17 June 2005

The Story of The Croissant 0

My old instructor, originally from Denmark and a long line of Bakery heritage, would talk fondly about lessons he had learned. A smile would spread from ear to ear, his eyes brimmed with excitement as he talked of bakery times. On one such occasion my group in Laminated pastry station, were gathered around the 40 qt Hobart - waiting for a batch of croissant dough to reach full development.


Do you know the story of croissant dough? A long, long , long time ago The Turks were invading Vienna. Everyone retreated to hide. As there was constant strife - many normal practices were shut down, this included Bakeries --- baking was deemed forbidden. Forming alliances Bakers made deep underground "bakeries". The Turks, while seeking a strategic attack that would overwhelm The Viennese --- found out about the bakeries , troops were ordered to start tunneling toward these secret caves.

As the tunneling neared , Fighting the Turks off with everything they could , a lone baker was able to run and alert the king's guard, and The Turks were defeated. The King told these bakers " Since you have shown such loyalty and bravery, I declare, If you create a pastry, I will patent the formula and name it for you", so out came croissant dough. Although it had quite less layers or butter as modern dough does. It also contained a small amount of egg. In Europe it is widely called "Vienna Pastry". It's Formula still can be found made today.

I have learned that to find the story behind your formulas -- it can prove quite interesting.

14 June 2005

The 2nd Annual International Weblogger's Day 0

This blog is apart of the celebration. Blogs From all over The globe are participating. We are relishing the weblog movement. We know That our words can accomplish something --- move our readers into tears, anger or joy. Not only are our words powerful, but they can ignite a torrent of activists, creative voices and effect how the media views global events. No longer is there a cyber grey area of wasted space --- webloggers are here, and will be for a long time!

To Help spread the word & Celebrate fellow webloggers --- Tag your blog post today with this tag! Then ping your blog using Ping-o-matic.com So your blog post will register with technorati.

Click the graphic below to read more about The 2nd Annual Webloggers Day! There are links to other blogs Participating.

587 blogs. 43 countries. 1 day.

11 June 2005

Formula :Lemon curd , Lemon Tarts , Authentic Scottish shortbread. 5

More lemon

Perhaps that most enlightening thing about fresh lemon curd is the way it pleasures the palate. Lemon flavor that is not sickenly tart, just a mellowed, yet tangy citrus. The mouth feel is gentle but still has substance. Lemon curd makes me crave summers of my childhood, the fields ablaze with bronze and brass hues; the skies deepening atmospheric blues that cried out for a good chasing. This same sky which engulfed my small piece of earth seemed to be never ending.

In this post I will outline formulas for :

Candied Lemon slices
[can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 months; suspended in lemon simple syrup]
Authentic Scottish shortbread
{NOT the americanized version}

Fresh lemon curd
You will enjoy these....

Please note ( # = lb) These formulas are in small production batches. Please convert to 1/3 for home use.

Candied Lemon Slices :

If assembling the lemon curd tarts ---make this at least 4 hours ahead of time.

Have a plastic container w/ lid handy. These can be preserved for up to 1-2 months if properly covered and refrigerated.

Simple syrup:

4 # cold water
2 # 1/3 sugar
juice of 5 lemons

To make the simple syrup: Combine the water, lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

While this is happening Thinly slice 4-5 additional lemons. You are looking for a round that is complete , Discard the ends or any pieces that are broken inside. Gently Remove seeds with the point of a paring knife.

Thin sliced lemons

Once the syrup has reached a rolling boil , turn down to low heat and add your lemon slices, lightly push into syrup with heat resistant spatula.
Allow slices to simmer in syrup for up to 10 minutes --- this allows absorption of syrup into the citrus membrane / peel . The lemons slices will appear translucent, and the white membrane will look moist.

After simmering in simple syrup.

Remove from heat. Let cool. Gently remove the slices, laying them on a paper towel. Pour the syrup into a plastic container --- then carefully lay slices into the container, make sure the upper layers are under syrup. Put lid on and refrigerate.


Lemon slices are added to boiled simple syrup

Lemon Curd :

This lemon curd formula is very good. It was passed down from an English grandmother. It takes some preparation but it is worth it! I would prepare it the day before use.

Please not this is also a small production formula -- please convert to 1/3 .

[# = lb.]

Lemon curd


-- 12.5 oz Egg Yolk

1 # 4.5 oz Sugar

1 # .25 oz fresh squeezed Lemon Juice [ commercial lemon juice concentrate can be used for part of the amount , better to use all fresh]

-- 10 oz Butter

-- -- 3 Tbs, plus additional 1 Tb of lemon Zest

In non-corrosive saucepan , beat egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Add remaining ingredients except for zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring
constantly , until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
DO NOT BOIL. If mixture begins to steam, pull from heat and continue to stir.

When finished, put immediately through a fine sieve, pressing with a spatula.
Discard all residues. Stir zest into curd, pour into an air tight container, cover and refrigerate.

English Shortbread:

Many shortbread formulas today are Americanized , with added shortening or lot's of sugar. This formula is authentic or what is also Called "true shortbread".

I have adjusted the ingredients for home use :

AP flour 8 oz.

Sugar 2 oz.

Butter 6 0z [COLD]

Below are ingredients for a small production batch. Use 20 qt w/ paddle.

[# = lb]

2# AP flour
-- 8 oz Granulated Sugar
1# 8 oz. Butter [COLD]

Put flour and sugar into mixing bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and add to mixing bowl. Mix in 1st speed until it forms a ball.

Block dough into a rectangle .Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes.

To work, let warm up slightly before rolling out. Generously flour your work table. Flour top of dough . Apply pressure and pin in the center of your dough block, apply force while rocking the pin back & forth. The friction will cause the butter in the dough to soften.

Assembling Lemon Tarts :

Roll out your English shortbread dough to 1/4 of an inch, try to make it as circular as possible --- this will allow you to fill more tart shells. Place your tart shell bottom down on the shortbread. Using a paring knife cut out a circle 1/2 inch larger than the shell.

English shortbreadCircle of shortbread is cut around the edge of your tart pan

Circle is pulled awaycircle is formed into tart pan..

Lift your circle away from the main piece of dough press lightly into your tart shell --- rotating with one hand press dough into shell with your other hand.

Edge are cut off with knifeTart shells filled with shortbread - ready for bakeoff

After filling your tart shells, hold a shell in your hand - taking a paring knife in the other run the knife outward away from you, parallel with the edge of the shell rotating as you trim off the extra dough. Place prepped shells onto a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes.

Baked  shortbread tart shells

Blind bake tart shells for 15-20 minutes. They will be golden and slightly browned on the edges.
Fill baked tart shells with lemon curd. Take out one candied lemon slice , per tart [4 inch] more for 8", and drain on paper towel. Center the candied lemon over the lemon curd on each tart.

Adding lemon curd to shells

Dry on paper towelLemon in thin slices

Bake for 8 additional minutes, or until set. Let the baked off tarts cool. To remove from metal shell --- take small offset spatula and firmly grip it while you run it around the edge of the shell. This should loosen it. Push the bottom upward and set aside the ring. Run your spatula using the same method in an even motion -- be careful not to thrust your spatula upward and break your tart into bits.

Finished lemon tarts

Close up of the 4 inch lemon tarts

Finished tarts- out of the pan

Mmm. The 4 inch tarts are suitable for 2 people, or if you want to be gluttonous --- one for you alone. Makes for an easy flavorful treat.

02 June 2005

Photography : Heart-shaped moon 0

Heart-shaped moon
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Ain't distortions wonderful? Doesn't this make you want to believe - in romance & all things love?

01 June 2005

Photog: Hand to Dough 0

opiate 038, originally uploaded by CulinaryNovice.

I love this photograph. Not because it has the greatest technical aspects, but becuase it shows baking in it's purest form - a hand on dough, flour everywhere, hands crusty from working the dough.

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