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Silicone or Steel?
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Knifethrower



Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 218
Location: Heaven, actually.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:42 pm    Post subject: Silicone or Steel? Reply with quote

Hi All,

Been batting around a dilemma over mini tarte tatins for Thanksgiving. I am compelled to use mini silicone tart pans (I have only five to feed this holiday)... reasoning: I am afraid of a removable bottomed pan leaking goo all over the oven (yes, I know I can use foil, parchment, etc...), I do not want to lose my apples on the bottom of the pan at unmolding time, and I am curious enough to try it (but no time to do a dry run before the holiday).

Has anyone played with these pans?Before I plunk a wad of cash down, I would relish any feedback.

Thanks!

Jen
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a number of them. Of them and I've used them for 7 years. There's really one one that I particularly depend on. It's a heavy, straight-sided cake pan with a textured bottom. It's grey if that makes any difference (and I'm honestly not sure if it does or does not) and when I say it's heavy, I mean that it's as much as twice as thick as silicone pans presently being sold. It also does not have the glossy finish of some commercial grade silicone pans.

I had several pans made by this manufacturer (sold in Canada). A loaf pan and a bundt pan became unreliable. I'll explain more about that if you are interested. A muffin pan remained reliable but didn't brown the contact edges as well as a metal pan would have.

I use the cake pan that I would never let go of instead of a shallow springform for a financier which has a lot of butter that could leak from a springform. It — for whatever reason — transfers the heat very well so I also use it for toasting nuts. And it releases things very well, in large part, because of it's flexibility.

But I don't think flexibility is going to work for you in a tart. You flex the silicone and you're going to have the brittle pastry bake.

I have bought other silicone pieces hoping for the results I get with my round cake pan. But I have to concede that, at least in my kitchen, metal remains the baking vessel of choice. I love silicone and think it is a great advancement for many applications, just not, for the most part, baking pans.
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Knifethrower



Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 218
Location: Heaven, actually.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey,


I took some time and read your posts from way back on silicone and I see more recently you are tossing (or have tossed/garage saled, etc.) some of your more unreliable pans. I am too chickenfeet to go without a reliable trial of experimentation and have bad results show up on turkey day, so I may do a little more research (ie: Moulinex, recommended by the UK contingent) before taking the plunge.

My buddy had us over for dinner last Thurs. and she was hawking her new wares (Demarle). It sure was pretty, her bundt cake I got to unmold like a thousand others I have failed at in years past... it was a heck of a tease.

I do want to know just a little more about the failure of the loaf pan and bundt. I know there are good and bad silicone manufacturers and all silicone is not created equal. I'd like to know what happens "when good pans go bad".

I may just drop the wad of cash on mini springforms and do an upright tarte version I had to create after a caramel nightmare occurred on my bake stone years ago.

If I could, I'd zip on over your new, GAWjuss kitchen and sit, parked on the floor in front of Wolfie with you, waiting for test results to emerge and be eaten...

Many thanks, Rainey!

-Jen
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Nicki



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 106
Location: England

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, although I am a fan of silicone, I'm not sure I'd bother for tarts. Again I say yay Moulinex! But I received a heart shaped muffin tray made by Cuisinart not so long ago, and it was rubbish (fortunately it was free) so it just goes to show that you have to pick and choose carefully.

If I were your, I'd buy metal this time, but also treat yourself to something silicone too...for research purposes! And let us know how it goes
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jen, I always use a cast iron skillet for my tarte tatin. It caramelizes the apples & sugar better than anything else I've used! Is that a possibility? I use my 8" skillet for a small crowd,4-6 folks, and my 12" skillet for 8-12 people. Works great!
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm confused--I think..

Tarte Tatin has a bottom crust?
Has no bottom crust?
Question
Are we baking sliced apples in a short pastry crust, or carmelizing sliced apples into a shape-holding mound?
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
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Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tatre Tatin has no bottom crust - its kind of an upside down pie.

It's the shape holding mound one!Laughing Lovely description!

The sliced apples and sugar (or caramel sauce in Clotilde's recipe) go in the bottom of the pan and a pate brisée is draped over the top. Then it's baked.

Why I like my cast iron skillet for this is - I make the caramel sauce in the skillet - then toss in the apples and drape the crust and I have only ONE thing to wash at the end! Cool I am of the "The Fewer Dirty Dishes the Better" school.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna, I'm the same - I make mine in an oval cast iron Le Creuset dish. It's a bit tricky to cut into similar-sized portions, but I agree that the cast iron is great for caramelising.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah--some in this thread are discussing tarts, and some tarte tatin, that explains my confusion. The original poster Knifethrower asked about "mini tarte tatins".

Rainey-- http://www.amazon.com/Silicone-Solutions-Gray-Cake-Baking/dp/B0002L5BF6

is this the good gray Canadian stuff you have?
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope. Mine has a matte finish, the sides are much higher and there are no little "ears" for handling it.

As I said, I don't know if the color is the key. I think it's the weight and there's no telling from an illustration how thick those are.

Tell you what, I'll try to get a pic of mine. ...tho, after 7 years, I don't know how many will turn up today.

Here's the well-used cake pan along with a muffin pan and a mini muffin pan. The mini pan didn't get a lot of use. The muffin pan got a real workout that fall and winter we were in Vancouver where I bought them.



You can see the dimpled bottom. I don't know if you can see the depth and the heft.

In this one you can see the distortion in the muffin pan that made the bundt pan and the loaf pan unusable. The weight of batter and the grill underneath it will hold the muffin pan flat. But the bulging in the loaf pan from the weight of batter and the distortion of the center in the bundt pan made for uneven cooking with dry and undercooked parts.



Still, I'm never giving up the cake pan and I would use the muffin pan again if I were doing half recipes.

Oh! The manufacturer, I discovered by looking on the bottom, is izzo. I think I've seen other things from that company online and taken note of good design.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow--those are silicone? They look like metal! Online under "Izzo" (you must have laughed at the name) I find a golf "putting mat", and a draining tube system for an esspresso machine, but no cookware.
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Knifethrower



Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 218
Location: Heaven, actually.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

M'Ladies,

Thanks for the feedback.

Nicki, I have tried to find an outlet for Moulinex here in the US but have not had luck yet- will have to dig deeper. I can certainly take comfort in the popularity of it based on other threads.

Donna- Cast Iron! (Hand smack to the forehead) Never thought of it! If I am to go that route, I probably need to start from scratch with a new pan and keep it for sweets only, as I am one of those that got the best results in seasoning by not soaping up my skillet. I don't want to have a tarte that smacks of bison burgers and bacon...but there is DEFINITLEY a recipe lurking about with sweet onions, bacon and some kind of cheese....

Judy, we have a Le Creuset outlet here in the area...might venture forth and have a looksee after the holiday...but then again, all those mad shoppers out there may motivate me to get a move-on earlier.

Rainey, thanks for whipping out the digital! I see the textured bottom, much like one of my old springform pans had. I've seen other silicone loaf pans with a frame around them for support, and it seems a fairly good idea- the pans are recommended to be placed on a vented baking sheet (another hefty cost, naturally). Still, after your experiences, I don't think I want to go there... It all seems so much less appealing once you venture outside the realm of a round cake or madelines.

Ginger, I will investigate the link you sent for Rainey's pan (hopefully). I do quite a bit of tarte-ing about and would like another solution. As I said, I do the inverted version with less caramel, but it is not as decadent as the real thing...

Off to find mini springforms in town this weekend... and an armload of parchment paper...

Thanks everyone!
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Knifethrower et al...as long as we're on this thread, I can tell you that the tarte tatin recipe in the big yellow Gourmet cookbook is a winner on all fronts: taste, ease of preparation, and appearance. Even better, it calls for puff pastry as the tarte bottom, and you can use frozen, if you are so inclined. With the madness of the holidays, every little bit helps!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. The limitation of the material seems to be round forms with equal pressure pushing out on all surfaces.


gingerpale- Yup. I found the same thing. In fact, Steve has at least an Izzo golf bag. Mabbee more golf crap (note the reverence...).

The other place I saw the name was on some storage things I have in my kitchen that I bought more recently.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tarte tatin is a favourite in my family (I have only ever used Julia Child's recipe from The Art Of French Cooking and it is always a success) and I have a cast iron 10 incher dedicated solely to the production of that lovely miracle (have been asked to make a couple for Christmas dinner!!) Can't imagine using anything but cast iron for it!

gingerpale that good gray Canadian stuff is my hair.
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