Croissants by Vincent Talleu

Croissants by Vincent Talleu(YouTube)
Uploaded on May 12, 2009
How I make croissants.

http://www.brockwell-bake.org.uk
http://www.sustainweb.org/realbread
http://www.vincent.talleu.com

I made this video when I worked in south of France a few years ago. I now work at "The Artisan Bakery" in London, where the croissant we make are even better, but I'm really a bread baker and our bread is the best.

Jeremy Cherfas is right, I think the majority of the secret is the tools. I am quite jealous of that massive dough roller, but I don’t think that a typical little home pasta machine would be quite as easy to use as Jeremy might hope.

My other favorite was the magic croissant cutter. I’ll have to look for one of those the next time I’m at a restaurant supply house. I imagine they’re pretty rare. It reminded me a little bit of the old school hand push lawn mowers.

The quick camera pan down at 5:34 with the CCR musical overlay was a lovely touch, but is a painful reminder of the fact that this type of mass manufacture is overkill for the home chef who may want as many as a dozen at a time (remember, pastries start their inevitable death the minute they’re done cooking). Though I do have to say watching this makes me want to open up a bakery, but which days is that not a thought I have?

The nice part about having this much dough was seeing some of the myriad of creative things one could do other than just croissants. Now, off to find a nice oranais.

Advanced Apple Pie Making Techniques

Making an apple pie should not only make your home smell fantastic, but it should come out looking like a stunning work of art that holds together and tastes good. Here's what the pros know that you don't.

It’s Thanksgiving and you promised to bring something. Something interesting, something intended to impress. Well, it’s the high end of apple season and some of the best fruit of the season is still available right? You’ve decided to make an awesome apple pie! (You can’t slink as low as to buy one of those half-stale, mass manufactured pies that taste like it.)

Among your cook books and the dozens of online sites there are a bevvy of apple pie recipes that are all pretty much the same with the exception of whether or not they’ve got nutmeg. (Hint: double down on the nutmeg and microplane it from a real, actual nut–they don’t really go bad and keep forever. Heck, why not keep one in your pocket for the entire holiday season?!) But somehow the pie never comes out quite right. The crust is a sloppy mess and doesn’t come out flaky the way your great grandmother’s most assuredly did. And when you cut into it, the insides come pouring out and make a huge mess. Served on the plate it looks like a heaping pile of slop.

What’s missing you ask yourself?

Most cookbooks either completely leave out the finer points of pastry making from their recipes or hide them in introductory sections that no one ever reads, because–let’s be honest–who even knew these sections existed?  No one besides me really reads a cookbook do they?

So in a quick synopsis, here are a few pro tips to help your pie come out the way you knew it should.

DO NOT overwork your dough!

This is the cardinal rule of pastry making.

The less you can touch your dough, the better off you’ll be. Kneading bread dough for 10 minutes or more is fine because you want to form a doughy and stretchy network of gluten chains that will make your bread nice and chewy once it’s baked. For pie or pastry dough however, you want the exact opposite. After you’ve used a pastry cutter to cut your flour and your fat together into pea sized bits, stir your dough as little as possible when you add your liquid. If you can get it all together with just five short stirs, then for god’s sake do not use six! If it takes ten or more when you first start practicing, that’s alright, but don’t touch it an eleventh. Whatever you do, don’t knead it together for 10 minutes like you’re making bread or that’s what you’ll end up with.

When working with your dough, keep everything cold.

Old wives tales about baking often insist “You will only make a good pastry chef if you have cold hands.” While I feel this is patently false, the root of the thinking to keep things cold while working your pastry is very sound advice. At all costs you want to keep the fat in your dough nice and cold. Allowing it to melt and mix further with your flour is only going to make things less flaky and will also tend to make a huge, sticky mess. Toward that end, keep everything that touches your dough cold–even your hands if you can help it.

One of the worst offenders is your counter top temperature when rolling out your dough. You take some nice cold dough and put it on a room temperature (or higher because you’ve probably got a stove nearby that’s already preheating) counter top and start working it over. The thinner you roll it out, the greater its surface area and thus the larger amount of heat it begins absorbing from the counter. The fix for this is easy! Just fill a 9×13″ (or larger if you’ve got it) cake/cookie pan with an ice and water slurry and set it on the part of the counter top where you’re going to roll out your crust. Do this for a few minutes at a time to cover the area where you’ll be working. The colder things are the better off you’ll be. Those thick and massive granite counter tops you spent thousands on can now be your best friend with their spectacular specific heat capacity.

A slurry of ice and water in a 9x13" cake pan can help cool down your counter top.
A slurry of ice and water in a 9×13″ cake pan can help cool down your counter top.

Apple Pie Architecture

Wonderful pies you see in shops and stores hold together incredibly well, in great part because they’re in cold display cases. When cut cold they tend to hold their shapes incredibly well. But as everyone knows warm deserts taste better and sweeter. (Don’t believe me? Try microwaving a bowl of ice cream and tell me it isn’t the sweetest thing you’ve eaten.)

But how can you keep the delicious, gooey goodness of your apple pie together when it’s been cut open just minutes out of the oven? Most cooks just heap their pie filling into their delicate crusts, but why? Laziness?

Instead, let’s use the structure of the apples and the sugary filling to our advantage. Layer your apple slices into the crust in alternating circular and radial patterns. This criss-cross pattern will allow them to hold not only all the additional sweetness you can thrown into them, but the structure will hold the thing together.

Layering your apple pie filling: circular apple slices.
Layering your apple pie filling: circular apple slices.
Layering your apple pie filling: radial apple slices.
Layering your apple pie filling: radial apple slices.

Creating this lattice structure will usually hold so well, that a pie right out of the oven can be cut almost immediately and it won’t ooze an ounce.

Just out of the oven and two minutes post-cut.
Just out of the oven and two minutes post-cut.

Take your new-found knowledge, go forth, and bake!

Syndicated copies to:

Chili prep for dinner tonight

Chili prep for dinner tonight

Instagram filter used: Juno


Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Time: 8hr total; 1hr prep
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A modifiable crock pot chili recipe

I always prefer a chili recipe with a higher proportion of meat, so this recipe goes much heaver in that department than most. Naturally, high quality ground beef can be substituted for the somewhat healthier turkey if preferred. The beans can be cooked in with the chili simultaneously, but I typically prefer to cook them separately for better doneness and quality as well as well as closer control of the overall soupiness of the chili.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 – 1.5 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on one’s tolerance for heat)
  • 3 pounds ground turkey (preferably dark meat), (could substitute ground beef)
  • 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
  • ground pepper
  • Two 28-ounce cans of (fire-roasted) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 medium to large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 2 cups crushed corn tortilla chips
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 4 carrots, finely diced

Ingredients for pinto beans

  • 3.5 cups of pinto beans
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1.5 teaspoon of bouillon (or 3 cups of chicken broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Optional ingredients for toppings and serving

  • sliced scallions or 1/2 raw onion chopped
  • shredded/grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • chopped (pickled) jalapeno
  • corn tortilla chips (or cornbread or white rice)

Directions

  • Bring the pinto beans, onion, garlic, and bouillon in a large pot with an equal amount of salted water to a low boil. Then reduce the heat and cook on low for 3-4 hours until done. Add additional water if necessary during coooking, but don’t allow the beans to become too soupy. Stir regularly to prevent burning to the bottom of the pan.
  • Put the tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, peppers, cocoa powder, vinegar, oregano, garlic, crushed tortilla chips, and a teaspoon salt into a covered 6+ quart slow cooker over low heat for 6 hours.
  • While the above are beginning to cook, heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat with the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and cayenne and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, until the mixture is dark red and dry in texture. Add the ground turkey, previously seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt, and cook while stirring and breaking up into smaller pieces, until mixture is thoroughly combined. (The turkey doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through but should ideally be browned for better maillard reaction and subsequent flavor).
  • When the oil, paste, and turkey mixture is done, mix it in with the tomatoes, celery, carrots, et al, and finish cooking. Stir occasionally.
  • As the turkey/vegetable portion and the beans are done, mix them together in equal measure, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with scallions, cheddar, sour cream, and pickled jalapeno over tortilla chips. (One could also substitute cornbread or even rice for the tortilla chips for alternate variations.)


Optional cocoa powder may seem a bit out of place in most chilies, but it can serve two functions here: it adds some depth of flavor (without being chocolaty as one may expect) while simultaneously thickening the sauce in the chili.

The celery, carrots, onions, and peppers are all also optional: they can be used to enhance/modify taste, but also add to not only the overall heartiness, but make the dish more veggie friendly for children without detriment to flavor or presentation.

I suggest serving the chili on a bed of tortilla chips (which can also function as a makeshift spoon or eating implement), but it can also be great with cornbread or even served over rice as additional options.

Leftovers can be refrigerated or even frozen (for several weeks) if necessary.


Syndicated copies to:

The Wrangler

The Wrangler: Don Q Silver Rum, Fresh Peach, Lime, Honey Syrup, Mathilde Peach Liquer, Ginger Syrup
The Wrangler
The Wrangler: Don Q Silver Rum, Fresh Peach, Lime, Honey Syrup, Mathilde Peach Liquer, Ginger Syrup

Instagram filter used: Valencia

Photo taken at: Crossings

Syndicated copies to: