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Solving a Sticky Pastry-Pan Problem

March 05, 1987|JOAN DRAKE | Times Staff Writer

Question: When making such things as pecan rolls or sticky buns, most of the brown sugar and nuts usually stick to the pan when inverted instead of staying on the pastries. Any suggestions?

Answer: Using non-stick pans or being certain to thoroughly grease regular pans should solve this problem.

Q: About three years ago I bought a great peeler at a cooking equipment store in Santa Monica. The store has since moved or gone out of business and I have not been able to find this peeler or scraper anywhere. It says "Ritter" on one side and "made in Germany" on the other. Can you help me locate one?

A: The diagram on your letter matches one in "The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook and Guide to Kitchenware" by Chuck Williams (Random House: $19.95). Check a Williams-Sonoma store in your area and you'll probably find the same or a similar peeler.

Q: I've tried several of the dried pea, bean and lentil soup combinations marketed by Just Delicious Gourmet Foods. They are very convenient and really delicious. Would it be possible to find out what the proportions of the ingredients are?

A: Sorry, but Just Delicious Gourmet Foods feels it must maintain proprietary rights over the proportions of the ingredients in its products.

Q: What causes custard to be watery or curdle?

A: According to the University of California Agricultural Extension Service, custards separate or curdle and become watery if they are cooked at either too high a temperature or for too long a time. They sometimes become watery after cooling even when they appear normal when removed from the oven. This separation can be caused by the custard continuing to cook after it has been removed from the oven, especially if the container is glass or very heavy pottery. Cool custards as quickly as possible to avoid this liquid separation.

The safest way to keep the liquid from separating is to control the temperature and time of cooking by placing custards in a pan of hot water and cooking in a moderate oven (350 to 375 degrees) to maintain a uniformly low temperature. They should be removed from the oven as soon as coagulation takes place. A knife inserted into the center of the custard will come out clean when the custard has coagulated or become firm.

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