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Better Pastry Next Time

Persistence is part of the job description for a pastry chef. Today's pastry class brings you tips to make your next foray into the pastry kitchen more successful than your last one.

Rich and Chocolaty

Do your brownies or chocolate cake come out of the pan with unsightly white markings on the sides and bottom? This is from the flour used to dust the pan so they wouldn't stick. Next time, use cocoa instead of flour for a dark, chocolaty finish.

The Case of the Shrinking Pie Crust

Do you find your pie shell shrinking as it bakes? That's because it stretches when rolled out. Next time, roll the shell larger. Place it in the pan very loosely and make sure it hangs out over the edge. Let it rest half an hour in the refrigerator, then fold and trim the edges to size.

Leaky Pastries

Did you make some delicious puff pastry, only to see the filling leak out all over the baking sheet? Be sure the edges of the pastry are dry, then paste them using a leak-proof seal: beaten egg mixed with water. Press the layers firmly together.

Sinking Chips

When baking with chocolate chips, raisins or dried fruits, do they tend to sink to the bottom? Next time, dredge them lightly with flour before adding to the mix.

And finally...

As any pastry chef will tell you, making superb pastries takes practice. In fact, once you get it right, keep practicing! The main reason people fail to get perfect results in the pastry kitchen is that they don't go there often enough.