Equipment

Equipment

By
Fanny Zanotti
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742704715
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

Pyrex bowl, many of them

Two things take the most time in pâtisserie: weighing out all of the ingredients (which I can only recommend to do all at once before starting the recipe) and washing dishes (which I can only recommend to do all at once after the mess has been made and you don’t recognise your kitchen anymore).

Having plenty of heatproof glass bowls in different sizes will make those two key-steps a dream. And since you won’t run out of bowls, you won’t have to do the dishes during baking.

Small utensils

Metal whisks, wooden spoons, a good rolling pin, a set of round cutters, a Microplane grater, a few rubber spatulas (otherwise known as ‘Maryse’ in the kitchen world), palette knives in different sizes, and you’re good to go.

If you decide to go for silicone moulds, make sure to buy them in professional shops as they will last longer and are less likely to break or give baked goods a plastic flavour.

Cake / tart tins

When it comes to regular tins, I’m genuinely fond of heatproof glass that makes it so easy to check if your tart or cake is baked underneath. But non-stick tins are great too.

If you don’t have the size called for in the recipes, don’t make it stop you. Simply use a size smaller, taking cake not to overfill the tin. And keep in mind that two-thirds full always seem to work!

When it comes to specialty tins, I’m using a few in this book, but all of them are easy to find. Think baba moulds, a madeleine pan…

Metal rings

Metal rings are my life. I’m not joking. I think I might have more rings than pairs of shoes.

Round rings usually come into different heights. For tarts, I go for the 2 cm high rings, and for entremets, 4–6 cm is perfect.

At times, I’ll even bake cakes using them as they make for the prettiest straight edges ever.

In this book, I’ve tried to limit their use as they’re quite expensive, and I guess you’re probably not as besotted as I am.

You’ll need a 20 cm ring for desserts like the the Fraisier; a 22 cm ring for the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake or the Peach Melba Charlotte; a 24 cm ring for the Lemon Meringue Tart; and four 6 cm- wide rings for the Coulants au Chocolate.

If you don’t have the right size, once again, it’s more than ok. As my grandmother used to say, ‘If there is no solution, there is no problem.’

A probe

You’ll need it for caramels and mousses, sugar syrups … I like the old-school ones, but an electronic probe is perhaps easier to store.

A blowtorch

From the caramelisation of Crème Brûlée to the unmoulding of frozen entremets, a little blowtorch is a favourite of mine. And for the record, it’s totally fine to go for your dad’s one. Yes, that very same one he uses to burn things-that-are-not-food. Not that I’ve ever done it … Sure.

Scales

Scales are an absolute must in every kitchen. Home or professional. I might have said this book is not about perfection and tweezer-plating, but pastry without precision will end up in a disaster. Most likely, of the messy kind!

That’s why all the recipes in this book call for measuring in grams, including the liquids. To make it easy for you, when it’s ok to be a little bit rough, I’ve also included some measurements in teaspoons (5 ml) and tablespoons (15 ml).

But, yes, back to scales! Once you’ve started weighing out everything, it will feel like a breeze. You can thank me later, just run to the closest shop and get yourself some digital scales. I bought mine for 5 euros and they’ve been following me for years now.

Silpats or silicone mats

Although they can easily be replaced by baking paper, they are wonderful to bake shortbreads and other dough as they diffuse the heat so much more evenly than baking paper.

Mixers

You don’t have to invest in a stand-mixer, although I do believe it will change your life! With the paddle attachment it is super easy to make shortbread or cake batters; use the hook for brioche or other sweet doughs and the whisk for whipping up cream and egg whites.

An electric hand-held beater also does a fine job for these whisking and beating tasks, while a stick blender is perfect for emulsifying or puréeing.

Acetate

Acetate is thin sheets of plastic used to support cream filling or butter cream. While I use it on a daily basis to make entremets, I know that acetate can be a bit tough to come across and is fairly expensive if you’re not planning on using three metres a day.

In this book, there are a couple of recipes that call for acetate but you could always replace it with a strip of baking paper. It might wrinkle slightly with humidity, but works just fine. You can also make-your-own-ish by layering cling film (six layers), making sure to chase any air bubbles and then cutting it into strips using a sharp knife.

Ovens

I’ve always been amazed by how much ovens vary. In fact, I’ve been known to bake macarons at various temperatures – ranging from 145°C to 180°C – depending on the oven I’m using.

All of the recipes in this book have been tested in my home fan-assisted oven – and if you knew my oven, you’d be pouring me a glass of crisp white wine right now – but if there is one thing I can’t predict it is the temperature of yours. This is why I strongly recommend you use an oven thermometer. It’s super cheap and it’ll help you to understand how your oven works.

And if your oven doesn’t have a fan, please remember to increase the baking temperatures by 20°C.

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