Tag Archives: how to tutorial

How to Make Almond Paste – Or Not!

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Almond PasteLast week I posted a recipe using almond paste. One of my regular readers asked me if I had a recipe to make almond paste since it is so expensive. At the time I remembered seeing such recipes so I hopped on the internet and found quite a few.

Most of them featured blanched almonds, powdered sugar and egg whites as the binder.
Armed with a pound of almonds, plenty of powdered sugar and egg whites, off I went.

The first hint of a problem was getting the almonds fine enough. Processor blades dull after a while and I don’t know if they can be sharpened.  I generally just replace mine.  However, since my processor is on it’s last leg, I haven’t and the blade is not as sharp as i would like it.  So I restorted to placing them in a blender with the powdered sugar and it did a great job after a lot of scraping and blending. After the nuts were finely ground, I transferred the mixture to the processor and added the egg white. It balled up into a gorgeous mass and when shaped into a log it looked spectacular.

I went to bed that night happy with my conquest. Almond Paste – DONE!!! When I woke up the next morning I had a nagging feeling of needing to test my perfect product. Continue reading

One Batter – Two Classic Cakes

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Whole cake for One Batter Two Classic CakesTwo Classic Cakes from German Chocolate Cake batter, makes either one the star.   I have to admit I am one of the few people in America that doesn’t get one of the Two Classic Cakes – The Red Velvet Cake.  Traditionally a white cake with the barest amount of cocoa colored with red dye to which a bit of vinegar is added to make it even more red which, after baking, is filled and finished with Cream Cheese Frosting.

To make the cake part more interesting at the bakery, we used the Second Classic Cake – the German Chocolate Cake to which we added red dye and a little vinegar.  As you can see from the photos – red it is.  The cake has one of the most tender crumbs of any cake. Continue reading

Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Double Chocolate Mousse CakeThis Double Chocolate Mousse Cake was one of our premier offerings.  Both white chocolate and dark chocolate mousse team up with a deeply chocolate, yet light textured chocolate chiffon cake. The Double Chocolate Mousse Cake is beautiful, light and easy to make and while full of flavor is not overwhelming sweet.

After much testing, I came to the conclusion that chiffon cakes, because they use oil and not butter, have a longer shelf life than do butter cakes.  While the majority of our wedding cakes were butter cakes, if the cake was to be sold to our wholesale clientele or needed a shelf life, it was made with a chiffon cake or an oil based cake.

Chiffon cakes are one of the easiest cake to make. Basically, the dry ingredients are mixed together and the wet ingredients, except for the egg whites and a bit of sugar, are placed in the mixing bowl.  The dry ingredients are plopped on top and they are beat together.  No creaming or adding the flour in stages.  The only other thing is to beat the whites with the sugar and fold all of it together.  This Double Chocolate Mousse Cake is extremely dark in color and moist, providing a counter point to the white chocolate mousse filling and the dark chocolate mousse finish. Continue reading

Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Cranberry Fresh Pineapple RelishYou’re right, Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish has nothing to do with pastry. However, before I had Pastries Like a Pro, I had another blog for which I am no longer writing. It featured all manner of food and I couldn’t help think, as I prepare for the holidays that this Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish would be something you would like also. This is one of the most popular recipes from my take out shop and we featured it every year for Thanksgiving. I still do. I think if you try it, it will become one of your traditions also.

I love cranberries almost anyway you can serve them. In fact, when I had the bakery, the staff had to restrain me because I had so many cranberry items on the menu.

I don’t know if it’s their tart taste, beautiful red jewel like color, or their ease of preparation. I suspect it is all of them. This quick to put together Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish will keep in the refrigerator for a week, so make it ahead of time so you have one less thing to do on the day of service. As an aside, we froze cranberries in season so we had them all year as we featured an appetizer sandwich of biscuits, brined roasted pork tenderloin topped with this relish. It was always a huge hit – even with people not prone to cranberries.

Cranberry Fresh Pineapple RelishIngredients for Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish1 -12 ounce package fresh cranberries
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
1/2 cup finely cut fresh pineapple
1/4 large orange

Pick over the cranberries to remove any bad ones by placing them in a rimmed pan so they can’t roll away. Place the cranberries, water and sugar in a saucepan. Cranberries, water and sugar in saucepan for Cranberries Fresh Pineapple RelishBring to a boil, over medium heat, stirring frequently. beginning-to-boil-for-cranberry-fresh-pineapple-relish.jpegContinue to a full boil, until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Ingredients for Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish coming to a boilRemove from the heat and add the apricot preserves. Apricot preserves added to Cranberry Fresh Pineapple RelishCool completely at this point. If you are in a hurry (as I am invariably) quick cool by thinly spreading out on a plate.Quick cooking the hot ingredients for Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish

In the meantime, cut the orange including the rind into about 6 pieces. Place in a processor and Orange segments in the food processor for Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relishprocess until very finely chopped.Oranges processed for Cranberry Fresh Pineapple RelishCombine all, stirring well. All ingredients in a bowl for the Cranberry Fresh Pineapple RelishStore the Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish in the refrigerator up to a week.Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish

Apple Fritters

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Apple Fritters for Apple FrittersThese Apple Fritters are a speedy version of a doughnut with apples in it. The fact it is not a yeast dough makes this come together really quickly with a bowl and a whisk. I divided the batter into two bowls and used Gala apples in one and Granny Smith in the other. The testers (my husband and myself!) decided the Granny Smiths gave the most apple punch to the Apple Fritters for your money. The liquid used can be milk, water or beer. I like to use beer because it gives a bit more lift to the batter. There is no perceptible taste of beer – which can be good or bad, depending upon your opinion of beer!

Nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger can all be used to flavor the batter for the Apple Fritters. I used nutmeg because I love it, but use anything or nothing as you choose.

To keep from using a lot of oil to fry the Apple Fritters, I chose a smaller pot and filled it with about an inch of oil – just enough to half cover the fritters. The oil should be about 350 degrees. The batter should be fairly loose. Just drop it off of a heaping soup spoon and let it fry to a golden brown. Turn it over and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels and immediately roll in granulated sugar. Try to wait until they are all fried before diving in the Apple Fritters!

I recently ran across one of the most interesting in depth articles on the health benefits of apples I have seen. 34 Science Backed Health Benefits of Apples lists 34 apples and their best uses. In the last few years I have noticed more and more varieties of apples in the stores.  I found this helpful in helping me determine what apple works best where.  Americans have a love affair with apples and this article demonstrates exactly why.

Apple Fritters ingredients2 cups diced apples, unpeeled
1 egg
1 1/3 cup beer, water or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour (245 grams or 8 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounce)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice or ginger or a combination, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar for coating

Cut the apple in about 1/3 inch dice. Set aside.

Beat the egg to mix.Beaten egg for Apple Fritters Add the vanilla and beer.  Vanilla added to Apple FrittersBeer added to Apple FrittersWhisk together.Liquids mixed for Apple Fritters

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, spice and salt. Dry ingredients added to Apple FrittersWhisk into the liquid.Batter mixed for Apple Fritters Add the apples.Apples added for Apple FrittersBatter mixed for Apple Fritters

In the meantime heat about 1 to 1/2 inch of oil to 350 degrees. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons Frying first side for Apple Fritters and fry to a medium brown. Turn and fry the second side.frying-second-side--for-appleo-fritters.jpeg Drain on paper towels Draining apple fritters on paper towels for Apple Frittersand immediately roll in granulated sugar.Sugared Apple Fritters for Apple Fritters

Yield: Approximately 24 depending upon size.