Sunday, March 7, 2010

Puff Pastry + Almond Cream or Pastry Cream = divine

I've never eaten so much bread & puff pastry in such a concentrated time period. I guess you can say that Thursday was the commencement of the 3-day Downhill Diet :)! That day, we had a taste testing of our most recent creations:

- Jalousie (long band): almond cream surrounded by puff pastry. You can also add fruits inside... none for me though -- I already had enough mirabelles for one week. Called a jalousie because it resembles the slatted window shutters hiding a man with his mistress!
- Conversation (criss-cross circle): similar to the jalousie in that there is almond cream inside, but it's circular and covered with royal icing and thin strips of puff pastry before being baked. The sweet crackled royal icing added a different dimension to the repeated puff pastry/almond cream duet.
- Tarte aux Pommes Alsacienne (apple rings on top): kind of like a quiche, but with apples inside.
- Pain Complet (not pictured): yet another round pastry filled with almond cream, except that it was topped with a thin layer of raw almond paste and heavily dusted with powdered sugar before being baked... delicious! The almond paste/powdered sugar made a nice caramelized topping which was the best part. Unfortunately chef sold most of them during lunch so I couldn't take a photo [and I was too busy tasting what was left to take a picture of the one that I was tasting...]

Friday was enjoyable and different, considering we didn't use almond cream at all. Not that I don't have a soft spot for that deliciousness which is almond cream, but it was a nice change. Remember the chausson aux pommes (apple slippers/turnovers)? Well, we made chausson italiens -- translated to "Italian slippers" -- which had a filling of pastry cream mixed with pâte à choux (pastry used to make profiteroles and éclairs) and rum raisins. They were so good fresh out of the oven! Then again, they had better be... doesn't Italy = shoes?

In the morning we baked our sheets of pâte feuilletée (mine's on the top rack):

and cut, filled, and layered them to make this:

Traditional millefeuille layered with pastry cream and topped with fondant. As for the bright pink color, even I don't know the answer to that.

Another millefeuille, but with layers of chocolate mousse and praline/pastry cream... topped with powdered sugar and a branded criss-cross design. Scrumptious! [Please disregard the oozing praline... the more the better, right ;) ?]

During lunch we feasted on the other pastry class' catering buffet -- the same spread that we made last week... that's when the day transformed from being a normal Friday to becoming a day of gluttony. I knew what was good, and I went for it. And then when we finished our millefeuilles after lunch, I had to make sure the chocolate mousse and praline cream were edible... that's what a chef does, isn't it? Well, let me tell you, they were edible, all right :)!

Just wanted to note that I think we (as a class) have picked up our pace and have become either more efficient or just more comfortable in executing each step/recipe... or maybe it's all thanks to Didier. Anyway, it's nice to know that we're making progress and getting the most out of this experience.

After class we went out for drinks before I met my friend for a full meal of crèpes... ugg my tummy was about to explode by the end of the day. And it didn't stop then, either. The next day was EUROPAIN (fair for bread, chocolate, and pastry... with SAMPLES!). That's a whole new post in itself... more on that later.


  1. I just have to comment again because this all looks so good! Yummmmmmy! I can't wait until I am there and can share in the deliciousness. Hopefully I'll have time to write another email soon, Empress! Keep up the good work!

  2. It is a good thing Dad and I have just finished dinner...!