The New Bakers Dozen
Real questions about recipes in The Chocolate Bible

The The Bakers Dozen: Real questions about recipes in The Chocolate Bible
By W.DeBord on Thursday, August 26, 1999 - 07:39 am: Edit

I do like this book, and I'd like to at least understand the why behind some of their recipes.Or at best how I can rework them so I'm more comfortable with them.
Take for instance the Biedermeir Torte:

Hazelnut Cream/an inside layer.
2 yolks
4 tsp. sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
pinch salt
1 tsp. gelatin
2 tbsp.ground hazelnuts
5 fl oz. cream
1/8 recipe carmelized hazelnuts
It says: Beat yolks with sugar, vanilla, and salt until frothy. Dissolve the gelatin and mix it thoroughly into the yolk mixture. Fold in the hazelnuts rapidly. Whip cream and mix with yolk mixture and carmelized hazelnuts. Place in torte ring smooth and freeze.

By W.DeBord on Thursday, August 26, 1999 - 07:56 am: Edit

I'm just not familar with this process. Usually you would whip yolks and pour a hot sugar syrup into them. I believe this cooking helps hold its volume.This is the base for my frozen souffles and countless other recipes.....
Then I get stumped on how much of what to dissolve gelatin in? I use a modest amount of h2o to soften then heat to dissolve.

1. Does this make sense just beating yolks until frothy?
2. Does this recipe read different when published in another language?
3. If I make a hot sugar syrup is there a rule of thumb as to how much syrup to how much egg?
4. What about a rule of how much liquid to powdered gelatin?

I know most of you would say why bother, make something else. I personally like the look of these tortes and want to make them work for me.

How would you work this? Would you leave it alone and strickly follow the directions?

By jeee2 on Thursday, August 26, 1999 - 10:05 am: Edit


I haven't seen the book but I'm suspicious of books with names like that, who sez its a bible of anything, according to who?
Recipes in tiny quantities are suspect, spoon and cup measures are not the language we use.
But go ahead and see how it turns out as written, I'd whip the yolks/sugar stiff if only to make sure the sugar is dissolved.
You =could= soften the gelatin in Frangelica.
It doesn't sound different from most other recipes, not enough difference to make a difference for me.
Methinks you could do better just by adjusting it to what you're familiar with, cooking the yolks etc.
Let us know what you think of the stock version.
Regards, Gerard

By makubo on Thursday, August 26, 1999 - 01:53 pm: Edit

Let me try to shed some light on it:
The name suggest a German/Austrian Heritage, the method used relates to gelatin leafs, which probably for some translational purpose, is only referred to as Gelatine. Soak in a very liberal amount of Icewater for as long as you can, pour on to a strainer and sqeeze out after a few minutes. Dissolve in a doubleboiler. Some places in Europe(Fauchon being one of them) soak their Gelatine one night before in a bucket of water in the fridge, Change the water first thing in the morning and then use the gelatine throughout the day. Renders the Gelatin virtually flavorless without lessening the gelatinous power of it.

By W.DeBord on Friday, August 27, 1999 - 08:14 am: Edit

Morgane I hope you will look here. Would you take a moment to tell me how this recipe is writen in your book (yours is french isn't it?),please? Does it call for tsp. of gelatin or leafs?

So then for the most part you have no problem with how he handles his yolks. This method won't be affected by freezing either?

It is very hard working in such small quantities. I usually double them so I don't need a magnifing glass to see what I have.

Morgane I made a mistake when mentioning his Raspberry Cream Torte in the cookbook conversation. The rasp. layer doesn't need doubling (just in case you make it). The cream layer does need more liquid though.

Gerard it is a nice book regardless of it's claim to be a bible. The copy I own is written for housewifes (as are most of my books) which explains its measuring techiques. Yet its far more advanced for any housewife I've met!

By jeee2 on Friday, August 27, 1999 - 10:47 am: Edit


Regardless I am very skeptical of books written in tiny scales, its often an indication the author has no training and is just publishing books.
In those cases I just look for ideas and convert anything I like to what I can use.
The last thing I need is more recipes.
Is there any chocolate artwork in the book?

Cheers, Gerard

By Morgane on Friday, August 27, 1999 - 11:16 am: Edit


I also the english version of that one. Not even sure if there is a french version. But check on page 102 they offer a slightly different recipe for a hazelnut mousse. If you still don't like it, check your other books and see if you can find a recipe you prefer. I always trust my insticts in a case like that and I would beat the yolks more, it certainly won't hurt. I can tell you that you should soften powder gelatine in a bit of water, helps it work better.

I can check my austrian pastry book but I do not have it with me right now. I'll get back to you later today.


By Morgane on Friday, August 27, 1999 - 05:43 pm: Edit


I didn't find any further info on that cake.

Good luck with it let me know how it turned out.


By W.DeBord on Saturday, August 28, 1999 - 08:17 am: Edit

Where I get on shakey ground is my knowledge of gelatin. It's always a guessing game as to is there enough here for this to hold firm enough. Does freezing have any effects on mousse with gelatin? Logicly I don't think so. I know they sweat a bit until their up in temp.. I did one recipe from the Bible where the mousse didn't have enough gelatin and it started to wheep on the buffet (not good).
I don't like alot of gelatin, only enough to hold when needed. If I have to be certain, I'll add more. But it's a guessing game!

Is this uncertainty there because I'm not that experienced? Or do you seasoned people also feel this way?

By jeee2 on Saturday, August 28, 1999 - 10:15 am: Edit


A rule of thumb I use is 1 oz gelatin (powdered) to every quart whipped cream.
For instance, a basic bavarian

16 yolks
14 oz sugar
quart milk or light cream
Make a creme anglais.
Soften the gelatin in some cold water, just enough to wet it, warm it up and dissolve it, stir into the hot creme. Add flavor or fruit now.

Fold 1 quart whipped cream in when almost cold.
If the flavor is very liquid such as strawberries pure' then increase the gelatin, for less fluid flavors such as chestnut the 1 oz is fine.
I use the 1 oz gelatin per quart of base as starting point and never use less.
You can always add more whipped cream if its setting too firm, test a bit in the freezer as the batch cools so you can predict what will happen.It freezes fine, most recipes I've seen are very similar but its difficult to compare when they are in cup measures.

Cheers, Gerard

By W.DeBord on Sunday, August 29, 1999 - 08:40 am: Edit

Gerard I have more questions.... I have found when making fruit mousses if I start with a puree where I've previously thickened it with cornstarch (as in a sauce thick enough to paint on a plate) it sets up quite nicely. But the other day I had to make some S.B. mousse at a moments notice. All I had was fresh S.B. so I pureed them and proceeded with my usual recipe for fruit mouse. It turned out fine for a mousse but I needed it to hold tighter in the application needed. In a hurry what would you do?

By jeee2 on Sunday, August 29, 1999 - 09:01 am: Edit


At a moments notice all bets are off, they get what you can cobble together. Pastry cream can be used to add body. With a watery fruit you have to create body somehow, either a bombe base, pastry cream, creme anglais(not quite firm enough),or the method you used, theres others such as arrowroot and even white choc but they wouldn't be my choice. Italien meringue adds a lot of body plus the gelatin.
In a real pinch I'd use the pastry cream(which I'd have on hand) with italien meringue, the fruit and even add emulsion and finally the whipped cream.
Get the French Pastry series, they have a very section on this sort of thing, volume 2.
Also they sell very good fruit bases for mouses and truffles, made in Germany and France , sold by Patisfrance. They are on the web so you can order samples.

Cheers, Gerard

By W.DeBord on Sunday, August 29, 1999 - 09:08 am: Edit

1 oz. gelatin per 1 qt. whip cream is basicly what I'm doing. With the S.B. puree say 16 oz. how much gelatin do you need for it to set? The S.B. puree is the consistancy of muddy water. So there must be a formula for how much gelatin to how much water to make it set at different stages. Different stages meaning loose jello and firm slicing. Have you ever tested gelatin to know these formulas? It must be written somewhere? I just don't have the time right now to play with it.
Making chocolate mousses has never been a problem. When my flavoring is a very liquid fruit I get nervous.It's when I need it firm to hold in a large presliced cake sitting on a buffet where I get sweatie palms unmolding mousse. Will it be too firm,too soft or just right?????

By W.DeBord on Sunday, August 29, 1999 - 09:25 am: Edit

Hummmm.... funny I've never made a fruit mousse using a pastry cream base. I like that thought!!! You add purchased emulsions to intensify you flavor? What about S.B and Rasp. flavored emulsions??? I don't have those...
I have been using a powdered meringue lately in my fruit mousses. This stuff holds up great under all conditions, and whips up quick.

P.S. To an earlier question Gerard had about the Chocolate Bible it does have some chocolate work. But its pretty basic. It would probably be a waste of money for you!!! Even I'm past that level.

By jeee2 on Sunday, August 29, 1999 - 03:51 pm: Edit


I'm sure you know theres different types of mousses and some are translucent, some more custard in appearance, in a hurry you wanto to cobble together what will work, the gelatin needs help in strawberry pure' , some type of cooked base and custard that you already have on hand is the quickest way, not the best way but I'm talking f...a...s...t fast.
I have a friend in Boston, she's patry chef at one of the hotels and swears by the mousse base powder sold by Patisfrance, just add to whipped cream and whip, add floring fruit paste, She needed rasp mousse for 300 and it took 10 minutes.
Sometimes the management puts you in those situations and its handy to have it on hand.
Strawb emulsion works good but has intense color if used too liberally. I like to use it for strawb meringue.

Regards, Gerard

By d. on Sunday, August 29, 1999 - 08:20 pm: Edit

I too used to have dificulty making a Strawberry or raspberry mousse. I didn't want eggs in it and I wanted the berry flavor to come through clean and strong. I had to play around with the proportions of whipped cream to fruit puree(and adjusted the sugar too) and then had to experiment with the gelatine. I prefer using leaf gelatine to powdered just because it 's more convenient(in p.1110 of Bo Friberg's The Pro. Pastry Chef you can find the formula for substitutions). Here's the recipe I've been using, it's quick too:
12 gelatine sheets(soak,squeeze out water and melt)
32 oz. Berry puree(or any other puree)
*4 oz. sugar(amounts of sugar can change depending on the puree)
*8 oz. chopped fruit(optional)
32 oz. manufacturing cream
Mix the puree and sugar.Whisk in 1/3 of puree into dissolved gelatine. Add this back into the remaing puree. Fold into medium peak cream.
Hope this helps you.

By W.DeBord on Monday, August 30, 1999 - 07:42 am: Edit

The rush on the mousse was my doing. On the day of a large sweet table I decided to change one item. Gerard and d. are you speaking of a strong mousse that will hold in a slice? This is the only application I worry about.

One of my salesmen is always pushing mousse powder. Mousse alone doesn't sell here, and heck it's one of the easiest items I make. Why buy?... I can see why it might be useful to have some on a shelf, now.

Gerard do you use a "base" in your SB. or Rasp. mousses'?

By jeee2 on Monday, August 30, 1999 - 11:08 am: Edit


No I don't use bases but I don't wok in a hotel or somewhere they can swap things around without notice, if I was in a high volume place I'd use anything I had to. They make a neutral mousse powder, add cream and whip with flavoring or paste of your choice.

I always make a creme anglais type base.
For the fruit based mousses use fruit paste, fresh pure'd fruit is gonna have a LOT of water.
If I had to use fruit I'd thicken it with something, using powdered sugar might help a bit too.

Regards, Gerard

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Monday, August 30, 1999 - 12:29 pm: Edit


Would you thicken it with gelatin or a starch, or would you reduce it over heat?

Cheers, Mike

By jeee2 on Monday, August 30, 1999 - 03:42 pm: Edit

Mike, gelatin doesn't " thicken ", if you've ever tried to make glaze with gelatin you know what I mean, it stays runny til set.
Thixotropic thickening with C starch gives body, arrowroot is OK, not as strong but cooks clear.For most mousses with watery fruit I'd follow a bavarois recipe using creme anglais. But really if you do it , why not buy the fruit pastes?, because even with the creme anglais you still have to deal with the watery fruit pure', this increases the process to the point that its hardly worth it.

Or strain out a lot of the water, thicken with the starch and proceed. To me its like making jam, why bother? Time is money.

Cheers, Gerard

By d. on Monday, August 30, 1999 - 05:34 pm: Edit

The mousse recipe I posted will hold when sliced. I use it when I need the pastries to stand when sliced or when I do them in various shapes. I order fruit purees from Perfect Purees of Napa Valley when I don't have the time to be making them(they come frozen). The only puree I do make consistently is strawberry since we always have left over scraggly-looking berries. I just add sugar and cook 'em down until the flavor is concentrated.

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 07:56 am: Edit

Thank-you d. I'll give it a try next time.

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, August 31, 1999 - 07:56 am: Edit

Thank-you d. I'll give it a try next time.

By W.DeBord on Friday, September 03, 1999 - 08:15 am: Edit

d. thank-you, thank-you!!! I used your recipe and it was just what I needed. It's firm and holds up to slicing. Thanks a million!

By W.DeBord on Friday, September 03, 1999 - 08:19 am: Edit

Just a quick thought what happens d. when you add a touch of meringue? I'm going to make it next time with a bit, hope it will still slice well.

By d. on Saturday, September 04, 1999 - 04:27 pm: Edit

I think it would be okay if you add some meringue. Are you thinking Italian Meringue? Let me know how it turns out.

By W.DeBord on Sunday, September 05, 1999 - 09:52 am: Edit

d. I'm going to play with meringue powder. It holds very well under all conditions.

I've made kiwi and strawberry mousse with your formula so far. Your recipe is very stable I'll probably stay with it or a variation using meringue for a long time.

By W.DeBord on Sunday, September 05, 1999 - 09:54 am: Edit

d. I'm going to play with meringue powder. It holds very well under all conditions.

I've made kiwi and strawberry mousse with your formula so far. Your recipe is very stable I'll probably stay with it or a variation using meringue for a long time.

By oli on Thursday, September 23, 1999 - 02:51 pm: Edit

W.DeBord; I received the Chocolate Bible as a gift sometime ago and have not tried any recipes as of yet. I was wondering since you have tried a few, what ones were they, and what errors did you find and recommendations do you suggest.Thanks oliver

By W.DeBord on Friday, September 24, 1999 - 10:24 am: Edit

I've made the raspberry cream torte several times: it is pretty good, but it needs to be served with raspberry sauce to draw out the rasp. flavor.It holds fine on a buffet.

Problems I found with this: the cream filling I double to fit the 10" ring comfortable. Also, the cream recipe is low on milk, I add 1/2 c. extra and it works fine. I also haven't been able to find a white raspberry cream brandy they call for, I've used casis and chambord in place of it. Although they darken the color of the cream to a funny shade of yuk so I then add in a hint of food coloring to bring it back to a edible color.

The coconut milk chocolate torte had a good taste but it didn't have enough gelatin to hold it at room temp. You have to serve it semi frozen.

I don't have the book infront of me to remember any others. I'll look and see if I tried others besides these two. I'll post them if I did.

Add a Message

This is a private posting area. A valid username and password combination is required to post messages to this discussion.

See Forum in a Frame