If you've ever wondered what makes the chocolate in bonbons so smooth and shiny, it's a technique called tempering, which is a method of melting chocolate to a specific temperature in order for the fat and sugar molecules to collide so that when the chocolate sets, it creates an attractive sheen and toothsome snap. While it may seem like an elusive, mysterious technique that is better left to chocolatiers, it can be done at home in about two hours, as long as you have a candy thermometer and the proper chocolate. For the adventurous pastry cooks out there, here's how to temper dark chocolate, in pictures.
Want to get on the family's good side this turkey day? Then bake a pie! Sweet, buttery, and comforting, these pastries are a wonderful closing statement to an all-out meal. While it isn't too late to bake up your favorite recipe, pie can be a delicate balance of art and science. So to help you get started, we enlisted Tim Nugent, pastry whiz at San Francisco's Scala's Bistro and Top Chef: Just Desserts season one contestant. His tips for maximum pie finesse here.
After satisfying my curiosity about the fine distinction between biscuits and scones, I decided I needed to heed my physical craving for them, too. And given my near-obsession with raspberries this month, what better way than to pull together a quick raspberry scone?
The best part of this recipe is the fact that it doesn't require a mixer of any kind; just a food processor — something I couldn't live without, anyway. In half an hour, these babies were in the oven, and 15 minutes later, they were in my mouth.
It's best to eat the batch within a day, so make these for a crowd. Or, you can follow in my gluttonous footsteps: I meant to sample one out of the oven, but wound up eating at least three. The recipe? It's right here.
From the flowers to the music, there are a number of crucial elements to every wedding, but in my opinion, there's nothing more exciting than planning the actual cake. Regardless of whether or not she's looking into cake toppers, the cake tower is sure to be at the top of the bride's mind, and a new book, Wedding Cake Art and Design: A Professional Approach by Toba Garrett ($50), is here to help. I had a chance to preview the book. See my assessments of it when you read more.
I loved Pop-Tarts as a kid and I have such fond memories of the breakfast treat that I was ecstatic when I saw a recipe for a homemade version in Bon Appetit. Instantly, I knew it was an absolute must make.
The whole process is actually much easier than I was anticipating and it left me wondering why I hadn't made these earlier. I used two different jams to fill the tarts: a plain strawberry and strawberry-rhubarb. I preferred the strawberry-rhubarb since it was a little more chunky in texture.
The filling possibilities are endless — any jam would work and I can only imagine how delicious Nutella would be. If you haven't enjoyed a Pop-Tart in a while, skip the box and give these a try. Keep reading for the recipe and more photos of these wonderfully flaky tarts.
A dense, rich cake of Central European origin. Unlike a sponge cake, a torte is made with little to no flour, but instead with ground nuts or breadcrumbs, as well as sugar, eggs, and flavorings. It is typically baked in a springform pan, and may be multilayered and filled with cream or jam, or covered with cream and fruit or nuts. Have you ever made a torte?
Source: Flickr User Maggie Hoffman
PartySugar keeps puff pastry in her freezer; it comes in handy when she's looking for an easy appetizer to pull together at the 11th hour. But what exactly is puff pastry, and what differentiates this dough from others? Puff pastry originated in the 15th century in France, where it's known as pâte feuilletée, or "leafed pastry," a reference to the dough's countless flaky layers. Although its main ingredients are as basic as flour, butter, water, and salt, puff pastry expands exponentially when baked, rising to up to eight times its original height. The dough's many layers are the result of a labor-intensive process of chilling butter in between layers of pastry, rolling it out, and allowing it to rest. The prevalence of commercial, ready-made puff pastry makes for easier preparations of sweet and savory classics, including turnovers, strudels, croissants, palmiers, beef wellington, and pot pie. To achieve the best results, avoid overhandling the dough (this will make it tough), and bake it in a preheated oven at a moderate temperature.
Source: Flickr User syvwlch
Spotting flawless asparagus, artichokes, and strawberries in markets this month is exciting enough to want to shout "Spring's here!" from the rooftops. Instead, celebrate the season by highlighting peak produce in an unexpected way: as the star ingredient of a delicate baked tart. Envelop ripe apricots in a simple pie crust to make a free-form dessert. Or, if you're looking for a savory main, top store-bought puff pastry with umami-laden asparagus stalks and Comté cheese. For recipients of either dish, your enthusiasm for the greenmarket is sure to be infectious. Whet your appetite for both recipes when you keep reading.
When I read that yesterday was National Empanada Day, I had a craving so intense for the flaky, savory pastries that I went home and made some! While I enjoy the thick, Spanish pie-shaped empanada, I much prefer the mini, handheld Argentinean variation. They are bite-sized, fun to eat, and can be filled with just about anything.
Years ago I spent a month testing out empanada dough recipes until I found the perfect one. However, last night I didn't have two hours to let the dough rise, so I used puff pastry. These delectable empanadas are addictive, buttery, and downright delicious. The filling is a mixture of sautéed mushrooms, wilted chard, and cheese. It's an easy appetizer that makes a good vegetarian start to a Latin feast. Want the recipe? Read more.