Techniques Butter Techniques Published Feb 13, 2008 10:00 AM Techniques André Baranowski SHARE 1. Creaming butter is a favorite baker’s trick: whipping together butter and granulated sugar when making cake batter introduces air and ensures a light, fluffy crumb. Patience is key; don’t stop whipping until the mixture is light and silky. André Baranowski 2. Sauces can be finished with butter, to luxurious effect, with a technique called mounting: for a rich, glossy, butter-mounted sauce, add pieces of well-chilled butter to the heated sauce and rotate the pan steadily, allowing the butter to emulsify slowly. André Baranowski 3. French patissiers have long used a technique called fraisage to achieve pastry crusts with a remarkably delicate texture: after mixing butter and flour for a pie crust dough, smear the mass repeatedly with the heel of your hand. This causes the dough to form more-intricate layers when it bakes. André Baranowski 4. Putting butter underneath a chicken’s skin produces juicier meat and crisp, browned skin. Before roasting, gently loosen the bird’s skin from the flesh; then reach under the skin with a spoonful of soft butter and slide the butter inside. It’s a good idea to rub butter on the outside of the bird as well. André Baranowski 5. Making your own compound butter¿fresh butter that’s been softened, then mixed with minced herbs, spices, or other flavorings and chilled¿and keeping it on hand for topping roasts or grilled or saut¿ed foods will brighten and enhance all sorts of dishes. Parsley, shallots, lemon juice, salt, and pepper are a classic combination, but the variety of ingredients you can use¿from anchovies and capers to chipotle chiles, lime juice, and cilantro¿is virtually infinite. André Baranowski 6. Finishing saut¿ed items with a basting of butter is an easy way to impart flavor and sheen; just before your meat or fish is done, tilt the pan slightly and add a pat of butter near the pan’s edge, then spoon the melted butter over the fish or meat. André Baranowski MORE TO READ RELATED The Saxelby Cheesecake Plums, vanilla bean, and fresh chèvre sparkle in Caroline Schiff’s sweet tribute to the legend of American-made cheese. READ NOW RELATED Kosher Cachopa Michael Twitty’s take on Cape Verde’s iconic, hearty stew honors the island nation’s Jewish roots. RELATED Quick-Pickled Beets This stress-free method will have you snacking on nature's candy without the post-canning cleanup.