Individual Wedding Cakes

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Mini Wedding CakeThese amazing individual wedding cakes are so much easier and elegant than the smaller ones that are covered in buttercream or fondant. Most individual wedding cakes are so small they consist mostly of buttercream and/or fondant.

I designed and my bakery produced about 175 of these little wedding cakes for a luncheon involving the media, wedding planners, florists and others associated in producing weddings.  We did this white cake filled with raspberry buttercream and a chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache.  To say they were a hit was an understatement.  There are any number of combinations of these two cakes and filings that can be used.

I am including the chocolate cake layer recipe also so you can make a chocolate version of the individual wedding cakes.

I found this petit four cake layer a very long time ago in a newsletter about chocolate.  It is the perfect layer for a petit four.  It stays perfectly flat and tastes wonderful.  It also cuts beautifully without crumbs when cold but should be served at room temperature.  These three layer cakes are nothing more than unfinished petit fours cut in 1,2 and 3 inch squares that are stacked together.  You can see at this point just how doable these miniature wedding cakes become. Continue reading

On Becoming a Pastry Chef

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Baking and Pastry BooksI first became acquainted with baking through watching my grandmother and mother bake the most amazing desserts. But that’s not when I decided I wanted to make baking and pastry my career. Growing up I wanted nothing to do with food and eating. I could use a little more of that nowadays.

When I finally got interested in food after I was married there was no internet and not much in the way of schools – at least close to me. However,  the St. Louis Community Çommunity Çollege at Forrest Park  was highly regarded for their Restaurant and Hospitality school.  While it did not concentrate on baking and pastry, it gave me access to food science books. At the time professional books were not available to consumers like they are now.

So, I started on the journey to teach myself. I wanted to learn not only good recipes and different types of baking and pastry but I wanted to be able to create my own and therein lies the problem. Baking and pastry are more science dependant than is food. If you don’t know where to use baking powder instead of baking soda or ratios to flour, it is a lot of trial and error. The books listed below became my teachers in one way or another. Continue reading

Double Banana Caramel Cream Pie

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Double Banana Caramel Cream Pie
My love of baking was undoubtedly a gift from my mother among very many others that have sustained me, not only throughout my lifetime, but also throughout my business career.

This Double Banana Caramel Cream Pie would have pleased her immensely.  My mother was a fantastic cook and baker.  To support us while my father returned to college for his second degree, we had 16 people for dinner at our house every night during the week and two teachers lived with us.  Mother cooked all of those meals without help and on Sunday she pulled out all the stops for her family.  She was an amazing woman!

My favorite desserts were anything with custard, pudding or pastry cream as a component.  Mother was an interesting combination of scratch cooking (I ate croissants at every important occasion, including holidays, before anyone in the states ever heard of them) and little shortcuts she learned along the way.  One of her shortcuts was combining Jello vanilla pudding mix which she made reducing the amount of milk slightly and combining it with whipped cream.  This was one of my favorites.  She would use it in cream puffs, banana cream pie and all manner of desserts calling for pastry cream.  I loved every one of them. Continue reading

Adding Yummly

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

This week I wanted to let you all know that I will be adding the Yummly button to Pastries Like a Pro.  In addition to being able to save your recipes in a recipe box as some of you have requested, you can get recipes that match your taste and check them for nutritional information as well as allergens and diets, type out grocery lists and organize your recipes.

Above all, please remember to click on the Yum button on the far right column which is essentially a vote for my recipe which makes it possible for my blog to be featured on their site.  The more Yums a recipe gets, the better the chance of it being featured which will help more people find Pastries Like a Pro.

There is no better way I can find to tell you about Yummly than to quote them.

“Add Your Favorite Recipes

With our powerful Add Your Recipe tool, you can keep every recipe you love on Yummly. You can also add any recipe from your favorite blogs and websites to your personal recipe box with one click of the Yum Bookmarklet or browser extensions.

Recipes and shopping list on the go

With the Yummly apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android, you’ll have everything you love about Yummly and more in your pocket. The most powerful recipe search, your digital recipe box, recipe recommendations, and a smart shopping list–all with you wherever you go!

See what you can cook right now

Why shop when you can start cooking? Discover recipes to make right now with what you have on hand using our helpful “with” and “without” filters.

Get Recipes That Match Your Taste

Set up your taste profile with your unique preferences, diets, and allergies – and we’ll only serve up recipes that match your criteria.

Organize your recipes into collections

“Desserts To Die For.” “A Million Pasta-bilities.” “The Whole Enchilada.” Group your favorite recipes, add to them, and call them whatever you like. They’re like little cookbooks!

Save and share your favorite recipes

Search through over a million recipes from across the web (and world) and save your favorites to your recipe box with one easy click of the Yum button. Connect with Facebook to share the best ones with friends!”

Peach Pecan Quick Bread

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Peach Pecan Quick BreadIt’s amazing how quickly the time is going by.  It’s TV time again (Tuesday, the 4th, Great Day St. Louis on KMOV) and this recipe takes advantage of the amazing peaches we have had this year by using them in this really easy Peach Pecan Quick Bread.

This recipe is from the whisk and a bowl series of quick breads. You basically just have to whisk together the dry ingredients and separately whisk together the wet ingredients, then combine them.

This Peach Pecan Quick Bread requires a bit more since you have to skin the peaches. I find the easiest way to do this is to drop them in boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes if the peaches are ripe. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and immediately place them in cold water to stop the cooking. The skins will just slide right off. Remove the pit and you’re ready to go. Continue reading