Baking from Silverton's pastries?

Joined Mar 3, 2002
I just got a Silverton's LaBrea Pastries book. What are some of your favorites from there? Suggestions about good ones to begin with? Thanks


Joined Apr 4, 2000
That’s a hard question to answer Alexia, it really depends on your taste. I’m crazy about almond & pear so I had to try the Pretty Pear Cookies. I made Moravian Ginger Snaps, for my dad last Christmas. I added some Australian candied ginger to the recipe because I know he likes them hot. I think it was then I also made the Ginger Cakes.

A few weeks ago I tried her croissant recipe. It turned out better than I could have hope for. I’ve heard her Ginger Scones are to die for, I haven’t tried it, too afraid I’ll get addicted to them and since she uses heavy scream in her scones, I’m trying to stay away from them.

I know I tried some savoury recipes too, unfortunately I can’t recall which one I tried. You know you can jump in this point with no fear, the recipes are well written and they work.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Try her brioche i.e. cinnamon buns. They will bring tears to your eyes. :lips:
Joined Dec 30, 1999
Tough call alexia,

I agree with Isa, I would go with whatever catches my eye. The croissant and cinnamon buns are amazing and a good study in Silverton technique.

What are your own top three choices out of the book?
Joined Mar 3, 2002
Thanks for the responses. I JUST (today) received the book. Looking it over, I see lots I'd like to make. I thought I'd start with some things that others had found worked well. Some of the savories look really good, too. (Pissaladiere is one of my very favorities.)

I recall her croissant dough getting high praise on another thread. I've never made croissant, brioche, or puff pastry dough, Later this spring I'm going to give one or another a try. I've finally learned to make a sure fire flaky crust. :bounce: So how hard can the others be? :lol:
Joined Dec 30, 1999
"... sure fire flaky crust"

All right! You volunteered the info! What's the recipe?

Joined Mar 3, 2002
It's not so much a recipe as a set of techniques and tweekings. One day, in a hurry, I "threw it together" in my old Cuisinart instead of using my usual anxious care.

Note: my kitchen is characteristically quite cool when the oven's off. (50-55 degrees in winter), and I roll on a marble topped table.

Flour: I use KingArthur a-p. I used to measure carefully, now I dip a 1 cup measure into the flour and bring it up somewhat mounded. I estimate it is a little less than 1 1/4 cup dipped. Add a pinch of salt. Give it a twirl to incorporate if you feel compulsive.

Butter: Always kept in the freezer and used frozen. I use 1 stick, first cut into quarters lengthwise, then cross-cut IRREGULARLY into cubes 1/2 - 3/4." Cutting irregularly results in an overall "cornmeal" texture with a lot of little discernable bits of butter as well. You will see the butter bits when you roll out the dough. (I have no difficulty cutting through the frozen butter with a large knife.)

Water: I put a funnel in the processor feed tube and cant it so that when I pour the water in, it distributes into the side of the bowl where the force accumulates the dough instead of accumulating in a wet mess in the empty center. I then turn on the processor and pour in 1/4 cup of cold water, test the dough for texture, add more if needed.

For years I took the cookbook injunctions to add as little liquid as possible seriously. Ha! It's some foul trick that. The dough won't roll easily and cracks all around the edges; I'd overhandle it and wind up sometimes with a crust that needed a knife to cut. Now I wind up with a much wetter dough. This means the dough sucks up a bit more flour when I roll it out.

Dismounting and storage: Dump the dough out directly onto plastic wrap. Use the wrap to push the loose clumpy mess into a more compact mess. I don't frisee it. Occasionally it's been so sticky that I put a little flour on the plastic and my hands to form a skin on the dough to make it easier to handle. Sometimes I form it into a kind of cylinder, then squish it into a 1" or so thick round or oblong, using the plasic against the dough. I've also just patted it down loosely into a 1" or so flat (without compressing too much), then folded it over on itself before shaping. Form it round or rectangular to accomodate the final product Wrap completely in the plastic.

Fridge #1: I refrigerate this dough at least 20 - 30 minutes. Typically, I make it the night before.

Rolling & Shaping: When I roll it out, I sometimes need to keep flouring the table, roller, hands, etc when the dough is a little wetter. Otherwise, nothing special.

At this stage it varies. I may shape the dough for the pan or free form tart. If the texture seems just right for handling I may put it in the pan now or for freeform make a raised edge. If the dough is really really moist, not pleasant to handle, or time dictates a pause, I may put it flat on a sheet pan (on plastic or parchment for easy handling) and go to:

Fridge #2: for another spell of 15 + minutes as convenience calls.

Shaping if not done before: If I didn't put the dough in the pan before or make the free-form edge, I do it now.

Fridge #2/3 (i.e., after shaping): From this point it is quite variable depending on the nature of the pie. I may fill it and refrigerate it again before baking (fruits, vegetables, etc). Or refrigerate and then prebake a shell. Or for a custard-type, I am more likely to refrigerate, then fill, then bake. In any case I like to glaze the inside of the tart with either egg or fruit jam to keep it from getting soggy. But in all cases, the dough itself has been refrigerated after achieving its final form as well as having been refrigerated before rolling and shaping. The dough will be cold when it goes into the oven, the filling may or may not be cold.

Filling: Depends on the filling. When I made an apple tart recently, I put the filling in and then refrigerated before baking. If I were doing a custardy filling I might refrigerate the dough before filling. I also like to "seal" most shells with egg white or a painting of fruit glaze. For my apple tart I used a rose jam.

Baking: In general: I always have a pizza stone on the floor of my oven (covered in foil). I always have a thermometer in my oven. I preheat 45 - 60 minutes when I am using the stone directly. Also I find when my oven signals it's up to temperature, the themometer doesn't agree. Lastly, I usually heat the oven to about 25 degrees more than "cruising heat," then turn it down to the desired temp. Maybe because my kitchen is so cool, I need to compensate for opening the oven door.

For fruit and savories, I tend to bake at a somewhat higher temperature than I used to or that most recipes call for - 375f, maybe higher (425f for an onion tart, etc) - but not high for a custard type tart.

Depending on the particular tart, I may slide it directly onto the stone (usually on a piece of parchment paper) or I place the tart on a sheet pan, the sheet pan on the baking stone. I tend to do the free forms directly on the stone, if the bottom starts to really brown, I'll raise it in the oven, sometimes putting it on a sheet pan to insulate further browning of the bottom.

I watch the tart carefully, particularly when baking at a higher temperature. In addition to turning front to back about halfway through, I may also move the tart to an upper shelf, especially if there's an upper crust. (I tend not to glaze the crust with milk, egg, etc. -- laziness, not technique). Something like a pizzaladiere may go through the entire baking on the stone.

I have never put a glass pie plate directly on the stone, so do not know what would happen if you do. I suspect that it would be okay if it were on a sheet pan.

This all sounds more complicated than it is as much of it rests on my environment and cooking habits. I've spelled it out. If your kitchen is 70 degrees, etc., you may have to refrigerate longer. In my opinion the extra refrigeration after having assembled the tart and before baking is a key element. Also, I believe putting the tart on a stone in the oven (with or without a sheet pan) for at least the initial part of baking makes a big difference. As is starting the pie at a slightly higher temperature than called for, adjusting later.
Top Bottom