Slow and steady wins the race. Really?

Turtle and the HareThe story of the Tortoise and the Hare –  Le lievre et la tortue – has been playing on my mind lately. The story which aims to reassure children – that being slow or slower than the others doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll finish last – is one I’m using to reassure my current state in adulthood.

Let’s just say, I’m a little slow and overall steady in class. It’s been just over a month since I started the pastry program and since the beginning I can’t help but feel I’ve been running one big race and that I’ve even missed the starting line. The international program is designed for beginners but as I’m discovering the reality does not equal the intention. In my class alone there is an impressive international resume of experience in the field of pastry and cusine. There is, a Masterchef finalist, an owner of 7 successful patisseries, a winner of a cake making competition and she was only 14 when she won, a previous cake decorator, an amateur pastry maker and the other worked for a MOF in the States. The other students have made the odd cake as a hobby and seem to know the basic about basic ingredients. For example, knowing that egg yolk is a fat. I didn’t know that. So, what I thought would be a program of, ‘this is an egg’, and ‘we’ll spend all day showing you how to roll dough’, is in fact not. Now, that’s not to say that’s what I want. In fact, the speed at which we go we cover an enormous amount.

But, for now it seems I’m in a state of confusion almost everyday. A day for example can be 2 or 3 recipe demonstrations. I try to put to memory every step, follow techniques, associate French names to English ones. Then, as memory backup, I take photos and write notes. If Chef is improvising, then the recipe may need changing. Proceeding demonstrations we are given instructions to measure out ingredients and recreate the demonstration. But, not everyone does everything. Between students we must work out whose doing what recipe and who’s measuring and calculate the quantities. Before, I’ve finished my first task, some of the others are already finished theirs which means Chef moves onto another demonstration. I’m back to another demo. My unfinished task sits lonely on a big granite bench waiting to be finished. My eyes dart from the demonstration to my unfinished work and then to the dishwasher, I’m on dishwasher duty. Am I still breathing?

One day, I just couldn’t understand how to do or what it means to do ‘the turns’ or tours for the feuilletage. The chef explained a few times in a way that was cryptic to me and while I was still deciphering his message, he asked me if I was blond. Like Hiroshima from the sky, my tears bombarded my unturned pate feuilletee and with big snobs I replied, ‘Yes, I think I’m blond because I just don’t seem to understand anything that’s going on’.

The first week of the course, I was convinced. On the metro home, I Googled, ‘Learning difficulties for adults’. How could such a logical, confident and all grown up person who survived the asse kickings of France, not comprehend a subject matter that she was passionate about. Shouldn’t the thing we’re most passionate about come more easily to us?  Or, is this a test?

Perhaps this is a test. For some amazing miracle I’m still running the race – there just might be a chance.

March, the 2nd month

The International Intensive Pastry Program I’m undertaking runs for 5 months, from February to June, 2013. In the second month, the month of March, we have learnt the following skills in the laboratory* :

Feuilletage INVERSÉE: traditional (or normal), pistache et chocolat; tour simple et tour double.

MilleFeuille: Millefeuille traditionnel, Millefeuille with fruit jelly, Millefeuille aux frambroises, Millefeuille chocolat praline, Millefeuille viennois

Creams: pastry cream (creme patissiere), mousselin cream, pâte à bombe, dark parfait

Syrup: Syrup 1260 (sugar : water)

Sponge: Joconde and Genoise

Mirlitons: Mirlitons Parisiens

Puff pastries: Chaussons aux Pommes (apple socks), Chaussons Italiens (Italian socks).

Regional pastry: Kougloff.

Viennoiserie: Croissants, Pain au Chocolat, Pain aux Raisins, Brioche Petit Bon Homme*, Brioche Braid*, Pain au lait, Danish

Pate a choux: Eclairs, Religieuses, Pate a choux.

Macarons: All the flavours: Macarons abricot et safran, Macarons au caramel, Macarons au cafe, Macarons au chocolat, Macarons au citron, Macaron marron the vert matcha, Macarons a la menthe fraiche, Macarons huile d’olive et vanille, Macarons a l’orange, Macarons pistache cannelle, Macarons rose framboise, Macarons a la vanille, Macarons violette cassis.

Petits Fours Secs & Demi-Secs: Langues de Chat, Fours poches, Florentins, Financiers, Eponges, Diamants noisettes, Cigarettes, Biscuit de Reims, Confidences, Croquets noisettes, Biarritz, Baton marechaux Madeleines, Miroirs, Moelleux, Palets de Dames, Palets aux raisins, Sables arlequins ou hollandais, Sables Cannelle, Sables nantais, Sables poches, Tigres chocolat, Tuiles amandes, Tuiles coco.

Tartes: Pierre Herme Vanilla Tarte, Orange Tart

Gateaux de Voyage & Cakes (students do one cake each): Bombes a l’amande, Brownies, Cake au Citron, Cakes aux fruits, Chestnut cake, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate pain de Genes, Congolais caissettes, Conquistador, Dundee cake, English fruit cake, Gateau au fromage blanc (cheesecake), Gateau de Pentecote, Gateau au yaourt, Marbre chocolate, Pain d’epice, Quatre quarts, Raspberrie cake, Saint James, Tea biscuit (check board) and Week-end.

Italian slippers

Chaussons Italiens, cutely translated to Italian slippers. They are pocket sized puff pastries (*feuilletage) filled with a mixture of creme pâtissier, pâte à choux cream and rum soaked raisins or orange flavoured water. Here’s a quick snap shot of how puff pastry dough transforms into Chaussons Italiens.

*Feuilletage means creating leaves of pastry. To create leaves we give “turns” to the pastry dough by which we fold the dough.

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CHAUSSONS ITALIENS

10 to 12 pieces

Puff Pastry dough (5 turns), 500g – Note: There are 2 recipes : Feuilletage “Normal” and Feuilletage “Inversé”, refer below.
Pastry Cream, 165g
Pâte à Choux, 330g
Rum raisins, 150g
Rum or Orange flower water, 15g

Rollout the puff pastry to 2mm thickness and 1 meter length
Spread softened butter on the dough sheet and sprinkle lightly with sugar
Roll up the dough sheet immediately along its length, the roll should have at least 7 cm diameter
Harden the roll and cut into sections of 1cm thickness
Elongate the sections with rolling pin and flour generously till they do not stick to the rolling pin
Fill each slice with the following composition:
– 2/3 sweet pâte à choux
– 1/3 pastry cream
– Malagua raisins soaked in rum
Flavor with run or fleur d’oranger
Fold over like the chausson aux pommes without moistening to seal the edges
Bake without egg wash in a medium oven 200°C
Powder with icing sugar after baking.

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Recipe N°1 : for Feuilletage “Normal”:
Détrempe
Flour, 400g
Butter, 50g
Salt, 8g
Water approx, 200g
Butter, 250g (Block of butter to fold into the détrempe)

Recipe N°2 : for Feuilletage “Inversé”:
Détrempe
Flour, 270g
Salt, 10g
Water approx, 140g

Beurre manié
Butter, 400g
Flour, 130g

In the recipe inversé you put the détrempe inside the beurre manié.

 

These recipes are taken from the student class recipe book, Anglo Pastry 2013, created by Chef Patissier, D. Averty of l’ecole FERRANDI . These recipes can be subject to change at the discretion of the Chef or any other Chef at any time. The success of these recipes 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. These recipes do not include additional notes taken by miss pirisi at the time of making the recipe.

Feuilletage technique: how to create puff pastry

Welcome to the world of puff pastries and their thousand layers “millefeuille”. If the French are known to master anything better than anyone else, it’s this. They have an elegant way of creating puff pastry that results in flaky, crispy, buttery yet light melt in your mouth layers. How do they do it? Well, for students of Ferrandi, we finally learn the secrets this very wonderful traditional recipe, and we’re finding out that in fact, it’s still evolving.

Our first lesson in the creation of puff pastries, is a technique called, Feuilletage, to create the puff pastry dough, pate feuilletee. 

For a pate feuilletee traditional, there are two main parts.  The first part to create a dough called detrempe. The detrempe, is a mixture of greater flour to butter, [for example: flour 400g : butter 50g]. The second part, is a tablet of butter. We encase the tablet into the detrempe. This is called a pâton. We then want to incorporate this butter into the detrempe. We have a techique called, turns, or in French, tours. It’s a technique of rolling out dough, folding it like an envelope or book, and then rolling it out again, doing this a number of times, 5 tours generally, and refrigerating between each turn, or tour. And this is how you create those layers in the puff pastry. Of course there is a more scientific answer for why the flakiness but for now this is the basic understanding.

Then there’s the most celebrated method of feuilletage, the Feuilletage Inversee. It’s said that Pierre Herme evolved the modern puff pastry into something even more flaky, buttery and lighter. It’s also the method my Chef prefers, and he has good reason too. It’s the best puff pastry I ever tasted. So how do you make it? It’s like the name, you inversee or reverse the traditional method. The butter is on the exterior and you encase the detrempe in the butter. But rolling out just butter is impossible, so we need to add a minimum of flour to work with it, and this is called a beurre manie. The detrempe in the recipe for Inversee is only flour/salt and water (no butter).

Now, for flavoured pate feuilletee, we do:  feuilletage au chocolat and feuilletage a la pistache. We assume the role of Pate Feuilletee Inversee. Why? Because it’s the best! Feuilletage au Chocolat is a detrempe [flour/salt/water] encased into the beurre manie which has added cocoa powder. Feuilletage a la pistache is the same method, except we put pistache paste into the beurre manie.

The puffing of your pastry depends on how you prepare your dough –  right from the beginning when you mix the ingredients, to rolling, turning and refrigeration. There are butters for creams and butters for pastry dough, then your choice must be at the highest of quality. The choice of butter is absolutely crucial to the taste and behaviour of your puff pastry. Do not short change on ingredients when making a French puff pastry dough. You gain more by investing.

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Millefeuille Viennois

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Millefeuille aux framboises

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Millefeuille with fruit jelly

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Millefeuille Traditionnel

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Millefeuille Chocolat Praline

Creme d’amande (almond cream)

Butter, 250 grams
Sugar, 250 grams
Almond powder, 250 grams
Eggs, 200 grams
Flour, 50 grams
Rum, 40 grams
Vanilla extract, 5 grams

Work sugar, and softened butter (pommade consistency).
Add the almond powder and mix together to a creamy consistency.
Add the eggs one by one.
Beat the mixture to get it blanch, meaning pale colour.
Add the sifted flour.
Add vanilla extract and rum at the end.
Store in fridge.

This recipe is from the student class recipe book, Anglo Pastry 2013, created by Chef Patissier, D. Averty of l’ecole FERRANDI , and is regularly updated. The recipe/s can be subject to change at the discretion of the Chef. The success of this recipe depends on a number of factors such as: the quality of ingredients, temperature and quality of appliances, skill and knowledge of the student and/or patissier/e. 

To receive an updated copy of the Anglo Pastry book, you must be a student enrolled in the Ferrandi Pastry Program.

Creme d’amande pistache (almond cream with pistachio paste)

Butter, 250 grams
Sugar, 250 grams
Pistachio paste, 85 grams
Almond powder, 250 grams
Eggs, 200 grams (4 eggs approx = 50g each)
Flour (sifted), 50 grams
Kirsch (cherry liqueur), 35 grams
Vanilla extract, 5 grams

Work sugar, softened butter (pommade consistency) and pistachio paste.
Add the almond powder and mix to get a creamy consistency.
Add the eggs one by one.
Beat the mixture to get it blanch, or pale yellow colour.
Add the sifted flour.
Add vanilla extract and Kirsch at the end.
Store in fridge.

This recipe is from the student class recipe book, Anglo Pastry 2013, created by Chef Patissier, D. Averty of l’ecole FERRANDI , and is regularly updated. The recipe/s can be subject to change at the discretion of the Chef. The success of this recipe depends on a number of factors such as: the quality of ingredients, temperature and quality of appliances, skill and knowledge of the student and/or patissier/e. 

To receive an updated copy of the Anglo Pastry book, you must be a student enrolled in the Ferrandi Pastry Program.

PUFF PASTRIES

Welcome to the world of puff pastries. If the French are known to master anything better than anyone else, it’s this. They have an elegant way of creating puff pastry that results in flaky, crispy, buttery yet light melt in your mouth layers. How do they do it? Well, for students of Ferrandi, we finally learn the secrets this very wonderful traditional recipe, and we’re finding out that in fact, it’s still evolving.

Our first lesson in the creation of puff pastries, is a technique called, Feuilletage, to create the puff pastry dough, pate feuilletee. 

For a pate feuilletee traditional, there are two main parts.  The first part to create a dough called detrempeThe detrempe, is a mixture of greater flour to butter, [for example: flour 400g : butter 50g]. The second part, is a tablet of butter. We encase the tablet into the detrempe. This is called a paton. We then want to incorporate this butter into the detrempe. We have a techique called, turns, or in French, tours. It’s a technique of rolling out dough, folding it like an envelope or book, and then rolling it out again, doing this a number of times, 5 tours generally, and refrigerating between each turn, or tour. And this is how you create those layers in the puff pastry. Of course there is a more scientific answer for why the flakiness but for now this is the basic understanding.

Then there’s the most celebrated method of feuilletage, the Feuilletage Inversee. It’s said that Pierre Herme evolved the modern puff pastry into something even more flaky, buttery and lighter. It’s also the method my Chef prefers, and he has good reason too. It’s the best puff pastry I ever tasted. So how do you make it? It’s like the name, you inversee or reverse the traditional method. The butter is on the exterior and you encase the detrempe in the butter. But rolling out just butter is impossible, so we need to add a minimum of flour to work with it, and this is called a beurre manie. The detrempe in the recipe for Inversee is only flour/salt and water (no butter).

Now, for flavoured pate feuilletee, we do:  feuilletage au chocolat and feuilletage a la pistache. We assume the role of Pate Feuilletee Inversee. Why? Because it’s the best! Feuilletage au Chocolat is a detrempe [flour/salt/water] encased into the beurre manie which has added cocoa powder. Feuilletage a la pistache is the same method, except we put pistache paste into the beurre manie.

The puffing of your pastry depends on how you prepare your dough –  right from the beginning when you mix the ingredients, to rolling, turning and refrigeration. There are butters for creams and butters for dough, you must choose accordingly. Also, the choice of butter is absolutely crucial to the taste and behaviour of your puff pastry. Do not short change on ingredients when making a French puff pastry dough. You gain more by investing.