Tag Archives: pastries

A Heartfelt Thanks to All

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2018. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

As we go into 2018 several things are on my mind. First of all, I’d like to offer my thanks to all of you that read my blog, whether once in a while are on a regular basis. You are very special friends who share the same interest as I do and it makes my writing a joy.  The comments are always a treat for me and I never mind answering questions sent to me via email.  I am committed in 2018 to making my blog even better.  Any suggestions you have are welcomed and will be taken into consideration.  So do let me hear from you whether on the types of recipes, or white papers on ingredients, techniques, photos, – anything.

First of all, I’d like to offer my thanks to all of you that read my blog, whether once in a while are on a regular basis. You are very special friends who share the same interest as I do and it makes my writing a joy.  The comments are always a treat for me and I never mind answering questions sent to me via email.  I am committed in 2018 to making my blog even better.  Any suggestions you have are welcomed and will be taken into consideration.  So do let me hear from you whether on the types of recipes, or white papers on ingredients, techniques, photos, – anything.

Second of all – how did we get here so fast? I say this every year and every year I try to slow things down, but I have come to the conclusion that the older I get the faster time flies.  And, truthfully, most of the time I am enjoying what I do.  There are times I could do without.  LIke the time the restaurant needs six special cakes for a party.  This wouldn’t be a problem normally.  I can manage 6 or more any day – except when I need 10″ pans and I have only two.  Each cake takes two layers so I have to make the cake layers six times.  Fortunately, the ganache can be made all at once!  But this is rare and as long as my husband and I remain in good health, I don’t think I have anything to complain about.

This year I hope to finally get my Sixty Second Brioche book finished and ready for Kindle and paperback. I had hoped to get it finished last year, but a bad head fall near the end of the preceding year kept me busy with doctors, cat scans, hospital stays and MRI’s as they looked for the reason I couldn’t see properly.  The first six months were just putting one foot in front of the other.  All is good now so I am thankful for that and that my eyes have returned to normal.

I am also starting a book of cookies (just what the world needs – one more book of cookies remarked one of my readers) but I promise this one includes recipes from around the world as well as those I’ve come up with and American favorites.  They all have something special about them and I am excited to get the testing underway.

This brings me to my last point.  If any of you reading this or know of anyone who uses a gluten free mix in baking I’d like to know what you or they use if you buying the mix (as well as the name of the mix). If you or they make your own, it would help a lot if you would share it with me for my research.  I won’t use it or publish as  I am at the beginning stages of formulating a mix to use in the cookie book so that those that need to be gluten free can enjoy the cookies as well.  However, my son suggested that not all people will want to make their own mix so testing of readyi made mixes has to commence also.  Gads, writing this down, the work sure seems to have escalated!

My son was diagnosed several years ago and he loves the gluten free hermits I send him which gave me the idea for including GF conversions in the book.  This will be a ton of testing since I won’t include anything I don’t know will work.  Especially the European cookies as they are sometimes easier, such as shortbread, or sometimes more involved such as the dozens of recipes for Lebkuchen.

I would like to end this blog by going back to the beginning and thanking all of you again for your interest, comments and just being here.  I wish you all the best New Year ever in 2018 as we all try to make sense of how fast the world is swirling around us.  I am going to try to read more, watch TV less and enjoy my family, work, plants and pastries.  As my son would say – later!

Stuffed (or Not) Kouign Amann

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2018. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Kouign Amann

One of the best descriptions I’ve read of Kouign Amann comes from Chef Steps:  “These salty, buttery pastries hail from the coastal region of Brittany, in the northwest corner of France, where Celtic Breton tradition has prevailed since the great migration across the English Channel during the fifth and sixth centuries. It looks just like you might imagine a Celtic colony on the seacoast of France would: towering bluffs dropping straight into the sea; tiny stone houses dotting the emerald countryside; slate-colored steeples rising into the morning mist. The region is best known for its vast salt flats, where the coveted finishing salt, fleur de sel, is harvested. Here, tucked into wandering village streets, bakeries hawk this much-lauded pastry treasure, whose name literally means “butter cake” in Breton.”

Kouign Amann (pronounced Queen-ah-mann) belongs to the laminated dough family in baking. A croissant like yeast dough is layered with butter and coated with sugar to produce a crunchy, sweet, caramelized pastry that some say is a breakfast pastry and some say is dessert. I could eat them all day long and not care a wit about what time it is! Continue reading

Double Panning – Preventing Over Browning in the Oven

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2018. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Have you ever made cookies with brown sugar, honey, molasses or cornsyrup brown and found after baking the bottoms were very, very brown or even burned?  Bummer!!  Read on and solve this problem with double panning.

When I wrote my first book, “The New Pastry Cook”, I had a chapter on croissant.  Instead of the usual 36 to 48 hours, I reduced the time with new techniques to 4 to 5 hours, start to finish including waiting and rising time for the very same quality of croissant.  The only disappointment was upon baking, the bottoms were near burned because of all the butter in them.  Talk about frustration!!  So back to the drawing board while I came up with a plan to stop the overbrowning.  The solution was simple – just double pan each baking sheet.  Unfortunately, this simple solution took me a bit to figure out.  Here it is –  simply put one cookie sheet on top of another and bake according to the directions.  The double panning slows the heat to the bottom and they will be perfect when finished.  This works with rolls or any items where the bottoms will brown before the rest is baked.

Double panning will slow down the baking slightly so increased baking time, usually a few more minutes is needed.  It doesn’t make any difference on which shelf the pan is placed.  Simply bake at the same temperature called for in the recipe.

So the next time you find yourself with endangered cookies, rolls or any other baked goods, simply double pan.

Double Pan

Just so you know, this post will be moved to Baking information when the next post goes up on Thursday.