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Old 12-17-2006, 02:22 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, 03:34 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
Chocolate
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:09 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, 06:08 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, 07:56 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, 01:51 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, 04:59 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
Chocolate
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:38 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, 02:51 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, 03:57 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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