The Pastry Chef's Companion

A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry Professional
By Glenn Rinsky Laura Halpin Rinsky

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2009 Glenn Rinsky and Laura Halpin Rinsky
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-470-00955-0

Chapter One


abaissage (ah-bay-'zahjh) A French term that denotes the rolling out of pastry dough.

abaisse (ah-'bays) A French term that describes a rolled-out piece of pastry, specifically puff pastry, into thin sheets. It may also refer to a thin slice of sponge cake.

Abernathy biscuit A firm cracker flavored with caraway seeds. Created in the 1800s by a Scottish physician named Dr. John Abernathy as a digestive cure.

aboukir (ah-boo-'kir) 1. A Swiss dessert made with sponge cake and pastry cream flavored with chestnut alcohol. The round cake is finished with coffee-flavored fondant and garnished with chopped pistachios. 2. A bombe consisting of almond/ praline ice, praline-flavored pte bombe, and garnished with toasted almonds and marzipan.

aboukir almonds (ah-boo-'kir) A petit four of green-colored marzipan studded with two roasted blanched almonds, dipped into a sugar syrup and cooled, forming a hard crust.

abricot (ah-bree-'coe) The French word for apricot.

absinthe ('ab-sinth) A sweet and highly flavored emerald green spirit distilled from the leaves of the wormwood plant, flavored with herbs such as fennel, Chinese anise, hyssop, and veronica. It was first produced by Henri Louis Pernod but is banned by most countries because it is believed to be dangerous to one's health. In recipes, Pernod is often cited as a substitute.

absorbition The ability of a bread flour to absorb water.

aca (ah-'ka-sah) A Brazilian porridge of coconut milk and rice flour that is steamed, usually in banana leaves.

acacia (ah-'kay-sha) A food additive derived from the acacia tree. It is used as an emulsifi er, thickener, or flavoring agent in processed foods such as chewing gum, confections, and snack foods. Also known as gum arabic.

acacia honey See honey.

acerola (as-uh-'roh-luh) A small tree grown in the West Indies and adjacent regions, as well as the small cherry-type fruit that it produces. The fruit is also known as Barbados cherry, Puerto Rican cherry, and West Indies cherry; it has a tangy, sweet flavor and is an excellent source of vitamin C. Used in desserts and preserves.

Acesulfame-K (ay-see-'suhl-faym-K) A noncaloric artificial sweetener, commercially sold as Sunette and Sweet One. It was discovered in 1967 by the German life-sciences company Hoechst AG and was approved by the FDA in 1988. It is 200 times sweeter than sucrose, and retains its sweetness when heated, unlike other artificial sweeteners. Used in many foods, including puddings, gelatin desserts, candies, and yogurt.

acetate ('ah-sa-tate) A clear, flexible plastic, which can be purchased as sheets, rolls, or strips in various thicknesses, often used in chocolate work and cake making.

acetic acid (ah-'see-tic) 1. A colorless pungent liquid that is the essential ingredient in vinegar-it makes it sour. 2. An acid in sourdough culture and sourdough bread. Along with lactic acid, it provides the sour flavor in sourdough bread. The acid develops best in bread doughs that are cool and stiff. It is formed when wild yeast bacteria interact with alcohol present in fermented solutions such as wine and beer.

Acetobacillus (ah-'see-toe-'bah-sill-us) Bacteria that create lactic acid and acetic acid by eating sugars present in bread dough. This creates a distinct sour flavor in the bread.

aceto dolce (ah-'see-toh 'dohl-chee) Literally, "sweet vinegar" in Italian. Refers to a fruit spread made by preserving fruit in vinegar and then cooking it with honey and grape juice. The spread is served like jam for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

acetome ('ah-sah-tome) A syrup made from honey and vinegar, once used as a preservative for fruits in many parts of Europe, but rarely used today.

achiote (ah-chee-'oh-tay) The red, inedible seed of the annatto, a small shrub native to tropical America and also cultivated in Southeast Asia and other tropical climates. The seeds contain a natural coloring pigment called annatto.

acid From the Latin acidus, which means "sour." Acids are found in vinegar (acetic acid), wine (tartaric acid), lemon juice (citric acid), sour milk (lactic acid), and apples (malic acid). They may be used as tenderizers because they break down connective tissue, and also to prevent fruit from oxidizing. Acids are also used in making meringue because they help strengthen the cell wall of egg white protein.

acidic (ah-'sihd-ihk) A culinary term that describes an item with a tart or sour flavor.

acidophilus milk (ass-ah-'doph-a-lus) Whole, low-fat, or nonfat sweet milk to which Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria have been added, as a way of restoring the bacteria present in raw milk but destroyed in the pasteurization process. The addition of the bacteria converts the lactose milk to lactic acid, which is linked to health benefits, including improved digestion.

acidulant, acidulated water (ah-'sihd-yoo-lay-ted) Water to which a small amount of an acid has been added, used to prevent discoloration of some fruits and vegetables, such as peaches and artichokes. The acids used may include vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, and ascorbic acid.

acitrne (ah-sih-'troh-nay) Candied nopale.

ackee (ah-'kee) A bright red tropical fruit that, when ripe, bursts opens to reveal a soft yellow flesh and black seeds. Some parts of the fruit are toxic when underripe, and therefore ackee may be subject to import restrictions. The fruit was brought from the West Africa to Jamaica in the late 1700s by Captain Bligh. It is served with salt fish at breakfast in Jamaica.

Aclame See alitame.

acorn Nut produced by the oak tree. Of the many varieties of oak trees, the acorns of the white oak and live oak are the most commonly used for food. The nuts may be eaten raw or roasted. Ground acorns may also been used as a coffee substitute.

acqua ('ahk-wah) The Italian word for water.

active dry yeast See yeast.

additive A natural or synthetic ingredient added to food products to enhance flavor and/or appearance, prolong shelf life, and/or improve nutritional value.

ade A cold drink that combines sugar, water, and citrus fruit juice.

adobe oven See oven.

advocaat ('ad-voh-kaht) A Dutch drink of brandy, sugar, and egg yolks, similar to eggnog. A favorite in Amsterdam. Also called advocaatenborrel.

adrak ('ahd-rack) The Indian word for fresh ginger root.

adzuki bean (ah-'zoo-kee) A russet-colored dried bean with a distinctive white streak and a sweet flavor; used extensively in Japanese and Chinese puddings and confections, such as Yokan. Adzuki beans can be found in Asian markets; may also be spelled azuki.

aeblepidsvin A Danish dessert of apples, lemon juice, and toasted almonds.

aebleskiver ('eh-bleh-skee-vor) Literally "apple slice," this is a small Danish doughnut made with a beer batter flavored with spices and citrus zest. The doughnuts are baked stovetop in a special pan called an aebleskivepandle, which has deep half-sphere indentions to form the pastry as it cooks. A slice of apple or small amount of jam may be inserted into the centers after baking or they may be dusted with confectioners' sugar; served warm.

aenjera See injera.

aerate ('ay-uh-rayt) To fill with air; to lighten, so as to create volume in pastry products. Aeration may be accomplished by physically or mechanically whisking, creaming or laminating, or by adding a leavening agent such as yeast or baking powder.

aerometer (air-'oh-mee-tehr) See Baum.

African Red tea See rooibos.

afternoon tea A traditional English light meal served in the afternoon and consisting of finger sandwiches, petit fours and scones, crumpets, and/or muffins served with clotted cream and jam. It is traditionally accompanied with tea and sometimes Madeira, Port, or Sherry. See also high tea.

agar-agar ('ah-gahr) A dried, tasteless seaweed used by commercial processors because of its strong setting properties to thicken soups, sauces, ice creams, and jellies. May be used as a gelatin substitute. Agar-agar is unique in that it will set at room temperature, unlike gelatin, which needs refrigeration to set. Can be found in many Asian markets.

aging The maturing of foods under controlled conditions, for the purpose of obtaining a particular flavor or texture.

agitate To move with rapid, irregular motion. In pastry, agitation is often done to induce crystallization of fats and sugars, as with agitating chocolate during the tempering process.

agiter (ah-ghe-'tay) The French verb meaning to stir or shake.

agraz A North African sorbet made from verjuice, sugar, ground almonds, and often sprinkled with Kirsch.

agrio (ah-'gree-yoh) The Spanish word to describe something as sour.

agrumes (ah-grue-'may) The French word for citrus fruit.

aguardiente (ah-gwar-dee-'en-tee) A strong Spanish liqueur similar to grappa or marc.

aigre (ay-gruh) The French word that describes something as tart, sour, or bitter.

aigre-doux (ay-gruh-'doo) The French term to describe something as bittersweet.

airbrush A small, air-operated tool that sprays edible color for the purpose of decorating cakes, confections, and showpieces.

air pump A tool used in the production of blown sugar. It consists of a long tapered nozzle with a hose that connects to a bulbous hand pump. A ball of cooked sugar is placed over the nozzle and air is blown into the sugar by hand-squeezing the pump, while at the same time the sugar is formed into the desired shape.

Airelle (ah-'rehl) A cranberry-flavored eau-de-vie.

airelle rouge (ah-'rehl 'roo-zha) The French word for cranberry.

aiysh (eye-'yesh) Egyptian flatbread.

ajouter (ah-zhu-'tay) The French verb meaning to join, or add ingredients.

ajowan ('ahj-wah-ahn) A light brown to purplish seed used as a spice in Indian breads and chutneys. It has the flavor of thyme and is the size and shape of a celery seed. Also called ajwain or carom.

ajwain See ajowan.

akala (ah-'kah-lah) A Hawaiian berry similar to a raspberry, eaten raw or used in jams and pies. The color may vary from red to purple.

akee See ackee.

akwadu A Ghanan dessert of bananas or other fruits combined with shredded coconut, citrus juice, and sugar and baked until the coconut is golden brown. Usually served hot or cold after a spicy meal.

la carte (ah lah carht) A menu term used to indicate that each item is priced separately.

la minute (ah lah mee-'noot) The French term for "of the minute," referring to dishes that are prepared at the last moment or are made to order.

la mode (ah lah 'mohd) The French term for "in the style of" or "in the manner of." During the last century, it has come to mean American pie with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Albario (ahl-bah-'ree-n'yoh) A white grape varietal grown in California as well as parts of Portugal and Spain. It produces a crisp, light-bodied wine.

Albert Uster Imports See Specialty Vendors appendix.

albumen (al-'byoo-mehn) From the Latin word albus, which means "white," this is the protein of the egg white, which makes up approximately 70% of the edible portion of the egg.

alcazar (al-kah-'zahr) See alkazar.

alchermes (al-'kehr-mess) A bright-red spicy Italian liqueur. The color is from a naturally occurring dye called cochineal, which is a substance extracted from insects such as ladybugs. The liqueur is used to flavor and/or color desserts and confections.

alcohol A tasteless, odorless, highly flammable liquid that is the intoxicating agent in liquors and fuels. Alcohol suitable for human consumption is known as ethyl alcohol, or ethanol. These spirits are made by fermenting the juices and concentrations of grains or fruits and then distilling the liquids to produce alcohol. Water is usually added to bring the solution to a rating of 80 proof, or 40% alcohol by volume. Unlike water, which boils at 212F (100C), alcohol boils at 173F (78C), and not all of the alcohol may be cooked or burned off, as has been proved by a USDA study. Also, alcohol will not freeze completely, and therefore is used in many frozen desserts, when a complete hard freeze is undesirable.

alcohol burner A small tool with a flame, used extensively in the production of pulled sugar and blown sugar. The glass or metal burner has a cloth wick that is soaked in denatured alcohol. When the wick is lit, the burner is used to heat or melt pieces of sugar so they can be connected. Also known as a spirit lamp.

aldehyde An organic compound that contributes flavor and aroma to bread.

aleurone layer The outermost layer of the wheat endosperm, which is typically removed with the bran prior to milling.

alfajore (al-fah-'hoar-ray) A South American pastry popular in Peru and Ecuador, consisting of short dough rounds baked and sandwiched together with cinnamon-flavored custard or cooked milk pudding.

algin (al-jihn) A thickening agent derived from seaweed and similar to gelatin. It is used as a stabilizer in commercial puddings, ice creams, pie fillings, and other foods. Also known as alginic acid.

alginic acid See algin.

alitame (al-ih-taym) An artificial sweetener that is 2,000 times the sweetness of sugar. It is not yet approved by the FDA. It is currently marketed in some countries under the brand name Aclame.

alkali ('al-kah-lie) A substance with a pH of 7 or above. Alkalis are used to neutralize acids. The most common alkali in baking is baking soda, which is also known as bicarbonate of soda. See baking soda and pH.

alkanet ('al-kuh-neht) A Eurasian plant that is a member of the borage family. Its roots produce a bright red color that is used as a food dye, particularly in margarine.

alkazar (al-kah-'zahr) An Austrian cake that is made with a base of shortdough pastry that is covered with a layer of apricot marmalade and topped with a Kirsch-flavored almond meringue. After the cake is baked, it is garnished with more marmalade and a latticework of marzipan, and then returned to the oven to brown the marzipan. Also spelled alcazar.

Allegrini An Italian, red semisweet wine named for the late Giovanni Allegrini, who founded the Allegrini wine estate in the 1950s. It has intense blackberry fruit flavors with a hint of licorice and eucalyptus, and it pairs well with ripe, creamy cheeses and cheesecake.

alleluia (ah-lay-'loo-yah) A citrus-flavored French confection made during Easter time. It is believed that the cake is named after Pope Pius VII. Legend has it that a dying soldier found the recipe during battle and gave it to a pastry chef; upon hearing the story, the Pope baptized the cake and named it Alleluia, which is French for "hallelujah."

alligator pear See avocado.

all-purpose flour See flour.

all-purpose shortening See shortening.

allspice The dried brown berry of the Pimenta dioica tree, found in Central and South America and the West Indies. The flavor is similar to that of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Sold both whole and ground, allspice is used in a variety of baked goods including pumpkin pie. Also known as Jamaica pepper.

allumette (ah-loo-'meht) The French word for "matchstick," which refers to thin strips of puff pastry that are baked and then topped with a sweet filling or royal icing; in the savory kitchen, the strips are topped with savory fillings.

almendras garrapinadas (al-'mahn-drahz gah-rah-pihn-'yah-dahz) Toasted almonds cooked in caramelized honey syrup. The almonds are cooled on a marble slab and broken into bite-size pieces. These candied almonds are popular in Spain and usually made for celebrations.

almond The nut of the almond tree, grown in California, South Africa, Australia, and the Mediterranean. Almonds are either sweet or bitter. Sweet almonds are most common in the United States; bitter almonds are illegal here because the prussic acid in the raw bitter almond is poisonous. The toxins can be destroyed by heating, however, and processed bitter almonds are used in liqueurs, extracts, and orgeat syrup. Sweet almonds are available blanched or unblanched; whole, sliced, slivered, or chopped; smoked; and in paste form.


Excerpted from The Pastry Chef's Companion by Glenn Rinsky Laura Halpin Rinsky Copyright © 2009 by Glenn Rinsky and Laura Halpin Rinsky . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.