fasnacht – A deep fried potato doughnut made with a yeast batter and served on Tuesday, also known as “Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
fat rascal – A large English scone filled with candied fruit, almonds, and spices, typically served warm with butter.
filbert – Also called hazelnuts, filberts are a small round, golden colored nut. The nut is covered with a brown papery skin that is often removed before using in a baked item. See Toasting Nuts and Seeds. Shop for filberts.
financier – A sponge cake made with ground almonds, egg whites, and melted butter. The pan is lined with sliced almonds that adhere to the cake as it bakes. Financiers may be baked as individual cakes or as a base for small pastries or petit fours. Large financiers are often made in layers in cakes decorated with icing or fondant.
firm ball stage – Indicates the stage and temperature when a small amount of hot sugar syrup is dropped into cold water and it forms a pliable, sticky ball that holds it shape briefly when removed from the water, and then deflates. The firm ball stage temperature ranges between 244 and 248 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. See Sugar and Caramel Stages.
firmly packed - When measuring brown sugar, spoon the sugar into a dry measuring cup, pressing down firmly to compact the sugar.
flaky – A pastry item with a light crisp texture, such as flaky pie pastry.
flambé – Pouring liqueur over food, such as a fruit sauce, and setting it on fire. Flambéing, also called flaming, is normally done tableside; the fire burns briefly until the alcohol has burned away, and then the food is served.
flan – An open faced pastry shell with either a sweet custard or savory filling. Flans are baked using a flan ring in individual or large sizes.
flan ring - A flan ring is a metal ring with no fluting around the sides, and no bottom. The ring is set on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat, and then filled. The baking sheet serves as the bottom of the pan. Flan rings are used to shape open-faced tarts, pastry shells, and some candies. Shop for flan rings.
floating island – Egg-shaped mounds of firmly whipped and sweetened egg whites are first poached in milk or water. After poaching the mounds are served in a pool of crème anglaise. The mounds appear as little islands floating in a sea of custard.
flour sifter - Flour sifters are used when a recipe calls for sifted flour. The most common sifter is a canister type with either a single mesh screen, or triple mesh screen and a rotating blade that is controlled by a rotary or squeeze handle. Choose a sifter with at least a three-cup capacity. A sifter can sift any dry ingredient, including flour, cocoa powder, and confectioner’s sugar. Shop for flour sifters.
flour duster - Also known as a flour wand or flour shaker, this old-fashioned tool is used to dust a work surface with flour, allowing you to have just a light dusting instead of scattered handfuls of flour. The Flour duster has a ball of coiled metal that is filled with flour; when the handle is squeezed it lets out just a small amount of flour. The flour duster can also be used to lightly sprinkle confectioner’s sugar or cocoa on top of cakes. Shop for flour dusters.
florentine – A confection that is a cross between a cookie and a candy. Florentines are a thin and lacey wafer that may be have a chocolate coating or sandwiched with a chocolate filling. See recipe for Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies.
flower nail – A small flat metal disc attached to a thin handle, and used to make buttercream or icing flowers. The flower is piped on the disc and then removed with a small spatula.
fluffy – Ingredients that become soft and light because air has been beaten in.
flute – To press pastry edges together, usually forming a scalloped pattern, so the edges are sealed. Fluting is done with your thumb and fingers.
fluted tube pan - These pans are fun to use, producing a fancier cake than a basic layer cake. Pans such as Bavaria shape, castle shape, chrysanthemum shape, star shape, heart shape are just a few of the fun shapes to choose from. Shop for fluted tube pans.
fold– To gently blend light ingredients, such as beaten egg whites or whipped cream, with other heavier ingredients, so that the finished product remains light. For example to fold egg whites into cake batter, go down the inside of the bowl with a rubber spatula, across the bottom and gently up through the middle of the batter until the egg white is just barely blended with the batter.
fondant - Fondant is a thick, creamy white, delicious sugar mixture that can be rolled, used for candy centers, molded into shapes, or made pourable to cover cakes. Fondant is easily tinted with food colors, flavored with extracts or oil flavorings and may have fruits and nuts for flavor variety. Fondant is used in candy making and is the filling used in many cream filled candies such as bonbons, peppermint patties, pecan logs, truffles, cream filled Easter eggs, and chocolate covered cherries. See recipe for Fondant.
food coloring – Concentrated edible dye used to tint candies, cakes, and frostings, and is available in liquid, paste, gel, and powders. Shop for food coloring.
food processor - A food processor is an expensive investment; however it is a versatile machine for chopping, dicing, mixing pastry dough, mixing some cookie dough’s, and pureeing fruit. Food processors come in various sizes. A good all-around size is a 1½ to 2 quart capacity. I like to use a mini food processor for small jobs such as chopping nuts quickly. Shop for food processors.
fool – A British dessert that combines fresh or pureed fruit and sweetened whipped cream.
frangipane – A rich almond pastry cream used as a filling in desserts, tarts, and pastries. Frangipane is also a pastry, similar to choux pastry, made with a cooked mixture of egg yolks, butter, flour, and milk.
French apple pie – A single-crust apple pie topped with streusel.
French buttercream – A rich, creamy, buttery frosting made with cooked sugar syrup, whole eggs, and egg yolks, butter and flavoring. See recipe for Classic French Buttercream.
French macaroon – A cookie with a crisp exterior and soft chewy interior, made primarily with ground almonds, almond paste or almond flour, sugar, and egg whites. While baking the macaroon forms a smooth top and crinkly “foot.” After baking two macaroon cookies are sandwiched together. Traditionally the sandwich filling is a thin layer of ganache or raspberry or apricot jam filling, however many modern versions are made with a Buttercream filling. See recipe for French Almond Macaroons and French Chocolate Almond Macaroons.
fritter – Pieces of fruit, such as apples, that are dipped in batter and then deep fried. The fritter is normally served hot and dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
frost– Covering a baked cake, cookie, or pastry with icing or frosting.
frosting – A sweet, spreadable filling and coating used on cakes, cookies and pastries. Frosting is normally rich and creamy with a thick and fluffy texture. There are many types of frosting, including cooked and uncooked, buttercream and ganache. Frosting is made primarily with sugar, normally granulated or confectioners’ sugar, and often includes butter, eggs, cream cheese and flavorings. See recipe for Vanilla Butter Frosting.
fruitcake – Fruitcake is a rich, dense cake that is normally loaded with dried or candied fruits, nuts and spices and just enough cake batter to hold the mixture together. Fruitcake is baked long and slow and can be eaten immediately but is best if allowed to age for weeks or months tightly wrapped in cheesecloth soaked rum, bourbon, or brandy. Fruitcake is often associated with holidays such as Easter and Christmas. Dark fruitcakes are typically made with molasses or brown sugar and darker colored fruits; light fruitcakes are typically made with granulated sugar or corn syrup and lighter colored fruits. See recipe for Rich Walnut Fruitcake.
fruit compote – Fruit that is lightly poached in lightly sweetened syrup.
fudge – A creamy, rich, decadent confection normally made with chocolate. Fudge is cooked on the stovetop, poured into a pan to cool, and then cut into small squares. Fudge is normally made with sugar, cream, chocolate, and sometimes butter and marshmallows. See recipe for Rocky Road Fudge.
funnel cake – Funnel cake is a deep fried crisp, golden cake made by pouring batter through a funnel into hot fat and swirling the batter to form a spiral pattern. After frying the cake is drained, coated with confectioners’ sugar or maple syrup and served hot.