Nutmeg, mace start in the same place


February 23, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

Q: Nutmeg and mace seem similar to me. Are they related, and can they be substituted for each other?

A: Nutmeg and mace are similar and are even from the same fruit of the nutmeg tree. Nutmeg is the fruit's oval-shaped pit and mace is the bright red webbing that surrounds the shell of the pit. The pit, nutmeg, can be left whole and freshly grated or packaged already ground. Mace is removed, dried and ground. At that point, it turns a rust color. The two spices can be interchanged but nutmeg does have a sweeter and more delicate aroma and taste than mace.

Q: Please tell me if it makes a difference when a recipe calls for cake flour (and the store is out of it) and I use all-purpose flour.

A: Cake flour supposedly yields a very light cake because the flour has a higher starch content than all-purpose flour. To make a substitution, for each cup of cake flour the recipe calls for, mix 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch.

Q: How can I fix a broken or curdled hollandaise sauce?

A: Broken hollandaise can be helped by first removing the sauce from the heat source and adding an ice cube to immediately cool it down. Stir and then remove any remaining ice cube. Then beat hard with a hand beater or whisk. You may need to strain the hollandaise to remove the cooked egg particles.

We'd like to hear from you. Send your questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Or leave your questions by phone by calling Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800 (268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 836-5028 in Harford County, 848-0338 in Carroll County). Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6180 after you hear the greeting. Although personal replies are not possible, questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

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