YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

You Asked About . . .

How to Finish Sauce With Butter Swirl

February 27, 1986|MINNIE BERNARDINO | Times Staff Writer

Question: In a veal recipe that I would like to try, it instructs at the end of the sauce procedure to finish it off with "a butter swirl." Can you tell me what this means specifically and how much butter to use? The recipe makes six servings. Help, I truly want to make this recipe.

Answer: A butter swirl usually is added to a brown or white sauce after reducing, straining (or blending in a food processor) and just before serving to enhance flavor, to give a glossy finish and to thicken the sauce slightly.

Pieces of unmelted butter (preferably unsalted) are added, bit by bit, to the sauce while the pan or skillet is tilted in a circular motion. The butter will melt slowly, creating a spiral effect in the sauce. The pan is then removed from heat while the last piece of butter is partially melted and the swirling movement is continued until the butter fully melts.

Use one tablespoon butter for each cup of sauce.

Q: What is the function of whipping cream in some batter and dough recipes? When a recipe calls for four tablespoons whipping cream, can I substitute whole milk or low-fat milk, which has fewer calories and is less costly?

A: Whipping cream, other than being used as a liquid, functions as a shortening due to its fat content of 30% to 40%. Whole milk, which contains only 3 1/2% milk fat, may not work as a good substitute in delicate pastry products. It is the same way with low-fat milk, which in some instances should not even be substituted for whole milk. The increase in fat content helps tenderize a product and adds moistness and richness as well as flavor. Bakers also sometimes add additional fat to their products for longer keeping.

Q: I made a butter cream filling for a torte but had more than enough to fill the torte. For fear of wasting it due to spoilage, I made a small cake and used it for dessert the next day. My question is, can butter cream be refrigerated for several days or frozen for months?

A: Butter cream can be stored in an airtight container (so it doesn't absorb odors and flavors) in the refrigerator for three to four days. Although it may be frozen, I wouldn't recommend it because there would be a slight graininess in texture.

Since butter hardens with refrigeration, bring the butter cream to room temperature before using in order to have the proper smooth consistency. Then beat it gently until it is fluffy again.

Q: Should alfalfa sprouts be washed before eating?

A: Most alfalfa sprouts are grown hydroponically in the tubs that they are sold in, and since they are often covered they have not been exposed to microorganisms. The only reason for washing them would be to remove the brown seed hulls, but this is a matter of personal preference. Some alfalfa sprouts that are available in cello bags have been washed to remove the seed hulls and to increase their shelf life.

Los Angeles Times Articles