Printer Friendly

Chapter 18 Petits fours and confections.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

OBJECTIVES

After reading this chapter, you should be able to

* define the classical categories of petits fours and the characteristics of the items.

* describe the contemporary categories of petits fours and to be able to make a selection of them.

* define the properties of saturated and supersaturated sugar solutions and to be able to make them successfully.

* make a selection of sugar confections including crystalline, noncrystalline, aerated, and jelly.

HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF PETITS FOURS

The term petits fours is traditionally used to describe the miniature cookies, tartlets, and cakes that may accompany an afternoon coffee or tea or that are served after a meal. Petits fours have numerous characteristics, including light, delicate, crisp, and refreshing. The common defining characteristic of petits fours is that they can be eaten in one or two bites. The name of these small treats, which literally means "small ovens," refers to the tradition of baking small pastries in a slow oven after large pastries have been removed and oven temperature is reduced.

Petits fours are often based on larger versions of traditional pastries and are made up from all the different types of bases-dough, batters, creams, fillings, and icings-that are found in the pastry shop. Petits fours are largely a concept of size and delicacy and can be adapted from many traditional larger items. Some adjustments may need to occur in the handling of the dough, the baking process, and the assembly. Examples of petits fours adapted from larger products include opera cake, tarte Tatin, cremeux fruit tarts, madeleines, and Baba Savarin.

There are two styles of sweet petits fours, traditional and contemporary, both of which are explored in this chapter. Traditional petits fours include petits fours sec, petits fours glaces, petits fours frais, and petits fours deguises. Contemporary petits fours include petits fours prestige, as well as the list of the traditional petits fours.

The presentation and overall quality of petits fours plays an important role in the perception of these sweets. Because these creations are small and designed for a discriminating palate, care should be taken in their preparation to ensure they are as perfect as can be. Petits fours are sometimes described as mignardise, essentially small, delicate bites, and friandise, which refers to a treat often enjoyed with coffee or tea or after a dessert course. Usually found in fine dining settings such as restaurants and hotels, they are the pastry kitchen's version of the savory amuses bouche, or taste teasers.

CATEGORIES OF PETITS FOURS

PETITS FOURS SEC

Petits fours sec are usually unfilled cookies. These have a signature dry, crisp texture from being baked at a lower temperature for longer periods of time. The simple nature of this category makes attention to detail a crucial consideration to ensure the quality and presentation. These cookies often include various shapes and assembly procedures, which may include the following cookie processes: icebox, molded, piped, and sheeted. Common dough used for petits fours sec include shortbread, sable breton, and puff pastry to make items like duchesses, sable beurre, Spritz, speculos, palmiers, allumettes glacees, tuiles, and langue du chats.

A popular petit four sec is the Parisian macaron, a delicate cookie made with sugar, egg whites, and ground almonds. The Parisian variety of macaron is becoming increasingly popular and is defined by two cookies, sandwiched together with a flavored filling. Macarons should be shiny and smooth on the outside with color representative of the filling inside. The inside of the cookie should be soft and moist, never crunchy or tough. It is common for these cookies to go through a "curing" stage in the refrigerator to soften the cookie and infuse the flavor of the filling throughout the treat. At 70 percent relative humidity, macarons can remain in the refrigerator uncovered for up to 3 days. If the humidity is too high, the cookie can soften too much and take on a very soft texture. Macarons are most commonly flavored with buttercream or ganache, which may be flavored as vanilla, pistachio, chocolate, praline, lemon, and raspberry, among others.

PETITS FOURS GLACES

Petits fours glaces are small, bite-sized cakes with a thin coating of glaze, typically fondant, which is applied at the end of the production process. Assembled in large sheets and then cut after setting up, petits fours glaces contain thin layers of cake alternating with jam and/or butter-cream. The top of the cake is adorned with a thin layer of marzipan to add flavor, as well as a smooth surface for the glaze to settle on. Marzipan is made from almond paste, with the addition of sugar, a cooked sugar syrup, and sometimes glucose and/or egg white. After the cake is cut, it can be enrobed in fondant, or sometimes chocolate. Petits fours glaces are typically finished with intricate, stylized piping. This type of petit four is not as common as it once was as petits fours frais and petits fours prestige have become more popular.

PETITS FOURS FRAIS

Petits fours frais are characterized by items that are served the day they are made because their composition leads to deterioration of quality the longer they sit. This group includes cream-filled items, such as eclairs, tartlets (fruit, cremeux, ganache), and some petits fours deguises. Parisian macarons may be classified as petits fours frais when they are filled with fresh fruit and a mousse or similar light-textured cream. Petits fours frais may also include "spongy" petits fours such as almond cakes, madeleines, and financiers.

PETITS FOURS DEGUISES

Petits fours deguises are made from fresh, dried, or candied fruits that are coated in cooked sugar, fondant, chocolate, or any combination of the three. Fruits commonly dipped in sugar include gooseberries, kumquats, cherries, grapes, and candied fruits such as pineapple or mango. The fruit is simply dipped into the cooked sugar solution and then transferred to a silicone mat or lightly oiled granite. Some fruit, such as kumquat, may benefit from drying out slightly before dipping. Any fruit dipped in sugar should be used in a timely fashion or should be stored with humectants, to avoid the softening of the sugar.
A standard syrup for dipping includes
100 percent sugar
35 percent water
35 percent glucose
5 drops of tartaric acid solution per 1 kg sugar


This syrup should be prepared as other supersaturated syrups by bringing the water and sugar to a boil, brushing down the sides of the pot with cold water and then adding the glucose. The syrup needs to be cooked to 320[degrees]F (160[degrees]C). The sugar should then be removed from the heat, and the cooking should be stopped in cold water. After the bubbles have subsided, the fruit can be dipped in the sugar. The sugar syrup may be colored to enhance the presentation of the petits fours.

Traditional fruit petits fours deguises are usually first coated in marzipan and then dipped in sugar. Decorator's marzipan (20 percent fruit content) is commonly used as a filling to replace the pit in pitted fruits, and as a thin outside layer used to cover some dried fruit before dipping in sugar. Whenever marzipan is used to cover fruit to be dipped, it should be allowed to dry for a couple of days before dipping in sugar. After the marzipan is dry, it may be dipped in the sugar syrup. If fruit is coated with fondant, the fondant should be dry and slightly hard before it is dipped into an additional ingredient like chocolate.

Products that are dipped in fondant should be candied or of relatively low moisture to ensure the fondant sets. To partially enrobe petits fours deguises which have been dipped in fondant with chocolate, the fondant must set first. Common fruits using this technique include strawberries, candied orange slices, and candied citrus peels.

Considerations for Dipping Fruits in Sugar

Two factors should be considered when whole or sliced fruits are dipped in cooked sugar. First, fruit should be properly cleaned and thoroughly dried before dipping to avoid sugar crystallization, as well as problems where the water dissolves the fondant, seizes the chocolate, or deteriorates the fruit pieces. Second, fruits with a higher moister level on the surface should be coated with marzipan to keep the sugar from crystallizing due to the presence of natural liquids or moisture. In addition, syrup for dipped fruit can range from hard crack to caramel, depending on the flavor and desired color. Please refer to the sugar cooking guidelines in Chapter 21 to create the best quality coating.

PETITS FOURS PRESTIGE

Petits fours prestige, which are composed of more advanced preparations, mirror current trends in pastry. Petits fours prestige may be smaller versions of contemporary entremets or other desserts. Components used for petits fours prestige may include cake bases such as biscuit or Dacquoise, creams such as creme mousseline or cremeux, egg foams like Italian meringue, and fresh fruit. Additionally, many of the finishing techniques used for advanced cake production may be used for petits fours prestige such as glazing and chocolate spraying. Often these small pastries will even include small decorative chocolate or sugar elements. The production of these items is labor intensive; however, with the use of specialty molds and working out of the freezer, petits fours prestige can look consistent and sharp and can be produced efficiently.

STORAGE AND SERVICE OF PETITS FOURS

Storage plays an important role in the production and serving of petits fours. Consideration needs to be given both to the environment and the individual characteristics of each item. If the item is susceptible to humidity, it should be held airtight, vacuum-sealed when possible, and with antihumectants.

Many petits fours are produced as close to serving time as possible, due to the element of freshness that is a defining characteristic. Petits fours sec may have a shelf life of roughly 1 to 2 weeks. Petits fours frais, deguises, and prestige are fresh for shorter periods of time, which varies by product. Freezing is a good option for many of the bases and doughs that can be made up ahead of time and held until ready to bake or assemble.

[FIGURE 18-1 OMITTED]

AN INTRODUCTION TO SUGAR CONFECTIONS

Confections can be broken into three distinct categories: chocolate, flour, and sugar. Chocolate confections are described in detail in Chapter 22. Flour confections represent a vast array of products, including cook ies, cakes, and pastries. The focus of this portion of the chapter, sugar confections, includes products like caramels, cordials, fondants, marzipan candies, pates de fruits, nougat, and marshmallows, all of which are sugar based. (See Figure 18-1.) Sugar confections can be eaten as snacks or served after a meal as petits fours.

SUGAR CONFECTIONS IN HISTORY

India was the first country to establish a method for extracting sugar from sugar cane. Persians soon adopted these techniques, and eventually the Arabs introduced sugar to Spain and countries in North Africa. Sugar was first introduced to inland Europe in the 12th century, where it was traded along with exotic spices. At the time, sugar was largely treated as a flavoring used in medicine, electuaries, and other solid pills made by apothecaries, where the sweetener acted as a binding agent and masked unpleasant flavors from medicinal ingredients. By the 15th century, a distinct separation of medical and nonmedical confections had been established.

SUGAR SOLUTIONS

The common component of sugar confections is a sugar solution made from sugar and water. At sea level, and under normal atmospheric conditions, water boils at 212[degrees]F (100[degrees]C). As a sugar solution is boiled and water turns to steam, the sugar remains in a liquefied state. The dissolved sugar in the solution allows it to rise above the boiling point of pure water; as the concentration of sugar becomes higher, so does the boiling point. The final ratio of sugar to water determines the density of the syrup (which affects the boiling point), as well as the degree of setting that occurs after cooling.

Confectioners were making candies long before thermometers were widely available to gauge solution temperature. Instead, the degree of cooking was determined by dropping a small amount of the boiling sugar solution in cold water and feeling its texture as it quickly cooled. This technique is still widely practiced today. Figure 18-2 displays the relationship between the temperature of the cooking solution, its setting property, and the confections for which it is commonly used.

Saturation of Sugar

When sugar is dissolved into water, the ratio of water to sugar and the temperature of the solution will determine the point of saturation. At any given temperature, water can only dissolve a certain amount of sugar. For example, water at room temperature dissolves approximately 66 percent of its weight in sugar. In order to dissolve more sugar, the temperature of the solution must be increased. A saturated solution is achieved when the maximum quantity of sugar is dissolved into water.

Supersaturated solutions contain dissolved sugar at a higher ratio than is normally possible at a given temperature. This is achieved when a saturated sugar solution is boiled to evaporate part of the water, and then cooled. It is important to cool supersaturated solutions in a controlled environment in order to prevent the formation of crystals. Agitation or the introduction of dust, granular sugar, or any other foreign material into the solution can create a seed. Agitation or a seed can start a chain reaction of crystallization.
Figure 18-2

Common Sugar Solution Temperatures for Confections

Cooked Texture       Temperature                      Uses

"Thread"             215[degrees]F (102[degrees]C)    Fruit syrups
                       to 235[degrees]F
                       (113[degrees]C)
"Soft Ball" Stage    235[degrees]F (113[degrees]C)    Fondant, fudge
                       to 240[degrees]F
                       (116[degrees]C)
"Firm Ball" Stage    245[degrees]F (118[degrees]C)    Soft caramels
                       to 250[degrees]F
                       (121[degrees]C)
"Hard Ball" Stage    250[degrees]F (121[degrees]C)    Marzipan,
                       to 265[degrees]F                 marshmallow
                       (129[degrees]C)
"Soft Crack" Stage   270[degrees]F (132[degrees]C)    Taffy
                       to 290[degrees]F
                       (143[degrees]C)
"Hard Crack" Stage   300[degrees]F (149[degrees]C)    Hard candy,
                       to 310[degrees]F                 toffee,
                       (154[degrees]C)                  brittle
"Caramel" Stage      320[degrees]F (160[degrees]C)    Caramel,
                       to 350[degrees]F                 decorative
                       (177[degrees]C)                  sugar work


Crystallization

Understanding and controlling the crystallization of sugar is essential in the production of sugar confections. Whether or not the sugar has been crystallized defines the subcategory to which the confection belongs. For example, sugar is purposefully crystallized during the cooking process for crystalline confections like fondants and fudge because controlled crystallization forms thousands of microscopic sugar crystals that create smooth and creamy characteristics.

Conversely, crystallization must be avoided during the production of noncrystalline confections such as caramels, hard candies, and toffees. The characteristics of noncrystalline confections range from hard and brittle to soft and chewy, depending on the degree to which the sugar solution was cooked and the quantity of glucose or inverted sugars in the formula.

When cooking saturated sugar solutions, adhere to the following important guidelines to prevent crystallization.

* Avoid Impurities: Always use clean tools, equipment, and ingredients. Caution should be taken if using a sugar that may be contaminated with flour so it is a good idea to work from a sugar source that is known to be pure.

* Temperature: Begin cooking at a medium-high temperature because too high of an initial heat can promote crystallization. After the sugar solution has boiled, it is possible to increase the temperature. If cooking with gas, be sure the flames do not go up the sides of the pot, as this can produce uneven heat and may result in premature browning.

* Sugar Grains: Before the sugar and water mixture comes to a boil, make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pot with a clean pastry brush and water to ensure that there are no undissolved sugar particles. This should be done as soon as the cooking process begins, when the solution comes to a boil, and periodically as needed. Note that excessive washing down will introduce more water into the solution and will lengthen the time required to achieve the desired temperature.

* Agitation: Unless specified in the process of the formula, sugar solutions should not be stirred after the solution comes to a boil because stirring promotes crystallization.

Additional ingredients, referred to as doctors by confectioners, can be added to sugar solutions to help prevent crystallization. Common doctors include glucose (the most favored), inverted sugar, and acids such as tartaric acid. Doctors should be added to the solution after it has come to a boil because it is easier for sugar to dissolve without the presence of glucose or inverted sugar. The molecular structures of glucose and inverted sugar, which are longer than sugar (sucrose), can inhibit the bonding of sucrose molecules. A solution of tartaric acid can help prevent the sugar syrup from crystallizing by partially inverting of the solution through hydrolysis.

Caramelization and the Maillard Reaction

Caramelization occurs when sugar is heated above 320[degrees]F (160[degrees]C). The sugar changes color from clear to light yellow and progresses to darker tones of brown. Caramelization evolves the initial sweet flavors into richer, nutty, and slightly bitter flavors. The darker the sugar becomes, the more intense the bitterness will be.

The Maillard reaction occurs when amino acids from protein and monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) are combined in the presence of heat. The reaction is complicated; however, it is an important one for the confectioner, pastry chef, and baker to understand. This reaction takes place during the processing of many foods and results in familiar flavors in caramels, bread, coffee beans, chocolate, dark beers, and grilled meats, to name just a few.

In the production of confections, this reaction can be observed when making toffee and caramels. In theory, when there are more amino acid proteins in the dairy being cooked, more browning and flavor develop ment will occur. In addition, if the cooking process happens at a slower rate, the degree of browning and flavor development will be increased.

CATEGORIES OF SUGAR CONFECTIONS

Sugar confections can be divided into four main categories: crystalline, noncrystalline, aerated, and jelly. The textures of sugar confections (hard, soft, chewy, jelly, and supple) are largely determined by the concentration of the sugar solution, the ingredients, the formula, and the manufacturing process.

CRYSTALLINE CONFECTIONS

This group of confections is defined by the formation of sugar crystals during cooking. Examples include fondant, fudge, pralines, dragees, and liqueur pralines. Most crystalline confections are based on a supersaturated sugar solution that is agitated to create fine sugar crystals. The pastry chef can control all these factors (temperature, saturation, and agitation) to create specific outcomes.

For example, crystal size is determined by the rate at which the temperature of the sugar solution is lowered; the number of crystals depends on the level of agitation during the cooling process. Hot syrup that is stirred occasionally while cooling will have fewer larger crystals, and syrup that is not stirred until it has cooled to 110[degrees]F (43[degrees]C) will have more crystals with a finer texture. Saturation, or the amount of water left in a solution after cooking, will also effect overall crystallization. If a syrup is not cooked enough, the solution will crystallize but remain runny. If it is overcooked, it will be dry and brittle.

Fondant

Fondant has applications for both pastry and confections. As presented in Chapter 15, fondant is an icing that is often used on items like napoleon cake, eclairs, and Danish pastries. This sweet, thick, opaque, finely crystallized sugar paste should not be confused with the rolled fondant used in cake decoration. There are two main types of fondant: pastry fondant and confectionary fondant.

Pastry fondant is used as a glaze because it is cooked to a lower temperature, has more free water in it, and is less viscous. In confectionary fondant, because the sugar syrup is cooked to a higher temperature, the crystalline structure is finer and the viscosity is greater. The higher temperature creates a firmer texture and enables the pastry chef to thin the fondant to add flavorings in the form of alcohols and oils. Herbs or spices can also be added.
Figure 18-3

Temperature Guidelines for Cooking Syrup for Fondant

Temperature                     Texture   Uses

235[degrees]F (113[degrees]C)   Soft      Pastry, glaze
242[degrees]F (117[degrees]C)   Medium    Multipurpose
257[degrees]F (125[degrees]C)   Firm      Confectionary, fillings


Figure 18-3 presents temperature guidelines for cooking syrup for fondant, along with the corresponding texture.

Confectionary fondant can be formed by hand or heated and poured into starch molds to set until firm. Starch molds are made from a thick, contained layer of dry starch that has been carefully imprinted with cavities in which fillings can be deposited and left to set. Some preparations for fondants include invertase, an enzyme that breaks down the sugars contained in the fondant to produce a more liquid filling. Invertase enables the confectioner to produce very soft fondants at a stage when they are easy to handle. Its use must be closely monitored because the quantity (0.5 to 1.5 percent based on the total weight of the fondant) will affect the amount of time (days to weeks) that it takes for sugar conversion. It is very common, though not necessary, to finish fondants by enrobing them in chocolate.

Process for Fondant

* Combine the sugars, inverted sugars, and liquids. Cook to the required temperature, depending on the final use.

* If the formula contains salt, stir it in at the end of the cooking process.

* Pour the hot mixture onto a granite slab that has some ice water on it and allow it to cool to approximately 122[degrees]F (50[degrees]C).

* If seeding the fondant, add about 10 percent based on the total weight, and place it on the syrup.

* Agitate the mixture using a scraper until it reaches to the desired level of crystallization.

* Keep in an airtight container and allow to mature overnight.

Starch Molds for Fondant Fillings Starch molds can be used to forma fine crust on soft fondant, which is then dipped in chocolate to finish. To make fondant interiors, the fondant is warmed to approximately 150[degrees]F (66[degrees]C), and liqueur or flavoring is added. Using a warmed fondant funnel, the fondant is deposited into the starch molds and allowed to set for 3 to 5 hours to form a crust. Then, it is removed from the starch, excess starch is dusted off with a dry, clean pastry brush, and the fondant is enrobed in tempered chocolate.

Fudge

Fudge is based on the formulation of fondant (fine sugar crystals surrounded by a supersaturated sugar solution) with additional ingredients, such as dairy products, fat, nuts, and chocolate. Because each additional ingredient affects the stability of the mass by altering the texture, appearance, and shelf life, the formulation of fudge requires a fine balance of all ingredients. Fudge does not have an extreme hygroscopic property, but it can dry out if it is exposed to air for too long. Therefore, fudge should be enrobed or wrapped immediately after cutting.

Process for Fudge

* Combine the sugars, inverted sugars, and liquids. Cook to the specified temperature.

* If the formula contains salt, stir it in at the end of cooking process.

* Pour the hot mixture onto a lightly oiled granite slab and allow it to cool without agitation to the desired temperature.

* Place flavorings and additional ingredients such as chocolate or nuts on top of the mixture.

* Agitate the mixture using a scraper, first to incorporate the added ingredients and then until it reaches the desired level of crystallization.

* Deposit into a frame to crystallize.

* After the fudge has set for approximately 1 hour, it is ready to be portioned and wrapped for storage.

Liqueur Cordials

Liqueur cordials are crystalline confections that are filled with a liqueur-flavored, supersaturated sugar solution. When this syrup is deposited into a starch mold, a fine crystalline shell is formed through a very controlled crystallization. The use of a starch mold is the classic choice for liqueur cordials; however, these confections can also be molded in chocolate shells. If a starch mold is used, the starch must be very dry so that the process of crystallization can begin. If it is too moist, or if there is a lot of humidity in the air, the liqueur could absorb into the starch and result in a misshapen confection. A thin sugar skin that holds in the liqueur-flavored syrup characterizes these bite-sized candies. When the seal is broken, the liqueur is released all at once.

The desired cooking temperature for cordial syrup varies by formula because the type of alcohol used has an effect on the rate of crystallization. For a solution using an alcohol with 45 percent alcohol, the solution should be cooked to 240[degrees]F (116[degrees]C). It is important to not use a doctor, which will prevent the most critical part of the process, the formation of fine sugar crystals. Proper techniques for cooking sugar solutions should be carefully carried out, including brushing down the side of the pot with a clean pastry brush and water in order to prevent crystallization, and the temperature must be closely monitored. A cordial syrup that has not been cooked to a high-enough temperature will not be saturated enough to begin the process of crystallization. Conversely, syrup that has been overcooked will crystallize too much, possibly to the point of total crystallization.

After the sugar has cooled slightly, warmed liqueur is added, and the syrup is cooled to below 120[degrees]F (49[degrees]C) with minimal agitation. The type of liqueur should not be too acidic because this can prohibit crystals from forming properly. The syrup is then deposited into the starch or other specialized molds. Once deposited, warm starch should be sifted over the syrup, and the cordials should be allowed to crystallize for at least 4 hours. Next, a lid is placed over the box, to the surface of the starch, and the box is inverted for at least 10 hours. At this point, the candies can be removed from the starch, dusted off, and enrobed in chocolate or packaged in plastic. If the syrup is to be deposited into chocolate shells, it should first be cooled to 78[degrees]F (26[degrees]C). The technique for these candies is very detailed and should be followed very closely to ensure final product quality.

To determine the ratios of sugar, water, and alcohol in a liqueur cordial, the percent of alcohol in the liqueur must be known. Per liter of alcohol, based on the degree of alcohol, 50 g sugar is required per percentage point of alcohol. For example, for l liter of Calvados (45 percent), we can use the following formula to determine how much sugar is required: 45 X 50 = 2,250. The quantity of alcohol in the solution should always be 50 percent of the sugar weight. This can be expressed as 2,250 X 50% = 1,125. Next, we need to figure out the weight of the water, which should be 45 percent of the sugar weight. (The percentage of the water is not connected with the percentage of the alcohol; they are coincidentally the same in this example). To achieve the water weight, multiply the water percentage by the sugar weight: 2,250 X 45% = 1,012.5. The results of our calculation follow:
Sugar, 2.250 kg
Water, 1.012 kg
Calvados (45 percent), 1.125 kg


Process for Liqueur Cordials

* Loosely deposit the sifted and dried starch into a metal frame.

* Make depressions in the starch.

* Place the starch box in a warm, dry place or a very low oven to "dry" before depositing the syrup solution.

* Using a fondant funnel, deposit the syrup into the indentations, and then sift more warm starch over the exposed sugar solution to ensure even crystallization.

* After 4 to 6 hours, a fine layer of crystallization should have developed. At this point, the candies should be inverted to allow for an even thickening of the "crust." This is an optional step but improves the quality of the cordial.

* Place the lid over the starch box, directly to the surface of the starch, and flip it over.

* After 10 to 12 hours, the crust of the candy should be completely stable and ready for handling. Remove and dust with a clean, dry pastry brush. Leaving the candies longer will create a thicker, less desirable crust.

* If desired, dip the candies into tempered chocolate to provide a protective coating and prevent breaking the fine crust.

Dragees

Dragees represent a category of crystalline confections made from slow-roasted nuts that have gone through two distinct processes: candying and coating. The first step involves coating the nuts in sugar syrup and going through a process of cooking and agitation. Next, the nuts are coated in a smooth sugar or chocolate coating. This latter process is referred to as panning.

The sugar syrup for dragee is cooked to the thread stage [240[degrees]F (116[degrees]C)], typically in a round-bottomed copper pot. The copper pot is useful because it is an efficient heat conductor, and the curved sides of the pot make it easy to tumble the nuts to promote crystallization. If a round bottom is not available, dragee should be made in smaller-sized batches using stainless steel, if possible. Once the syrup is ready, the roasted nuts are added and stirred to evenly coat them with the sugar syrup. Continued stirring triggers the crystallization of the sugar, which will appear opaque and wet as it begins to crystallize. As agitation continues, it will become whiter and drier until it appears sandy.

The cooking process can stop when the sugar has crystallized to a white, sandy state, or it can continue if caramelization is desired. If the latter method is used, the nuts should be constantly stirred to evenly remelt and caramelize the sugar. It may be necessary to turn down the heat to prevent burning.

Once the sugar coating of the nuts has caramelized, a small portion of butter or cocoa butter should be added to the nuts and stirred in to evenly coat the candy. This will help prevent the nuts from sticking to each other. However, if too much fat is added, the final product will be oily and greasy. It is common practice to add a pinch of salt to blend the flavors of the caramel and butter. The nuts can then be turned out onto a nonstick baking mat or a lightly oiled granite surface. They can be separated by hand to ensure they don't stick, or they can be left in clusters. If the sugar is not caramelized, the added butter is not required. Dragees can be used plain, in candied or caramel form, or they can be coated with a layer of chocolate before serving.

Process for Dragdes

* Roast the nuts in a low oven to brown them to the core. Reserve until needed.

* In a round-bottomed copper pot, combine the sugar, water, and vanilla bean, and cook to the thread stage.

* Add the nuts and stir constantly to crystallize the sugar to the point of at least being white, dry, and sandy. If stopping here, turn out of the pot onto a clean surface and allow to cool to room temperature before storing.

* If cooking the dragees to the caramel stage, continue stirring the nuts. The heat may need to be reduced to avoid uneven cooking.

* After the nuts have taken on a caramel color, remove the pot from the heat and add the butter or cocoa butter and stir to incorporate. Turn the nuts out onto a silpat or lightly oiled granite surface and separate as desired to cool.

* Store cooled dragees in an airtight container until ready for panning or other use.

Panning

The process for coating nutmeats or other confectionary centers is referred to as panning. There are three types of panning: soft sugar panning, hard sugar panning, and chocolate panning. Because the process for soft sugar panning and hard sugar panning is highly technical and requires specialized equipment, only chocolate panning will be presented here in detail.

Classically, drag& can refer to the process of dredging nutmeats through something to coat them. Sugar is the classic coating, but chocolate became a favorite once it was discovered and mass-produced. There are two possible approaches to coating centers with chocolate: panning using mechanized systems and stirring chocolate and nuts together by hand. The mechanized process merits special attention because specific temperature and motion controls are required to obtain the desired results.

To evenly coat nuts or dried fruit with chocolate, it is important to start off with uniform pieces. For larger commercial production, nuts are commonly tumbled in a mixture of a gum solution and starch or cocoa powder (depending on the finishing techniques employed). This creates a fine preliminary layer around the center, which makes the piece more symmetrical, helps the chocolate adhere to the center, and helps to limit fat migration from the center through the chocolate.

The temperature of both workroom and chocolate are important considerations for panning. The ideal temperature for the chocolate is between 90[degrees]F (32[degrees]C) and 95[degrees]F (35[degrees]C), just above and several degrees above the point at which chocolate can be tempered. For a detailed description of tempering and the properties of cocoa butter crystallization in chocolate, refer to Chapter 22. The temperature of the workroom should be between 55[degrees]F (13[degrees]C) and 60[degrees]F (16[degrees]C). This cooler temperature helps initiate the process of crystallizing the cocoa butter from within the chocolate, which results in building layers of chocolate.

The process is quite simple. For a small shop or a test kitchen, a panning drum that fits onto KitchenAid mixers is available; however, for larger production, highly specialized equipment is available. To begin, the drum is set to spin at approximately 25 rpm, and nuts are added to it. The quantity of nuts should not reach more than halfway up the bottom of the mold. Enough space is needed to ensure a complete coating process, which requires that the nuts have enough room to tumble. As the nuts tumble, the warm chocolate is ladled into the pan.

Where the chocolate falls is a critical point because it determines how the chocolate will coat the centers. To promote the most even coating, the chocolate should be released from the ladle in a slow, steady stream toward the front of where the nuts are tumbling. As the nuts tumble they may congregate and cluster. It is essential to break these up as early as possible, because their size will grow considerably as more chocolate is added.

Once the initial chocolate coating has set, additional chocolate can be ladled in using the same method. This process of settling and ladling continues until the confectioner reaches the desired point of thickness; a typical quantity of chocolate is two to three times the weight of the nuts. Panned confections are usually finished with powdered sugar or cocoa powder, but can also be smooth and shiny. Although the technique of coating nuts and dried fruits through chocolate panning requires some skill and practice, it is easy to achieve very consistent and desirable results once the confectioner establishes a workable technique.

NONCRYSTALLINE CONFECTIONS

Noncrystalline confections are characterized by a lack of crystal formation during the cooking process. Whether hard and crunchy or smooth and soft, the texture is established by controlling how much water is evaporated during the cooking process and the ingredients used in the formula. Two of the most commonly added ingredients are cream and butter, which cause browning to occur through the Maillard reaction and provide characteristic caramel and toffee flavors. In order to prevent crystal formation, it is very important to closely follow several guidelines while making these candies:

* Combine all applicable ingredients in a pot, and dissolve the sugar.

* In order to prevent "seeding," wash down the sides of the cooking pan with a clean, wet brush while heating to a boil to ensure that no sugar crystals are present.

* For preparations without dairy products, do not stir after a boil is reached because the agitation will induce crystallization. For preparations containing dairy, such as caramels and toffee, stirring is required to prevent scorching.

* Skim the residual sugar impurities from the top of the mixture during boiling.

* Add an invert sugar such as glucose, corn syrup, or honey. An acid like lemon juice, tartaric acid, or cream of tartar will also help block crystal formation.

Hard Candies

One of the oldest forms of confections, hard candies were once largely associated with pharmacists. Today, due to mass-market appeal, they are most commonly produced on an industrial scale using highly specialized equipment. For small-scale production, such as for a restaurant or hotel, several styles of hard candies are more common than others. Hard candies achieve their texture due to minimal water content in the final product. Most hard candies do not reach the point of any Maillard reaction, because the sugar syrup does not go over 320[degrees]F (160[degrees]C).

Ingredients for hard candies always include sugar, as well as glucose and flavoring. For small batch production, a common ratio of sugar to glucose is 7:3. The glucose syrup is required to stabilize the sugar to prevent crystallization and to help make the medium easier to mold and form. To a point, the glucose assists in retarding the degradation of the hard candy because the glucose prevents the sugar from easily absorbing water from the environment. However, if too much inverted sugar is present in the formulation-either through inversion during the cooking process, use of inverted sugar, or excessive use of glucose syrup-the candies will attract more humidity.

If any acids are added while the sugar is cooking, hydrolysis can occur and cause the sugar to be too soft, which will encourage moisture attraction. Acidic ingredients such as citric acid and tartaric acid are sometimes added to the cooked sugar after it has begun to cool to complement added flavorings with notes of acidity.

At the artisan level, processing is mostly done by hand using specialty low-tech tools that form or mold the candies. If there is more to be done than simply depositing the syrup in a mold, a review of work ing with pulled sugar (found in Chapter 21) will be helpful. As with pulled sugar, hard candies present issues related to working with very hot mediums. When multiple colors and flavors are required, a large batch of cooked sugar syrup can be divided for cooling, then flavored and colored as desired. Stretching, folding, forming, and shaping hard candies takes practice before the skill of the confectioner can show through.

Process for Hard Candies

* Dissolve the sugar with the water, and bring to a boil.

* Add the glucose, and dissolve and cook to the desired temperature.

* Add colorant as needed.

* Cool the mass on a silicone mat, and add any flavors, acids, or colors as needed.

* Satinize the mass as needed.

* Shape the product as desired.

* Wrap in plastic to preserve against humidity.

Brittles

Brittles are crunchy sugar confections based on cooked sugar syrup that have added nuts or seeds. This confection can be considered an offshoot of hard candies because it is based on sugar syrup cooked to a high temperature with added ingredients. The base formula of sugar, water, and glucose, which is similar to that of hard candies, is cooked to a high temperature to evaporate the maximum amount of liquid. When nuts or seeds are added to the confection, it takes on a caramelized flavor and color, due to the Maillard reaction. Once nuts are added to the sugar syrup, it should be stirred to ensure that the nuts don't fall to the bottom of the pot and scorch.

Additional ingredients can be added, like salt, baking soda and butter, as well as flavorings like vanilla. Baking soda is added after the cooking process to lighten the texture and to allow the layers of brittle to be thicker, while still remaining edible. If used, baking soda should be added at the end of the cooking process, just before pouring, to ensure that the carbon dioxide is trapped in the mass. There is also a technique that stretches and folds the brittle to create thin layers.

Process for Brittles

* Combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil.

* After a boil is achieved, add the glucose, and stir to dissolve.

* Cook the sugar syrup to 230[degrees]F (110[degrees]C), and then add the nuts or seeds.

* Continue to cook, stirring the mixture until it reaches 311[degrees]F (155[degrees]C).

* Remove the pot from the heat, and add any additional ingredients (salt, flavorings, baking soda, and butter).

* Pour onto a lightly oiled granite surface or a silicone baking mat to cool, and spread into a thin layer.

* If desired, pull the brittle into thin sheets when it is cool enough.

* Store in a covered environment with humectants to avoid moisture absorption.

Caramel and Toffee

The difference between caramel and toffee can be measured by the difference in moisture content at the end of the cooking process. Temperatures that promote the caramelization of sugar are never reached for these items; instead, the characteristic flavors and colors that mimic caramel are produced when dairy proteins go through the Maillard reaction. Both are very flavorful, with buttery caramel notes, but the texture is very different: caramel ranges from soft and creamy to firm and chewy, while toffee is characterized by hard and crunchy textures. Caramel and toffee both rely on the controlled cooking of sugar, a doctor, and dairy. Several types of dairy can be used, including cream, milk, evaporated milk, or sweetened condensed milk.

Process for Caramel and Toffee

* Combine the sugar and liquid ingredients, and bring to a boil while stirring.

* Add the glucose, inverted sugar, or honey, and continue to cook while stirring over medium heat.

* Monitor the temperature to ensure proper moisture content in the final product.

* When it is done cooking, add salt or other flavorings as applicable.

* Pour the mixture into metal frames, or deposit as needed.

* For caramel, cut when cool and wrap in applicable packaging or enrobe in chocolate.

* For toffee, cut while still malleable and wrap to avoid attracting moisture.

AERATED CONFECTIONS

Aerated confections, which consist of a stable foam, are created by both the formulation and the process of whipping. The two most common examples of aerated confections are the light, spongy marshmallow and firmer, chewy nougat. The two most common approaches to making aerated confections are adding a gelling agent to meringue while it is whipping and adding a gelling agent to cooked sugar syrup and whipping it to the desired stage.

When a stable foam is created by whipping egg whites or a gelling agent (most frequently gelatin), the incorporated air provides a lighter texture. Once the stable foam is created, it must be further stabilized for the end product to retain its characteristics. The ingredients used to elaborate the foam are often the same ingredients responsible for its stability. For example, the coagulation of egg white protein stabilizes the foam as it cools and is not thermoreversible, while gelatin whipped with sugar creates a foam that jellifies and becomes stable when set.

Marshmallows

Marshmallows date back to ancient Eqypt where they were made from the sap of the marsh mallow plant (Althaea officinalis) and honey. Reserved for the upper classes, they were highly regarded for their medicinal properties of acting as a cough suppressant. Today, marshmallows are made using at least two methods: one with egg whites and one without. Both methods include sugar, glucose, gelatin, and optional flavoring.

Gelatin or a combination of egg white and gelatin can be used to create the foam for marshmallows. Gelatin-based marshmallows are more common; however, the added flavor and lighter texture of marsh mallows based on both egg white and gelatin is more appropriate for artisan confections.

Commercially produced marshmallows are extruded in a cylinder form and cut into segments. Artisan marshmallows are usually deposited into a frame, cut into squares or other shapes, and then dredged in a 50/50 blend of potato starch and powdered sugar. (When cutting marshmallows, it is best to use a lightly oiled knife that will keep the sugar from sticking.) Additionally, marshmallow can be molded in silicone molds like Flexipans to create unique shapes.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Process for Marshmallows With Egg Whites and Gelatin

* Bloom the gelatin in cold water five times its weight.

* Warm the egg whites to 65[degrees]F (18[degrees]C) to 70[degrees]F (21[degrees]C), and put them in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment.

* Begin cooking the sugar syrup to 284[degrees]F (140[degrees]C).

* Begin whipping the egg whites when the sugar syrup reaches 248[degrees]F (120[degrees]C).

* When the sugar syrup reaches 284[degrees]F (140[degrees]C), remove from the heat, add the bloomed, melted gelatin, and thoroughly incorporate.

* Turn the mixer onto high speed.

* Pour the sugar-gelatin mixture down the side of the mixing bowl into the whipping egg whites and mix at a high speed until full volume and just warm to the touch [113[degrees]F (45[degrees]C)].

* Deposit into molds or frames while still warm, allow to set, and then portion and finish as desired.

Process for Marshmallows With Gelatin

* Bloom the gelatin in cold water five times its weight.

* Cook the sugar syrup to the temperature specified in the formula.

* Allow to cool to 212[degrees]F (100[degrees]C) without agitation.

* Add the bloomed, melted gelatin to this mixture, and thoroughly incorporate.

* In a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, mix on a high speed until full volume and just warm to the touch [113[degrees]F (45[degrees]C)].

* Deposit into molds or frames while still warm, allow to set, and then portion and finish as desired.

Nougat

Nougat is a dense, aerated confection with textures that range from soft and chewy to firm, depending on the degree to which the sugar syrup is cooked, as well as the ingredients used in the formula. Even though the texture is significantly denser than marshmallow, nougat relies on the formation of an egg white foam to achieve its characteristics. European nougat is white and firm, while most American-style nougat used in candy bars is much softer and lighter.

Nougat comes in many styles, with a number of possible inclusions and flavor combinations. Common additives include hazelnuts, pistachios, and whole, blanched almonds. With the exception of pistachios, it is best to roast the nuts and hold them in a warm place until they are needed, so that the nougat does not cool too quickly and is easier to mold and roll out. Nougat can also be flavored with coffee, chocolate, or other flavorings like pistachio paste. When mixing is complete, the nougat is deposited on a silicone baking mat in a frame or between metal confectionary bars. Some confectioners deposit the nougat onto rice paper, which helps limit flow.

One of the most popular types of nougat, nougat de Montelimar, is named after a French town in the Rhone Valley. The formula consists of a meringue made with cooked honey and a sugar syrup. The common technique, which can vary slightly from formula to formula, is to cook the honey to the specified temperature and then add it to a meringue whipped to soft peaks. When the meringue-honey elaboration has achieved full volume, sugar syrup that has been cooked to a specified temperature is added. Because there is a low water content in the meringue, it is best to switch to the paddle before the sugar syrup is added. It is very important that the syrup not be allowed to brown, or it will give the nougat an undesirable, uncharacteristic color.

Whipping continues until the mixture has cooled, but is still warm. When the meringue is approximately 130[degrees]F (55[degrees]C), additional ingredients can be added. The most common added ingredients include powdered sugar, cocoa butter, and roasted nuts. Powdered sugar is added to induce crystallization to alter the texture of the confection, whereas cocoa butter is often added to make the texture shorter and softer.

If adding cocoa butter and/or nuts, the temperature of the added ingredients must be similar to the nougat. Otherwise, it will cause separation, and portions of the nougat will prematurely set in the bowl. If this happens, the bowl can be warmed with a torch or heat gun to soften the nougat and warm the mix.

After nougat has set, it can be cut to desired sizes using a serrated knife (this will ensure that the shape is maintained) After it is cut, nougat should be wrapped or dipped partially or entirely in chocolate. If it is partially coated, brushing the exposed surface with cocoa butter will prevent it from absorbing moisture.

Process for Nougat

* Before beginning the nougat, roast the nuts. Next, combine with pistachios (if using) and hold in a warm oven [150[degrees]F (66[degrees]C)] until needed.

* Boil the honey to the specified temperature.

* Bring the sugar and water to a boil. As soon as it boils, add the glucose, and cook the syrup to the specified temperature.

* Begin to whip the egg whites, sugar, and salt when the honey is at 212[degrees]F (100[degrees]C).

* Pour the honey onto the egg whites, and whip with the whisk attachment. When the cooked sugar has reached the desired temperature, switch to the paddle attachment before adding.

* Continue to whip with the paddle on medium speed.

* At 125[degrees]F (50[degrees]C), add the powdered sugar, and mix to incorporation.

* Next, add the melted cocoa butter, and mix to incorporation.

* Last, add the warm nuts and dried fruit (if any), and mix just to incorporation.

* Pour onto a silicone mat, and roll out between metal bars. If desired, deposit the nougat in an even layer onto rice paper, and top with another sheet of rice paper.

* Allow to set, and then cut to the desired size.

* Dip the sides or the whole confection in tempered dark couverture.

* If not coating with tempered couverture, wrap the nougat in plastic after it is cut.

JELLY CONFECTIONS

Jellies, or jelly confections, are popular sugar confections, and many of the commercially available varieties can be quite whimsical, including Gummy Worms, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, and jelly beans. An artisan confectioner's approach to jellies can include items like Turkish Delight and pates de fruits.

In general, jelly products always contain a supersaturated sugar solution, flavorings, and binding agents. The four categories of jellies-gelatin, pectin, agar, and starch--are classified by the type of gelling agent used. This section will explore gelatin, pectin, and agar because they are the most applicable to the artisan confectioner.

Gelification Ingredient Technology

All formulations for jellies are based on a supersaturated sugar solution, which provides texture, sweetness, and shelf life. The presence of water in sugar solutions affects the degree of softness or toughness in the solution's setting properties. Water activity and solids count also have an effect on the microbiological stability of the confection. In order to be stable, the solids count of the base syrup must be at least 75 percent.

Flavorings Flavorings for jellies range from natural fruit juices or purees, to acidic powders such as tartaric acid or citric acid, to commercially produced artificial and natural flavors. Flavorings provide the pleasure in eating jellies. There are very classic flavors, such as licorice or assorted fruit flavors (banana, cherry, green apple, watermelon), as well as contemporary flavors that can be quite wild, including vomit, sardines, and rotten egg. The artisan confectioner is pretty much guaranteed to steer away from these latter flavors and focus on fruit, herbs, spices, and acidic powders. Acidic ingredients not only highlight fruit flavors but are also required to initiate jellification in pectin-based jellies.

Binding Agents Binding agents such as gelatin, agar powder, modified starch, and pectin help to stabilize and set the formula, which allows the product to take on the shape of the mold and to be handled for cutting and packaging. Using gelling agents from starch and protein sources enables the confectioner to gel supersaturated solutions into stable states. The choice of gel will have an effect on the formula, the process, and, of course, the texture of the final jelly.

Gelatin Gelatin is the most common gelling agent in the confection industry. Gelatin is able to form an elastic, thermoreversible gel that enables products to melt in the mouth, yet still retain a chewy texture when gelatin is present at levels of about 4.5 to 7.5 percent of the total weight of the candy. Leaf or powdered gelatin can be used.

Protein in gelatin denatures when it is held for longer periods of time at temperatures above 176[degrees]F (80[degrees]C). The use of gelatin in hot liquids is quite common in confection work (marshmallows, for example), and the rate at which degradation occurs increases along with the temperature. Additionally, acidic environments and certain natural enzymes in some fruits can denature gelatin. When acidic ingredients are required to provide flavors, they should be added at the last possible moment before depositing the jelly in the mold. When using papaya, kiwi, mango, or pineapple, the puree must first be boiled to kill the denaturing enzymes.

Agar Powder When it is not possible to use animal products, agar powder can sometimes be substituted for gelatin. Extracted from various seaweeds and red algae, agar is a powerful thermoreversible binding agent that requires only 0.5 to 1.5 percent of the finished confection weight to form a stable gel.

Because agar is harvested from many parts of the world, it comes in different forms, and there are no standards of identity as there are for pectin, gelatin, and starches. As a result, the quality and strength of gelling using agar can vary considerably. Once a reliable source has been established and formulas balanced, the confectioner should try to remain with that source to maintain consistency.

The properties of a confection made with agar are significantly different than one made with gelatin or pectin. The texture tends to be short and slightly rubbery, and products made with agar lack the tender qualities that are possible with gelatin. One reason for this has to do with the melting point of gels formed with agar.

Agar does not melt until 185[degrees]F (85[degrees]C) to 194[degrees]F (90[degrees]C), and agar solutions set at approximately 90[degrees]F (32[degrees]C) to 105[degrees]F (40[degrees]C). This wide range between when agar is activated and when it sets, also referred to as hysteresis, is beneficial to the confectioner because it provides a wide working window for depositing. Some gels, like those made with pectin, are much less tolerant in their working properties and begin gelification when cooking ceases.

Pectin Pectin, a polysaccharide, is obtained from plant sources, most notably apples and citrus fruits. It produces a tender but short-textured jelly that allows very clean flavors in the mouth. Three types of pectin are commonly used in pastry: yellow pectin (also called apple pectin), pectin NH, and medium rapid set pectin. They are used for different applications, depending on the desired results, and are not interchangeable. (See Figure 18-4.)

Regardless of what type of pectin is used, heat and acidity are required to trigger the gelification properties. Additionally, the solids count must be high (above 60 for apple pectin) to create a stable candy. The solids count for pates de fruits is always over 75 because low water content is required for shelf stability.

The acidity of the mixture for apple pectin should be in the range of 3.0 to 3.6 to ensure there is ample catalyst for setting. If there is too much acidity and the cooking process happens at a slow rate, the pectin can break down and lose gelification properties. For this reason, items with pectin should always be cooked as quickly as possible, and procedures in the formula followed carefully and accurately.

Pates de Fruits

Pates de fruits are a specialty confection in France. They are made from fruit juice or puree, sugar, glucose, yellow pectin, and an acid. Some formulas call for gelatin; however, these make a less stable confection with a considerably softer, more tender texture. Pates de fruits should be slightly firm in texture yet still have tender qualities.

Pates de fruits are small candies that contain the flavors of the orchard, the field, or the garden. Depending on the fruit, they can range from opaque to translucent. They should always have a slight shine and should never appear dull or cloudy; these are signs of overcooking. On the outside of the candy, there should be an ever-so-slight crust that is covered in granulated sugar. Some variations exist for pates de fruits, including multiple-layered flavors or layering on ganache or praline. If layered on ganache, enrobing in chocolate is essential.

Formulas for pates de fruits are typically available through purveyors of quality frozen fruit puree. Most often, these purees have 10 percent added sugar, which must be taken into account if substitutions are made to the pates de fruits formulas in this book. In the formula section, there is a chart of formulas for pates de fruits using commercially available frozen fruit purees.
Figure 18-4

Types and Uses of Pectin

Type of Pectin            Uses              Thermoreversibility

Yellow pectin             Pates de fruits   Irreversible

Pectin NH                 Nappage, glazes   Reversible

Medium rapid set pectin   Confiture, jams   Mixture of reversible
                                            and irreversible


The process for pates de fruits is very simple. However, if the steps are not followed carefully and attention is not paid to temperature, the concentration of the sugar solution may be off. This will cause the final product to be too tough or to not set enough. After the pectin has been added, the preparation should be constantly whisked to encourage liquid content evaporation. When making pates de fruits, the goal is to cook quicker rather than slower.

To begin pate de fruits, the puree should be warmed and brought to a boil. Next, the pectin should be combined with one-fourth of the weight of the sugar in the formula. This is a critical step: Not doing so will cause the pectin to form irreversible clumps when it comes into contact with the heat and moisture. Once the puree has reached 122[degrees]F (50[degrees]C), the pectin-sugar blend should be added to the puree in a slow, steady stream while constantly whisking. The puree mixture should then be brought to a boil.

After the puree has come to a boil, the remaining sugar should be added in three stages. It is critical that the additions happen in slow, steady streams while whisking, and that the temperature increases before the next addition of sugar. After all the sugar has been added, the glucose should be added, and the mixture should continue to be whisked and cooked to the required temperature. At this point, the acid should be added and stirred in thoroughly, and then the mixture must be deposited right away.

Depositing should be done quickly and efficiently because the acid and drop in temperature will initiate the gelling process. For the easiest depositing, a silicone mold with shallow sides is ideal; however, a sili cone mat and metal bars or a frame are also acceptable. Pouring pates de fruits should be done on a flat, solid surface, ideally made of granite. The heat from the cooked mixture can warp metal tables, resulting in an uneven layer of product.

Pates de fruits should be firm, yet still warm, 20 minutes after depositing. Covering the top with plastic is advised for two reasons: first, to ensure that it doesn't dry out and, second, to provide the sugar with a surface to stick to. If making a layered pate de fruit, it is critical to cover the first layer, which should be slightly sticky and still warm when the second layer is poured on top of it.

It is very important to cook pates de fruits to the temperature specified in the formula, which guarantees a specific concentration of solids and liquids. If the confection is overcooked, it will be dry and tough and will lack brilliance. If it is undercooked, there will be too much free water, and the confection may not set up, or it may sweat water.

Because the temperature relates to the degree of water evaporation, the density of sugar solids can also be determined. Most pates de fruits formulas have a column with a number relating to the Brix scale, which corresponds to sugar density. If this is to be measured, a tool called a refractometer must be used, and the pate de fruits solution must be cooled enough to appropriately measure sugar concentration.

After a pate de fruit has cooled and set, it can be stored in the freezer, used as part of mise en place, or cut and finished. The finishing process has a determining effect on the quality of the finished product and should not be rushed. Pates de fruits are traditionally cut in squares.

The most efficient way to do this is by using a guitar. A guitar is a tool used to evenly cut a variety of confectionary items including pates de fruits, ganache, pralines, and cake. To ensure easy handling and clean cuts, the product should be coated in sugar on both sides, and the wires of the guitar must be wiped clean between each cut.

Cut pates de fruits are covered entirely in granulated sugar and left covered for at least one day. Next, they are removed from the sugar, the excess is shaken off, and the candies are placed on a sheet pan with parchment paper that has been dusted very lightly with sugar (to ensure the pate de fruit is slightly above the paper's surface). The candies should be allowed to "dry" for at least 24 hours in a well-ventilated area. After 24 hours, they should be flipped to dry on the other side. It is important not to rush this process because the formation of a small "crust" is important for preserving the confection. At this point, the candies can be packaged, or wrapped in plastic and stored for later use.

Process for Pdtes de Fruits

* Scale all the ingredients, warm the puree, and blend one-fourth of the sugar with the pectin.

* At 122[degrees]F (50[degrees]C), begin to add the sugar-pectin blend, whisking constantly.

* When the mixture boils, begin to add the remaining sugar in three stages, ensuring that the temperature does not drop too much.

* After all the sugar has been added and the mixture returns to a boil, add the glucose, and continue whisking until the desired temperature is reached.

* Add the acid, stir well to incorporate, and deposit the mixture in applicable frames.

* After the product is set, dredge it in sugar and cut as desired.

* Submerge the cut pieces in sugar for at least 24 hours.

* Remove the candies from the sugar, and shake off the excess sugar.

* Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and dusted with granulated sugar to "dry" for 24 hours.

* Flip over the candies to dry the other side for 24 hours.

* Package as desired, or cover in plastic and store for later use.

SUGAR CONFECTIONS CONCLUSION

Sugar confections encompass a wide range of specialty products, including classics like hard candies, toffee, caramels, nougats, pates de fruits, and marshmallows. The common thread is that they are all based on supersaturated sugar solutions. These solutions can be crystalline or noncrystalline, aerated or gelled. Additionally, many ingredients can be added as inclusions or to create unique chemical reactions. One clear example of this is the presence of protein in cooked sugar syrups, which initiates the Maillard reaction to create the color and flavor of caramel.

To practice and become proficient in sugar confections, the confectioner must understand the properties of cooking sugar solutions, understand the process of crystallization, and have the technical skills required for working with hot sugar solutions, including manipulating them quickly into desired shapes.
FORMULA

PETIT FOUR FRUIT TARTS

These smaller versions of the classic fruit tart consist of a crisp
pate sucree shell that is filled with pastry cream and topped with
seasonal fruit and glaze.

Mise en Place

Pate sucree, 1 Ib 1 1/2 oz (500 g)
White chocolate or cocoa butter
Pastry cream, 10 3/a oz (300 g)
Fresh fruit
Nappage

Yield: 50 petit four tartlets

Assembly

1. Sheet the dough to 1/6 inch (2 mm) on a dough sheeter.

2. Dock the dough, and cut out circles to just fit in the molds.

3. Line the molds with the pate sucree, and blind bake until
lightly golden brown.

4. Brush with white chocolate or cocoa butter to create a moisture
barrier between the pastry cream and the pastry shell (optional).

Finishing

1. Gently whisk the pastry cream to smooth it and pipe into tart
shells to just below the surface.

2. Garnish with fresh fruit and glaze with nappage.

3. Store in a refrigerated case for service.

FORMULA

AMALMOND SABLE WITH CHOCOLATE
MOUSSE AND RASPBERRIES

Raspberry gelee enclosed in chocolate mousse sits atop a tender
almond cookie in this flavorful petit four, finished with chocolate
spray, fruit, and simple decor.

Mise en Place

Raspberry gelee, 9 oz (250 kg)
(Flexipan half-spheres: 23 mm x 11 mm, Ref 1242)
Chocolate mousse, 1 Ib 10 1/2 oz (0.750 kg)
(Flexipan petit four: 40 mm diameter x 20 mm deep, Ref 1129)
Almond sable, 4 Ib 6 1/2 oz (2 kg)
Chocolate spray
Chocolate decor
Fresh raspberries

Yield: 50

Assembly

1. Prepare the raspberry gelee and deposit it into small
half-sphere molds and freeze.

2. Prepare the chocolate mousse and pipe into the petit four
Flexipan, depositing the raspberry insert halfway, and depositing
the rest of the way with mousse to be level with the surface of the
mold and freeze.

3. Sheet out the almond sable between two silicone baking mats to
1/8 inch (3 mm). Bake at 325[degrees]F (163[degrees]C) between two
baking mats until barely set and cut out circles with a 2 inch (50
mm) diameter fluted cutter.

4. Return the almond sable to the oven to finish baking until
golden brown.

5. Reserve until needed.

Finishing

1. Remove the chocolate mousse from the freezer and place on a
sheet pan. Spray with the dark chocolate spray and then transfer to
an almond sable base.

2. Garnish with the chocolate decor and a fresh raspberry.

FORMULA
WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
CAKES WITH FRUITS

Tender cake, white chocolate mousse, and fresh, seasonal fruit come
together for this tasty little petit four prestige.

Components

Biscuit viennois, plain, 1 1/4 sheet
White chocolate mousse, 1.1 kg
White chocolate decor for lattice
Fresh fruit, assorted
Nappage

Yield: 50
Petit four cake mold round: 1 inch (2.5 cm) high and 1'/3 inch
(4.1 cm) wide

Assembly

1. Cut the biscuit viennois to form a cake wall that is as high as
the mold.

2. Place the strip of biscuit on the inside perimeter of the mold,
which has been lined with acetate.

3. Place a disc of biscuit on the bottom of the mold.

4. After the mousse has been made, pipe the mixture into the
prepared molds just below the surface of the cake.

Finishing

1. To finish, remove from the mold, take off the acetate strip, and
place on a gold board.

2. Decorate the top of the cake with a selection of fresh fruit.

3. Glaze the fruit as applicable and garnish the petit four with
white chocolate decor.

FORMULA ASSORTED PETITS FOURS CHOUX:
ECLAIR, PARIS-BREST

Versatile pate a choux is a perfect option for petits fours as it
adapts well to small shapes. Eclair, Paris-Brest, and choquette can
all be created in appealing one- to two-bite versions.

Mise en Place, Eclair

Pastry cream: vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, praline, among others
Eclair shells, 1 1/2 inches (38 mm) to 2 inches (50 mm) long
Fondant, couverture

Assembly, Eclair

1. Bake the choux paste, and reserve until cool.

2. In a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip, pipe the pastry
cream into the choux shells.

3. Dip the tops in fondant or couverture.

Mise en Place, Paris-Brest

Paris-Brest shells 1 1/2 inch (38 mm) diameter
Creme Paris-Brest
Powdered sugar

Assembly, Paris-Brest

1. To pipe Paris-Brest shells, pipe 1 1/2 inch (38 mm) diameter
circles on parchment-lined sheet pans, using a medium star tip.

2. Egg wash lightly, garnish with sliced almonds, and sprinkle with
sugar.

3. Bake the choux paste and reserve until cool.

4. Cut the baked Paris-Brest in half.

5. Prepare the creme Paris Brest, and load into a piping bag fitted
with a medium star tip.

6. Pipe the filling into the base of the pastry and then place the
top on.

7. Dust with powdered sugar.


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
FORMULA

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE AND
RASPBERRY MACARON

The decadent flavors of chocolate mousse and fresh raspberry make
for a happy marriage in this French delicacy, a macaron
distinguished by its exceptional flavor, texture, and color.

Mise en Place

Chocolate macaron base piped at 1 1/2 inch (38 mm) diameter,
approximately

2 5/8 lb (1.2 kg) of batter

Chocolate mousse: approximately 23/4 lb (1.3 kg)

Raspberries: 6 to 7 per petit four

Yield: 50

Assembly and Finishing

1. Pipe the chocolate mousse onto the center of the macaron base.

2. Place raspberries around the perimeter of the macaron base,
secured into the mousse. The center of the mousse should be
slightly taller than the raspberry to ensure the top macaron can be
set in place.

3. Top with a second macaron to finish.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Delmar Learning
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Part 1: PART 4 PASTRY
Author:Suas, Michael
Publication:Advanced Bread and Pastry
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Words:11736
Previous Article:Chapter 17: Classic and modern cake assembly.
Next Article:Chapter 18 Petits fours and confections.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters