Tag Archives: Pastry chef

The Start of a Day

My parents raised us with the mantra: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man (woman) healthy, wealthy and wise.”    Well, I try to get to bed early.  Yes, I’m definitely up early.  Healthy?  Yes, I have been blessed.  Wealthy?  I am thankful everyday for the amazing good fortune of wonderful family, great friends, excellent work and a pretty decent outlook on life.  Wise? No, I’m not finished yet……there’s still plenty to learn!

I love mornings!  How does your day begin?
Here’s a fun look at the start of my day.

 

 

I love cookbooks!

I love cookbooks, all kinds.  For me though, the components of a great cookbook include more than just recipes.  I want to know about the life of the author, the origin of the recipes and of course, the book needs to include plenty of quality photos!  I’m very excited to present a post by my guest blogger and colleague, Jean Moats.  As one of our Johnson & Wales University  librarians,  Jean is a great asset to the education of our students and our chefs.  I love it when Jean says ” I just got in the newest book by…….., you’ve got to take a look!”  So, I asked her to share with us the latest additions to our JWU library.

Fine French Desserts by Hubert Delorme

Fine French Desserts by Hubert Delorme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fine French Desserts by Hubert Delorme: This book could be considered a textbook for a cook wanting to learn how to make beautiful French desserts. The first part of the book goes over basic techniques and recipes for making the different parts of the desserts. The next section is a practical guide featuring all of the needed tools. The final section, written by French pastry chefs, includes the recipes to make these stunning creations.

 

Jenny McCoy's Desserts

Jenny McCoy’s Desserts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenny McCoy’s Desserts by Jenny McCoy: Most dessert books are divided up by different types of desserts such as pies, cakes, cookies and candy.  Jenny McCoy used a fresh approach with book in organizing the recipes by seasons. If you need a spring dessert for your next party, then turn to the spring section for a lovely Blueberry-Almond Cream Tart. The recipes are easy to follow with clear instructions. McCoy includes not only desserts but also seasonally themed drinks.

 

Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook

Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook by Rick Mast and Michael Mast: Winner of the IACP in the Single Subject Category.  Rick and Michael Mast started  craft chocolate factory in Brooklyn  in order to produce handcrafted chocolate.  They seek to make the chocolate using best ingredients from small producers. This book includes the story of their journey along with delicious recipes.

 

Southern Italian Desserts by Rosetta Costantino

Southern Italian Desserts by Rosetta Costantino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Italian Desserts by Rosetta Costantino: Desserts in Italy are more than just cannoli and gelato.  Rosetta Costantino brings us the desserts of Calabria, Campania, Basilicata, Puglia and Sicily, all regions in southern Italy.  Rich delicious desserts fill the pages of this book. Costantino explains the regional history, symbolism and lore behind these desserts.

The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer with Martha Rose Shulman

The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer with Martha Rose Shulman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer with Martha Rose Shulman: Winner of the IACP in the Baking Category.  Jacquy Pfeiffer covers the fundamentals of pastry, beginning with his life working in his father’s bakery.  The book continues with recipes for classic French pastries.  Pfeiffer includes a sidebar in the many recipes where he gives more information about a particular ingredient that is used. It is an excellent book for anyone wanting to learn the fundamentals of French pastries.

NOTE:  All of these editions are available from your favorite online book retailer OR, better yet, take a closer look at these great books in the library!

 

Jean Moats, Librarian, M L.S. from University of North Carolina at Greensboro; B.A. in Home Economics and Business from Otterbein College, M. Div. in Pastoral Ministry from Duke Divinity School; Prior to the library degree, Jean worked as a pastry chef in several local catering companies while earning a degree in Culinary Arts and Hotel/Restaurant Management from Central Piedmont Community College. She worked at Queens University of Charlotte in Technical Services Department while earning her degree in library science from UNC at Greensboro. Jean joined the library staff of Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte in August 2004. She is a liaison for the College of Culinary Arts. Other responsibilities include cataloging materials, staffing the reference desk, and teaching information literacy sessions.

Thank you Jean, for your dedication and your reviews of these fantastic books!

 

 

More baking science…..sugar!

Sugar, sugar….oh, honey, honey…..(anyone else hear the Archie’s song?) Here’s the link to help you get in the mood.  http://youtu.be/h9nE2spOw_o

Another of our How Baking Works lessons focuses on sweeteners, where we examine different classes of sugars: crystalline, syrups and specialty sweeteners.  Crystalline sugars encompass everything from granulated sugar, to brown sugar and powdered sugar, as well as Demerara, Turbinado and Muscavado.  For syrups, we include corn syrup, glucose, molasses, honey and of course (my favorite!) maple syrup.  Specialty sweeteners comprise a variety of products including high intensity sweeteners (such as Splenda and Stevia), dextrose and isomalt .

Tasting demo of different sweeteners.

Tasting demo of different sweeteners.

And yes, we taste them ALL!  You would be surprised at the different flavors that these sweeteners impart.

Pound cake experiment with varying amounts of sugar.  The 100% cake is the correct one.

Pound cake experiment with varying amounts of sugar. The 100% cake is the correct one.

In addition to identification and tasting, we also conduct a few basic experiments.  One experiment explores the functions of sugar by adjusting the amount of this ingredient in a basic pound cake.  We bake a control pound cake using the correct amount of sugar (100%) and then we bake other pound cakes (the variables) using the following percentages of the correct amount:  0%, 25%, 50%, 150% and 200%.  This experiment proves some of the functions of sugar.  In addition to the obvious function of “sweetening,”  granulated sugar also:  provides tenderness, moistness, aids in leavening and provides color (caramelization).  And yes, we tasted all of these too!

Here's a comparison of cakes made just with Splenda or Stevia, and cakes made with a 50/50 blend of sugar and one of these sweeteners.

Here’s a comparison of cakes made just with Splenda or Stevia, and cakes made with a 50/50 blend of sugar and one of these artificial sweeteners.

For this experiment with “high-intensity” sweeteners.  We made the pound cakes with either Splenda or Stevia, and then with a 50/50 blend of Splenda/granulated sugar or Stevia/granulated sugar.  Our findings here proved that high-intensity (or artificial) sweeteners can only provide “sweetness” to a product.  When used as the sole sugar replacement, none of the other functions existed.  Note:  no color, tenderness, moistness or leavening.  Of course, we tasted them and concluded that the blends were much more appetizing.

Cookies made with no sugar, the correct amount of sugar, and double the amount of sugar.

Cookies made with no sugar, the correct amount of sugar, and double the amount of sugar.

Another experiment explored the functions of sugars in relation to the baking of cookies.  For this project, we made cookies with 0% sugar, 100% sugar (the correct one) and 200% sugar.  You can see here how the amount of sugar affects the caramelization, texture and the spread of the cookie.  Taste?  Yes, you guessed it!  Hmm…..by this time, as you can imagine, we are all pretty tired of sweets!  (Education and learning require perseverance!)

So, did you know that sugar has functions other than sweetening?

A pie story

As a pastry chef at one of our country’s best culinary schools, students often ask me….what’s your favorite dessert?  I have access to the highest quality ingredients, the best equipment and some of the most respected chefs in the industry. This blog will give you a look into my work, and maybe a little glimpse of my life.

Blueberry pie.  The answer to their question includes a story, as good food should.  First, we need to drive a thousand miles to Northern Ontario. Then, on a perfectly sunny day in early July, we take our 60 year old 17′ Alumacraft to the end of Lake McFarlane.  There, up on a rocky knoll, spared from the bears, lies the perfect blueberry patch.  Once everyone has filled their buckets, swatted horse flies and mosquitoes, and avoided sunburn, we cool off in the lake.  Back at the cottage (or “camp”, as Northern Canadians call it), while the boys clean the fresh fish, my daughter and I make the pie.  In a 1947 GE electric oven, baking can be a challenge!  Good pastry, made with Tenderflake lard (yes, lard!), encases our fresh-picked wild blueberries.  We eat our dinner on the picnic table in the yard: smallmouth bass, some quinoa, a salad and…..of course, wild blueberry pie!  Farm to table, at its best.

What’s the story behind your favorite dessert?

Blueberry Pie

Just pie? Really? That’s your favorite dessert??? But….you are a pastry chef!