Frequently Asked Questions

You'll likely notice our site has a mixture of both. In general, our philosophy is that for small measurements (teaspoons and fractions of a teaspoon) using a teaspoon measurement is best and easier than trying to weigh in grams. For larger measurements (cups and fractions of a cup) we're now completely on the side of using weights (grams). For one, it's WAY easier once you're used to it and easily more accurate and repeatable. Scales can be bought for $10-$15 online and many grocery stores. Walmart and the like definitely have them as well. You don't need anything fancy.

In the middle, measurement-wise, are tablespoons and here we can go either way. For a single tablespoon we'd almost certainly use a scale if we've got one out but ok with a measuring spoon if not (watch out for "level" vs "heaping"). Once we get to two tablespoon and larger, however, we're now almost certainly going to measure in grams for the same reasons we do so vs cups.

JSON is a simple way to store and share data in a format that both humans and computers can understand. If you add a little formatting it becomes even easier to read, regardless of device (laptop, phone, etc.). We just thought having a complete collection of absolutely fantastic baking recipes in this format would be A) oddly fun and B) very convenient in the kitchen. That's pretty much it!

Well maybe. Frankly we haven't thought that far. It does sound like a good idea though. We'll update that thought here as we go along. By the time you read this there should at least be a "contact us" link somewhere so feel free to get in touch if you like!

This is a question that you'll see a lot and, of course, the most common answer is "it depends". You'll also find conflicting answers that both sound pretty definitive. In short, though, here's a solid guide and starting point for excellent results on your crusts.

Pate Brisee and American Pie Crust: Use cold butter and mix butter pieces with flour then add whatever liquids for binding.

Pate Sablee: Use room temp butter and mix the butter with the sugar, eggs (if using), and almond meal (if using) first. Then mix in the flour last.

Pate Sucree: Basically fight with other bakers on which of the above is better. In general, if you're looking for a more tender crust, with a light gentle "crunch" to it and a uniform look, then you're better off with room temp butter approach like mentioned for pate sablee above. If you desire a little flakiness to it along with some visible striations or you just have difficulty when using warmer butter then colder butter is the right choice.

Just know that equally knowledgeable people will argue any of the above. Just remember that "room temperature" pretty much always means around 70 degrees F. If your butter starts to shine or a light press gives way to the bottom of the butter very easily then it's almost certainly too warm (unless this is what your recipe calls for with some specialty crust method). For room temp you want to be able to pretty easily dent the butter with your finger but still be a good ways away from "mushy". Cold butter is cold butter - right out of the fridge. Some people even cut into cubes and freeze for a bit. If you cut it up into cubes as a first step you can also just place in a bowl and put back in the fridge while you gather the other ingredients to make sure it's cold enough to mix the way you want.

In short, it does. In general the reason for room temp eggs and such is so that they incorporate properly with the batter. The reason for cold items (again like butter) is so that they DON'T incorporate easily and instead remain distinct. Just know that if a recipe specifies a certain general temp (room temp eggs and milk, cold butter) it's specified that way for a reason and you'll get MUCH better results if the guidelines are followed. In some cases it's as strong a difference as success vs failure.

We get that but the whole idea behind this site is to have absolutely top notch recipes handy anywhere you go. If you've got your phone with you then you can open it up to a recipe on this site with no distractions and have an easy to read format that's right in front of you. Extensive text and/or photos tend to defeat the purpose. Pehaps we should add a separate "photos" page?

The Essential Trio — If you want to master three classic French pastry creams quickly that will cover an endless array of pastry recipes, start with these three foundational classics:

  1. Crème Anglaise: Crème Anglaise is a versatile custard sauce often served alongside desserts or drizzled over them. It's also the base for crafting delightful ice creams and other sauces.

  2. Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream): Crème Pâtissière stands as a cornerstone in French pastry. This thick, custard-like filling finds its way into an assortment of pastries, including éclairs, cream puffs, tarts, and Napoleons.

  3. Crème Diplomate (Diplomat Cream): Crème Diplomate extends the allure of Crème Pâtissière by introducing a delicate blend of whipped cream. This addition transforms it into a light, airy filling that enhances the creaminess of pastries and desserts.

The beauty of this trio lies in its progressive nature. The latter two are natural extensions of the first, building upon each other with additional ingredients and techniques. You can easily transform Crème Anglaise into Crème Pâtissière and, subsequently, Crème Diplomate by following the corresponding steps and ingredient adjustments for each. These adaptations exemplify the versatility of these timeless French creams, serving as the cornerstone for a wide range of delectable dessert creations.

Step One (Crème Anglaise): Commence your journey with a classic Crème Anglaise recipe that uses approximately 2 cups (480ml) of milk (see under cremes_icings).

Step Two (Crème Pâtissière - Pastry Cream): To craft Crème Pâtissière from Crème Anglaise, enrich it by incorporating a mixture of 2 tablespoons (15g) plain flour and 2 tablespoons (20g) cornstarch during the egg mixture preparation. Extend the cooking time slightly in the final step to attain a sumptuously thick, custard-like consistency. This simple adaptation converts the pourable custard sauce into a substantial filling suitable for a variety of pastries.

Step Three (Crème Diplomate - Diplomat Cream): Crème Diplomate, an elegant evolution of Crème Pâtissière, introduces whipped cream to the equation. After preparing Crème Pâtissière, fold in stiff whipped cream, typically crafted from approximately 3/4 cup (180ml) of cold heavy cream based on the amount of creme patissiere made above. This addition imbues the cream with a delicate, airy texture, elevating the overall creaminess of your dessert creations.

With your Crème Anglaise foundation, you can effortlessly explore the world of Crème Pâtissière and Crème Diplomate by incorporating the recommended additional steps and ingredients for each variation. Moreover, don't hesitate to infuse your creams with diverse flavorings such as vanilla, chocolate, or fruit extracts to craft bespoke dessert experiences.

Undoubtedly, you'll discover numerous variations online, each tailored to specific tastes and purposes–whether it's to introduce unique flavors or achieve specific textures. Yet, the classics you've embarked upon here lay the groundwork for countless pastry masterpieces. Recipes akin to the ones available on JSONBaking often start with around 2 cups (480ml) of milk, a versatile starting point easily adaptable to your desired quantity by halving or doubling. Note that all three above start with a Crème Anglaise made with 2 cups milk so halve or double the additions as well if making a smaller or larger batch.

Bon appétit, and may your culinary creativity flourish!