Applied woodworking technology for pastry?

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by foodpump, May 26, 2012.

  1. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Last week, a customer begged me to make a dozen Napolean slices for him.  I hate making them because the slicing is so messy.  Basically you have three layers of baked puff sandwiched between two layers of pastry cream.  You can freeze only so long but you still have to slice, and when you slice, you inadvertently push down, squishing the cream out.  I've done electric knives, freezing, but it always ends up as a mess.

    What I came up with was a frame to put the block of unsliced Napoleons in. This device greatly resembles a woodworker's "miter box" a very simple frame made to guide the saw to make 90 or 45 degree cuts. 

    I made mine with slits every inch and half to guide my knife.  The frame holds the pastry block tight, so it doesn't move around, and since it doesn't move around, I don't need to push down, but can go hog wild "sawing" back and forth with no worries about disturbing the whole block.  See the below pic[​IMG]  
     
  2. highlander01

    highlander01

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    At first glance I thought it was a miter box ... awesome job!!!!!!!!
     
     
  3. chefross

    chefross

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    My only concern would be tiny bits of wood making their way into the slice.

    Other then that.......it looks great.
     
  4. phil brain

    phil brain

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    Fantastic idea. I would have similar concerns as chefross. I'd be worried about bacteria cos the wood will hold moisture. I definitely don't want to detract from the idea though I think it is great. So basic but great. Maybe Perspex would be be ideal?
     
  5. foodpump

    foodpump

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    If I had more time I would have made it out of nylon--usually I have cutting boards to cannibilize.

    However, if you look closely, you will see a faint line of parchment paper.  For each block of pastry, I made a parchment paper capsule--lining the bottom and sides, then slipped the whole thing into the box.  This accomplishes a few things: One there is no contact of food onto wood; two, no cream gets onto the frame making removal difficult;, and three, each slice now comes with a custom paper wrapper.

    What you don't see are the shallow grooves in the bottom or base of the frame, these match the slits on the sides.  This way the knife can go through the entire pastry and not cut the base of the frame.
     
  6. rat

    rat

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    You could always use a old plastic cutting board instead of wood, I like it though. I get some great pastry equipment from home depot, shower pan liners to make tuile templates, grout trowels fro making stripes in cakes or icing, thick acetate sheets for chocolate, all kinds of stuff. Thanks for the tip
     
  7. prettycake

    prettycake Banned

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    whatever works for you.... by the way,  this concern NEVER happens to commercially sold cutting boards /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smoking.gif
     
  8. chefpeon

    chefpeon Kitchen Dork

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    Personally, I've never had a problem making a strip of Napoleons, freezing til solid, then slicing with a very sharp, hot (I heat my blade with a torch) chef's knife.

    No frame needed, and they've been sliced very cleanly. And because they're frozen solid, there's no "squish-out". They thaw within a matter of about 45 minutes or so.
     
  9. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Yeah, I used to do that, but now I only use a made-from-scratch hot process pastry cream ( yolks, milk, and cornstarch) that weeps when thawed.
     
     
  10. chefpeon

    chefpeon Kitchen Dork

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    I use a scratch hot process pastry cream myself, except I use half milk and half heavy cream in mine. I've never had a problem with weeping.........