We are in pastry school, learning French techniques from a French chef, so it makes sense to think that we’d learn French Pastries. Two weeks ago, our two day class covered some of the traditional little french pastries – 2 or 3 bite treats that you’d find in a little patisserie in France. A few things we made:
Opera and Mazarin cakes: they both start as whole slabs like this. Opera cake has a plain cake layer, with coffee buttercream, and is topped with dark chocolate. Mazarin is built using a cake layer made with hazelnuts, hazelnut buttercream, and is topped with milk chocolate.
These are called Rhum Babas. If you’ve ever had a cruller-style doughnut, that is basically what this is. A sweet, rich yeasty dough, which bakes up with tons of holes inside. It’s soaked in a boiling citrus syrup, then is doused with rum, glazed with apricot glaze, and topped with whipped cream. Chef Paul ate about 6 in a row, and I’m pretty sure he had a good buzz after because of all the rum. They are sticky, sweet, and although a bit weird, really really good.
Billions of babas
Choux paste is the most basic dough – simply just water and butter boiled together, flour added and stirred until it clumps together, then eggs slowly beaten in. It is always piped using a piping bag, and is baked in a hot oven. The eggs cause it to puff, and they bake up hollow inside. This is what eclairs and profiteroles both are. We piped several different sizes, to make:
“Religieuse” – named after a nun’s habit, since these two-layer chocolate or mocha pastry-filled treats kind of look like a nun (from the side, not from this top view).
“Twins” – half chocolate, half mocha pastry cream inside, chocolate and mocha fondant on the outside.