, because that's what I have at home. Second my own home grown apples aren't waxed (even though that's not supposed to be good for dipping), but I've found exceptions in how my produce lasts compared to store produce.

Angry, I'm using the recipe from Chocolatier, can you tell me where I'm going wrong? Can it be salted butter? NA ,that just doesn't make enough sense....what do you think? I'm not stirring when it's cooking and only a little after to mix in the vanilla....?
 

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I have had the caramel separate only once, and I think I added a bit of cream to try and bring it back together. I'm sorry, I don't know the reason why, but it would be a good thing to find out why. Even if the butter was salted, it would not have made a difference because there is salt in the original recipe. When your mixture is boiling, in the beginning it looks like it's broken, but once you boil to the right temp. everything smoothes out. I dip all the way to the top of the apple so it clings to the stick and the caramel does not have a chance of slipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Momoreg the butter is cooked from the beginning with your sugars and 1/2 the amount of cream. I was VERY light with my stirring, but thats what the recipe calls for through-out. How much do you stir Dana?

I dip all the way up (for the same reason, to cling to the stick) and that actually helps, it was as I progressed the carmel held to the top but not on the bottom. That did work out because I coaxed the carmel down around the base with my hands once it was cool.

But it was when the carmel cooled down that the butter began to seperate. Adding cream sounds like a good idea, next time I'll keep some hot and ready to go. I stupidly attempted to re-warm it thinking it would come back together, ha... that just severely exasperated the seperation. So then it's not the cooling down that causes it, right (that make sense to you?)?

Maybe then, it's the heat remaining in the carmel that continues cooking it forcing out the butter and I should stop short of the firm ball (I rather believe this is necessary because it takes a bit to stop the cooking even in an ice bath) because as long as it's hot it's cooking...? Does that make any sense to you?

I kind of wonder if the recipe needs a bit more cream or less butter, if that's where the problem stems from? When I think about carmel sauces (of varying thickness I've made thru out the years) I can't recall one that had such a large quantity of butter... .
 

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The recipe I posted ---I make in quantity x8. I cook it in a big pot and after it reaches the desired temp. I remove from heat and immediately start dipping. I don't worry about cooling down the caramel because the apples do that eventually. Maybe your caramel is too cool and that's why it doesn't cling. When I add the second addition of cream I stir a little bit to incorporate and then once it starts to boil I leave it alone.
 

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Years ago when BIG caramel apples hit the market I was at the NYC Fancy Food Show....one of the apple guys had granny smiths dipped and said they would last 6 weeks....I was amazed at the shelf life. In St. Louis one of our Candy makers has a bionic apple that is the precurser to FALL....$3.98 and tart, sweet, crisp and chewy Plus it's great with pecans sprinkled on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
"Sundance", Robert Redfords' catalog has them (not too fancy)packaged 3 for $44. plus shipping........
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Thanks Isa, I'm planning on buying her book. Is it interesting, I haven't seen it yet?
 

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I love making miniature pastry, I find it very zen. If the idea on a tart or a cake the size of a quarter doesn’t appeal to you stay away from this book.

I received the book yesterday. I did a first quick read and now I am going through it slowly, making a recipe selection. Whenever I get a new cookbook, I always put little piece of white paper on each page that has a recipe I’d like to try. Once done, if there are only a few pieces of paper I tell myself it’s not worth the price of the book. So far there are many little white paper so it’s a keeper.

The book is divided into eight sections (cookie bites, cake bites, creamy bites, candy bites, frozen bites, chocolate bites, fruity bites and cheese bites). Sometime you can question the organisation of the book but it’s just a detail really. Who cares if coconut chocolate bars is in the candy section instead of the chocolate chapter. The important is that the recipes are good, and they seem to be.

What would I try first? The Milano cookie looks good. So does the ginger snappers and the whippets know as marshmallow moons here. Let’s not forget candies or cakes. Apple spice cakes, raspberry ruby jelly. As you see there is quite a selection of recipes, something for everyone.

There is one thing that really bothers me in this book. There are many chocolate candy recipes but the author never advice to temper the chocolate she just say to melt it. This goes against everything I know. How can you make chocolate and not temper it?

The book has over 25 colour pictures of finish products. Not essential but it helps. I don’t quite understand this new fashion of having the background blurred, specially not when there are other items in the background.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Isa, I went to the book store yesterday to find her book and they said it won't be out until next week. How did you get it? You must be in the book publishing "biz", are you?

I did buy Cladia Flemmings book and saw the new one from Chocolat (can't think of her name this second) but didn't buy it. Now I'm not sure if I'm so happy with my purchase. I only looked thru it (was in a hurry) briefly. Every dessert seems to have a 'cooking' spice or herb in it. I'm in the other camp, traditional dessert lover. Basil ice cream SCARES me....oh the torment.... my group seems to get smaller and smaller.............anyone out there on the traditional side anymore?
 

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Wendy, your not alone. Once in a while it is good to think up of new groundbreaking creative stuff, but I'm one of those people that prefers plain ole coffee ice cream over sevruga caviar with a saffron sorbet-kinda-dessert. However, I would love to try one of Claudia's desserts because she's highly touted in the pastry world. I would love to try and be more creative about flavor combinations and possibilities with spices not commonly used in desserts, but that also depends on the type of clientele one has and if they are willing to try new different flavors.
 

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Wendy,


The online bookstore in Canada was selling Gale Gand’s book this week. I had a gift certificate so I bought it.

I was looking forward to Claudia Flemming’s The Last Course. I can’t believe it won’t live up to it’s expectations. Basil ice cream is not my cup of tea. I do want to try chocolate infused with fines herbes. I hear it is very good.

You’ll like Gale’s book she is more traditional in her dessert. Don’t expect traditional French either. I don’t know why but on second thought I’m a bit disappointed. Can’t figure why at this point though. Could be that it is not as exciting as I was hoping, not that it’s not a nice book. Guess I can't make up my mind tonight. Do you have Gale Gand's other book? If so how is it?

What chocolate book are you talking about? Is it Alice Medrich? Is it good? I must go to the bookstore soon, all those new books just waiting….
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Yes it's Alice Medrich who has a new book out. It's not bad certainly more classic in ingredients than Flemmings book. Yet I didn't really see anything I would use so I didn't buy it. But it's me that's the problem! I guess I've out grown somethings and am looking for something I'm not going to find so easily.

Claudias' book is very contempory yet not over the edge in presentation. Basicly what's happening with flavoring like in Pastry Art & Design but with simplier plating.

I do have Gale Gands first book (Butter, Flour, Eggs or something like that). I haven't really worked out of it. I appreciate her classic sensablity but I recognized her recipes from other sources. Like her lemon buttercups are a recipe I've used over 18 years now. She isn't doing anything new for me to learn from at this point in my pastry education.

I heard guest chefs on Sara Moltons show yesterday talking about desserts. They made a whole meal and then when they demo'ed dessert from their restaurants menu they said they prefer to do something simple. They all kind of chuckled that they're not crazy about bluring the lines between entree and dessert as is the trend now using herbs like basil in desserts. Finally something I can relate to.
 

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Have you looked at In The Sweet Kitchen Wendy? I’m quite sure you would like the book. It’s classic “dessert flavouring” except for a few unusual pairing. She does not use too many flavours in her dessert. Nothing I hate more than a dessert with five or six different flavours, you end up not tasting anything.


Alice Medrich new book isn’t available here yet it’s probably a good thing. The last thing I need is another chocolate book. I already have a few, four or five… My favourite is The Chocolate Bible. Among other things it contains quite a few chocolate candies. And the cakes, too die for really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Schroomgirl mentioned the book on another post so I did look it up at the store to check it out. Too basic at this point, for me. Or perhaps I just own too many similar baking books.

I remember poking fun of all the chocolatier books like "finales" or "neo classical desserts" etc....wierd thing is that I've been going to them alot now as my references. Their components all break down nicely into what ever application I want. They seem rather classic in my head now, which I never would have dreamed of. So maybe I'll change my mind about some of the books I've passed on buying at a later date. But for now Claudias' book goes back.


I really sat down with it last night to evaluate it. She really does alot of ice cream and sorbet!!! There's really only a handful of baked goods. About a dozen cookies, 4 or 5 cakes and it's amazing heavy with frozen items and extremely basic sugar enhanced fruit compotes. Although it does make sense that a person so into dance would eat desserts so light (and good for you). Although I wouldn't mind having more sorbet references I think I'm going to return the book.

I'd rather have J. Bellouets new tart book or a couple other pro books I noticed in the JB Prince catalog.

I have the chocolate bible too, which recipes are you favorites?
 

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I wouldn’t know where to start Wendy, I think I like all the recipes, eventually I’ll make them all I’m sure. Have you tried any of his cakes? Or chocolates? And the petits fours, a fantastic book.

Now for Claudia Fleming, I got it this afternoon, couldn’t resist it, I haven't read it all but so far I am impress. I think Gale Gand will go back. I’m more stimulated by The Last Course. Wait I’m having a vision…. I see Kimmie buying a copy.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened it. Really have another look Wendy. It’s great. I’m trying to see it as you did, lots of compote and ice desserts. True but look at the flavours. I just can’t help being fascinated by the audacity of some of her pairing, I can understand where she is coming from and where she is going and it does make sense. Strangely enough I am attracted by the strawberry and tarragon. The pineapple and pink peppercorn. It’s a book that stimulate you, pushes you forward with new ideas. I could talk about all her recipes, pine nut tart with rosemary, lavender honey cake, coconut tapioca soup.... She is not the first pastry chef to incorporate herbs in her desserts, it must be good otherwise I certainly wouldn’t stay on her menu.


P.S. What did you think of her chocolate recipes? Chocolate caramel tart with fleur de sel, white chocolate espresso tart, earl grey truffles, can hardly wait to try them all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
I looked thru it again this evening. Her lemon poppy shortbread looks nice and so do several of her sorbets and ice creams.But I have no one to sell these type of desserts to. It's way over the heads of the average diner, I can't sell her work and it WON'T sell in most places only the very very top places can move these types of desserts. And I'm not sure I'd want to, even at home I'd much rather eat more classic pairings. My taste buds aren't that bored. I'm not ready for basil ice cream as a dessert course, intermesso sure, fine. I'm also not into gelatinized desserts, in very small quantities fine but a whole dessert is too much for me, I'd rather eat jello.

Actually her pairings are rather comlimentary to each other, nothing new. Nothing different then whats in every issue of pastry art & design and some of it looks very inspired by Trotter. For me it didn't have alot of NEW ideas happening, in fact there are two items that are obvious copies of others published work.

I thought her chocolate tart looked clunkie coming from a pro. She does a couple of espresso items but she acheives the taste by leaving the grounds in. We discussed this on another thread. I would rather not eat coffee grounds.

I think it's a work in progress actually. I'd like to see her take some of her items and work them in with more classical pairings as the ying and yang. Herme pulls it off.
 
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