Tag Archives: what-is

What is custard powder?

Custard Powder

It’s not an ingredient that you’ll see called for too often in American cookbooks, but you’re sure to see custard powder mentioned in cookbooks published in the UK or Australia, or even in the pages of foodie magazines imported from either country. I used some recently in my recipe for Vanilla Slices. Custard powder is not dried, powdered custard. It is actually a powdered mix ... Read More »

What are figs?

Fresh Figs

For a long time, figs were a very mysterious fruit to me – and I’m sure they were to many others who did not see them regularly. Although many people in my area had fig trees, I rarely saw anyone harvesting or eating the fruit when I was growing up, so the first item I was faced with a basket at the farmers’ market, I ... Read More »

What is mascarpone?

Mascarpone cheese

Mascarpone cheese is a rich, creamy cow’s milk cheese that is somewhere between butter and cream cheese in terms of both texture and flavor. It is smoother than cream cheese, but thicker and much less “melty” than butter. It has a very delicate, subtle flavor, more like butter than cream cheese. The cheese originally comes from Italy and is popular in many Italian dishes, including ... Read More »

What is a shortcake?

When fresh strawberries, or fresh fruit of almost any kind, are at their peak one of the most common dessert suggestions is for strawberry shortcake. But “shortcake” doesn’t really accurately describe what the dessert looks like, and unless you’ve had one before, you might be stuck scratching you head when you’re served one. Strawberry shortcake is typically made with a biscuit-like cake or scone that ... Read More »

Gelato vs Ice Cream

Vanilla Gelato, churning

While “gelato” is the Italian word for “ice cream,” the two desserts are not one and the same. There are some small, but distinctive, differences between ice cream and gelato. Ice cream is made by churning a base of cream, milk, sugar and sometimes eggs to freeze it and add air. Adding air to the mixture is what keeps ice cream soft, scoopable and helps ... Read More »

What is a crumb coat?

Crumb coat being applied

A  crumb coat is a term that comes up fairly often for those of us who like to bake cakes, but it is not often well defined in recipes. Sometimes, it isn’t mentioned at all, although anyone who has ever tried to frost a cake and ended up with lots of crumbs stuck in the frosting would certainly find that knowing how to apply a ... Read More »

What are white peaches?

White Peach Slices

White peaches are my favorite type of peaches to eat plain, so I often stock my kitchen up with them when they are in season. This means that white peaches make it into my desserts and baked goods more often than standard yellow peaches do. The two fruits are absolutely interchangeable in recipes, but there are a few flavor differences between white and yellow peaches ... Read More »

What is dulce de leche?

Spoonful of dulce de leche

Dulce de leche is a thick, milk-based caramel sauce. It is probably most popular in South American Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries, but variations exist in other countries and cultures as well. The most simple caramel sauce starts with sugar, and depending on the variation you have in mind, ingredients like cream and butter are added to the hot sugar to form caramel. With dulce de ... Read More »

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