Sorbet has a science like anything else, and once you learn a few things you'll be ready to turn any fruit into fresh, full-flavored, and creamy sorbet—something so creamy you might confuse it for ice cream.
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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.
We cracked the code to making the fluffiest, softest buttermilk biscuits. Here's a step-by-step guide to do it at home.
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.
Next time you have a sudden urge to bake, remember this: as long as you have butter, sugar, flour, and salt, you can make one of the most beloved, classic cookies known to mankind. And while the ingredients in shortbread may be few and simple, connoisseurs of the stuff will tell you—not all shortbreads are created equal.
This recipe is adapted from one by Jamie Oliver, from his book Cook with Jamie. It's a little less dainty than some other versions of shortbread, made extra crumbly by the addition of cornstarch and semolina flour. It's perfect on it's own, or served with berries, sorbet, or ice cream.
As soon as spring arrives, I start thinking about tarts. Berry tarts, asparagus tarts—I love them all. It's time to revisit the technique for crusts so you're ready to make a tart whenever the mood hits you.
Whether you choose to make it because you've got something you need to use up (eggs, milk, stale bread), or just because you love it, bread pudding delivers a whole lot dessert satisfaction with just a small amount of effort.
Whether you choose to make it because you've got something you need to use up (eggs, milk, stale bread), or just because you love it, bread pudding delivers a whole lot of dessert satisfaction with just a small amount of effort.
Coconut macaroons may not be adorable, but, for coconut lovers, they're unadulterated coconut bliss.
Perfect, dainty madeleines are just the thing when you know you're craving something sweet but can't decide between a cookie or a slice of cake.
These classic french cookies are actually small sponge cakes shaped like a seashell.
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.
This is a decadent chocolate cake, reminiscent of Devil's Food in flavor and moisture. The whipped chocolate ganache frosting is every chocolate fiend's dream, but take care to watch it carefully: if you beat it too far, it will become chunky rather than smooth and light.
Pâte sucrée (pronounced pat-sue-cray) is the sweet, crumbly dough that gives tarts a sturdy, tender base for custards, creams, and fruits. When it's made well, pâte sucrée has the crumbly texture of a buttery sable cookie. It tastes like shortbread, but is able to support even the heaviest filling without falling to pieces.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.