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ANGELICA: Angelica is the crystallized stalk of the angelica plant, an aromatic herb. It is candied and dried which creates the distinctive green colour. It is used as a decoration as well as in recipes using candied fruit.

BAKING SODA: Baking soda, or Sodium Bicarbonate is an alkali that requires the presence of an acid in the dough or batter to begin the leavening process; it reacts to being moistened.

BAKING POWDER: Used to leaven cakes and pastries, it is composed of baking soda and two acids, calcium acid phosphate and sodium aluminum sulfate creating two chemical reactions, one when moistened, the other when exposed to heat. Also, starch is found in baking powder to stabilize it and neutralize the chemical reaction; as well as to absorb the excess moisture in the air.

BISCUIT: A type of batter used to make sponge sheets or fingers. Also indicates a batter where the yolks and whites are whipped separately and folded together.

BLOOM: A grayish film on chocolate that develops when chocolate has been exposed to warm temperatures, extreme changes of temperature or poor tempering. Sugar bloom results in a rough texture and appearance and is caused by high humidity.

BUCHE DE NOEL: French name for a traditional Christmas cake which is decorated as a Christmas log .

BUTTER: Made from pasteurized cream mechanically churned to separate the fat granules from the liquid buttermilk. Required to contain a minimum of 80% milk fat; the other 20% is water mixed with milk solids. Salt and colouring may be added.

BUTTERCREAM: There are many varieties of buttercream used in a pastry kitchen; most buttercreams contain unsalted butter, either egg yolks or egg whites, sugar and flavourings. In most cases, the butter is double the weight of the sugar, incorporating as much air as possible.

BUTTERMILK: Composed of skim milk and bacterial cultures; contains no butter. It gives a rich, tangy flavour to baked goods. Derives its name from its history as a by-product of butter. Method of production is similar to yogurt and sour cream.

BUTTERSCOTCH: The sauce is made from brown sugar, cream, butter, sometimes condensed milk and rum (or scotch whiskey). The candies are made from a caramel with added butter.

CAREME: Marie-Antoine Careme was one of the great geniuses of French patisserie in the 1800's. He invented recipes that are still popular today, such as vol-au-vents, meringues, soufflé Rothschild as well as magnificent displays and centerpieces.

CARAMEL: Cooking a sugar syrup to the point where all the water has evaporated and the sugar begins to burn results in caramel. The sugar begins to colour when it reaches about 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Caramel can also be made by the dry method, where no water is added before cooking. This is a faster method as it eliminates the evaporating time but requires more attention to avoid burning. Caramel sauce is made with the addition of whipping cream and butter. Caramel can be made into spun sugar, and it is the base for nougatine and praline.

CHARLOTTE: A cold charlotte is made by lining a mold with sponge type cakes or biscuits such as ladyfingers which enclose a light filling such as a mousse or bavarian cream. Charlottes have been popular since the time of Careme, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Traditionally, the mold used is smaller in diameter at the base than at the top. The other type of charlotte is served hot, in which a mold is lined with buttered bread slices and filled with sweetened fruit or fruit puree, baked and served with fruit sauce.

CHOCOLATE: Chocolate first made its way to Europe as a beverage, via the 16th century explorer Cortez. Not until the early 20th century, was it processed into bars for eating and pastry making. There are various forms of chocolate as follows:

Unsweetened Chocolate: This is the pure chocolate liquor, with no sugar added. It contains about 50% cocoa butter. Cocoa beans are roasted to develop their aroma and flavour. Once cooled, the beans are crushed into nibs and their hulls are blown away. The cleaned nibs are ground into a paste called chocolate liquor. The liquor is formed into blocks or used in its liquid state.

Cocoa Butter: This is a shiny, yellowish white butter, quite hard at room temperature. It is made by processing and separating the pure chocolate liquor into cocoa solid cakes (used to produce cocoa powder) and cocoa butter. It is composed entirely of vegetable fats. When added to mixtures it will make them firmer but will also create more of a melt in the mouth experience.

Cocoa Powder: Cocoa cakes, as described above, are passed through hydraulic presses to extract more of the cocoa butter. The mass which remains is pressed into cakes, dried, pulverized and sifted to make cocoa powder. It contains 10-25% cocoa powder.

When the process is accompanied by the addition of alkaline chemicals, the cocoa is said to be "Dutched". The alkalines remove some of the bitterness of the unrefined cocoa, resulting in a cocoa powder that is darker than nonalkalized cocoa powder, milder in flavor.

The production of couverture and eating chocolates is different than for chocolate liquor. When the nibs are ready to grind into a paste, various additions are made such as sugar and milk powders. Once the paste is made, it is milled through fine openings between rollers and then conched, for a period of 24 to 144 hours. This conching process removes the bitterness and acidity of unrefined chocolate. During conching, additional cocoa butter and lecithin can be added to the chocolate for richness and texture. The quality of chocolate is determined by the cocoa beans, proportions of chocolate liquor, sugar and cocoa butter in the mix and the length of time it is conched. European chocolate is of higher quality because of the above reasons.

Bittersweet Chocolate: Has a chocolate liquor content on average of 60%; also contains sugar, cocoa butter (average 30%), lecithin and flavoring.

Semisweet Chocolate: Has a higher level of sugar and a lower percentage of chocolate liquor (49% - 53%) and cocoa butter (27%).

Chocolate Couverture: Has a higher content of cocoa butter; 36-40% to give it more viscosity; it is more fluid than semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and used for decorations, molding and enrobing. It requires tempering before using to give it the shine and snap required.

Sweet Chocolate: Has more sugar, a minimum chocolate liquor content of 29%

Milk Chocolate: Has added dried milk powder, along with cocoa butter, sweeteners and flavorings; contains a minimum of 10% chocolate liquor, 12 % milk solids.

White Chocolate: This is a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, vanilla or vanillin, 30% fat, 30% sugar and 30% milk solids.

Compound Chocolate: This is composed of hard vegetable fat mixed with sugar, cocoa powder or powdered milk as well as flavorings. It is used for molding and dipping and can be produced in various colors.

CONFECTIONERY: From the latin word "confect" which means that which is produced with skill. Confectionary has been in production since the Babylonians. A Confiseur is the European name for those who work with confectionary.

COOKIES: Derived from the Dutch word "koekje", which means little cakes. In countries, other than North America, cookies are known as biscuits. In North America, biscuits are scones or shortcake type products.

COULIS: A thin puree of fruit which is sweetened and strained to a sauce consistency using sugar syrup.

CREAM OF TARTAR: Potassium acid tartare is a by-product of the wine industry. It is used to stabilize egg whites and in making sugar syrups to prevent crystallization. As well, it lowers the ph in certain batters such as Angel Food Cake.

CREAM CHEESE: Made from cream and milk, cream cheese is an unripened cheese, sometimes stabilized with gum arabic. Milk that is treated with bacteria or enzymes, separates into curds and whey. The curd is cut up, then drained to produce cream cheese.

CREAM PUFF PASTRY: Also know as Pate a Choux (derived from the old French meaning "to cherish" or cabbage paste because of its shape), this pastry has been in use since the sixteenth century. It is a cooked mixture of water, butter and flour which rises due to steam expansion. The paste crusts on the outside, trapping steam inside, creating a puffed shape with a hollow interior. The crisp shells are filled with a variety of creams and finished with a glaze. Classic desserts such as croquembouche, profiteroles, Gateau St. Honore, and eclairs are made with cream puff pastry.

CRÈME ANGLAISE: A rich, smooth custard sauce made with eggs, sugar and milk or cream. It is naturally thickened by the coagulation of the eggs. Literally "English cream".

CRÈME BAVAROIS (Bavarian Cream): A cream dessert made from crème anglaise or fruit purees bound with gelatin and lightened with whipped cream. Can be served as an unmolded dessert or as fillings for cakes, charlottes and other pastry lines.

CRÈME CHANTILLY: Very lightly sweetened whipped cream, served with desserts or folded into mousses and creams. The name Chantilly comes from the Chateau of Chantilly, which had a reputation in the 17th century for fine food.

CRÈME CHIBOUST: Invented by French pastry chef Chiboust, this is the filling used in the Gateau St. Honore as well as other French desserts. It is based on crème patisserie lightened with Italian meringue and set with gelatin.

CRÈME FRAICHE: Similar to sour cream, but with a higher butterfat content. Crème fraiche can be whipped and used as a filling or accompaniment to desserts

CRÈME PATISSERIE: Also known as pastry cream, this is a starch thickened custard made from eggs, milk, sugar and cornstarch or flour. Enhanced with butter and pure vanilla. It is used as the filling for fruit tarts, cream puffs and other custard type desserts.

CRYSTALLIZED FRUIT OR FLOWERS: The process to crystallize fruit involves dipping fruit into increasingly dense sugar syrups, then allowing it to dry. Used to refer to candied fruits well. Fruits are also known as "glace" referring to their iced or glazed appearance. Flowers are crystallized by painting them with egg white, then coating in sugar and drying.

DACQUOISE: A light and crisp meringue made with ground nuts; almonds or hazelnuts. Usually piped in discs and sandwiched together in layers with buttercreams.

EGGS: Eggs are primary in the production of desserts. They perform many tasks: leavening, binding, enriching, emulsifying liquids, glazing. They are categorized by grade and size; based on the inner and outer quality of the egg.

The egg white is composed of water and a protein called albumin; they are used to aerate, bind and to emulsify preparations. The yolk is composed of all of the fat and less than half the protein of the egg. The yolks provide richness, a golden color and a tender texture to preparations. Yolks can also emulsify mixtures due to its lecithin and cholesterol content.

FLANS: Flans are similar to tarts; open face pies, either fully baked or filled with pastry cream and covered with fresh fruit. Not to be confused with the dessert "flan", a South American dessert, similar to the French Crème Caramel.

FLORENTINES: Very thin cookies that are almost a confection, made with dried fruits, nuts, butter, sugar and cream. The underside of the cookie is covered with chocolate.

FLOUR: To produce flour, the wheat berries are milled and sifted to remove the bran germ. After milling, flour is sometimes bleached to lighten its color. Protein content determines whether a flour is hard (strong) or soft (weak). Hard flour is harvested in the fall; soft flour is harvested in the spring. Gluten is formed when flour is moistened and mixed. The degree of mixing and the protein content determine whether a strong or weak gluten is formed.

Bread flour has a protein content as much as 15% and is made from hard wheat.

All Purpose Bleached or unbleached Flour is a blend of hard and soft wheats and has 10 to 11% protein

Cake Flour is made from soft wheat and is bleached. It's low protein content, 7 - 8% and low gluten strength make it suitable for cakes.

Pastry Flour has a protein content between 8 ½ and 9 ½ %. It has some gluten development powers but not enough to make the dough elastic. It is used to make pastry.

FONDANT: A carefully measured mixture of water, sugar and glucose which is boiled to the soft ball stage, then poured onto a marble slab and worked into a white opaque paste. It is used to form a smooth, white shiny liquid paste used to decorate cakes and petit fours. Rolled fondant has a smooth, satiny texture that covers cakes with a soft, matte glow and seals in the freshness.

FRANGIPANE: An almond filling or batter, usually baked in a sweet pastry crust with fruit or puff pastry pithiviers (a puff pastry dessert filled with frangipane, originating from the town of Pithiviers). It was created in France and named after the Marquis Frangipani, a 16th century nobleman.

FROSTING: The American sweet light icing used on cakes and pastries. Usually composed of icing sugar, butter, shortening, milk or cream and flavourings.

GALETTE: A term used for free form pastry filled with fruits and baked, the fillings and designs being dictated by the region it is made. A traditional French flat cake, it is one of the many forms of Twelfth Night or Epiphany cakes served on January 6. The Galette de Rois, one of the most famous, is very similar to the pithivier (see Frangipane).

GANACHE: Ganache is a wonderful combination of chocolate and whipping cream, the ratio differs according to its use. It can be made of white, milk or dark chocolate with the addition of flavours such as liqueurs, extracts or essences. It is the base of truffles and lightened truffle cream.

GATEAU: This is the french word for cake. It is traditionally a multi-layered cake filled with cream fillings or buttercreams, rectangular or round and more decorative than the American style layer cake.

GELATIN: Gelatin is an odorless setting agent derived from meat products. It is found either in powder or leaf form. It is used to set cold desserts such as mousses and bavarian creams.

GENOISE: Genoise are a type of sponge cake, invented in the city of Genoa. They are the base for most French gateaux, a light mixture of eggs and sugar, with flour and butter folded in. Variations include the addition of cocoa, nuts, and zest of citrus fruits.

GINGERBREAD: There are two types of gingerbread commonly known: the cake and the cookie. The first is a soft, cakelike batter, flavoured with ground ginger, molasses and brown sugar. The second, the cookie, is rolled thin and cut into shapes, decorated with royal icing.

GLAZE: To glaze is to coat a product to give it a shiny or glassy appearance. Many pastries are glazed with an egg/water mixture before baking; fruit tarts and small pastries are glazed with diluted and strained apricot preserves.

GOLD: Gold dust and gold leaf are 22-karat gold, and are edible decorations. Silver leaf is also used in the same manner.

ICING: This is a general term for mixtures of icing sugar and water, but sometimes refers to frostings, royal icing, fondants and buttercreams. It is used to decorate cakes.

LADYFINGERS: Also known as savoiardi biscuit, sponge fingers or Biscuits a la cuillere (cuillere coming from the french word for spoon as they were produced in 17th century by dropping from a spoon). They are used for lining charlotte molds, piping into circular discs or as tea biscuits.

LATTICE: A series of lines crisscrossed with a second set of diagonal lines; can be piped in buttercream or made with strips of dough. Lattice is often used as a decorative garnish on a variety of desserts.

LEMON CURD: This is made from the juice of lemons, sugar, eggs and butter. It is used to fill tarts, spread on bread and as the base for lemon mousse. Curd originates in England and can be made from the juice of any citrus fruit.

LIQUEURS AND FRUIT ALCOHOLS: Liqueurs are made from brandies, flavorings and sugar syrups. Fruit liqueurs are made by the infusion method, soaking the fruit in brandy to give aroma, flavor and color before sweetening. Other plant liqueurs are made by pumping brandy through the ingredients to extract the flavor; then distilled and sweetened. Fruit alcohols are made from well ripened fruit, which is mashed and fermented, then distilled (such as Kirsch and Eaux de Vies). Some are aged (such as Calvados), but no sugar is added to fruit alcohols. Amaretto is a liqueur, made from apricot pits, not almonds as commonly thought. Rum originates in the Caribbean islands and is distilled from molasses and sugarcane juice (a by-product of refining sugarcane).

MACERATE: To alllow a substance to soak in a flavoured syrup, sauce or marinade. It is usually fruits that are macerated in alcohol and sugar, to increase their flavour and juice.

MARZIPAN: A combination of almond paste, sugar and corn syrup. It is used to cover cakes (originally, to cover wedding cakes before a layer of fondant or icing but more currently as a final finish) as well as to mold, coloured decorative candies and figurines.

Almond paste is less sweet, is made from bitter and sweet almonds and can be used in baking; it is used in frangipane fillings, nut cakes and cookies.

MARSHMALLOWS: First made in Egypt, from the mallow root. They are now made from sugar, water, vanilla and gelatin. A high compression method called "jet puffing" makes the commercial varieties light and fluffy.

MASK: The term used for covering a cake or pastry with a sauce, buttercream, layer of marzipan or fondant, chocolate, ganache, frosting or icing.

MERINGUE: Meringue is a mixture produced from whipping egg whites until they form stiff peaks then combining them with sugar. It has many forms: as a base for lightening mousses and buttercreams or aerating batters. With the addition of nuts, meringue can be made into products such as japonaise, dacquoise, succes, progress. Without nuts, meringue can be made into vacherin shells and various decorations. It can be used on the outside of cakes that are flamed (baked alaska) or poached to create Oeufs a la Neige. The texture varies according to the amount of sugar, and the addition of nuts.

Swiss Meringue is made by warming sugar and egg whites over simmering water, then whipping. It is the base for buttercreams and baked meringues.

Italian Meringue is made by whipping egg whites, then adding a boiled sugar syrup. It is the most stable and often used to fold into mousse mixtures, chiboust creams and pastry cream as well as for piped decorations and toppings

French Meringue is a simple mixture of egg whites and sugar. It is used to make baked meringues and meringue shells.

MIMOSA: These yellow flowers from the acacia (wattle) tree have been used in baking for centuries. They are used in the production of liqueurs and the flowers are candied as decorations on cakes and pastries.

MOUSSE: Literally meaning "foam" in French, mousse is a preparation of aerated eggs, yolks or whites combined with flavourings, fruit purees or chocolates, folded in whipped cream and usually bound with gelatin (with the exception of dark chocolate mousse). Mousse has many forms, some light, some firm but always velvety smooth in texture.

MOUSSELINE: A mixture such as buttercream, lightened with Italian Meringue or Crème Patisserie. It can be used as a filling for cakes and pastries.

NOUGATINE: Combination of caramel and toasted sliced almonds, rolled out while still hot and cut into decorative shapes. It can support considerable weight as well as soft fillings.

NUT MERINGUES: Known by various names such as success, progress, japonais, grillage, broyage, dacquoise, russe. They are made by adding ground nuts to a meringue mixture, then baked. Nut meringues range from very crisp to very chewy depending on the amounts of nuts and sugar and how they are baked.

ORANGE FLOWER WATER: A fragrant liquid distilled from neroli, an oil obtained from the flowers of orange trees.

PARCHMENT PAPER: Stick-proof paper used in baking to line pans and trays; also known as silicone paper.

PATE A BOMBE: This term is used for egg yolks beaten with a sugar syrup, then aerated. It is the base used for many mousse and buttercream recipes.

PATE A CHOUX: See Cream Puff Pastry.

PATE BRISEE: Flaky, short pastry dough made with butter and some shortening but no eggs. Used for fruit and nut pies and quiche.

PATE FEUILLETE: Also known as puff pastry, this pastry is composed of hundreds of layers of butter alternating with layers of flour and water dough. Careme established the modern method of developing the layered texture of the pastry, using six turns. When baked, water in the butter forms steam, pushing the layers of butter and flour apart, at the same time the butter fat melts into the layers. The result is a pastry dough that is flaky, buttery and multi-layered. Used for Mille Feuille, Napoleons, Pithiviers and other traditional French fruit tarts.

PATE SUCREE: A sweet, crisp pastry used for fruit tarts and flans; made with butter, flour, sugar and eggs; also known as sweet paste.

PATE SABLEE: A sweet shortbread pastry that is similar but more delicate than Pate Sucree.with a cookie like texture. Used as a base for desserts with soft and delicate fillings.

PATISSERIE: Since the 13th century, this term refers both to the trade of creating and producing desserts and pastry goods and to the shop in which pastries are produced and sold,.

PIES: A pastry with a bottom crust and filling baked in a sloping sided pan, oten topped with a crust as well.

PRALINE: Praline is a mixture of roasted almonds (or hazelnuts) combined with caramel. It can be pureed into a paste or crushed. It has been used in French patisserie since the 16th century. The paste is used to flavour mousse, buttercreams and ice cream and in the fillings of chocolates. Crushed praline can be folded into pastry creams and buttercreams or used as decoration on cakes.

There is also a soft candy from New Orleans named Praline: a mix of brown sugar, butter, cream and pecans.

PROFITEROLES: A small ball made from Pate a Choux, filled with ice-cream or pastry cream. Said to derive from profit, a French word meaning small gift (which is what it is, a small sweet gift with a surprise filling).

QUARK: A traditional German cottage cheese that is sour to the taste and produced in the same manner as cream cheese. It is mostly used in baking (see Strudel).

ROYAL ICING: A sweet icing made from egg whites and icing sugar and sometimes lemon juice. Used for fine piping work, to decorate wedding cakes or Christmas cakes and to decorate where a firm, fine icing is required.

SABAYON: A mixture of egg yolks, flavoring and sugar, beaten over simmering water until thick, then beaten until cool. It is the French version of Italian zabaglione (Italian version is made with marsala wine). It can be served over fresh fruit, or grilled over fruit (gratin). Also, sabayon is the base for mousses and buttercreams.

SACHER TORTE: A rich light chocolate cake topped with an apricot glaze then covered with a thin rich chocolate glaze. The torte was invented by Franz Sacher in his hotel in Vienna in the 1800's.

SCONES: An English biscuit made from flour, butter, sugar, milk or cream and baking powder, not much different from the American version. Traditionally, they are made with currants but are now seen with other dried fruits and flavors. They are served at tea time with clotted cream and jam.

SHORTBREAD: Scottish in origin, cookies made of flour, sugar and butter (sometimes cornstarch or rice flour are used to create a drier texture) that melt in your mouth. They are baked very slowly and evenly to make sure the full flavor of the butter is baked through.

SHORTCAKES: A short biscuit mixture of butter, flour, baking powder, sugar and eggs (sometimes cream or milk as well). They are very buttery and light with a texture between cake and biscuits. Traditionally, they are split and filled with fresh fruits and whipped cream.

SOUFFLE: A soufflé is a feather light baked dessert made mostly of eggs or egg whites alone. Dessert soufflés have a base of pastry cream or fruit puree, with softly whipped egg whites folded in, then baked in ramekin molds until the egg whites expand. They should be eaten immediately as they deflate as they cool. Cold soufflés are actually mousses based on a rich gelatin, fruit or cream mixture. They are also very light, with cream and egg whites folded in. They are served cold or frozen.

SOUR CREAM: A thickened cream mixture produced by adding a bacterial culture to fresh cream; it is left to incubate and some of the lactose converts to lactic acid.

SPONGE AND FOAM CAKES: Sponge cakes are light and airy, leavened primarily with eggs beaten to a foam. Cakes in this family include sponge cakes (biscuit), genoise, roulades, jelly rolls, ladyfingers, angel food and chiffon. Lighter and drier than butter cakes, they are meant to be moistened with flavored syrups and filled with mousse, buttercreams, or light pastry creams. They can be made with whole eggs, separated eggs, or the hot milk sponge method.

STREUSEL: A crunchy topping used to cover pies, fruit crisps and coffeecakes. It has a high proportion of butter and sugar to flour and can contain any kind of chopped nut, oats and spices.

STRUDEL: This pastry is Hungarian in origin but made famous by the Viennese. Strudel pastry is an extremely thin dough with a lot of elasticity, made from special flour, oil and water. Commercial phyllo pastry can be substituted. It is brushed with butter, filled with fruits and rolled then baked until crisp and golden brown. Apple is the most traditional filling, but other fruits such as pears, nectarines, peaches, apricots, cherries can be used as well as cheese or quark fillings. Danish strudel is made from a yeast-based dough and German strudel is made from puff pastry.

Granulated Sugar: Pure white crystalline sucrose, ground to fine granules, either from sugar beets or sugar cane.

Brown Sugar: Same as refined sucrose but with some of the molasses returned to it (3.5% to 6.5%)

Superfine Sugar: A very finely ground granulated sugar used in baking. Similar to the English Castor Sugar.

Confectioners sugar: Also known as icing or powdered sugar. Granulated sugar that has been crushed to a fine powder with 3% cornstarch added to prevent lumping.

Crystallized Sugar: Very coarse granulated sugar used as decoration to give a jewel like appearance.

Molasses: A by-product of refining sugar cane, molasses is a thick syrup containing about 50% sucrose. It is the liquid separated from sugar crystals during the first stages of refining. Unsulfured molasses has not been treated with sulfur dioxide.

Honey: Derived from the nectar of flowers, aided by bees, still used in many desserts such as nougat; contains dextrose and fructose. Its flavour is influenced by the type of plant tapped by the bee (orange blossom, lavender, clover, pine, etc).

Corn Syrup: A glucose type syrup made from cornstarch, water and fructose. Glucose: Glucose is an invert sugar (primarily dextrose with some maltose, water and dextrin) usually produced from corn; it does not crystallize and inhibits crystallization of sucrose (sugar). For that reason, a small amount of glucose or corn syrup is often used where crystallization may be a problem, such as making caramel. It is thicker than corn syrup with less water.

Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is the concentrated sap of the sugar maple tree. The sap is boiled down to up to one fourtieth of its original volume then skimmed of its impurities.

SUGAR SYRUPS: Sugar syrups are used in a variety of desserts, depending on the density of sugar to water. They are used to make buttercreams, Italian meringues, or as a dessert syrup to soak sponge cakes or a poaching syrup for fruit. The desired sugar syrup is determined by using a candy thermometer; temperatures range from thread (230-234 F) to Caramel (320-365 F).

TARTES: Tartes are the French equivalent of pies and tarts. The pan shape is usually a straight-sided fluted pan or a non-fluted straight-sided pan with a removable bottom. Tartes can be made with any type of pastry. A flan pan is a fluted or non-fluted ring (without the bottom).

TIRAMI-SU: There are many versions of this Italian dessert. It is usually composed of layers of sponge or ladyfingers, soaked in espresso liqueur flavoured syrup, and layered with a mascarpone cheese and custard like mixture; then dusted with cocoa or shaved chocolate. The name means "pick me up", from the coffee infusion.

TOFFEE: From a Creole word for a mixture of molasses and sugar. Toffee is a mixture of sugar, water and glucose; sometimes golden syrup or molasses is used for colour. It is cooked to a caramel stage, then cooled before being eaten.

TORTE: The term torte is used primarily to define round cakes, with a large amount of ground nuts to replace the flour. They are made without chemical leaveners, using egg foams to lighten them. They are most often multi-layered, filled with buttercreams, whipped creams and iced with glazes, marzipan or buttercreams. The recipes are more typical of Austria, Hungary and Germany and are named after princes and politicians.

TRIFLE: An English pudding composed of layers of stale sponge or pound cake, soaked in alcohol syrup, then covered with fresh fruits and vanilla custard or pastry cream. Like other desserts, it has many variations, using whipped cream, jam, jelly rolls, nuts, wine or sherry as its components.

TRUFFLES: A truffle is a bite-sized petit four, made from chocolate and ganache to which flavourings have been added, such as liqueurs or essences. Truffle mixtures can be piped in balls or long strands, rolled in cocoa powder, icing sugar or dipped in covertures. They are named after the truffles found in the ground, resembling the rough, dark shape and color.

VANILLA: Vanilla is used as a primary flavoring or as an enhancer to other ingredients like chocolate and coffee. It is native to the Americas although most of the vanilla grown comes from Madagascar, as well as Tahiti and Mexico. Flowers in the orchid family produce the vanilla beans; they are pods containing a multitude of tiny seeds. They are harvested green, then cured, turning brown as a result of heating in ovens. Mexican and Bourbon varieties of vanilla beans are superior to Indonesian vanilla. Tahiti's vanilla beans are considered to be the best and most difficult to find. Chopping beans, then mixing them with ethyl alcohol and water, makes vanilla extract. The mixture is then filtered. Pure vanilla extract must be 35% alcohol by volume.

VANIILLIN: Natural vanillin is a white crystalline compound found in the pulp of vanilla beans and is the largest component in vanilla. The vanillin that is found in flavorings is manufactured commercially, an artificial by-product of the paper industry (U.S. P. vanillin). Ethyl vanillin, another artificially derived flavoring is 3 times as strong as the U.S.P. vanillin. They are both used in artificial vanilla flavorings.

WHIPPING CREAM: Also known as heavy cream; contains not less than 36% milk fat. The fat provides rich flavor and whipping properties. It can be boiled without separating, unlike milk, because a high level of fat molecules buffers the protein molecules. Ultra-pasteurized cream has been brought to 280 degrees F for a number of seconds for longer shelf stability.

YEAST: Yeast is a live organism. In the presence of air, sugar, liquid and sufficient warmth, the organisms multiply rapidly, producing the enzyme zymase which transforms sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This is the process of fermentation. As the fermenting yeast gives off the carbon dioxide gas, the gas is trapped within the gluten strands, and the dough rises. When the dough is baked, the carbon dioxide trapped in the gluten expands, making it rise further. Then the gluten coagulates and the starch hardens to form a stable structure that won't collapse. The heat also kills the yeast and evaporates the alcohol produced during fermentation. There is fresh yeast and active dry yeast.

ZEST: Zest refers to the colored portion of the citrus peel. The white portion is known as the pith and is quite bitter. The zest can be candied or crystallized; used in marmalades, jams and jellies or chopped finely for use in cakes, curds and other baked desserts.