Brioche Suisse

IMG_2373Since starting the pastry course I’ve had many, ‘Aaahh haaa, so that’s how you do it!, moments, when something is finally revealed to you after having wondered about it.

Brioche Suisse is one of those ‘Aaah Haaa!’ moments. I found out how you get those swirls into a round pastry cake – rolling dough into itself and then cutting rounds and placing them neatly in a round baking tin and as they cook they will expand and stick together, and VOILA you have one whole brioche cake, or Brioche Suisse! I refer to the very last photo.

In class, we could choose the flavour to fill the Brioche Suisse. I chose to layer my brioche dough with a marmalade confiture (made in an earlier class) and over this I sprinkled chocolate pelettes (64% Cacoa Barry). The scent of sweet oranges soaked in syrup & Cointreau and chocolate is such a perfect combination and agrees to every pheromone.

Once we finished layering the filling, we rolled the dough into itself. Then, divided into 7 rounds and placed them touching in a cake tin.  Then, into the proover. And before popping them into the oven, a coat of EGGWASH. And I write EGGWASH in capitals because it’s one of the steps frequently forgotten by students. We’re just too much in a hurry to get our little beauties baked and eaten!

IMG_2242 IMG_2246 IMG_2245 IMG_2237

Brioche Suisse recipe:
22cm diameter baking dish
Brioche dough, 300g
Pastry cream, 70g
Chocolate buttons, as many as you like
Rum soaked raisins, 50g
Layer of dough 20cm by 20cm


This recipe is from the student class recipe book, Anglo Pastry 2013, created by Chef Patissier, D. Averty of l’ecole FERRANDI . The recipe can be subject to change at the discretion of the Chef or any other Chef at any time. The success of this recipe depends on a number of factors such as the quality of ingredients, temperature and quality of appliances, temperature of the kitchen, skill of the student and/or patissiere and  timing. This recipe does not include additional notes taken by miss pirisi at the time of making the recipe.

Pain aux Raisins like escargots

They are shaped like escargots. They unwind like a yo-yo but you pull them apart like scotch tape. These puff pastry escargots are perfect when you envy the flakiness and crispiness of a croissant but you are famished and really want something more substantial. Pain aux Raisins, or as I call them, Escargots, have their interior filled with light pastry cream (cream patissiere) and rum soaked raisins.

I was really impressed with what we made today, and I think Chef’s recipe is the best Pain aux Raisins I’ve had – and i’ve been eating them since I was a kid. I believe it’s due to our puff pastry dough (plus my technique!), and a our pastry cream. The pastry cream uses no butter, and little flour but we add a full vanilla bean which gives a good full round flavour. Plus, the rum soaked raisins give that extra Ooomf.

Yesterday, we made the Pain au Raisins with Brioche dough, but I prefer the Pain aux Raisins of today because we made it with Croissant dough. As usual, make the detrempe and encase the butter inside of it. Then, roll out. Do a single turn, then a double turn. After refrigeration we rolled out the dough to the size of our wired racks. We then halved the dough horizontally. With one half we made traditional croissants (almond croissants for tomorrow) and the other half was to make the Pain aux Raisins, as shown below. We took our one half and spread a thin layer of pastry cream (mix well in a bowl to obtain spreadable texture). Then, from a pre-prepared batch we took a handfull of rum soakd raisins and sprinkled them over the pastry cream. Then, rolled the dough into itself. Cut into 9 pieces. Onto a baking tray with baking paper. Egg washed. Into the oven prover for 2 hours. Then, into the oven. And PUFF! you have puff pastry escargot beauties.

IMG_2309 IMG_2311 IMG_2319 IMG_2320 IMG_2321 IMG_2303

6 pieces
Brioche or croissant* dough
Pastry Cream (Creme patissiere)
Sultanas or raisins

Roll out the dough about 15cm by 40 cm
Spread out the pastry cream in a thin layer
Sprinkle with raisins
Roll the dough on itself to make a roll
Cut in six slices
Place the slices on a buttered baking sheet and eggwash a first time
Let the pain aux raisins rise about two hours in a prover** at 30C
Egg wash a second time and bake at 220C
Finish with a blong glaze, syrup or glace a l’eau

* In class we preferred the pain aux raisins made with croissant dough.
** A prover is professional equipment, it looks like a fridge. If the prover is not available we can create our own type of proving action: cover the pain aux raisins with a plastic bag (the pastries are on racks and those racks are on a tall trolley and over the trolley we put a plastic film/bag).

[This recipe is the owner of Chef Patissier Averty from l’ecole FERRANDI. Last updated, February 2013]. 

Pain au Chocolat

It’s a short blog tonight. I’m very tired. My eyelids are drooping since 8pm. But, commited I am or at least I try to be , it’s my way of revising what we do in class each day. The alarm clock goes off at 6am so that I can be in class by 8am. Add minus (-) degree temperatures plus I’m working from my bed managing my laptop and a bowl of Poireaux St Jacques soup, I’m as they say in French, “on va faire do-do”, about to doze off. Whether you’re in Cuisine or Pastry you are well tired by the end of your day. But, I believe it to be a good tired. You do a lot, you learn a lot and you produce a lot. For example, today we continued on the Viennoserie route making Pain au Chocolate and various types of Brioche.

I always wanted to know how you make Pain au Chocolat. Voila, secret revealed. To make the pastry dough for Pain au Chocolat, we followed the same Pate Feuillette recipe for Croissants, so the detrempe measurements were: 500g of flour [250gT45 + 250gT55], 12 of salt, 50g of sugar, 15g of yeast and 300g of milk and table of butter to incorporate (or to be encased) into the detrempe.

I found rolling out the dough challenging as it’s always retracting or shrinking and that’s partly because it’s quite elastic. It’s a constant fight with the dough. I know my colleagues have similar problems. Chef was saying something today regarding the T45 flour, that perhaps there’s too much gluten in the dough which makes dough more strong/tough, and next time we’ll try using only the T55.

Another thing that’s not so obvious to the average customer is knowing how to get those little chocolat batons side by side into the Pain au Chocolat.

Here’s a couple of steps from today’s class. Bonne Soir.

IMG_2251 IMG_2250 IMG_2249 IMG_2236


Brioche, the sweet bread of French breakfast. I have to agree with my international classmates here that I don’t get what all the fuss is about, why so many French just love Brioche and seem to only eat this as their dietary breakfast along with some wholesome black coffee. Of course, there’s the added confiture to have with the brioche. So, of course when it came time to making it today, I knew this was like my Bapstism/initiation to French culture. Alomst every Frenchie knows how to make or at least has seen a brioche made in their home.

In a KitchenAid [KA] bowl we added: 250g of flour [T45], 10g of yeast, 5g of salt, 25g of granulated sugar and 175g of eggs. All this was mixed for easily 15-20minutes using the hook attachment on the KA. Once the dough stops sticking to the sides of the bowl, we added softened butter pieces by piece, altogether we had 150g of butter. This recipe makes enough for one person. In class, we usually double or triple the recipe to share between 2 people. The dough is ready when it starts to make a slapping noise hitting the sides of the bowl as the mixer turns. The dough was then removed from the bowl, and with the hands we pick up the dough and throw it to the bench and as we do we roll our hands over the ball, and repeat this. It’s difficult to explain this step because it’s even more difficult to actually do. Then, we putt the dough in an open plastic box. We put a plastic wrap tightly over it. We allow the dough to rise. When the dough has risen, we punch the dough a few times to deflate. Put it back in the fridge. The recipe says overnight, but in a classroom that’s not always possible.  Then we begin to shape in tins.

We’ve made two forms of Brioche today, the first is what I call, le petit bon homme which is baked in a flower shape tin, and when the dough is formed it sort of looks like a sunflower. The second brioche we made was the braid, in French, it’s called, Une Tresse. 

IMG_2188 IMG_2187 IMG_2186 IMG_2192 IMG_2184 IMG_2185IMG_2176 IMG_2167

Flour T45, 250g
Yeast, 10g
Salt, 5g
Granulated sugar, 25g
Eggs, 175g
Butter, 150g


This recipe comes from the cookbook Anglo Patisserie created by Ferrandi Chef, Didier Averty.

Making of the French croissant

In French patisserie the croissant is referred to as a pâtes levées feuilletées or pâte à crossiant. Pâtes levées feuilletées translates to dough rise pastry sheets. The key word in this name is “levée” or rising which indicates the croissant recipe contains yeast, or in French, levure.

The day started with heavy snow, cancelled trains and sneezing snifling students. However, it wasn’t all snifles.

Today, we made the ultimate of all French pastries, les croissants. We began by making the traditional Pate Feuillettee (PF)* to which we gave one double turn and one simple turn refrigerating in between. We then rolled out the PF into a rectangle, 60cm x 40cm. Then, we cut this in 2 equal parts horizontally. Placed the 2 pieces on top of each other. Chef then handed out his special croissant rulers. Using this we are able to mark the meausurements to cut perfect triangles. At the bottom of each triangle we make a little cut or slit. Then, we rolled our triangles (or Eiffel Towers) from the bottom to the tip. Then, egg washed. But, before the croissants could be baked they needed to rise in a prover. To immitate a prover machine at home, put a bowl of hot water under your tray of croissants and cover to create an insulation, 2 hours is recommended. The croissants will inflate in size. Then, a second egg wash before putting them into the oven. We began baking them at 220C but then chef turned down the overn to 200C. Voila! Crispy croissants! 

IMG_2182 IMG_2180 IMG_2181 IMG_2178 IMG_2177 IMG_2169 IMG_2179 IMG_2183

*Pate Feuillette tradionnel: encase the butter into the detrempe

Detrempe recipe for 18 croissants provided by our Chef: 500g of sifted flour [250g T45 + 250g T55], 12g of salt, 50g of sugar, 15g of yeast and 300g of milk. Knead dough by hand or machine (use hook attachment). Reach temperature of 23 – 25 Celsius (use thermometre to measure). Refrigerate. Then, beat to deflate. Roll out into a square shape. Then, place the square tablet of butter like a diamond in the square of detrempe. Fold corner of detrempe into the centre of the butter. Roll out to do a double turn. Refrigerate. Roll out for a single turn. Refrigerate.

Convention de Stage

DirectionOur class had their first meeting today regarding internships, the stage. There was some good news and bad news.

Let’s start with the bad news. There has been a recent trend with the big luxury names in pastry. They’re cutting corners where they can –  unnecessary paperwork and cost savings. There is a law in France that says if you take on a stagiere for 2 months, you don’t have to pay them. Generally, the duration of stage is 3 – 6 months. So, this loop hole is an attractive one for employers especial considering the financial and economic status of France right now. But where does that leave soon to be stagiaires? Are the big names totally ruled out? Well, no, they’re not. It’s possible to take up a 2 month stage but don’t hope that the company or employer will keep you on, and to get your Diploma, in France you need a minimum of 3 months internership, or stage.

More bad news. Those on Visas. The students were told today that over the last 2 years not one single person on a Visa was able to secure a full time permanent working contract outside the internship, stage. France does not want you. It already has to deal with its accumulating high unemployment rates which also counts for high immigration numbers. All these people need to have jobs in France before you do. You speak French. Great. That still doesn’t help if you’re not an EU citizen. Find an employer who is willing to take on an accountant, a lawyer and have all the papers filed for you at the prefecture so that he or she can take you on a permanent basis. And everyone knows that France loves its paperwork and to get anything read, checked, signed and approved takes forever. But, I’m a firm believer in ‘there’s always a way’, and there’s always the exception. Good luck to you.

The Good news (at least for me). We don’t have to choose stage just yet. Phew. It’s only been 6 weeks into the course. Our school will organise our internships. We can provide a list of our 1st, 2nd and 3rd option. Our chef will then advise on the suitable location for us. He will select it by our capabilities, personality and language abilities because all of this has to be compatible with your new working environment. I can’t help comparing myself to the more advanced experienced students. Will they take all the super cool internships? What will be left for me? There’s a high unemployment level in France!

The Kougloff. A part of Alsace.

This week we’ve done a sharp turn (from Millefeuilles) into regional and international pastry. Welcome to the region of Alsace and its Kougloff.

The Kougloff, kougelhopf , is said to have originated from the famous Baba au Rhum. Like the Baba au Rhum, the Kougloff is a sort of Brioche.

When preparing the Kougloff dough we begin to talk about types of flour. We will use a Type 45 flour.

We throw all the ingredients into the KitchenAid bowl: flour, yeast, salt, granulated sugar, eggs and gradually add the milk as the machine is on slow to medium speed. The machine will mix for 15-20 minutes before we add the softened butter. In the meantime, we butter our large towering triangular shaped donut looking mould and follow this with sprinkles (or lashings) of peeled almonds. Once the dough is well mixed and elastic we are going to measure its temperature, we want 23 – 25 degrees celcius. We then add rum infused raisins to the dough and mix it through with our hands – you see why the dough has to have strength because the raisins hold a lot of liquid.  Then, line only 60% of the mould’s interior. The dough must rest in the mould before baking. When the Kougloff is well baked and out of the oven, we will then turn it upside down into a bowl of melted clarified butter. Then turn it back upright. Wait for the Kougloff to cool down before showering it with icing sugar. Think of the snowy alps.

IMG_2115 IMG_2117 IMG_2114

The image is all there: the snow is falling & you’re inside your cabin retreat with a cup of rum infused red tea. You’re wearing wool and all cozy in front of the fireplace snuggled in the arms of your partner. The Kougloff is baking, and in any moment you will open the oven door, and then remember, why it is you love winter in Europe.