'Sweet Technique' on Serious Eats

Sweet Technique: How to Make Italian Meringue

The science of meringue is easily explained, but no matter how many times I watch a slimy, viscous egg white inflate into glossy white peaks, it always feels like magic. Italian meringue is the most involved of the meringues, mainly because it requires a little bit of sugar cookery, but once you understand some meringue basics and have a good thermometer, its as easy as pie...or buttercream. More

Homemade Tapioca Pudding

I love the simplicity of homemade tapioca pudding, the delightful milk-based custard thickened with the excess tapioca starch from hundreds of slightly chewy tapioca pearls. If you're planning to make tapioca, the hardest part is waiting for the tapioca pearls to soak. Plan accordingly. More

Sweet Technique: How To Make Layer Cakes from a Single Sheet

Professional cake makers have a little secret up their sleeves that they don't want you to know about. Next time you're enjoying a piece of wedding cake and wondering how the baker achieves such perfectly uniform layers of cake, here is one possible answer: The cake layers are actually punched out from single sheets of cake. Some layers may even be pieced together from the scraps left over from punching out other circles or squares. More

Sweet Technique: How to Make Pastry Cream

Pastry cream is the unsung hero of the dessert world. You may know it best as the filling in your cream puff, the "cream" in a Boston Cream pie, or the "pudding" in banana cream pie. It's especially worshiped by French pastry chefs; I challenge you to order something from a pâtisserie that doesn't contain it. Simply put, pastry cream makes good desserts better with its creamy, oozy richness, by adding flavor and smooth texture to anything it touches. More

Sweet Technique: How to make Canelés (Cannelés) de Bordeaux

It's been three weeks since I began working on Canelé for my column, and this is what they've reduced me to: crazed, unable to pull myself away, and struggling to put down words that might help you, gentle reader, avoid the madness to which this pastry has driven me. Learn from my dozens of attempts and come see how to makes canelé for yourself. More

Sweet Technique: How to Make a Chocolate Souffle

Before the proliferation of molten chocolate lava cakes on restaurant dessert menus in the last quarter of the 20th century, there was the chocolate soufflé. Rich and decadent, yet impossibly fluffy with its warm, oozing center, chocolate soufflé is the great grandmother to all of the warm, partially baked chocolate desserts that followed. Learn how to make it right here. More

Sweet Techniques: How to Make Spritz Cookies

For a number of reasons, spritz are a serious contender for the title of my favorite cookie. They suite my taste exactly; crisp, made primarily of butter, perfectly balanced with a nice hit of vanilla and salt. Best of all, they appeal to the geeky, perfectionist baker in me, because learning to make perfect spritz cookies is a marathon, not a sprint, and I'm still only on mile 13. I love a good challenge in the kitchen. More

Sweet Technique: Making Gum Paste Flowers

Gum paste is a sugar dough from the same family as rolled fondant that is used to create brittle sculptures for decorating cakes. It's made from confectioner's sugar, gelatin, Gum Tragacanth (or Gum Tex), liquid glucose, and water. Unlike fondant, gum paste stretches very thin and dries without cracking, which makes it great for creating dramatic, delicate flower petals. It's brittle when hardened, which also makes it useful for decorators, because there is no worry that flowers will melt or bend once they have set. More

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