Perfect Cake Batter

For the best results, cake ingredients should be beaten on high until the dry ingredients are added. For example, beat until the butter and sugar are creamy, then add the eggs. When the dry…

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Piping Eclairs

Cut a small hole in the corner of a disposable pastry bag or heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Place a large round tip (about 3/4 in. in diameter) in bag. Fill bag with dough. Pipe 3-in.-long…

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Prevent Soggy Tart Crust

Brush tart crust with melted jelly before layering with fruit. That will help seal the crust and keep the fruit juices from absorbing into the crust.

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Preventing Cracked Cheesecakes

Sometimes a "cracked" cheesecake is unavoidable. But these steps can help prevent the top from slitting open.

Let cream cheese and eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before…

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Preventing Film from Forming on Pudding

To prevent a film from forming on the top of pudding as it cools, pour the pudding into a bowl and press a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap on top of the pudding. This technique can also be…

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Problem-Solving Pointers for Cream Puffs & Eclairs

Dough is Dry

The water was boiled too long, causing too much liquid to by evaporated.

Bottoms are Soggy

Puffs or eclairs were filled too soon. Fill just before serving and no sooner…

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Problem-Solving Pointers for Custard

Custard is Curdled

It's overbaked. Baked only until a knife inserted about halfway to the center comes out clean, not until the center is completely set.

Next time, bake the custard in a…

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Problem-Solving Pointers for Phyllo Dough

Dough is Crumbly

The dough was not thawed completely at room temperature before using.

The dough was kept in the freezer too long.

Dough is Brittle

The dough became dry. Be sure…

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Problem-Solving Pointers for Puff Pastry

Dough Did Not Bake Up Puffy

The cut edges were brushed with an egg wash, preventing the dough from rising.

Sides Did Not Rise Evenly

Edges were not trimmed with a sharp…

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Problem-Solving Pointers for Souffles

Souffle did Not Rise

Egg whites were overbeaten. Beat just until they reach a stiff peak.

Ingredients weren't gently folded together.

The batter wasn't gently spooned into the dish.…

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