You've written to her with questions about what you'd like to learn in the kitchen, and she has responded.
Sara Moulton Answers Your Questions
Luann Voorhees : Could you tell me the best springform pan to use to make cheesecakes, is there a difference in what type of metal it is?
In general you want to steer away from black pans. They absorb too much heat and your baked goods will come out too brown. Aside from that, any heavy-duty well-made light-colored metal springform pan will do.
Sompis Urtel: How to make a perfect whipping cream for Banana or chocolate cream pie? Over Thanksgiving I made home made Banana and chocolate cream pies. But the cream came out soft and floppy. I used 1/2 pint heavy cream and 1/2 cup sugar for each pie. Please help.
When you whip cream it is best if you use pasteurized not ultra pasteurized heavy cream because it will whip better. Everything should be cold - the cream, the bowl, the beaters. You should start slow and then speed up until the cream has become stiff. This is something you should do at the last minute, right before you put the whipped cream on the pie because the cream will become watery as it sits on the pie.
Mike Rogers: When cooking Beef Bourguignon, is there a substitute I can use for the Red Wine, my friend is allergic to all wines?
Unfortunately red wine is sort of the point of beef bourguignon. Red wine serves three purposes in a recipe like beef bourguignon - 1. flavor, 2. acidity and most significant 3. flavor conductivity. Any time you add alcohol to a recipe the recipe is going to taste better even if you don't taste the alcohol, because fat and water-soluble flavor molecules dissolve in alcohol and the dish just tastes better. But having said that you can make a delicious stew without alcohol because there are some many other wonderful things going on - the browning of the meat and onions, the flavor contributed by the vegetables, the body provided by gelatin in the bones (if the meat is on the bone) and by the dissolving and softening of the connective tissue.
I would make sure to add some tomato paste or tomato product to the stew which provides both flavor (umami) and acid as well as some other form of acid such as a squeeze of lemon juice at the end.
Shelvey Johnson: How do you make chocolate shavings? Every time I try this it ends up like tiny flecks of chocolate. What kind of chocolate should I use for this?
You can use any kind of chocolate but it helps if it is a big thick piece. It also helps if you let it warm a bit on the counter under a light so it is more pliable. Use a vegetable peeler and long strokes with heavy pressure to get large peels off the chocolate.
Carolyn Boyle : How do you keep the bottom crust on an apple pie from becoming soggy?
It helps if you use a glass pie plate and bake the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven. You can also put a layer of bread or cookie crumbs on the crust before you put in the apples - they will absorb some the liquid that the apples give off.