Desserts and Pastries

I have a recipe for vol-au-vent pastry that says to dock the shell before blind baking it. I know what blind baking is, but what is 'docking'? -Jerry To dock something means to poke it with holes. This is done with flat breads, crackers and pastries when you don't want them to expand too much during baking. It works by... Read more →




Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward


Why I Won't Ever Be a Mainstream Food Writer

Not that I have ever actually aspired to be a food writer for a mainstream newspaper or periodical, but occasionally I see an article that really brings home the truth that I could never cut it in that job. The most recent was an article just before Christmas in a national paper. It was a question from a reader who... Read more →




Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward


Substitution for Suet

I have a Christmas pudding recipe that calls for suet. This year, I can't find it anywhere. Can I use butter, or something else instead? --Ruth Christmas pudding is a cake-like dessert made with flour, eggs, suet, molasses or treacle, spices and dried fruits. The word pudding in this context may mean dessert, which is common usage for the word... Read more →




Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward


On a recent vacation to Paris, I thought it might be fun to take a cooking class. My wife, Pat, loves to paint so it would also be a chance to get out of her hair while we each did something that interests us. The problem, though, is that I don't need someone to teach me how to make Beef... Read more →




Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward


How Can You Prevent a Cheesecake from Cracking?

How can you prevent a cheesecake from cracking? --Sr. Celine Cheesecakes crack because the filling expands during cooking and then contracts while it cools. If the filling is not able to relieve the stress caused by this contraction in some way, it cracks. There are a few ways to help prevent cracking, according to Harold McGee . They come down... Read more →




Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward


Inconsistent Gelatin Results

I find that I get inconsistent results when I use gelatin. Even for the same recipe, sometimes it will come out softer or firmer than other times. What is happening? --Sara Gelatin is a protein-based thickening agent used primarily in making desserts, aspics and jellies. It comes in a powdered form which is easy and convenient for home cooks, and... Read more →




Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward


Resting Pastry Dough

Why do recipes for pastry dough tell you to refrigerate it for a half hour before using? --Ashlan There are three reasons for chilling pastry dough before proceeding. First, and most important, is that during the cutting in of the fat, usually butter or lard, and mixing of the dough, the fat has had a chance to soften. If you... Read more →




Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward


More on Unsalted Butter

Someone on the food channel stated that all baked goods that call for butter should use unsalted butter rather than regular. If this is the case, why don't the recipes state that in their directions? When I see a recipe call for butter, I have never seen it state a preference for unsalted butter. Should unsalted be used instead, and... Read more →




Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward


Cookie Dough Spreads Too Much

Q: I have a wonderful spice cookie recipe that I would love to modify to allow me to make gingerbread shaped cookies instead of round, drop cookies. The dough spreads too much during rising to keep the shape. It also is very hard to work with. Is there a simple way to modify the recipe while keeping the same taste?... Read more →




Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward


Cappuccino Panna Cotta

This isn't supposed to be a recipe website (Lord knows, there are enough of those around!), but sometimes I'll find a recipe that is just so-o-o-o good that I want to publish it. So, here is a great recipe for a tasty dessert: Cappuccino Panna Cotta Makes 6 half-cup servings 1 cup Milk 2 cup Whipping Cream - Divided 1/2... Read more →




Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward