- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Q: I like decorating cookies, but my icing recipe calls for raw egg whites. Is there a substitute?

A: Look for pasteurized egg whites in the dairy case of your supermarket. That should solve the problem.

Q: I usually skip recipes that call for buttermilk because I hate to buy a whole quart for just a cup. Is there any solution to this?

A: There is an excellent powdered buttermilk (just add water) made by Saco. Or if all else fails, substitute a cup of milk into which you have stirred a tablespoon of white vinegar.

Q: I have a recipe for chocolate mousse that calls for adding milk to the chocolate.

With one brand of chocolate it works well, but with another brand, the chocolate thickens so much that it’s difficult to combine with the other ingredients. What should I do?

A: Try adding a tablespoon or two more milk to the thicker chocolate. It won’t change the outcome of the recipe.

Q: Can you suggest a simple wedding cake? I would like to make my own, but don’t want to be overwhelmed, with everything else that’s going on.

A: Did you ever hear that it’s bad luck to make your own wedding cake? My sincere advice is get someone else to do it. You have enough to do. Ask a relative or friend to take care of the cake.

Q: Is a torte a cake that uses ground nuts as a substitute for flour?

A: No, “torte” is the word for “cake” in German. Torten (the plural) may be made in any of the ways used to make cakes, thus there are sponge, butter, meringue and nut cakes.

The Viennese-German baking tradition favors cake layers rich with ground nuts, and it is from this that the misconception probably arises.

Q: Where I live, sugar absorbs humidity during the summer months and then hardens afterward. Is there a remedy for this?

A: Probably not, since the process already starts when the sugar is delivered to the store where you buy it. Try pulsing the hard sugar in the food processor. That should easily break up any lumps.

Q: I have a great recipe for lemon mousse, but occasionally it has a bitter taste. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Why does this happen sometimes but not others?

A: If your mousse has grated lemon zest in it, you have to be careful to grate off just the yellow part of the rind and none of the bitter white pith beneath. That may be the root of your problem.

Q: Does the term “quiche” refer to all tarts that aren’t sweet?

A: No. Strictly speaking, a quiche is a bacon and custard tart (no cheese, please) that hails from the Lorraine province of northeastern France.

By extension, many savory tarts with custard and other elements in the filling are also referred to as quiches.


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