Tag Archives: Pastry

Pain Au Chocolat.

11 Jan

Another rainy day in Raincouver booo!!!!

Well at least it gave me the idea of making some Pain Au Chocolat. A pain au chocolat was basically a croissant that has chocolat in it.
I decided to use Felder’s version of the croissant dough instead and this time only 3 folds were incorporated instead of the 4 folds I normally use.
Too me, there were less visible breakage of the layers by incorporating 3 folds.

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Keys to Making Croissant Dough can be found here

Croissants au Beurre Dough-Felder

4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cups sugar
1 tsbp plus 1 tsp powdered milk
2 tsp. salt
7 tbsp butter
25 g fresh yeast
230 ml water
2 sticks, 250 g butter
Chocolate Sticks

Egg Wash
egg and whioping cream

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Prior to baking brush lightly with egg wash. Bake at 350F for approx 20 minutes if not more.

Voila, nice and warm Pain au Chocolat.

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Pecan Tart An Old Fashioned Favorite

30 Mar

I had a pecan tart at Giovani Cafe at the Pacific Rim Hotel the other day. Loving the sweet and crunchy combination of the tart and crust, I decided to see if I could recreate it.

The key to making the Pecan tart was actually the filling. I have seen recipes using corn syrup, cream, sugar and maple syrup. Favoring a chewier consistency, I opted for a recipe which called for maple syrup.

Keys in making a Pecan Tart:

1. Do not dock the pie/tart crust as the filling will seep out when cooking. You would get a mess of cooked eggs/sugar syrup and the end

Method:
a) To make the tart, I first made the crust first. Having repeated success with Felder’s Pate Sucre recipe, I choose to make it again this time using a Tahitian Vanilla Bean. The vanilla bean gave a floral after taste which complimented the light tart crust when baked. Instead of removal bottom tart pans, I chose to use ring molds. Once the pate sucre was finished, I placed the dough into the fridge before rolling it out into the tart rings.

b) While the pate sucre was chilling, I made the filling. The filling consisted of maple syrup, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter and lemon juice. Unlike conventional recipes, this recipe called for a dry caramel from the brown sugar. The caramel was done, de-glaze it by adding the maple syrup and brought back to a boil again and then cooled. Once cooled pour the mixture over the beaten eggs and butter, vanilla and lemon juice.

c) To assemble, place the pecans on the bottom of the uncooked tart crust and pour in the filling. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes until golden brown and done.

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Pecan Tart(recipe found here)

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup (I used maple syrup)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 cups pecan halves

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Enjoy!!!

Pierre Herme Cheesecake

3 Mar

Snow again!!! My two lucky snow covered weekends of all time. Was it a coincidence or what that Vancouver got snow on the weekends one after each other. I often hear people saying they want a pineapple express. Boooo!!!! Despite the fact that I am freezing my ass off and shivering away, I am a fan of the cold weather. During these two weekends, if one where to notice a dark blimp sticking out the arm and inspecting the quality of the snow flakes whilst walking down a snow covered street, well….that blimp would be me 🙂

In light of these past snowing weekends, I thought of a superb idea to warm up the house. Nothing can warm up the cold air circulating around the kitchen than a nice toasty warm even. To cure my insatiable appetite for desserts, I decided to make a deliciously smooth cheesecake. I was flipping through a Pierre Herme cookbook recently and my dark gleaming eyes fell upon his milky smooth white cheesecake. Pierre Herme had always been my inspiration as most of the flavoring in his creations really complimented each other. His cheesecake was no different. Originally I had though that it was similar to the north american sytle cheesecakes but to my astonishment his really instructions really stood out. Slow baked cheesecake best described PH’s. You see most cheesecakes recipes required a higher temperature during baking and in turn this promoted a browning of the top as the sugar caramelized but with a lower temperature and a steam bath, the cheesecake was at its best. I have longed to make cheesecakes that have a creamy rich consistency and now I have achieved it thanks to his instructions. For me, I started at a lower temperature at approx 225F and increased the temperature to 235f over a period of 1 1/2 hours. Keeping a watchful eye on the delicately scrumptious concoction definitely helped. By the time the cheesecake was baked the center should only wobble a bit.

Keys to a White and Smooth Cheesecake:
-Lower Baking Temperature and Longer Baking Time
-Warm Water Bath

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Pierre Herme Cheesecake (Can also be found here)

1 kg (2 1/4lbs) cream cheese, at room temperature
300g sugar
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
70g heavy cream
50g flour

Preheat the oven to 225.
Mix the cream cheese and sugar and beat until smooth.
Add egg yolks, eggs and cream one by one until fully incorporated and smooth
Add the flour and mix well.
Pour the cream cheese filling onto the cooled cheesecake base in the ring on the baking sheet.
Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours until the edges are set and the middle is a little wobbly.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven, set aside to cool, then refrigerate.

This cheesecake really hit the spot and I am glad to share this recipe. Enjoy this smooth silky cheesecake!!!

New Year Treats-Cinnamon Swirls

1 Jan

In light of New Year and holidays, I decided to make another treat. This was my third recipe from Kellars Book.  Unlike most puff pastry recipe I have seen, Kellar used alot more vinegar…supposedly because of the acidic properties, here we go chemistry again, of vinegar which prevents the gluten from forming long strands resulting in a lighter pastry.  In Kellers puff pastry recipe he suggested 5 turns but I decided on 6 turns and still had good results.  Perhaps I will stick to 5 next time.

Puff Pastry Recipe from Buchon Bakery

Butter 400 grams

Dough:

Water 225 grams

White wine vinegar 25 g ( I used plain vinegar)

All purpose flour plus more for dusting 500 g ( I used half bread flour and half all purpose)

Kosher Salt (I used plain table salt)

Unsalted butter, melted but not hot 50 g

Key:  Resting the dough. 15 mins in freezer or 1 hour in fridge prior to baking DSC_0113

Note:  I decided to do spirals this time.  I rolled out the chilled dough onto cinnamon and sugar then rolled it back up and cut the pastry into slices.  The effect was good and the end product was crisp, flaky and light.  The sugar did caramelize thus contributed to a hardened bottom when cooled but the taste was delicious.

Magic of Puff Pastry

23 Jul

I took a course in Puff Pastry last week at Vancouver Pastry School.  The instructor is amazing and thus far has brought my pastry/baking skills to the next level.   Usually I don’t get to make a variety of baked products at home as I am limited to what I can do but because I am taking these courses, I get to learn them.

Puff Pastry unlike all else is very technical, as I learned.  There are two types of puff pastry, inverse and traditional puff pastry.  In traditional puff pastry, the butter is inside the dough whereas in the inverse puff pastry, the butter is outside the dough.  At first, I thought??  How could that be fat outside, but there is brilliance behind it.  It so happens, in the invert puff pastry, the fat layer being on the outside helps maintain moisture hence the dough will not dry out.  Furthermore with the fat layer being on the outside it will add more lightness and volume to the dough when baked.

When folding puff pastry you fold it 4 times in the order of single, double, single and double.

Keys to a good volumed puff pastry learned from experience 🙂

  • Don’t over mix the dough
  • When incorporating the butter dough to the flour dough, make sure the fat layer is smooth, lump free, same texture and temp as the dough itself.  If there are lumps, the results are you would be frying the dough
  • Be gentle when handling the dough
  • Between folds, brush of any excess flour.  Flour between the layers would prevent the pastry from rising.
  • Between folds, it is important to allow the dough to rest a minimum of 20 minutes in the fridge.  It allows the butter between the layers of folding to firm up and gluten to relax. If you can place it in for longer better.  Puff pastry can be freezed.
  • When rolling out puff pastry try to keep the pastry nice and rectangular and don’t roll the dough too thin
  • Egg wash-Use it sparingly
  • Once assembled, prior to placing in oven, allow the dough to rest up again for at least 20 minutes.  I placed mine the the fridge.
  • Bake in higher heat at least 400 F otherwise the butter will melt and your pastry will not raise.

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Here is what mine looked like after I assembled the puff pastry.  I simply brush each pastry with enough egg wash and then coated it with sugar.  ***Not the entire pastry but where the egg wash is.   When baked it will be nice and crispy.
***Again, I can’t stress this enough, leave the dough to rest so the gluten could relax prior to baking it.  Bake for approx. 10-15 mins. until golden brown but you need to gage this as each individual oven and calibration is different.

I was estatic when I could see the puff pastry baking and rising.  Image

You will know when the puff pastry is baked when it slides off the easily.  Remove the pastry gently, if you remove it too hard the pastry will crumble or break.  Allow the pastry to cool; then you could fill it with custard and decorate the pastry.

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For mine, I filled the pastries with custard cream and dipped it in chocolate afterwards.  When the chocolate set, I lightly sifted some icing sugar onto the pastries.

Generally, the results where good, the pastry is light, fluffy and flaky.  The custard cream compliments the lightness as itself is quite light and not heavy.  As an alternative, nuts could be added to the dipped chocolate, but simple is better yes? 🙂

Vanilla Custard Cream (Creme Patissiere)

1 1/2 cups milk

1 egg

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon plain flour

1 tablespoon corn flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I used 1/2 vanilla bean)

1.  Heat Milk w/ vanilla.  ***Reserve some milk for egg/sugar mixture.  ***If want stronger vanilla flavour steep the milk w/ vanilla a while longer.

2.  Combine sugar, egg, cornstarch and flour with reserved milk and mix until smooth.

3.  When Milk w/ vanilla mixture is hot, pour into egg/sugar mixture.  Keep stirring while pouring hot milk mixture.

4. Return mixture to heat, stirring consistently to prevent burning.  Bring mixture to boil and the custard thickens and remove from heat and cool.

***If you want Diplomat Cream, just add whipped cream to the cool custard mixture.  Fold the whipped cream into the cooled custard mixture.  It is imperative that the custard is cooled prior to folding into the whipped cream or the cream will loose its volume.

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