Author Archives: hfletcher

Chocolate Marshmallow Cream Horns

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Cream Horns for Chocolate Marshmallow Cream HornsWhether you call them cream horns or lady locks, the long ago name for a pastry that resembled the curls of a woman’s hair, they are fun to eat.

They are simply puff pastry that has been rolled very, very thin and wrapped around a metal form. After baking, the form is removed and the cream horn is stuffed with a variety of fillings. Continue reading

Perfectly Acceptable Purchased Puff Pastry

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Both boxes of puff pastry for Purchased Puff PastryWith the holidays approaching, I thought I would test all butter purchased puff pastry.  Normally, I would make my own using my blitz puff pastry method but I thought there might be a place for purchased puff pastry when time was of the essence.

I only wanted all butter puff pastry so that limited my options in St. Louis.  We have Dufour found at Whole Foods for about $14.00 for 14 ounces and Trader Joe’s for $3.99 for 18 ounces.  I kept looking for a catch with Trader Joe’s version and the only one I found is that it is only available from now until the end of the holiday season.  It is not a year round product as is Dufour. Continue reading

All Salt is Not Created Equal When Baking

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Top, table salt – Right, coarse sea salt – Bottom, kosher salt, Left – fine sea salt

I had another blog planned for this week but several people have commented about salt in their recipes.

After thinking about it, it occurred to me that there are different types of salt and some are “saltier” than others.

Salt enhances the taste of most foods to which it is added. For instance, stew without salt would be bland and not very tasty. Bread without salt would be equally bland and uninteresting. In fact, salt is an important factor in keeping yeast from going wild in bread baking. It also, attracts water, adding moisture to the bread.

There is a distinct difference between salted and unsalted butter in more ways than one. The most noticeable difference in taste. Unsalted butter has the clean taste of only butter. Salt alters the taste of the butter but it is not right or wrong. Continue reading

Praline Squares or Pecan Candy

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Praline Squares or Pecan CandyThese Praline Squares or  Pecan Candy are one of those happy accidents that comes from just enough knowledge. I found a recipe for New Orleans Praline Pieces on  epicurious.com that sounded just like what I was looking for.

I had made pralines before and I remembered they always seemed grainy after they set up. So, in an attempt to make them less grainy or not grainy at all, I decided to replace some of the sugar with clear corn syrup as it is an invert sugar and helps reduce crystallization in sugar.

So out comes the pot and in goes everything except the pecans. The butter melts, a candy thermometer is clamped on and the bubbling mass cooks to a temperature of 236 degrees. I removed it from the heat and cooled it to 220°F as instructed. Continue reading

Toasted Sugar or Not!

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Items made with Toasted SugarI was recently toodling around the internet and came across a recipe for Toasted Sugar on Serious Eats by Stella Parker.

For all the chemistry involved please go to the article. I just wanted to know if it actually worked and what it tasted like.

I didn’t own a glass baking dish, so off to Walmart I went to get one. Easy enough. While there I picked up a four pound package of granulated sugar as called for.

A glass or ceramic baking dish is called for because they are poor conductors of heat and allow the sugar to darken without melting.

Here how it went. Continue reading