Tempering Chocolate Begins To Make Sense

We didn’t suck at it after all. That was Chef Claude’s conclusion after our second session of tempering chocolate in our pastry techniques class at L’Academie de Cuisine. He waited until the three-hour session was over to tell us that given what he had seen last week, he figured we’d be a total loss when it came to tempering chocolate. But our second whack at it revived the optimist buried dee
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Bavarian Cake With A ‘Mirror’ Glaze

Pastry techniques class at L’Academie de Cuisine is totally joyful, but also very humbling. I can explain best in pictures: My Bavarois cake: Chef Claude’s Bavarois cake: ‘Nuff said. Soon I will try to post more details about how we made the little meringuey shapes around the outside, and how we made the raspberry mirror glaze. (For the rest of the cake, see last week’s post on how we made the
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Puff Pastry: A Sublime Way to Die

Puff pastry is so delicately lovely, and so miraculous, that it’s easy to forget how it can shorten your life. True, it’s made almost exclusively of stuff that will spike your blood sugar and your bad cholesterol. But some things in life are worth setting yourself back for. And in my humble view, this is one of them.
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Advice For the Crust-O-Phobic

It’s easy to be afraid of making pie crust. I know. I am a recovering crust-o-phobe. I have been a passionate baker all my life, happy as long as I have my hands in some combination of flour, butter and sugar. But there was something about pie crust that made me steer clear. What spooked me?
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Good Basic All-Butter Pie Crust

Any good pie has to start with a great crust. Recipes are as simple as they come: flour, salt, icewater and fat. But which fat you use depends on what you’re after, and what you’re willing to put up with.
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Caramel Walnut Chocolate Tart

I spent part of my sunny, cold Sunday morning making a dessert that reminds me of my years in Los Angeles. The early 1980s was when Wolfgang Puck opened his iconic restaurant Spago above the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. What Puck was doing then seems run-of-the-mill now, but in those days, wood-oven-fired designer pizzas were a revelation, and the place became a sensation. Few associate him with desserts, but he t
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Making A Lattice Top For A Fruit Pie

I want to post some step-by-step pictures of making a lattice top for a pie, since some folks have asked for this. So here is how you do it: As I mentioned yesterday, you start by rolling out your top crust, then sliding it onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and chilling it for 15 minutes or so. Then you take it out and use a pastry cutter to make nice ziggy-zaggy-edged strips.
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