Monday, April 27, 2009


One of the bigger surprises in my life... I love teaching. Its a great companion to the more solitary life of cakes. I pack a lot into my classes, and students leave with a feeling of satisfaction, as much info as they can absorb while measuring and mixing, and lots of dessert!

So I though I'd share the highlight dessert from this past weekends Decadent Chocolate Dessert class. While not everyone made these chocolate eclairs, EVERYONE asked for one!

Chocolate Eclairs

Pate a Choux
This dough is a basic cream puff dough. A stand mixer makes easy work of it.

1 Cup Water
3 oz butter
1/4t salt
5 ounces flour
5 large eggs

-preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Combine water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
-At the boil, remove from the heat and add all the flour, stirring to combine completely. Put the pot back over medium heat, and cook this paste until it leaves the sides of the pan, and then just a little longer to dry it out. (the more you dry it out, the more egg you can get into it and the better the puffs!)
-Transfer the paste to the bowl of your electric mixer. Beat on medium speed to cool the paste slightly.
-Add the eggs, one at a time mixing each until fully combined. Check your dough before adding the last egg... depending on the humidity of the day, you may not need it. You're looking for the past to be thick enough to stick to your finger, and thin enough to pipe out.
-Place a 1/2 piping tip in the bottom of a piping bag, or alternately, cut a 1/2" hole in the bag. Transfer the dough to the bag and pipe out batons about 3" long, leaving at least one inch between them on all sides. (they are going to at least double in size!)
-Coat them gently with a thinned egg wash - one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water.
-Bake them at 425 for 10 minutes or until they've puffed up. Then turn the oven down to 350 to dry them out well.

Chocolate Cream
Prepare the cream filling while the puffs are baking...

2 cups whole milk
2 ounces cornstarch
5 ounces sugar
1 egg
4 yolks
3 ounces butter
1 tablespoon best quality vanilla
5 ounces bitter sweet chocolate
3 ounces boiling water

-Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of cold milk. Add eggs to cornstarch mixture
-Combine the rest of the milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and drizzle hot milk mixture into the egg/cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. As the eggs become more comfortable with the hot temperature, you can add the milk more quickly. Pour this back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk until the cream comes together. It will take a while, but once it starts, it will move quickly. Keep stirring until the cream has become thick. Cook, without boiling, until you see one or two bubbles pop from the cream, to make sure you've cooked out the chalky texture of the cornstarch.
-Pour the boiling water over the chopped chocolate to melt it. Stir the chocolate, butter and vanilla into the hot cream, then transfer this mixture to an ice bath, or the refrigerator to cool.

Chocolate Glaze

4 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 oz unsalted butter
2 oz light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon Vanilla

-Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave at 50% power, stopping to stir often.
-stir in corn syrup and vanilla


-Place a 1/4 inch piping tip in the bottom of a piping bag. Fill bag with cooled chocolate cream.
-With the tip, poke a hole in one end of a cream puff. Squeeze bag gently to fill puff - when filled, cream will start oozing out of the entry hole.
-Dip the top of the filled puff into glaze, set aside to firm.
-Enjoy immediately, or keep filled eclairs in the refrigerator for one day.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What makes the cut...

Not every cake makes the website. Sometimes its similar enough to its predecessor that, while it may be a great piece, it doesn't bring something new. Often enough there just isn't time to make a beautiful picture before it heads out the door. And sometimes, because of the custom nature of some of projects, they are so specific to one client that it may not necessarily have meaning to anyone else. Here are a few that I've loved, but didn't get the beauty shot.

This one is a teaser of some mini cakes I made for a wonderful client that holds a fabulous Awards party every year.

For the 50th Anniversary of Modells Pawn Shop and Diamond dealer... Who knew photoshop wouldn't let you scan and print money? Well, specifically, it wouldn't let me print the $20's... it was fine with the singles.

A copy of a Wedgwood pattern and sugar cake server.

I love ANYTHING Moroccan and jump on the chance to work in that style.

More "Didn't make the Cut" to come!

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