Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Something Important

When you learn to cook, it is discovered that most of the thousands of sauces in the world are derivatives of several mother sauces (tomato, bechemel, espangole, veloute, etc...) The same idea holds true in baking, and what I want to discuss today is the mother of baking mother sauces:

Pastry Cream
(dust off your baker's scales, this is a classic recipe that depends on weight, not volume)
  • 480 g sugar
  • 2 L milk
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 150 g cornstarch
  • 120 g butter
  • 30 mL vanilla
  1. In a heavy saucepan, dissolve half the sugar in the milk and bring just to a boil.
  2. With a whip, beat the egg yolks and whole eggs in a stainless-steel bowl.
  3. Sift the starch and remaining sugar into the egg. Beat with the whip until perfectly smooth.
  4. Temper the egg mixture by slowly beating in the hot milk in a thin stream.
  5. Return the mixture to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  6. When the mixture comes to a boil while stirring, remove from the heat.
  7. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Mix until the butter is melted and completely blended in.
  8. Cool quickly in a shallow pan* and whisk before using.
*note that plastic wrap should be put down directly on surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming and also inhibit bacteria growth.

This stuff is wonderfully versatile. It forms the base of many cream pies, puddings, donut and cake fillings, eclair fillings. It's important to know how to make this stuff.

Oh, and also... when you get to step #5, it's important to note that this stuff is like napalm. If you stop stirring for even a moment it will splatter, stick to your skin, and burn through 2 layers of skin at least. Not to scare you away or anything, just be cautious. I know these things because I've been there.

In other news, I got a new tool box today for my portable kitchen!

$27.97 at Canadian Tire - I'd link to the item on their website but it's not listed there. I'm quite impressed with the thing. It's large enough to hold a full sized text book plus my thousands of baking/cooking, yet it's small enough to stand upright in a locker. It's like the TARDIS of tool boxes.

Consequently, the book shown above is the source of the pastry cream recipe I shared this evening. It's sort of become my baking bible.

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