Never Go Searching for the Bottom of Your Springform Pan Again!

I can’t believe Fall is upon us already, and that means the holidays are soon to follow. I have a great tip for those of you that bring a cheesecake or other torte to a friend’s or relatives house and forget to take back the metal bottom of the springform pan. Go to enough parties and you may even forget where you left it.

Create your own substitute bottom with a cardboard cake circle. Just cut a cake circle to the exact measurements of the metal one that comes with the springform pan. Place the cardboard one on top of the metal one and trace it with a pen. Cut with a scissor and fit it into the ring of the springform pan. Put the pan together and It should be a VERY snug fit. You don’t want any leakage from cheesecake or other cake batter. Then set the springform pan onto a larger piece of aluminum foil and wrap the foil up the outside of the pan. If there is any leakage it won’t go through.

Once your cake or cheesecake is baked and cooled, cut around the sides, and release the pan separating the sides away from the cake. Now you can wash your intact pan and not worry if you will remember the false bottom that got left somewhere. Your pan is also free to bake more cheesecakes.

Next for a professional look, I get a larger cake circle, cover it with a doily of the same size and gently lay my cheesecake in the center. It looks beautiful and no worries!!

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail

Temperature Malfunctions

I have a pet peeve. Food that is not served at the proper temperature! If I am at a function like a wedding or party where there are a lot of people the food is generally made ahead of time, stored and re-heated before it is served. Many times the food that should be HOT is NOT!! It is usually tepid to room temperature.

As I see it you have three choices. Choice one: Ask the wait staff to take the plate of food back to the kitchen and re-heat it. Choice two: Just eat it anyway even if it doesn’t meet your temperature standards, or Choice three: don’t eat it at all and starve until you can get something edible. Well, I have done all the above at various times.

Last evening I went to a function where the food was all cold even though it was not supposed to be. So what did I do? I skipped dinner and left hungry. It was a buffet and nothing was done to rectify the situation. Frustrating to say the least.

I will never do that again. I will say something next time. Not only does cold food that should be hot pose a risk to food safety it can ruin the entire dining experience.

I once went to a wedding where by the time the ice cream sampler of three supposedly spectacular ice creams were served each flavor had melted into the other leaving a pool of mess! It was NOT pretty. There was nothing I could do as a guest but chalk it up to poor organization in the timing of the serving of the dessert. Of course when the bride’s mother asked me how I liked the ice creams, I lied and said that they were delicious.

All right, I know that this is a nothing problem compared to the REAL problems in the world, but it is an issue that should be addressed.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Chef Gail

Increasing the Lifespan of your Whipped Cream

Desserts topped with whipped cream can be a beautiful thing. However, they can be frustrating as well! Once you whip the cream and beat the air into it there is a finite life to the heavenly cloud-like mass.

Over several hours whipped cream will begin to go back to its original state (a liquid) and lose the air bubbles that kept it thick and lovely. I have 2 tips for you to prevent this from happening.

First, you can use a bit of unflavored gelatin to stabilize the whipped cream. It is quite simple to do actually. After you beat the cream to stiff peaks you can fold in about 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin that has been dissolved in a little cold water to soften it, and then heated gently to bring it back to a liquid state. Make sure the melted gelatin is not hot, but only slightly warm. If it is too hot when you add it to your whipped cream the cream will fizzle and go right back to a liquid. Trust me on this. I have had it happen to me.

I have even heard of chefs melting a few marshmallows and folding THEM into the whipped cream. The reason this works is that marshmallows have– you guessed it, GELATIN in them! Who knew that marshmallows were not just for S’mores?

The second tip is to fold some thick Greek-style yogurt, which has had the liquid strained out of it, into the whipped cream. Put the yogurt into a sieve in which you have placed a coffee filter or several layers of paper towels and set it over a bowl. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours to drain. The yogurt will be very thick.

Folding the yogurt into the whipped cream keeps it thick for several days, and the tanginess from the yogurt mixed in with the ceam is very complementary to any dessert.

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail