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Old 12-17-2006, 01:22 AM   #1
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Candy pros, what did I do wrong?!

Last weekend I tried making a sugar syrup-y affair to put some pistachios in so that I could get a final mixture that I could form into a roll (Lulu, if you're reading, I'm very slowly working toward getting that bourma recipe right!).

I started with a popcorn balls recipe from Joy of Cooking (thinking that had the idea about right since it was sticking stuff together with sugar syrup but keeping it all malleable enough to shape) and chose the brown sugar and butter caramel option (just because it sounded delish, to be honest, NOT because it was the most suited to my final need!)

Proceeded to handle it as instructed getting it to about somewhere midway between the soft ball and firm ball stages. When it reached the right temperature, I poured in the nuts and stirred them around to coat. For about a half-minute all looked fine, then very suddenly the texture changed dramatically with the syrup hardening onto the indivudual nuts in a matte, sugary way. The were anything but stuck together!

Was this just a case of the syrup crystallizing? Very honestly, I did use such a small pan that I didn't feel real comfortable putting the lid on to let it boil so that it washed down the sides of the pan (I was afraid it would boil over) -- was that my mistake?

I also wondered if maybe I boiled the syrup too much -- my candy thermometer seemed to 'stick' for too long at one temperature which makes me wonder if maybe it's faulty? The resulting sugar-y mess on the pistachios is, however, pretty soft, not rock hard, so that maybe isn't so likely.

Thank heavens they're still very edible, infact really nice, they're just not at all what I needed and sooner or later I need to lick this problem. Can anybody advise?

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Old 12-17-2006, 02:34 AM   #2
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Hey Ayrton,
It sounds like the syrup was cyrstalizing...did you use straight sugar or did you use corn syrup as well? corn syrup in the recipe will help it not to crystalize or crystalize slowly...Stiring is what will cause those crystals to form...if it wasn't becuase of a loose crystals in your pot after the syrup at gone past a boil...
If you don't want to put a lid on the syrup you can always just wash down the sides as you go...
And yes....you noticed that the temperature stayed in one spot here and there for a while...that is perfectly normal...at certain points in hte process the syrup just stays at a certain temp and my chef in school did not even know why...it just happens...it's not your thermometer!

Did you want your sugar to crystalize? and what is in the recipe?

well I hope this helps somewhat,
Robert
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Old 12-17-2006, 04:09 AM   #3
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Hey Aguy ... thanks for your speedy response!

No, I didn't use corn syrup. I can get it in one supermarket only, and even there it's always vanilla which I don't want (in this case the final flavor would be orange blossom water so vanilla wouldn't work for me).

I forgot about washing down the sides to tell the truth! I've done that with plain (not brown sugar) sugar syrups and have never had this problem. I guess I'll get another bunch of pistachios and try again, this time with a bigger pot and more care regarding the crystals (I did stir a wee bit too if truth be told).

I'm fascinated by the fact that even your chef noticed the thermometer sticking! I wonder why that would be?? Good to know, anyways, so I won't pitch mine out just yet.

The thing I'm trying to make (completely without a recipe -- it's been discussed elsewhere here if you're interested -- search "bourma") is a Lebanese sweet I can only buy so far. It's a roll of pistachios, rolled thereafter in kataifi, sauteed in ghee, then baked. Thereafter, it's sliced and served as the cross-section of this roll. It's amazingly wonderful but I'm still quite far from succesfully making it. (Any suggestions welcome!) Lulu had given me the great suggestion of putting the pistachios in a syrup and then when cooled, shaping them into a roll, either with parchment paper, foil, or maybe buttered fingers. First, though, I've got to get them to stick together!
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:08 AM   #4
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Ayrton, are you attempting to make Kataifi with pistachio filling? Bourma sounds similar to it.
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:56 AM   #5
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One thing I learned is buy good sugar like domimino not a store brand.
Was tight on money one year and brought the store brand of sugar due to it was on sale and half the price. My fudge and peanut brittle stayed soft. The store brand sugar is a finer sugar It think or a different kind of sugar so you aren't getting all the proper amount or consistancy.
I was trying to save money and it ended up costing me alot more. So the moral of the story is IF you make items for gifts spend the xtras to let them know you care. It will be well worth every penny.
Happy Holidays to all
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Old 12-17-2006, 12:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aguynamedrobert
Hey Ayrton,
It sounds like the syrup was cyrstalizing...did you use straight sugar or did you use corn syrup as well? corn syrup in the recipe will help it not to crystalize or crystalize slowly...Stiring is what will cause those crystals to form...if it wasn't becuase of a loose crystals in your pot after the syrup at gone past a boil...
If you don't want to put a lid on the syrup you can always just wash down the sides as you go...
And yes....you noticed that the temperature stayed in one spot here and there for a while...that is perfectly normal...at certain points in hte process the syrup just stays at a certain temp and my chef in school did not even know why...it just happens...it's not your thermometer!

Did you want your sugar to crystalize? and what is in the recipe?

well I hope this helps somewhat,
Robert
Chocolate

Robert,

What do you mean when you say "wash down the sides" ?
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Old 12-17-2006, 03:59 PM   #7
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Washing down the sides is a crucial part of the process...it means...
Utensils:
small brush
cup of water
Instructions:
As the syrup your are cooking gets up on the sides of the pot they will stick to it and not be in the pot of syrup...they can then dry out and form crytals(like sugar cyrstals)...then fall back into the syrup...if those crystals fall back in it will grain the whole syrup because once the syrup is past a boil there is not enough water to dilute the crystal again and the crystal formation spreads....
So....
take the brush, dip it in water and wash down the sides of the pot whenever is necessary to keep crystals(or just syrup that will form cyrstals) off the side of the pot...

let me know if you need more clerification,
Robert
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:38 PM   #8
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If you do not want to use corn syrup, you can add lemon juice or crean of tartar to help prevent crystals.
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Old 12-18-2006, 01:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swann
If you do not want to use corn syrup, you can add lemon juice or crean of tartar to help prevent crystals.
Really?! This I've never heard of. Thank you!

Boufa, your question puzzles me a bit: yes, I'm going to use kataifi and, yes, it will be filled with pistachios, but what I'm wishing to make isn't similar to any Greek recipe called "kataifi" (is there one? that's what it sounds like you're referring to, and yet all I know of is "baklava with kataifi" etc.). While it certainly might fall into the general category of a baklava, it's Lebanese/Syrian and not available here (even at Karavan, piffle).

Here's a photo of what I'm aiming for:
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Old 12-18-2006, 02:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayrton
Really?! This I've never heard of. Thank you!

Boufa, your question puzzles me a bit: yes, I'm going to use kataifi and, yes, it will be filled with pistachios, but what I'm wishing to make isn't similar to any Greek recipe called "kataifi" (is there one? that's what it sounds like you're referring to, and yet all I know of is "baklava with kataifi" etc.). While it certainly might fall into the general category of a baklava, it's Lebanese/Syrian and not available here (even at Karavan, piffle).

Here's a photo of what I'm aiming for:
Ayrton, I hope we are on the same wavelength. The kataifi I know and available everywhere in Volos is rolled into a bird nest and filled with chopped walnuts with thick syrup poured over it. I always make it this way, however I did do it with pistachios for a leading hotel once. The Lebanese version seems similar except that it is open-faced. The way they make it is to roll it tightly in one big roll and then cut it in pieces which is easier than what is done here. If you need the recipe, I can PM you.
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Old 12-18-2006, 03:04 AM   #11
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Morning Boufa!

There are a couple of key differences between the Greek and the Lebanese/Syrian baklavas, one of which is the syrup (the Greek being honey-based usually, whereas the L/S is white-sugar based -- more delicate, especially with the addition of the orange-blossom water), and another is the use of ghee in the L/S versions and the predominant flavor of butter.

However, aside from those general differences, this particular type is one of the few (the only?) which is first sauteed and then baked. The resulting consistency is harder than a standard baklava, no matter which other specific type you're thinking of -- bird's nests, traditional diamonds, rosettes, etc.

As far as rolling it tightly and then cutting it in pieces being easier ... have you tried it recently?!
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:02 AM   #12
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Kalimera Ayrton! The syrup for my kataifi has no honey in it, just plain sugar with lemon juice. The syrup can be thickened to the consistency you want except caramelization of course. I use 'fittini' (if you know what that is) instead of butter. Since shredded phyllo is difficult to cut, the only shape is to make it is bird's nest or roll into a log and cut it. I have not done it log-style but have pile half the phyllo in a pan, put the filling on top, cover with more phyllo and then drizzle with 'fittini' before baking.
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Old 12-18-2006, 06:07 AM   #13
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Boufa, what you make certainly sounds more like a traditional baklava, although the lighter syrup is a bit different than that we use in our family.

While I know 'fitini' I doubt I'd use it in this particular recipe (or any recipe -- Scottish shortbread, for instance -- where the flavor of butter is intended to dominate), especially with the very delicate flavoring of the syrup. I'd want in this case to stick with pure butter ghee.

I certainly agree that the bird's nest shape would be easier! If only I hadn't tried these specific ones and found them soooo addicting!
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Old 12-18-2006, 06:37 AM   #14
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i quite probably don't have anything to contribute, but i was wondering if you could post a larger pic. your post has an attachment, but nothing sems to open up for me and i can't really tell much what the inside looks like, other than pistachios rolled up in some brown stuff.

this stuff sounds good, so i'm looking forward to seeing if you meet with success.
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Old 12-18-2006, 06:51 AM   #15
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burma baklava

This is the best I could find, Philso. And, basically it does come down to "some pistachios rolled up in some brown stuff" but what brown stuff! what pistachios!

Keep tuned. I'll get it licked yet!
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Old 12-18-2006, 01:56 PM   #16
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Hum...I have never seen anything like that before...let us know what you get it all figured out and it comes out how you like....very interesting...

Merry Christmas,
Robert
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Old 12-19-2006, 05:29 AM   #17
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Robert, Merry Christmas back to you too! This stuff IS "interesting". Might even be called addictive ...

Boufa, you and aren't quite on the same page yet regarding kataifi so I tried to research it a bit. A couple of interesting pages I found are linked below (the photos in the first are great -- I've seen filo being made, but never kataifi!). It appears that kataifi dough is a dropped or extruded item rather than 'shredded' although you're not the first person to refer to it as 'shredded filo'. It's circular in cross-section, however, rather than flat which would suggest shredding.

Meanwhile, back to kataifi meaning a dough and kataifi meaning a prepared, finished sweet. I can't defend my stance on this at all and infact I suspect we're probably both right, but to me kataifi is the dough, and desserts made with it such as that you describe are "X with kataifi" -- baklava with kataifi in this case. However, I don't purchase commercial baklava-like sweets, filo or kataifi, so I don't really know how one would properly call them in a bakery. If you do buy them and refer to them as kataifi and are understood ... I bow to your experience!

The second link below shows a great-looking recipe called "kataifi with cream filling" which would support the idea that kataifi refers only to the dough. However! Below on the same page is a recipe for "mini kataifi" which are none other than a basic baklava filling with kataifi dough!

Go figure. It may be one of the many unexplainables and inconsistencies here. I'll ask around though. If I come up with anything juicy, I'll let you know.

Yogurt Land » Blog Archive » How the kataifi is made

http://joakitchen.blogspot.com/2005/...-kataifi.html/
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Old 12-19-2006, 08:34 AM   #18
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Letscook-I thought sugar was sugar. I always buy the store brand and never have any problems with any candy, cookies, etc. It is the first time i have ever heard that a brand of sugar makes a deference in a recipe.
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:05 AM   #19
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Ayrton,

Baklavas has many layers of fillo sheets and looks like the first picture

Kataifi on the other hand is made from shredded fillo which looks like bird nests or hair thin spaghetti (angel hair). It looks like the second picture.
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:12 AM   #20
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Thanks for the photos, Boufa ...

I think we'd best agree to disagree at this point!
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