Library Notes // Please Excuse the Mess, Librarians at Work

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

Have you been by the library recently and noticed any changes? Piles of books in places they don’t belong? Long stretches of empty shelf? Flags of post-it notes lining the books? We are library staff hard at work updating our classification and cataloging system! What does that mean exactly? Well, I hope it means by the completion of this project you will better be able to find whatever you are looking for.

Think back, way back to school. Remember old Melville Dewey and his Dewey Decimal system? Here’s a brief refresher. Born in 1851, Melville Dewey was a librarian, founder of the American Library Association and Library Journal.

Melvil_Dewey

He felt that the classification systems of the day were incomplete so he developed his own system while working at Amherst College. At that time, most libraries assigned permanent shelf locations to books in the order added to the collection. Dewey was the first to shelve books in relation to subject. The system uses three digit numerals for main categories followed by fractional decimals which allow for more detail. From General works (000) to History & Geography (900) there is a number for any type of information and every piece of knowledge.

In your average general library, each of those number classes will have a little something in it. Most likely, anything on the topic of food or cooking will be classed under Food & Drink (641) but here at ICC, the library is anything but average. Our collection contains many volumes on specific subjects and also has grown fairly quickly which makes the arrangement more than a little confusing. Our goal this summer is to re-arrange everything in a way that makes it easier for you to find whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s a guide to Japanese knives, a cookbook from Fat Duck or an atlas of wine regions.

culinary_library

My wonderful intern Laura started with a full shelf read to see what we had and where it belonged. Meanwhile, I created an abbreviated guide to the Dewey Decimal System, listing only the topics relevant to our collection. Next, we started the slow process of examining each book section by section to determine whether it was properly labeled based on content. When we arrived at Wine (641.22) we recruited an outside expert, the Bed-Stuy Somm and Executive Editor of ICC, Michelle. For the heavy lifting we brought in volunteer and aspiring chef/veterinarian Alejandro. Slowly but surely the collection is becoming more accessible and more organized.

food_wine_library_new_york

I’m sure you don’t want to check out my Dewey Decimal manuals, but if you are a fellow cookbook lover, we have several selections you may like to browse. Thanks to Melville and Laura they are now much easier to find. So stop by and take a look at the new and improve ICC Stacks.

  • 101 Classic Cookbooks: 501 Classic Recipes Edited by Marvin J. Taylor and Clark Wolf
  • Cookbook Book by Annahita Kamali and Florian Bohm
  • The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers and Recipes that Made the Modern Cookbook by Anne Willan with Mark Cherniavsky
  • Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob

Play with your food: Macarons and Memories

By Nick Wuest,
ICC Pastry Arts student
(read more about Nick)

I take my immaturity very seriously. It is the deepest well of inspiration I can tap. So many of my creations begin with the same sentiment – “Do you remember?”

Here’s an example:

A friend of mine is very allergic to nuts and therefore missed out on the bounty of macarons I brought home during the Petits Fours unit. I felt awful as he sat aside while everyone, myself included, got to enjoy my progression from ok to really good to “beat that Chef Torres.” I promised him that the weekend project would be nut free macarons just for him.

Pretty standard so far right? Here’s where my train of thought rolls onto some bumpy track. One day riding the (actual) train home I thought “hey I want Salisbury steak one day soon,” which lead to “man remember how terrible (i.e.: delicious) those frozen TV dinner ones were?” which led to “remember how good it was when the corn got into the brownie?” Right there I dove for my notebook and wrote “sweet corn-chocolate mac!!”

That night (I can’t read or write on the train for more than a minute or two) I wrote what would become Sweet Corn Macarons with Brown Butter Chocolate Ganache.

That was all I planned on making this week since I SHOULD BE STUDYING FOR MIDTERMS but after visiting a craft market on Saturday and picking up some very fresh jams from my favorite local brand I called an audible and, writing the recipe in my head on the way home, added Coconut Macarons with Orange Ganache and Pineapple Jam to my agenda. They taste exactly like an Orange Flintstone’s Push-Up. Do they even make those anymore? This information is vital to the course of my week.

Finished 2

Special Equipment

  • Stand mixer with whisk
  • Candy or instant read thermometer
  • 4 half-sheet pans
  • Silicone baking mat(s) or parchment paper

MACARONS
Let these be a lesson in entertaining even the dumbest ideas.

Both cookies use the same mixing method (Italian Meringue) for its added stability. I have a double oven at home and can accommodate 4 pans at once. If you don’t then just make one then the other. Whatever you do don’t save any batter, as it will deflate. Pipe the entire bag then do the next one when you’re ready.

SWEET CORN MACARONS

(400g – enough for 25 1 ½” diameter sandwiches)

  • 85g corn flour
  • 110g powdered sugar
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 25g water
  • 75g egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 30° syrup for brushing
  • sea salt flakes for garnishing

COCONUT MACARONS

(380g – enough for 25 1” diameter sandwiches)

  • 20g coconut flour
  • 160g powdered sugar
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 25g water
  • 75g egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt

Pulse the flour and powdered sugar in a food processor very fine, sift and set aside.

Combine 100g granulated sugar and 25g water in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Combine the egg whites, tartar, and salt in stand mixer. When the sugar begins to boil begin whisking the eggs at medium. Cook the sugar without stirring to 240F then very carefully stream it down the mixer bowl into the egg foam. Whip at medium-high to stiff peaks.

Meringue

Fold the sifted dry ingredients into the meringue in two additions until the batter reaches the proper consistency. This is a bit tricky to describe but when scooped with a spatula it will fall back into the bowl in a semi-fluid almost lava-like stream with a break or two. It’s not ready if it plops back in like a jam and it’s over mixed if it streams like a batter.

Pipe 50 rounds of each batter on a silicone lined sheet pan(s) about 1 ½” apart. Firmly tap the pans on a hard surface to evenly spread the rounds into flat circles. Place them in an area with a good draft and let them dry out until a skin forms on the surface that barely gives when lightly touched.

Piped

*If you don’t let it dry enough the surface won’t be strong enough to hold in the burst of steam and the top will crack. If they look like this then it wasn’t dry enough. Be sure to turn the trays to make sure they dry evenly.

Broken

While the macarons are drying, preheat the oven to 325°F and make the ganaches and syrup.

BROWN BUTTER CHOCOLATE GANACHE

(150g)

  • 75 dark chocolate, fine chop
  • pinch of salt
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 50g heavy cream

Place the chocolate and salt in a heatproof bowl. Cook the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until golden brown and aromatic, add the cream and bring to just below a simmer (right as steam starts to rise). Pour the hot liquid over the chocolate, wait 30 seconds, stir from the center out to combine. Pour into an uncut piping bag (with no tip), flatten out, and chill until ready to use.

ORANGE GANACHE

(130g)

  • 3/4 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 3/4 Tsp cold water
  • 130g white chocolate
  • 1 drop orange food coloring gel
  • 100g heavy cream

Bloom the gelatin in the cold water and set aside. Place the chocolate and food coloring in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to just below a simmer and pour it over the chocolate, sit 30 seconds while you microwave the gelatin about 15 seconds to melt. Add the gelatin to the chocolate and stir from the center out to combine. Fill another uncut piping bag the same as above and chill it until you’re ready.

30° SYRUP

(115g) – “30°” simply means 130% sugar to water

  • 65g granulated sugar
  • 50g water

Bring the sugar and water to a boil to dissolve. Remove from heat, keep at room temperature.

BAKING AND ASSEMBLY

65g pineapple jam with small fruit solids in it

When the macarons have developed a proper skin bake them for 8-12 minutes, rotating halfway, until they are well risen and barely browned along the edges. Remove them from the oven, brush the corn ones with 30° syrup and sprinkle them with salt flakes, cool them in the pan on a rack.

Baked

Once cooled, carefully free them from the baking mat and pair up like cookies.

For the Corn/Chocolate ones, pipe a thin layer of ganache just inside the border of one cookie, place another on top and apply very gentle pressure along the edges to push the ganache to the edge and even out the cookie.

For the Coconut/Orange ones, pipe a ring of ganache around the border of a cookie then place a small amount of jam inside of it. Don’t press this sandwich as hard as the corn, these cookies are super delicate and the jam will spread too far.

Bullseye

Once finished, keep them chilled until ready to serve. Macarons get better with age and what is a slightly crispy cookie on day one will become an incredibly soft and chewy one by day 3 as it absorbs the moisture in the filling.

Finished 3Finished 1

When I was a kid (an actual kid, not a 28 year old one) I had a chemistry set that I was never really allowed to play with. Seriously, what kind of children’s chem set comes with highly toxic chemicals? I always wondered at the secrets inside of those little bottles. Now creation and discovery are processes I get to experience every day. “What would happen if?” “I wonder how this will taste.” “What in the world caused it to do that?!”

Honing my skills has opened up that chem set in a manner of speaking since fresh fruit tastes much better than hydrochloric acid. Every market visit is like getting to sift through those bottles and see what their contents can do.

Whenever someone asks where an idea like these macarons comes from, my usual response is a shrug and something along the lines of “I just thought it would be cool so I tried it.” It’s a simplification of the torrent of memories and fun ideas I try to bring to life each week.

Thanks for reading! Stay hungry,

Nick

See also:

Play with your food: Puff Pastry and Burnt Honey Ice Cream

By Nick Wuest,
ICC Pastry Arts student
(read more about Nick)

We have a saying in class, a motto adopted from Chef Tom: “Make it work!” Those have become the three most important words in my life (aside from “more gummy bears”). Things will go wrong in the kitchen, it’s inevitable, and you just don’t have time to fuss over it. There’s nothing to do but find a way to make it work.

I spent all morning today making puff pastry to bake off some mini summer fruit jalousie. The pâton was as good as I could ask for, I was ahead of schedule, and they came together beautifully. Then I put them in the oven…

One of the trickiest things about baking that I bring up often is adapting to your environment and today I learned that my oven and puff pastry do not get along at all. The key to great puff is the rapid evaporation of moisture to steam to push each individual layer up and apart, which is classified as mechanical leavening. At the recommended temperature of 375F my oven just doesn’t seem able to do that. When I went to rotate the trays a bunch of half risen jalousie braising in melted butter greeted me. It was ugly and I was not happy at all.

The ice cream came out perfectly to no one’s surprise.

There are multiple periods of inactive steps when making puff pastry that you can use to prepare other things you will need. I listed the recipes in the order I have them in my notebook, by no means should you follow this order. Read them over and plan your day as you’d like knowing you’ll have lots of free time as the dough rests, compotes cool, and ice cream freezes.

Special Equipment

  • Stand mixer with paddle
  • Ice cream maker

BURNT HONEY ICE CREAM

It’s summer and at this point I can’t stress any more how much I love frozen things, so buckle up because the temperature here in New York isn’t dipping anytime soon and my ice cream machine has many more jobs ahead. This recipe uses the best honey I’ve ever had. TruBee Honey is a great apiary in Tennessee I’ve been following for a very long time. Their Summer Wildflower is the edible incarnation of laying in a field of flowers on a hot day. In other words, perfection.

  • 100g wildflower honey
  • 220g milk, room temperature
  • 260g heavy cream, room temperature
  • 135g sugar, divided 100g/35g
  • 8g vanilla paste
  • 70g egg yolk
  • pinch of salt

Bring the honey to a boil in a saucepan large enough for the remaining ingredients and let it cook for about 2 min until darkened. Add the milk, cream, and 100g of sugar – return to the heat and just bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and honey.

Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar (I added an extra drop of honey here because I don’t play no games) and temper them with the hot cream mixture. Return the custard to the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon. Strain into an ice bath and cool to about room temp, then chill until ready to process.

PUFF PASTRY
750g

If you’ve read my cronut recipe then you should already be familiar with the process of forming and folding a pâton. This dough is much simpler than that one. Where the cronuts were leavened both mechanically and organically this classic puff is all mechanical, which explains the much larger amount of butter for the beurrage.

  • 190g cake flour
  • 190g bread flour
  • 4g salt
  • 55g beurre en pommade (mash butter until it resembles Vaseline)
  • ice cold water
  • 375g beurrage

Paddle the flours, salt, and pommade until very small pieces remain then gradually add the water to just barely bring the détrempe together, finishing it by hand with small amounts of water. Form the détrempe into a square, wrap and chill it for about 20 min while you form the beurrage.

Form the pâton with the beurrage and détrempe and give it a total of three single (letter) turns – fold it in thirds just like a letter – resting about 20 min between each one. Chill the folded pâton until you are ready to use it. It can be frozen at this point for up to 2 months.

SUMMER FRUIT COMPOTES

Markets are flooded with stone fruit and berries right now and I wish I had the time to just cook all of it but I have to settle for weekends. Both of these recipes are prepared using the same method and all of the fruit is roughly diced to about 1/4”

Stone Fruit Compote:

  • 560g nectarines
  • 540g peaches
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 100g sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Strawberry Kiwi Compote:

  • 400g strawberries
  • 300g kiwi
  • 80g sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

Place all of the ingredients for each filling into a saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until softened slightly, drain and cool on plastic lined sheet pans to room temperature. Chill until ready to use.

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING

You can’t hear it but I just sighed as I got to this line. Know your oven, that’s all I can say. Take some scraps after building the jalousie (chill them until you’re ready) and bake it off at 375 for 15-20 min. If you get a pool of butter then raise the heat between 400-425 and try moving the tray closer to the top of the oven. The great thing about puff pastry is that it is easy to read and troubleshoot.

Cut out rectangles from the dough, the amount and size are up to you, but make sure that half of them are just slightly smaller than the other half. “Dock” the smaller rectangles by poking a bunch of holes in them – these are the bottoms. Fold the larger ones in half lengthwise and make three cuts in the fold for vents – these are the tops. Egg wash the edge of the bottom layer, spoon some compote in the center, lay a top piece over it and trim just enough edge to even them out. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal.

Assembly1Assembly2Assembly3Assembly4

Once everything is assembled brush the tops with egg wash, being careful not to use so much that it runs over the edges (this will inhibit rising by gluing the layers shut). Bake the pastries for about 15-18 min or until golden brown on the top and bottom while remaining very light in the layers.

Cooking

LEMON GLAZE FOR STRAWBERRY JALOUSIE

  • 50g powdered sugar
  • 50g lemon juice

Whisk the glaze and drizzle over the strawberry jalousie while they are warm.

Cool the pastries on the pan completely.

Since I don’t have any beautiful pastries to show you this time around you’re going to get an ugly one and a quick little lesson in how puff pastry works. Lucky you.

Breakdown

If you look at the far left of that pastry you’ll see how it slid off of itself. That’s because the moisture held in the butter didn’t transform into steam quickly enough and instead spent too much time as a liquid causing the layers to slip like a mini buttery landslide. If done properly, it will shoot straight up instead with layers even more defined than what you see in the middle there. That’s what I meant when I said that puff pastry communicates well as it is being prepared. One look and I immediately knew what was going on.

That’s how you make everything but what do you do when it all falls apart? You listen to Chef Tom and make it work! So here’s another motto of mine – “When in doubt, sundae.”

Sundae

I am really bummed I couldn’t bring you guys some really good puff pastry. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to make (partially because I am very good at it) and I actually considered skipping this week and just scrapping the whole thing. But imagine how boring things would be if everything was perfect all of the time. Missteps breed important lessons if you let them. The most important one of all being those three little words – “make it work.”

Stay hungry.

Nick

PS – It’s midterm week so I may not have a post for you after this weekend in order to study. If that’s the case I’ll be back with something cool (get it?!) next weekend.

See also:

Play with your food: Cinnabun Roulade Cake

By Nick Wuest,
ICC Pastry Arts student
(read more about Nick)

I have a confession to make. I do not like cakes. I didn’t know this until starting pastry school mostly because I didn’t know what it meant to build a real one. It is a ton of work to build something even as simple as the cake in this post. Having been through two cake units I now have a world of respect for people who focus on this particular field.

Mostly I don’t like cakes because I am not as naturally talented at making them as I hoped to be going in. So like anything it takes a lot of work to get better. There are so many techniques to master in order to build a cake. Mixing while maintaining an egg foam and inhibiting gluten development, baking to just the right level of doneness, creating and working with a myriad of fillings and coatings, decorating (which is a whole skill set on its own), all while monitoring and adapting to your environment.

It’s a lot of work, and while I may not particularly enjoy it the knowledge and skills to be gained from mastering the production and creation of cakes crosses into every facet of pastry arts (I have come up with several ice creams and frozen desserts progressing through this unit alone).

Now I may not like cake all that much but here’s something I do love – cinnamon buns! So I combined the two to get in some seriously good practice over the weekend and bring you the Cinnabun Roulade Cake.

Special Equipment:

  • Stand mixer
  • Silicone baking mat(s)

These are all recipes done in class that I have tweaked for this particular project.

CINNAMON PÅTE A CORNET

Pate a cornet is easily one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. It’s a paste that can be spread over stencils or piped into any shape or design you can imagine. Freeze it on a silicone baking mat then pour a batter over it and bake it like normal and when you flip it over and unmold it you have a perfect design incorporated directly into the cake. It’s tattoos for cakes and totally awesome.

  • 83g butter, room temperature
  • 83g sugar
  • 75g egg white
  • 75g pastry (or cake) flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder

Cream the butter and sugar light and fluffy then gradually mix in the egg whites to completely emulsify. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa and mix until just combined. Spread or pipe the paste onto a silicone baking mat as desired and place it in the freezer while you mix the cake.

Cornet1

CINNAMON BISCUIT CAKE

Roulade cakes are a lot of fun to make. When baked properly the cake sheet is super pliable, enough to tightly roll, and really neat to play around with and feel elasticity of the crumb. Oh, and it’s pronounced “biskwee.” Say it right or run the risk of getting beat with a wooden spoon by a Frenchman.

  • 195g cake flour
  • 8g cinnamon
  • 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 300g egg white
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 200g sugar
  • 200g egg yolk

Preheat oven to 350F.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.

Prepare a French meringue by whisking the egg whites, tartar, and salt at medium high until slightly foamy then slowly adding the sugar and whisking until stiff peaks form.

Mix a scoop of meringue into the egg yolks to bring the consistencies closer to each other, then very gently fold the yolks into the meringue, leaving the mixture streaky. Gently fold the dry mixture into the meringue working as quickly and efficiently as possible. The more you have to work to incorporate the ingredients the more you will deflate the meringue. (It’s a tough process to get down that I have struggled with until only very recently.)

Spread the batter evenly over the frozen pate a cornet and bake for ~15-18 min or until the cake begins to pull from the edges of the pan and springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Cool the cakes in the pan for about 10 min then unmold, remove the baking mat, and cool completely on a rack.

Cornet2

CINNAMON SPICE CRÈME MOUSSELINE

Crème mousseline is a pastry buttercream, so yeah, it’s pretty great. This one is flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves and adds a warm aromatic flavor that boosts the cinnamon in the cake. Normally pastry cream is made by cooking a crème anglaise with pastry cream powder which is starch with some vanilla flavoring. Pastry cream powder is tricky to find so a mixture of cornstarch and flour with some vanilla extract works just as well.

  • 473g milk
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 125g sugar, split 75g and 50g
  • 50g egg
  • 40g egg yolk
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 10g all purpose flour
  • 40g cornstarch
  • pinch of cloves
  • 10g cinnamon
  • 150g butter, RT
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar

Bring the milk, cinnamon sticks, and 75g of sugar to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and steep for ~20 min.

Remove the cinnamon sticks, return to heat and bring to just barely boiling. Whisk the egg and yolk, vanilla, flour, cornstarch, cloves, and cinnamon until thickened. Temper the egg mixture with the milk, whisking constantly to combine.

Cook the mixture, whisking constantly and vigorously, until very thick and resembles the consistency of pudding. Pour the cooked pastry cream onto a plastic lined sheet pan, cover and cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, paddle the pastry cream at medium high until smooth. Add butter, cinnamon, and sugar and beat until very smooth.

ASSEMBLY AND GLAZE

  • 250g powdered sugar
  • 113g butter, melted
  • 87g milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Assembly1Assembly2

Cut the cake sheets lengthwise to the desired width (which will determine the height of each layer). Spread a thin layer of mousseline onto each strip and roll them up tightly, for the base layer use two strips to make a good thick round. Continue forming as many layers as desired to build a tower.

Assembly3Assembly4

Whisk the ingredients for the glaze until well combined and thick (add more sugar if too thin). Pour the glaze into a container with a spout or anything to facilitate pouring and microwave it for about 15 sec to barely warm. Pour the glaze over the cake allowing it to run down from the top.

Finished1Finished6

At this point you can add any decorations you’d like or leave the cake as is. Personally I wanted to practice my buttercream flowers, so I made a batch of disgusting “buttercream” with Crisco and powdered sugar and popped them on the cake. What you do is entirely up to you and your imagination.

Cakes are hard. But do you know what else they are? Immensely popular. I have made it explicitly clear that I don’t enjoy making them yet currently have four projects in development that I have been asked to make outside of school. I suppose that’s the greatest lesson they’ve taught me so far. I may not love this particular area of pastry arts the way I do others but that doesn’t give me an excuse to check out of it. If anything it doubles my motivation to be better with each cake I make.

Finished2Finished3

This is an industry that thrives on breaking the rules as much as it respects them, and cakes are all about honoring both tradition and what your customer wants. It’s a humbling experience to go from the freeform creation of something like the Linzer Cones or Cocktail Pops to working within the boundaries of building a cake as rich in tradition as a Sachertorte or designing a wedding cake for a friend. No matter the project though it’s all a means to the same end – to put a smile on someone’s face.

And let’s be real, happiness is eating an 18” tall cinnamon bun with no utensils.

Thanks for reading and stay hungry.

Nick

See also:

Italian Experience: Externship Assignments

By Lauren Fuschillo, ICC Italian Culinary Arts student.
(Read Part 5 here)

Yesterday was a long, long day. It was great but very long. We had an excellent demonstration from Chef Gaetano Trovato from Arnolfo restaurant in Siena. The dishes were amazing and the chef had a great philosophy on cooking and cuisine, but let me tell you why it was a long day!

Yesterday we were all awaiting big news. Do you know that feeling when you’re about to hear important information? Or that feeling when your heart is beating a fafillion (that’s a made up number but think “huge”) times a minute and your stomach feels like it’s on a roller coaster? Imagine feeling like that ALL.DAY.LONG.

We were waiting for our stage assignments to be announced.

The demonstration came to a conclusion at 5PM. So, for an hour I paced back and forth through the courtyard, along with my classmates who were chain smoking, nervously biting their nails and, naturally, drinking espresso which didn’t help our anxiousness. I even called my mom!

Maybe it’s silly we were so nervous but it’s a pretty big deal. We were waiting to find out where we’ll be moving in two weeks, who we’ll work under for 2-5 months and at what restaurant. That’s kind of a big deal because it’s a major life change – especially because we’ll be parting ways and going out on our own, out of the classroom.

ICC_ALMA4

Not only was I nervous to find out where I was being assigned but I was a little sad to be leaving my friends. The day before, I was sitting with my classmates on our way to the American Chef’s Rally at the Expo. I looked over at Schaffer bopping his head to his music; Viscaino talking with Michael; Andrea was all snuggled up under a blanket, and Jason and I were chatting about how crazy it is that we’re going to be leaving in just two weeks.

ICC_ALMA3

I’m going to miss Andrea saying it’s too cold and having to turn down the AC even though I’m sweating profusely. I’m going to miss my cigarette breaks with Marianne, where we talk about everything under the sun. I hate being touched, but believe it or not, I’m going to miss Benito giving me a hug and a kiss every morning. I will really miss that! I’m going to miss Giuseppe. I’ve gotten so used to spending almost 24 hours a day with him for the last few months. I’m going to miss my chats with Michael. I’m going to miss everything about Sara: her humor, her smile, her voice, even her complaints, but most of all – her good heart. I’m going to miss my rocks…Jason, my older brother and my little brother, Mikey.

I’m going to miss all these people along with the friends I’ve made upon reaching ALMA. Thank you Rachelle, Karny, Ian, Kai, my darlings Chaitanya and Andres, my little sister; Caroline, Vlad, Tatiana, Ceren, Nacho, Dianaa, Monica, Adriana and all of our amazing teachers, especially Michele Crippa! I’m going to miss all of you and I am so grateful for our time together. You’ve taught me so much and you’re all so inspiring. Thank you. I adore you.

ICC_ALMA2

However, goodbyes must happen because we have greater things in store for us. Our future starts now and we’re about to embark on the last part of this educational journey… our stages. Even though we’ll all be separated, we will all share this special bond forever.

ICC_ALMA

Finally, at 6PM I saw Chef Giovanni Ciresa making his way over to the auditorium. We all ran back inside and found our seats. We were sweating (not Andrea), we were breathing heavily but we were excited! It felt like we were in high school and waiting to find out our SAT scores all over again.

They announced each assignment one by one, accompanying the announcement with a photo and map of where each student will be.

externship_assignment

We went in alphabetical order, so I was fifth to hear the news. My stomach was rumbling and my hands were shaking, and then it all stopped. “Lauren Fuschillo will be going to Cagliari, Sardegna to work with Chef Stefano Deidda at Dal Corsaro Restaurant.” AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I wanted to jump up and scream. This is the location I wanted to be in and the restaurant I was hoping I’d work in. I am not just relieved, I am elated.

A huge thank you to Chef Giovanni Cerasa, Chef Bruno Ruffini, Chef Guido Magnaguagno and all of the teachers and administrators at both ALMA and ICC for my stage assignment. I couldn’t be more grateful and I am so excited for the next leg of this amazing journey!

Lauren

Play with your food: Linzer Cones

By Nick Wuest,
ICC Pastry Arts student
(read more about Nick)

A moment in the thought process of an ice cream obsessed pastry cook:

“This (insert any food) is delicious! I must freeze it.”

At this current point in my life I basically think in frozen food. There’s something about the creation process I just can’t enough of. I love the challenges inherent in transferring flavors between mediums while adding new textural and temperature dynamics to a dish.

As soon as we finished the Linzer Tart in class and I got to try it, my first reaction was (as stated above) “I must freeze this!” So in honor of National Ice Cream Day (confession – I don’t know when this was but it’s been all over my Instagram since Friday) let’s get started.

I got to do a little demo with this project since two friends donated the berries used in the sherbet and loaned me some extra hands. The best thing about being so good at this is you can just pay your friends with food. Thanks again for the berries and the help, you two!

jenn_jay

Special Equipment

  • Stand mixer w/ paddle attachment
  • Food processor
  • Fine mesh strainer (chinois)
  • Drum strainer (tamis)
  • Ice cream maker
  • Cornet molds

RASPBERRY SHERBET

~1000g or just shy of 2qts when frozen

I recently visited Jaques Torres’ chocolate factory in Brooklyn and while there had some of the very best raspberry sorbet I’ve ever had in my life. I knew from that first bite that any frozen raspberry thing I make moving forward would be held to that standard. I believe I have done it justice.

  • 560g raspberries
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 275g superfine sugar (run granulated through a food processor for ~30s)
  • 20g-25g agave nectar (to taste)
  • 200g milk
  • 60g heavy cream

Bring the berries, citrus juice, and sugar to a boil and cook until very soft.

Sherbet Berries

Puree in the food processor until very smooth. Pulse in agave and dairy to blend.
Taste and adjust sweetness as desired with more sugar and/or agave (remember sweetness diminishes during freezing).

Strain through fine mesh strainer into an ice bath to cool down.

Sherbet Straining

Once cool, process in an ice cream maker until soft serve, then freeze until ready to use.

LINZER CONES

800g or 12 cones

This is the exact recipe used in class and it took my mad science approach to assembling the cones like a champ. It’s best if the dough is not too cold since you’ll need it pretty malleable to roll.

  • 6 hard boiled egg yolks
  • 300g pastry (or cake) flour
  • 50g hazelnut flour
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1/8t ground cloves
  • 3/4t salt
  • 280g butter, room temperature cubes
  • 50g powdered sugar, sifted
  • 15g rum

Pass the yolks through the tamis to form a very fine crumble.

Linzer Yolks

Sift the flours, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the yolks and the rum.
Add the DRY ingredients in several additions to just combine. Form the dough into a square, wrap it in plastic and chill it for at least 60 min.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Spray the cornets with nonstick and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Roll the dough about 16”x16” and about ¼” thick. Cut approximately ½” strips. Lightly brush a strip with egg wash and wrap it (egg side in) around a cornet, brush the outside with egg wash, place the cone seam side down (where the strip ends at the top) on the pan. Roll the rest the same way.

Cone Shaping

Bake the cones for about 30 min, rolling them every 10 min to ensure even browning. Remove and cool them on the pan and the molds fully before removing.

Cone Baked 3linzer_cones_baked

 

CANDIED ALMONDS

I challenge you to eat less than half before assembling the cones.

  • 100g sliced almonds
  • 75g simple syrup

Crush the almonds slightly and toss them with the simple syrup. Spread them out evenly on a parchment-lined pan.

Candied_Almonds1Candied_Almonds2

Toast the almonds at 350F until golden brown. Cool completely.

 

ASSEMBLY

Seeing as how you navigated to this website and read all the way down here I feel I can safely assume that you know how to assemble an ice cream cone. However, let me say that I found it much easier to use a piping bag with a plain #805 Ateco tip to fill the cones. It keeps any sherbet from ending up on the sides and you know it’s all about looks. (Please refrain from licking your screen – it’s gross)

Finished Cone 1Finished Cone 2

That’s a wrap on the Linzer Cone. I hope you enjoyed reading. Now get out of here, go to a farmers’ market for some raspberries while they’re in season, and make that sherbet! Seriously, beat it. But before you go:

Stay hungry.

Nick

See also:

Italian Experience: EXPO Milan 2015

By Lauren Fuschillo, ICC Italian Culinary Arts student.
(Read Part 4 here)

Last week I had the utmost pleasure of visiting the EXPO in Milan. Can you believe it? The one time I just so happen to be living in Milan, they’re having the World’s Fair? I may have lost love in NYC, hurt my leg in Indonesia and had my belongings stolen from me in Apulia, but damn, I’ve still got good luck!

EXPO 2015 is the current Universal Exposition, and as I mentioned, is being hosted by Milan, Italy. The opening took place on May 1st, 2015 at 10:00 am and the expo will close on October 31st, 2015. Fun fact – this is the second time Milan has hosted the exposition, the first being the Milan International in 1906.

This time around there are 145 countries participating and the theme is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. It is a grand celebration of slow food, local agriculture and healthy eating sustained by energy saving methods.

Some say that Expo 2015 has been one of the most controversial World’s fairs ever staged in Europe for a number of reasons, some being the ballooned expenditures for the pavilions and transportation. However, I am a tourist; a proud traveling American and I’m here to see the pavilions for fun. I find this to be a fabulous way Italy is using eco-tourism to improve their struggling economy, provide jobs and use this event to their advantage.

japan

In the morning all of the students meet and hop into the van. I’ve got a comfy seat to myself and pastry in hand, thanks to my bud Mikey (you probably see him on my Instagram on the reg, he’s one of my best friends and pretty soon going to be one of the most amazing chefs around!) We chat, we nap, we jam out and we get ourselves psyched to see one of our favorite teachers, Michele Crippa, and visit the Expo!

We arrive and set our sights on the first pavilion, Japan. It is one of the most talked about pavilions, as it is so grand and absolutely beautiful. The interior took us on a food tour that started in a techy rice paddy and demonstrated how rice is grown. Then we saw what different ingredients are used for and in what dishes they are used, the production, the recipes things are found in and then what the finished product looks like. Okay, they did NOT stop there. Japan went above and beyond and demonstrated what a future restaurant in their country will be like. It was surreal and a part of me doesn’t want to give too much away because it was just that amazing. (yes, you’ve gotta go see it!) But what the heck, peep some photos below. You’re welcome!

expo_milanoIMG_5353

We visited Japan as a class and afterwards we split up to see a few things on our own before meeting home, well, I like to think of it as home. After all, it is the American Pavilion.

My first stop: Indonesia! I had the most incredible of experiences in Indonesia. I could smell the different spices of Bali, the incredible scents coming from the burning incense and I got to enjoy some Indonesian street food, Nasi Goreng. Mmm, I was a very happy camper!

indonesia

Next stop: America! As soon as I walked up the stairs of the American Pavilion I was personally greeted by a lovely woman. I put out my hand to shake hers and she went in for a hug. She was kind and very welcoming. Her name is Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Dorothy, a true “foodie”, was ready to show us what she and her team had created and more importantly, what the U.S. brought to the world with regard to the future of food. She led us to a balcony off to the side of the pavilion and then I looked up in amazement. It was what Dorothy described as a vertical farm. Above us were giant oscillating boards several stories tall that house soil for plants to grow and there were actual plants in those huge planters: everything from kale and chard to all sorts of herbs. It was quite impressive. It only got more interesting as Dorothy explained how this could become the future. These sections could be removed from the partition and be placed on a truck with plants intact and still planted in the soil, so they are fresher longer during transportation.

dorothy_cann_hamilton

Then we made our way to these informative video displays which demonstrated the different aspects of food, like farming industry and nutrition, which delivered an impactful message of the current status and a look towards the future. Afterwards we where whisked downstairs to the main event, which were a clever series of seven short video clips that describe the American food culture’s past, present and future.

Once that was over, we took a short climb up the escalators to the rooftop deck and enjoyed a toast and got to chat with Dorothy, who shared some of her wisdom with the group. Not because I am American or a student of ICC, but I truly believe that the U.S. Pavilion was the best thought out and executed, it maintained the main focus on the Expo theme while at the same time having fun. What a wonderful pavilion and what an honor it was to have Dorothy as our guide!

Directly following our visit, I grabbed a lobster roll and some pulled pork with Marianne, Sara, Andrea and Michael (a few of my ICC besties) and we talked about some of the pavilions we were looking forward to seeing. With all of this excitement building up, I couldn’t help but jump from my seat and go on to the next “country”! I would then visit 10 more pavilions!

I had a map that I used as my guide. I circled all the pavilions I wanted to see and crossed each one as I visited them. I was a girl on a mission.

map

Kuwait was enchanting. The sand drew me in and I was greeted with the beautiful perfumes, spices and traditional garb. Absolutely beautiful and I must say they spent quite the pretty penny on this pavilion because much like Japan, it was extravagant.

Moving on, I didn’t waste time. We were told that the United Arab Emirates was a must see, and I am usually never the one to follow directions, but this was a directive I knew mustn’t be ignored. I walked around this great giant and stood in the makeshift sand dunes and waited in line for 30 minutes. I felt like I was in the actual desert and feared my sweat would soon be staining my clothes. Sexy, right? After the introduction to UAE I walked into the theatre and sat through what seemed like a full blown production. The film told a beautiful story about a young girl in search of water in the desert and then fast forwarding to the future and proving how much we waste water nowadays. Now I felt bad about complaining that my wait felt like a wait in the desert. Awesome A++ pavilion!

thailand

Then I dropped by Belgium, The Netherlands and Thailand. Thailand was breathtaking and full of life. It brought back so many memories for me, especially having green curry chicken and mango with sticky rice! I saw Hungary and watched a musical performance that touched my heart but as the day went on, so did my yearn to snack and I popped over to China for some goodies. On my way out I ran into my friends Mikey and Ian, and we decided to visit Argentina. We went in without any idea of what it would be like and what might unfold before our eyes..or ears. The drums were going and then the beats started flowing.

argentina

There was lots of clapping and a big crowd that kept inching closer and closer to a stage. Yes! The colors were vibrant, the beats-exciting and the dance moves were electrifying and hot, probably as hot as the desert-like-weather that day. They banged on pots and pans; the men spun the women around before dipping them and then pulling them in all close and sexy. There was music coming from bright yellow painted garbage cans and cool blue barrels. These people were playing and dancing their hearts away and I knew I wasn’t the only one in the crowd that wanted to jump on that stage and join them. Downright fantastic pavilion. Mikey, Ian and I definitely won’t be forgetting that any time soon. Thanks Argentina!

A little stop to check out India’s digs, to buy some new incense and get a henna tattoo. Eeek, that tattoo wasn’t drying fast enough and I had to book it to meet my pal (and ICC student), Benito, for some tacos and margs’ at Mexico’s pavilion before we got back to the bus. All of our friends had visited Mexico that day and were ranting and raving about not only the food, but about how cool it was.

IMG_5433

But it was all ‘cool’: grand, majestic, amazing, wondrous, eye opening, and much, much more. What an experience! Thank you, International Culinary Center and ALMA, for sending us to EXPO Milan 2015!

Play with your food: A Quicker Cronut

By Nick Wuest,
ICC Pastry Arts student
(read more about Nick)

There’s no arguing that Dominique Ansel’s Cronut is a wonderful creation, but man do you need to work for it. Dominique’s At Home Cronut recipe in his debut cookbook takes three days to make and if you live in New York you need to line up down Spring St around or before 6:00 AM to get one. Personally I don’t have the time nor want to do that much to get my hands on one.

The name’s Wuest. I make cronuts for the American workingman, because that’s what I am, and that’s who I care about.

Cronut quick recipe

The past week we’ve been covering Viennoiserie and fermented dough in pastry class and originally I was planning to do a post on the three types of croissant pastries that will appear on my upcoming test. But five entries in now when have you ever seen me pick the easy route? Instead I decided to kill a few birds with one stone. I could get in some practice laminating dough, show up one of my heroes, and do it all start to finish in only a few hours.

This is again all possible through the use of baker’s math and what I’ve learned so far here in the Pastry Arts program. The At Home Cronut uses 2% yeast and multiple 2 hour plus fermentation periods along with 2 overnights in the refrigerator. The formula I used contains 5% yeast, one ~60 minute fermentation period, a ~60 minute final proof, and the addition of a small amount of acid to control the higher amount of yeast.

The end result is a super refreshing treat perfect for a summer day. The pastry is very light with subtle notes of orange. The jam is smooth, sweet, and tart. The Chantilly is good enough to risk attempting to subsist on forever.

Special Equipment

  • Stand mixer with paddle and hook attachments
  • Cooling racks
  • 3 ½” and 1” round cutters
  • Ateco 803/804 star tip
  • Ateco 802/803 plain tip
  • Piping bags

ORANGE CRONUT (4x 3 1/2 “ cronuts)

When working with laminated dough there are a few terms to know:
Beurre pommade is butter that has been conditioned (worked) by hand until it is creamy, solid, cool, and not unlike Vaseline (or pomade).
The détrempe is the dough after it is mixed, the beurrage is the butter block, and the pâton is the sealed package of the beurrage and the détrempe.
The tourage the process of folding the dough to laminate layers.

DRY:

  • 260g bread flour (100%)
  • 31g sugar (12%)
  • 14g instant dry yeast (5%)
  • 55g beurre pommade (21%)
  • 10g orange zest (4%)

WET:

  • 117g water (45%)
  • 8g heavy cream (3%)
  • 13g egg white (5%)
  • 10g fresh orange juice (4%)

3g salt (1%)
125g butter, cold for beurrage (48%)

Paddle all DRY until sandy. Add all WET and mix to just form dough. Gather dough by hand leaving no dry mixture in the bottom of the bowl. Add the salt and knead with hook 3-5 min until smooth and sticky.

Shape into a round and place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, proof at 75-80 degrees about 90 min until doubled in size.

Flatten and roll the ball into an 8”x8” square. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes until firm but still tender enough to roll. During the last 5 minutes form the beurrage by hammering 125g butter between two sheets of parchment into a 7”x7” square. At this point the beurrage and the détrempe should have a similar texture. Roll the détrempe into a square large enough to fold over the beurrage (should be about 10” square). Enclose the beurrage in the détrempe to form the pâton.

Paton Forming

Roll the pâton vertically into a long rectangle about 3/8” thick. Fold 1/3 down, the other 2/3 up to meet, then fold the whole pâton in half like a book.

*If the dough is still cooperative enough to roll (cool and malleable) then repeat the tourage – if it’s not ready then place it in the freezer for about 10 min before the second tourage. After the second turn roll the dough ½” thick and chill 20 min.

*If you’d like you can freeze the prepared pâton and defrost it when you’re ready to use. Otherwise chill it for 20 min while preparing the jam.

Paton Shaped

CHERRY JAM FILLING

  • 300g cherry purée
  • 76g sugar, divided 38g/38g
  • 6g apple pectin powder
  • 4g lemon juice

Mix 38g sugar with the pectin in a bowl. Bring the puree and 38g of sugar to a boil. Whisk some hot liquid into the pectin and sugar to dissolve. Return to the heat, add the lemon juice, and boil about 3 min, whisking constantly, until thickened. Pour into a plastic lined pan and cool.

COOK & ASSEMBLE

Vegetable oil for frying
Stabilized Bourbon Chantilly, find recipe below
4 whole cherries with stems, washed

Cut out four 3 ½” rounds from the dough with 1” holes, cut as many 1” holes from the remaining dough as you can, placing everything on a parchment lined pan. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with nonstick and gently lay it on top of the cut cronuts. Proof at 75-80 degrees for about 90 min or until tripled in size.

Final Proof cronutFinal Proof cronut recipeFinal Proof quick cronutCronut Proof

Heat about 2 ½ – 3” of oil to 350 degrees. Fry the cronuts for about 90 seconds per side until deep golden brown. Fry the holes for about 60 seconds, stirring them around to ensure mostly even browning. Drain cooked cronuts on paper towels then place on a rack and cool completely. You’ll know you’ve done a good job when the layers are so defined you can peel them one by one.

Cronut1Cronut2

Once the cronuts are cooled use the star tip to drill 4 holes in the top. Fit a piping bag with the plain tip and fill it with the cooled jam. Fill each hole with jam gently so as not to break through any outer layer. Clean any jam that leaks back out the top.

Cronut HolesJam Filled Cronut

STABILIZED BOURBON CHANTILLY

Place a bowl in the freezer early on so it’s ready for this final stage.

  • 230g heavy cream, very cold
  • 35g powdered sugar
  • 13g bourbon
  • 4g powdered gelatin – bloomed in 15g cold water

Microwave the bloomed gelatin for 10 seconds, set the liquid aside. Whisk the heavy cream, sugar, and bourbon to stiff peaks. Add the warm liquid gelatin and very quickly whisk to incorporate.

Fit a piping bag with the star tip and fill it with the Chantilly. Pipe a decorative design on top of each cronut, covering the filling holes. Top each completed cronut with a cherry.

quick Cronut recipe

The assembled cronuts can be covered or boxed and chilled until ready to serve. They are very refreshing if served cooled like that or you can bring them to room temperature.

Before you serve them I recommend using a serrated knife to carefully cut one in half. Laminated dough is equally as fun as it is terrifying because a cross section will immediately inform you of how well you did. For a first run of a new formula I am floored by the results here. With a little fine-tuning I expect to be able to count every single layer in no time.

Feuilletage cronutCronut Feuilletage

I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am with this project. I love everything about laminated dough. The importance of proper technique and attention to detail required always make it a fun a challenge and great practice.

I know I say it each week but I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did creating. It’s been an incredible experience to push myself creatively everyday both at school and at home. Each new thing I learn, big and small, is another thing I need to master and won’t be satisfied until I do. I tell you all to stay hungry at the end of every post. Well I’m starving. Starving for more ways to top myself each week. I have to admit, this one will be the toughest to beat yet.

Stay hungry.

Nick
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Farm-to-Table class visits the Union Square Greenmarket

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian, Farm-to-Table Coordinator

In addition to my library duties, I am the coordinator of our Farm-to-Table program. It’s a personal passion of mine, so taking on this role here at ICC has been a real pleasure.

In case you aren’t familiar, the Farm-to-Table add on includes field trips and a week of training and education at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in addition to our standard culinary curriculum. Our current group of students recently went on one of my favorite field trips, to the Union Square Greenmarket.

Farm-to-table class field trip

I’ve been to the Greenmarket plenty of times, but never experienced it quite like this. We partner with GrowNYC, a sustainability education non-profit, for a tour that adds many layers to the market experience. Our tour guide, Kira Cohen-Milo, was incredibly knowledgeable about the history of the market and perhaps most importantly, she knew all the right questions to ask to get the farmers talking. GrowNYC operates all the Greenmarkets in the city – no small feat considering there are over 50 located in all five boroughs. The Union Square Greenmarket is the flagship and has been operating since 1976! Some of the farmers we met have been selling there from the very beginning.

Farm-to-table Farmers market class

One of those long time farms is Berkshire Berries. We were able to speak with David Graves for quite awhile, who began driving down to the Greenmarket from his farm in Becket Massachusetts in 1978. On offer, he had honeys, jams and jellies. We learned about the changes in bee populations over the years and were able to sample one of his most unique offerings – the dandelion jelly. I guess he didn’t mind opening a fresh jar for our group because he knew it would be a hit and several of us bought jars to take home.

Union Square Greenmarket honey

We also got to meet Stewart Borowsky, who grows wheatgrass and micro greens in Brooklyn. He was busy the whole time we were at his stand, with a wide range of customers. Some bought plants to take home while others just wanted a quick wheatgrass shot. We got to sample sunflower micro greens which were lovely. Stewart has a lot of experience working with chefs so he was able to tell our group a little about how many professional kitchens operate in relation to market vendors.

Wheatgrass Union Square Greenmarketgreenmarket_greens

Kira taught us about the Black Dirt region of New York. The black dirt region is flat flood plain that was once the bottom of a giant shallow lake formed as the ice-age glaciers melted 12,000 years ago. The flat plain is speckled with “islands” – isolated hills rising above the valley floor that once were, in fact, islands. The black dirt itself is a rich, airy soil full of nutrients – perfect for farming. We stopped by S & SO Produce farm, which boasted a whopping 5 tables piled high with vibrant root vegetables. Staff there told us that the nutrient rich soil improves all produce in different ways, lettuce is spicier and beets are sweeter.

Sunflower greens Union Square Market

As a parting gift, Kira passed out really cool local food wheels to the whole group. You can spin it to the current month and see what is in season within 150 miles of New York City. It’s just another of the many amazing things GrowNYC does. Beyond Greenmarkets and education, GrowNYC also build and support community garden and organize recycling events.

GrowNYC Food Wheel

Would you like to read more about Greenmarkets? Not sure what to do with your Greenmarket produce? Here are a few recommended resources available in the International Culinary Center Library:

  • The New Greenmarket Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz is sponsored by GrowNYC and tells the whole origin story of the markets with profiles of farmers and seasonally sorted recipes from a wide range of New York chefs and food writers including Ruth Reichel and ICC alums Jennifer King and Dan Barber. It also includes great suggestions for those who are new to the market shopping experience.
  • The Greenmarket Cookbook by Joel Patraker & Joan Schwartz profiles the Union Square Greenmarket. It includes tips and tricks for shopping at the market along with seasonal recipes.
  • Earth to Table by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann tells the story of their experience sourcing local ingredients and partnering with farmers and how that evolved until ultimately they were planting and harvesting their own crops. The book also contains profiles of chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Thomas Keller explaining their relationship to farmers.

Play with your food: Brown Sugar Caramel-Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches

By Nick Wuest,
ICC Pastry Arts student
(read more about Nick)

In my ever-growing collection of notebooks there is a small one that contains random, vague ideas that I constantly tell myself I’ll expand upon one day. In that book there is a line that reads “ct-crunch bars.” The dream came about through the process of rejuvenating the WWE Superstar Bar and an undying love for all things Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

What turned that little scribble into a reality is a little thing called “baker’s math.” Last week we covered it in class and it wasn’t juts a light bulb moment, it was a lightning bolt to the brain. Thanks to the pastry arts program there’s no “credit where it’s due” section this time around. This whole recipe came from an understanding of ingredient function and the use of baker’s percentage to develop exactly what I needed to turn “ct-crunch bars” into this:

Notebook

BROWN SUGAR CARAMEL ICE CREAM

This particular formula comes in two stages. Stage one is the custard, which will become the ice cream. Stage two is the brown sugar caramel, which will be cooked and cooled around the time the ice cream is processed, then mixed in.

  • 490g whole milk
  • 460g heavy cream
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, split
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 200g sugar, divided 150g and 50g
  • 150g egg yolks
  • pinch of salt

Bring milk, cream, cinnamon, and vanilla to boil. Remove from heat, cover and steep 15 min.
Remove cinnamon and vanilla bean, return to heat, add 150g sugar, bring to just below boil. Whisk yolks and 50g sugar in bowl to thicken. Temper eggs with hot cream, return to heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon. Strain well into an ice bath, stir in salt. Cool custard then chill until ready to freeze up to 2 days.

brown_sugar_caramel_ice_cream_sandwiches

CINNAMON SHORTBREAD COOKIES

This recipe, along with many future ones will be written a little differently than you may be used to. To understand it you’ll need to know how baker’s percentage works. The short of it is this: baker’s percentage is the ratio of ingredients to the total weight of flour in a recipe (the flour being 100%).

Knowing how ingredients function in a recipe allows you to bend the percentages to your needs. For example I know that since this cookie is meant to be frozen it has to be very soft and chewy. I also know that sugar inhibits gluten development and tenderizes. So I used some low protein flour and extra sugar to create a cookie that when baked has a texture closer to cookie dough that melts in your mouth and doesn’t crisp up in the freezer.

  • 376g AP flour
  • 161g cake flour (add these two weights together for 100%)
  • 360g butter, room-temp cubes (67%)
  • 226g sugar (42%)
  • 5g salt (1%)
  • 12g ground cinnamon (2%)
  • 12g vanilla paste (2%)

Sift the flours, salt, and cinnamon together, set aside.
Cream butter and sugar very light and fluffy, mix in vanilla paste to just combine.
Add flour mixture in 3 batches, just combining each addition, until the dough comes together. Do the last stage of mixing (mostly combined with some dry sand in the bottom of the bowl) by hand. Shape the dough into a rectangle, wrap well and chill about 30 min.

Heat oven to 350F. Roll dough between two pieces of parchment to about ½” thick rectangle, transfer to sheet pan, remove top sheet, brush lightly with egg wash. Bake about 20 minutes until edges are lightly brown. The cookie sheet will be very tender as it cools so handle it gently. Cool in pan on rack completely.

Handle the cookie sheet very gently from here on. Once the sheet has cooled, trim the edges and cut the sheet into equal halves that will fit in a casserole. And don’t you dare throw away those scraps!

brown_sugar_ice_cream_sandwich

BROWN SUGAR CARAMEL SAUCE & ASSEMBLY

The cookie sheets are cut and the custard is ready to process. It’s time to assemble the bulk sheet and freeze it.

  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 60g heavy cream
  • 60g milk

Combine the sugar and enough water until it resembles wet sand in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and cook about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cream and milk, swirl in the pan to mix.

(You’ll want to stir it, and if you notice the note on that page above that says ‘DON’T STIR EVER.’ I knew this and like an impatient child stirred it. Stirring facilitates crystallization resulting is a grainy sauce that dries to a matte finish. In this case it doesn’t matter but in the future just don’t do it.)

Cook the sauce until it is very thick, cool in an ice bath.

As the caramel cools process the ice cream in an ice cream maker. Line the casserole with parchment, leaving overhangs (to remove the frozen block) and place one cookie sheet inside.

Once the ice cream hits soft serve slowly add the caramel sauce to just swirl it in (if it incorporates it’s no big deal). Pour the ice cream into the casserole over the cookie sheet, smooth it out, and place the other sheet on top. Cover and freeze overnight.

Remove the block, trim the edges, cut out desired shapes, serve or hoard them all for yourself (both are acceptable).

Caramel_Cinnamon_Ice_Cream_Sandwiches

This project was a lot of fun. I got into pastry arts for the scientific approach bakers take to creating new recipes (some bakers even prefer the term formula). I’ve developed recipes before but until learning about baker’s math this week the process was more akin to throwing darts at numbers on a board until things worked. To see a better system work so well right away is very encouraging as I grow as a cook.

As for the ice cream sandwiches I hope you enjoy them. I know I enjoyed creating them. They aren’t too tough to make and provide great practice with mise en place and a good workflow as you transition from step to step. Oh yeah, and they are awesome! The cookies are super tender and bring out the little bit of spice in the ice cream, which is very sweet and refreshing. Both the cookie and ice cream melt in your mouth as they warm making for a very pleasant experience.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend (the two USDA Prime NY strips grilling as I finish up here lock in an A+ for my holiday) as well as the post. As always, thanks for reading and stay hungry.

Nick
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