Graduation et Merci

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Les comrades.

What a dynamic and talented group. I believe that every student graduate in this photo is going to have an amazing future because each one of them has strong desires, passions, love, energy, friendships, kindness, eagerness, willingness, and strength. I can’t wait to see where we all are in 10 years. Good luck to Group A, class of February – July 2013. You’re awesome!

The Chef and I.

Chef and I

I imagine it’s not easy to teach a class mixed with so many different nationalities, experiences, ages and personalities year after year. His humour I imagine keeps Chef somewhat sane for the most part (and perhaps some good French wine) and us students more calm. “Don’t take things so seriously Pirisi, its okay, CA VA” is about what he said to me on my first week when I cried over my pate feuilletee not able to work out what a bloody ‘TURN’ was or “TOUR”. So panicked by my lack of ability to perform perfection on my first week my Chef managed to calm me and put a little perspective with some humour.

Somehow I’ve retained all the info and techniques he’s taught me and I continue to practice them always trying to achieve that level of perfection. Simply the way of holding a palatte when doing glacage or keeping my workbench organised or even my posture as I work, these little things stay with you. So from the Aussie gal who’s going to make it as a French patissiere in France, Merci to you my Chef Didier Averty and of course to my comrades. Mwah! xxx

Miss Pirisi

Chez Gateaux Thoumieux

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This weekend I refused to buckle to Paris’ cold and windy weather. If the shops were going to be open then I would be in them, and it’s exactly where I was, inside Gateaux Thoumieux. Another newbe patisserie, only opened last November but its creator is not so newbe, he’s the highly reputed Chef Jean-Francois Piege, and he has partnered up with Chef Patissier Ludovic Chaussard (former Chef of Ducasse, Fauchon, Tour D’Argent). Initially I walked right by this petite boutique, it’s appearance is quite soft and delicate, i thought I’d just walked by a Day Spa. But once you’re inside everything is very edible and certainly not to be smothered on your face!

We are presented with refined French classics: Kougloff, Viennoiseries, Petits Gateaux (entremets), Tarts and other childhood favourites. Expect to find Baba au Rhum, Chocolate and Coffee Eclairs, Salted Caramel and Praline Choux, Lemon Tart, Chocolate and Ginger and chocolate and passionfruit petits gateaux, Chocolate Tart, Flan, even a Cheesecake. Should I continue?

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Thomieux is a short walk from the Seine, so what better place to take model shots of les gorgeous petits gateaux than along the Seine River, backdrop Paris. Where else?DSC_0618DSC_0601DSC_0549DSC_0558

And well I couldn’t resist this pic of hubby looking so Frenchie. Don’t you just hate when someone takes photos of you while you’re eating? It’s so much more fun taking the photo. Smile! 🙂

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Gateaux Thoumieux
58 Rue Saint Dominique 75007 Paris
Metro: Invalides (RER C), La Tour-Maubourg (line 8)
Chef Patissier, Ludovic Chaussard
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm and Sunday 8:30am to 5pm. CLOSED TUESDAY.
Tel: 01.45.51.12.12

Take the opportunity to saveurs your petits gateaux by the Seine – don’t forget to ask before leaving Gateaux Thoumieux for a spoon, “une petite cuillere” – or if you’re feeling “Well, I prefer to enjoy this with a cup of cofffee”, then there’s a Starbucks in the same street where a blind eye is turned when you open up your box of Thoumieux treats.

MICHALAK. IT REALLY IS FANTASTIK!

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FANTASTIK ATTACK “BOOM” (photo above) – hazelnut dacquoise, mango, passionfruit and milky caramel. A special edition created for the Christmas season 2013.

We know him as the celebrity Chef Pâtissier of the 5 star hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris. Christophe Michalak, winner of the World Pastry Championships 2005 has however taken on a new gig, doing a Lady Gaga if you will by reinventing his image. His new logo MICHALAK says it all: loud, edgy, bold, rockn roll and fun. His style of packaging also dares to be different choosing a pizza box for the FANTASTIK cake take-aways. Does this sound very French to you?

All those years of hard work and dedication to prestigious 5 star establishments learning the discipline of haute couture patisserie and then to finally create a concept of patisserie that is more … if I dare say…. Playful, crazy?

Patisserie in France today is changing fast, it’s all about reinvention, coming up with new flavors, new looks and playing up to a more international audience.
I’m actually totally Gaga over this new MICHALAK concept and also a little jealous, I wish I’d come up with the idea but there’s still a lot for me to learn and I’m particularly curious on how Michalak and his team constantly reinvent the combination of saveurs and textures for the FANTASTIK range. I also want in on some creative cake design, it looks fun. So I’m signing myself up to the Michalak Masterclasses tout de suite. Notepad, pen and spoon ready!

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Michalak Masterclass FACEBOOK posts the FANTASTIK collection of entremets and tarts regularly, plus if you want to know “les petites astuces” (tips and secrets) of the Michalak patisseries there’s the Michalak Masterclasses in Paris.

Really is FANTASTIK-LY DELICIOUS!

MICHALAK TAKEAWAY, 60 rue du Faubourg Poissonniere, 75010 Paris.

For those non-French speakers who want to take a class I recommend that you contact the MICHALALK team first. I do know that there are members of the team who speak English but that doesn’t mean to say they’ll hold the class in English. Good luck!

La Crème Frangipane for La Galette des Rois (Le Gâteau de mes Rêves)

galette des roisIt’s the perfect time of the year to learn how to make la Galette des Rois.

It’s a tradition in France that the first Sunday of January we eat a Galette des Rois (Cake of Kings). And it’s not just any pastry, it’s one that promises to crown you King or Queen for the day, BUT ONLY if you are the one who bites into the slice with the hidden feve, a tiny porcelain toy. So you are warned to bite with precaution –  it’s no wonder this is the best time of year for dentists.

Crème Frangipane is the filling of this traditional French puff pastry. Two recipes make up the creme frangipane:  crème d’amande (almond cream) AND crème pâtissière (pastry cream). Traditionally, the French add rum the recipe.
There are of course variations of creme frangipane like the one I’ve posted here, simply by adding the zests of orange already gives you another perfume and flavour.

The food show, Le Gâteau de mes Rêves – hosted by celebrity Chef Christophe Michalak and sometimes Christophe Adam –  on the French channel TEVA, takes us through a lesson on how to make La Crème Frangipane a l’orange and to assemble the final Galette des Rois. The only recipe we don’t see being made is the crème pâtissière. However, the recipe is available on the TEVA website in French, and I’ve included it below in English with added explanations.

RECIPE FOR La CREME FRANGIPANE A L’ORANGE

First, make the ….

Crème Pâtissière de Le Gateau de mes Reves (sur le website TEVA):
125 grams of milk (lait)
1/2 vanilla pod (gousse de vanille)
60 grams of egg yolks (jaunes d’oeufs)
50 grams of caster sugar (sucre)
20 grams of fecule de mais “Maizena” (corn powder)

Note: at Ferrandi we used demi-creme (half fat) milk, the crème pâtissière as a result is full bodied in flavour but so light to eat. And you’ll find the big name patissiers will use half-fat milk (demi), it’s one little secret to today’s French pastry – less fat, less sugar, more in flavour (note by miss pirisi)

Method – Crème Pâtissière de Le Gateau de mes Reves (sur le website TEVA):
Scrape the grains from the vanilla pod, put that to the milk and bring to boil.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow. The mixture should be ribbon like. Then add the fecule de mais (corn powder), and whisk until homogene.

Once the milk has reached boiling point, pour a little bit into the egg mixture, and whisk. Now, pour the egg mixture back to the casserole of milk. Begin to whisk quickly. When you see the cream thicken and begins to bubble (boiling point)  remove from the heat and pour directly onto plastic film (glad wrap) or a glass baking tray. Cover the entire pastry cream with plastic wrap (cling or glad wrap). Cover in contact which means no air to get through otherwise you’ll have crust forming. Put into fridge to cool. While it’s cooling begin making the crème d’amande.

Second, make the …..

Crème d’amande (almond cream) a l’orange :
120 grams of semi salted butter (beurre demi-sel): cream the butter (pommade)
120 grams of icing sugar (sucre glace):  sifted (tamiser)
120 grams of almond powder (poudre d’amandes)
2 eggs (2 oeufs) : adding one by one.
14 grams of corn starch powder (fecule de mais)
zest of 2 oranges (le zeste de deux oranges)
Plus, crème pâtissière prepared earlier stored in the fridge. You’ll be adding this to the crème d’amande.

Method – Crème d’amande:
Place butter in a small bowl and in for a few seconds in the microwave to make a pommade (soft creamy butter). The butter should still have it’s form when you remove from microwave however it will be soft.  Now transfer the butter to a larger bowl (you’ll be adding ingredients), whisk the butter until you get a shiny mayonnaise texture.

Add the sifted icing sugar and whisk into butter. Your mixture should be homogene, that is, smooth, no grainy bits, no evidence of butter or icing sugar.
Now, whisk in your almond powder.
Then, add your 1 egg. Whisk.
Add your 2nd egg. Whisk.
Now whisk in your fecule de mais.
Add the zest of 2 oranges. Mix well.
You now have a crème d’amande. To get a crème frangipane, you will mix the crème d’amande with crème pâtissière.

Assemble – La Creme Frangipane a l’orange:
La crème pâtissière remove from fridge (it should be a jelly texture), place in a mixing bowl and whisk well (remuer) to get a smooth creamy texture.
Now, add a little of the almond cream to the crème pâtissière just to dilute. Then, whisk until really smooth (bien lisse). Adding a little more of the almond cream and whisk again.
Now, adding all of the almond cream to the the pastry cream. Mix well until smooth and homogene.

Voila. You now have CREME FRANGIPANE.

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Galette 2015Any King will know how much I love taking lessons from Le Gâteau de mes Rêves, but for others who are non-French speakers or non-French residents and are fans of French pastry the show is not so lesson friendly. The show is only available on paid French TV and is broadcasted in French only. There are video snippets on the TEVA website but snippets means you don’t get the full recipe. Nonetheless, celebrity Chef Patissiers like Christophe Michalak and Christophe Adam give those invaluable “les petites astuces”, little tricks and tips to achieving the perfect pastry techniques.

Miss Pirisi

P.S And it was I who was the King of the Day!