"Food: Science, Art, Passion, Pleasure, Adventure & Exploration"

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Little Known Food Facts

-Did you know that adding vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste or any vanilla flavoring to a chocolate recipe considerably decreases the strength of flavor of chocolate in the recipe?

-If you want a stronger or purer chocolate flavor, leave out or lessen the vanilla flavoring. 
    -Mille feuilles are French pastries that are made up of 5 layers - 3 layers of a puff pastry and 2 layers of French custard (also called creme patissiere) that alternate. Sometimes, jam or cream is used rather than custard. The top layer of the pastry is topped with a rich icing or sometimes poured fondant and blended in a pattern with chocolate ganache or chocolate strips. The resulting pattern often looks like a spider web. Other names for this pastry are vanilla slice, Napoleon cake, custard slice, and cream slice. 
    -Icings, Frostings, Glazes, and Crumb Coats 

    Icings & Frostings: Icing is often called frosting and vice verse, but some consider frostings (buttercreams, thick ganaches, royal icings) to be stiffer, richer, creamier and more appropriate for the final finish of a decorated cake (rosettes, piped flowers, swirls around the edges), while icings are thinner, less heavy and used for very smooth top coating of decorating a cake.

    Glazes: Glazes are usually shiny coatings on top of a dessert, usually cakes or smooth pastries. Bundt cakes often feature poured melted chocolate sauces and thin icing glazes. Other popular glazes are sugar syrups used to soak and flavor layers of wedding cakes before being frosted, egg washes on breads and pastries, and thin chocolate ganaches or poured fondants. 

    Crumb coats: A crumb coat is a thin layer of icing spread over a layer cake, and then chilled or flash frozen to set or stiffen. A crumb coat layer of icing protects stray crumbs, from cake layers, from getting into the final top coating of frosting of on a cake. Crumb coating can be compared to gesso, which is used to prime a canvas for painting.

    -Vinegar is occasionally added to pie crust dough to keep the dough white, to prevent oxidation, and to relax the gluten in the dough so that the pie crust dough is more malleable for rolling.

    Acidulated water is created when an acid is added to water. Lime juice, vinegar, lemon juice, and white wine are some of the acids that are often added to water.

    This water mixture is often used to maintain a fresh and crisp look and slow down the browning (oxidation) of fruits and vegetables such as avocados, apples, bananas, artichokes, and pears.

    An added benefit of acidulated water is that it can give treated vegetables and fruits a slight acidic or tart taste which adds to a dish's flavor profile.

    Acidulated water should be used as soon as it is needed and vegetables and fruits should be dipped in the solution rather than saturated with it.

    Some recipes that involve acidulated water-treated fruits and vegetables are banana pudding, apple pie, pear tarts, guacamole, and artichoke dip.

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