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Old 10-15-2007, 06:42 PM   #1
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Need help with mousse/torte type desserts

I am new to the forums, looking for some help with a couple desserts I've tried making. One is a chocolate moose torte, and the other was individual Tiramisu servings...

The flavors are perfect in both, the problem i am having is that the sugar in the dessert is grainy and hasnt desolved or combined well in the desserts. the sugar is almost crunchy when you eat a spoonful, and it really ruins it. I've tried mixing/whisking in the sugar in a stainless steal bowl over a pot of simmering water, but its still grainy

i was hoping someone could give me a solution or some tips. i can post the ingredients and instructions if that would be helpful. im a pretty good cooking but desserts are not my strong point.

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Old 10-15-2007, 06:48 PM   #2
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Welcome to DC jerseyjay.

Post your recipes or links to the recipes including the procedures and we will try to help.
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Old 10-15-2007, 07:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Welcome to DC jerseyjay.

Post your recipes or links to the recipes including the procedures and we will try to help.

thanks for the response andy... here is the tiramisu recipe... i followed it pretty much to the T, only instead of finishing it in a bowl or baking dish, i put the ladyfingers and filling into 4.5" springform pans topped with the cocao powder... although i assume this isnt what is causing the grainy-ness as the left over filling in the bowl is the same way:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gourmet Meals in Minutes by the Culinary Institute of America, page 340

Ingredients:
1 egg
6 egg yolks
1.5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3.5 Cups marscarpone cheese
3 egg white
1 cup espresso
.5 cups Kahlua
48 lady fingers
.25 cups cocoa powder
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Instructions:

Whip the eggs, egg yolks, 1 cup of sugar, and the vanilla together in a stainless steel bowl over simmering water for about 3-4 minutes or until the volume is nearly double and the mixture becomes a light lemon yellow.

Transfer the egg and sugar mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until the mixture has cooled to room temperature (about 8 to 10 minutes). Add the Mascarpone and and blend on low speed until very smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to blend evenly.

Beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar in a clean bowl to medium stiff peaks. about 5-6 minutes. Fold the beaten egg whites into the mascarpone mixture in two additions, refrigerate until needed.

Combine the espresso and kahlua to make a syrup. Place a layer of ladyfingers in a 2.5 quart bowl, moisten the ladyfingers with the syrup and dust evenly with cocoa powder. top with a 1 inch think layer of the mascarpone filling. repeat layering in this sequence until the bowl is full ending with a layer of filling.

dust the entire surface with cocoa powder. chill thuroughly before serving
i fooled everything to a "t" until the bolded section where i used 6 individual 4/5" spring form pans instead of 1 2.5 quart bowl. Im still looking for the moose torte recipe, but it was a similar idea. a chocolate filling using similar techinques.

the flavors were wonderful, exactly what i had hoped for, but the grainy, almost crunchy sugar in every bite really ruined it... i must be doing something wrong, please help me make this a great dessert!
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Old 10-15-2007, 07:13 PM   #4
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The suggestion that comes to mind first is to work the sugar and egg yolks longer over the heat.

Another option would be to use superfine (not confectioners) sugar rather than granulated. You would have to reduce the quantity from 1.5 cups as the finer grained sugar will pack more tightly in a measuring cup, giving you more sweetness in the same measure.
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Old 10-15-2007, 07:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
The suggestion that comes to mind first is to work the sugar and egg yolks longer over the heat.

Another option would be to use superfine (not confectioners) sugar rather than granulated. You would have to reduce the quantity from 1.5 cups as the finer grained sugar will pack more tightly in a measuring cup, giving you more sweetness in the same measure.
is there a consistency or key that would let me know when im good? like a "grainy-ness test" I think whisking it over the heat to disssolve the sugar is the key as well.... but as i said desserts are a weak spot for me... should i try more/less heat?

i do have superfine sugar, ill try that as well....

and again, thanks so much for the response, i cant tell you how frustrating dessets have been. i plan big 4 course meals for my girlfriend and some friends, and it always ends in disappointment overshadowing a great meal.
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:11 AM   #6
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Don't feel bad. Read this thread.
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseyjay14 View Post
is there a consistency or key that would let me know when im good? like a "grainy-ness test" I think whisking it over the heat to disssolve the sugar is the key as well.... but as i said desserts are a weak spot for me... should i try more/less heat?...

Too much heat could cook the egg yolks, ruining the dish. Longer may help, not hotter.
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Too much heat could cook the egg yolks, ruining the dish. Longer may help, not hotter.
thanks... also any tips on how much water should be in the pot? should the bowl sit in the water or is the hot steam supposed to do the trick?
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:35 PM   #9
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You don't need much water. An inch will do.

The bowl should never be in the water. If your egg yolks reach the boiling point of water, they will cook through.

Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat so it barely simmers. The rising heat will do the trick.
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
You don't need much water. An inch will do.

The bowl should never be in the water. If your egg yolks reach the boiling point of water, they will cook through.

Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat so it barely simmers. The rising heat will do the trick.
thanks so much, can't wait to take a second stab at this... I will post the (hopefully improved) results here with a photo.

also, i notice that after freezing the ruined grainy tiramisu it lost a bit of the grainyness - is this to be expected?
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:13 PM   #11
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I don't know.

Don't forget to reduce the volume measure for the sugar if you use superfine.

If you have a kithcen scale, weigh 1 1/2 cups of regular sugar then use the same weight of superfine.
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I don't know.

Don't forget to reduce the volume measure for the sugar if you use superfine.

If you have a kithcen scale, weigh 1 1/2 cups of regular sugar then use the same weight of superfine.

thanks i do have a scale and i will do just that.... thanks so much for the tips!
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:33 PM   #13
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You're welcome.

Don't forget to report back with pictures.
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:39 PM   #14
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Don't know if this'll help you but this recipe has been well received:
Mock Tiramisu/Parfaits

Can be made one day ahead

I cup cold strong brewed coffee/espresso
3Tbsp. Marsala wine

1-8 oz. Block cream cheese softened
½ c (4 oz.) cream cheese, softened
¾ c sugar
30 Ladyfingers
1 tsp. Unsweetened cocoa
Combine coffee and wine; set aside
Place cheese in a med. bowl; beat at med. speed until smooth. Grad. Add sugar; beating until well blended.
Cut each ladyfinger crosswise into 3 pcs. Arrange in wine glasses or small bowls. Drizzle each serving with about 1 Tbsp. Coffee mixture…..or, dip ladyfingers into mixture quickly. Spoon about 1 ½ Tbsp. Cheese mixture into each glass. Repeat layers once; sprinkle evenly with cocoa. Cover and chill at least 1 hour…..Yield: 9 servings or, 1 trifle.
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ella/TO View Post
Don't know if this'll help you but this recipe has been well received:
Mock Tiramisu/Parfaits

Can be made one day ahead

I cup cold strong brewed coffee/espresso
3Tbsp. Marsala wine

1-8 oz. Block cream cheese softened
½ c (4 oz.) cream cheese, softened
¾ c sugar
30 Ladyfingers
1 tsp. Unsweetened cocoa
Combine coffee and wine; set aside
Place cheese in a med. bowl; beat at med. speed until smooth. Grad. Add sugar; beating until well blended.
Cut each ladyfinger crosswise into 3 pcs. Arrange in wine glasses or small bowls. Drizzle each serving with about 1 Tbsp. Coffee mixture…..or, dip ladyfingers into mixture quickly. Spoon about 1 ½ Tbsp. Cheese mixture into each glass. Repeat layers once; sprinkle evenly with cocoa. Cover and chill at least 1 hour…..Yield: 9 servings or, 1 trifle.
thanks for the recipe... if my second attempt doesnt work out i may go with this one!
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:41 AM   #16
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I admit I'm having trouble seeing what's wrong with your recipe. The procedure being described is no different than your standard genoise, and when you taste that batter, there is no graininess, even though you're doing pretty much the same thing: heating eggs and granulated sugar in a double-boiler and then whipping. I wouldn't bother switching to superfine sugar; the type of sugar is clearly not causing this problem.

If I were you, I'd honestly just avoid Culinary Institute of America recipes altogether. My experience with them has been that simple recipes inexplicably fail in weird ways, and you're just left scratching your head wondering why things went kerplooyee.

It's a problem I have only experienced with CIOA recipes, both in their Professional volume "Baking and Pastry" and their home volume "Baking at Home". It's a problem I haven't had with other comparable books, like Bo Friberg's excellent "Professional Pastry Chef".

Do what I have done and just don't use any of their recipes. It certainly helped lower my blood pressure :)
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Old 10-27-2007, 03:16 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonr View Post
I admit I'm having trouble seeing what's wrong with your recipe. The procedure being described is no different than your standard genoise, and when you taste that batter, there is no graininess, even though you're doing pretty much the same thing: heating eggs and granulated sugar in a double-boiler and then whipping. I wouldn't bother switching to superfine sugar; the type of sugar is clearly not causing this problem.

If I were you, I'd honestly just avoid Culinary Institute of America recipes altogether. My experience with them has been that simple recipes inexplicably fail in weird ways, and you're just left scratching your head wondering why things went kerplooyee.

It's a problem I have only experienced with CIOA recipes, both in their Professional volume "Baking and Pastry" and their home volume "Baking at Home". It's a problem I haven't had with other comparable books, like Bo Friberg's excellent "Professional Pastry Chef".

Do what I have done and just don't use any of their recipes. It certainly helped lower my blood pressure :)
with andy M's suggestions i was able to score on the second attempt... i went twice as long on the double boiler and made sure the egg didnt cook during the process and it came out fantastic... not grainy at all...

thanks for the input... id like to blame the recipe, but this time it was just user error

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Old 10-27-2007, 09:34 AM   #18
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Well whaddya know.

Looks great.

I'd still like to blame the recipe though. If they had bothered to give you an actual temperature to shoot for, you wouldn't have had any problem in the first place.

ACI is still on my black list.
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