Saturday, February 5, 2011

In the classroom: petit fours, Jan. 2011

Last weekend, my sister-in-law and I took another class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Petit Fours with Master Pastry Chef Delphin Gomes. And once again, it was fantastic. Primarily we made pâte à choux and baked it in puffs and éclairs and also made some tiny fruit tarts with pâte sucre and almond cream base.

Chef Delphin taught us his method of making pâte à choux in a mixer instead of mixing, mixing, mixing like mad on the stovetop. It worked wonderfully, of course.

Here is the "mashed potato" stage: water, butter and salt have been brought to a boil (butter completely melted) and added to the flour. It really does look exactly like mashed potatoes! Sixteen eggs are also ready to go into the dough.

mashed potato stage

eggs at the ready
The dough gets mixed for about 1 minute to bring it down to 155 degrees and then the eggs are added, two at a time.

adding the eggs
With the addition of the two eggs at a time, the dough will kind of fall apart before coming back together. Once it starts to come back together, add the next two eggs. You may need +/- an egg. The dough is done when it is smooth and shiny. Another way to test whether it's ready is to take a pinch between your thumb and forefinger and start to separate your fingers. If the dough forms a thick thread as you pull apart, it's ready. Here is our finished dough, ready to pipe.

smooth, shiny, beautiful!

Here are Chef's samples for us to copy. They're perfect...might be hard to live up to that!

Chef's samples...very nice
Here are mine...not too shabby!

looking good so far...

mine look just like Chef's...I wish! Better keep practicing.

After sis-in-law and I piped three trays of pâte à choux, we made a recipe of Almond Cream filling and piped it into tiny tart shells.

tiniest tart shells I've ever seen, filled with almond cream

almond cream tartlets baked and turned out of the tins

The class has been busy. Here are all of our puffs and éclairs, waiting to be filled. Wow, that's a lot of puffs!

are we really going to fill all of these?

éclairs, waiting to be filled

more puffs - the ovals are for the swans

Sis-in-law and I preparing the fruit tarts. Each piece of fruit is dipped into an apricot glaze and then placed on top of the tiny tart.

we only had about 80 to long would hundreds or thousands take?

it was slow going, but we're almost done

meanwhile, Chef made these beauties with lemon curd and meringue

it's all about the presentation...they are pretty adorable all lined up in their little paper cups

Everyone in class is done now. All together we made the tiny tartlets, swans filled with Chantilly cream; two types of éclairs filled with coffee and chocolate flavored pastry cream; and creme puffs filled with four types of flavored pastry cream: rum, cherry, orange and hazelnut. They all look so nice!

swans filled with Chantilly cream

filled with orange pastry cream and topped with fondant icing

filled with rum flavored cream and topped with caramel

filled with cherry flavored pastry cream, topped with fondant icing and drizzled with chocolate

boxed up to take home

more pastries

the tiny ones are so cute!


a solitary swan...

Bye for now...

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