Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Time to rough it up.

Lesson 5: Rough Puff (Scotch method) making Bande de fruits.

For all the puff pastries we make we use the same recipe which you can find on my previous post.

Rough Puff. Its quicker then the other methods as you don't let the dough rest before incorporating the butter or do as many folds. You do 2 single turns and 2 double turns and the butter goes in to start with.

Sift the flour and salt (please please please make sure you do this... I've found a little unwanted friend in my flour when I sifted it who was hiding and unseen until him and his babies were left in my sieve at the end. Gave me the heedie geebies!!!) in a large bowl and add your butter in small pieces, tossing to coat the butter pieces in flour.

Add the water and mix roughly. DO NOT rub the butter into the flour. It will look like a shaggy mess at this stage and you'll probably think your doing it all wrong but you WANT huge lumpy chunks of butter with a dough surrounding them.

Knead lightly into a ball making sure you keep the chunks and don't let them disappear.

Roll the dodgy, chunky looking dough into a long rectangle and fold into thirds. Flip the dough so the open ends are at the top and bottom and roll out again. This time you will do a double fold; Fold both long ends into the middle (like a book) and then fold it in half (close the book). Allow to rest for 20min covered in a damp cloth in the fridge.

Place the dough with open ends at the top and bottom and roll out again. Do a single fold (in thirds), turn the dough, roll out and do a double fold. Allow to rest again before rolling the dough out to your required thickness.

We made Bande de Fruits and cut three different sizes. (A)10cm x 30cm. (B)12cm x 30cm and (C)13cm x 30cm. We also made small fruit tarts using a circle cutter and topping them with almond cream and fruit.

With A we made an indent lengthways 1cm in from the sides and places sliced apples sprinkled with sugar down the centre. Brush the exposed pastry with egg wash.

With C we made cuts down the middle in the shape of a v's, piped down the middle of B with almond cream and placed apple on top of the almond cream, brushed the edges with an egg wash and then placed C on top of B brushing the top with more egg wash.

These were then baked in a hot oven until the pastry was golden and cooked on the bottom.

Mmmmm delish!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mother of all pastries.

Lesson 104: Puff Pastry making Victorias and Palmiers.

Yes thats right readers we are now onto puff pastry. The mother and queen of all pastries.

There are a variety of different ways to make puff pastry. This lesson we did the French method and English method. No I am not picking sides of which one is the best at all. They were both just as difficult and just the same result. Our teacher likes the french version but alas, he is french. The French Method has 5 fold and the English has 6 folds. Confused?... read on dear reader :)

The recipe is very simple, it is the process that takes time and patience.

Puff Pastry:
500g bakers flour
10g salt
270g water + a couple drops of white vinegar
375g butter

This was my first time making puff pastry and let me tell you the folding and rolling and resting all got a little confusing for me and the more I tried to work it out the more I confused myself.

First you sift the flour and salt onto your clean bench and make a well in the centre. Add your water and vinegar mixture in the middle gradually working it into the flour to form a dough. Knead into a ball, cover in a wet cloth and refrigerate for about 20min. If you are doing the french method, at this point you would cut a cross in the top of your dough. If you are doing the english version you would form it into a rough rectangle/ball shape.

While your dough is resting in the fridge, beat your butter so it is a similar consistency to your dough, not too soft and not too hard. Your want to be able to roll out the butter in the pastry evenly with the pastry not have huge hard chunks of butter ripping your dough.

For the French Method; roll your dough out into a cross shape (sorry no photos... would have been so much easier to show you with photos) using the cuts your made on top and place the butter in the centre. Fold the edges in, overlapping them and making sure not butter is visible and roll out into a long rectangle. Fold (1st fold) evenly into three like you are folding a letter and turn 90 degrees around so the open ends are now the top and bottom. Roll out to a long rectangle and then fold (2nd fold) evenly into 3 again. Allow to rest for 20min in fridge. 

For the English Method; Roll out rough rectangle to make it a little longer then roll out your butter into a rectangle a little smaller. Place butter on dough and fold in the sides. Roll out into a longer rectangle then fold into 3 (1st fold) like folding a letter, turn 90 degrees so open ends are at the top and bottom and roll out to a long rectangle, fold (2nd fold) in three again. Allow to rest in fridge for 20min.

French method & English method: Let your dough sit on the bench for a couple of min to take the chill of but not let warm up. Have the open ends facing the top and bottom and roll into a long rectangle like before and fold (3rd fold) in three. Repeat the rolling and folding (4th fold) once more making sure every time you roll you turn the dough so the open ends are always at the top and bottom. Allow to rest in fridge for 20min.

French: Roll out into a long rectangle for the last time and complete the final fold (5th fold). You can now roll out the pastry to your required thickness. We rolled it out into a large square 3mm thick.

English: Roll out into a long rectangle, fold into three (5th fold), turn 90 degrees. Roll and fold (6th fold) for the last time. Allow to rest for 20min. After the resting time you can roll out your pastry. We rolled it into a large square 3mm thick.

English Puff with the marks for 6 fold completed.

Making the palmiers and Victorias:

Cutting the Victorias

Folding the victorias

Palmiers ready for the baking tray

Putting the bunny ears on the Palmiers.
Palmiers baking

Victorias baking with creme patissier and tinned apricots in them.
Victorias straight from the oven.

Palmiers straight from the oven.

The final products.

Thanks for reading! keep watching for more delicious pastries :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Girls and their Choux's

Lesson 3: Choux Pastry.

Everybody loves an eclair or choux bun. The crunchy pastry and soft custard inside with sticky icing or toffee on top....mmm yum!

To make choux pastry can seem daunting but its well worth the trip from the stove to bench top to oven.

First you boil 250mL water, 100g butter, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar on the stove then add 190g bakers flour. Cook over the heat for about 30sec or until the mixture comes off the sides of the pan. Someone explained this stage to me like when you cook corn and it turns into pop corn. You need to cook the little grains of flour for this to work. Once it come off the sides take the pot off the heat and empty the mixture into a clean bowl and spread it out to let it cool slightly. You can also do this stage in a mixer with the paddle attachment (we use the mixer at work) and beat it until it cools slightly. Once it cooled a bit add your eggs one at a time beating well after each egg. We used about 5-6 eggs but it can depend on how big the eggs are and the humidity of the day so it is best to add a little less to start with and see if it comes to the right consistency. You want a glossy dough that is 'drop' consistency; not runny and not too thick.

Next pipe your choux buns or eclairs onto a buttered baking tray and brush very lightly with an egg wash and run the back of a fork over the tops making small imprints. Bake at 200 degrees celsius for 15-20 min. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN FOR ANY REASON IN THE FIRST 10min. Let the steam out of your oven towards the end to allow them to dry out slightly.

When they are ready let them cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling we made vanila creme patissier , a chocolate creme patissier and chantilly cream.

To make the chocolate creme patissier we added melted dark chocolate to the vanilla creme patissier.

Chantilly cream which is  whipped cream with 10% icing sugar added to it.

For the toppings we used fondant from a bucket which we heated to 37 degrees to get the right consistency and shine when it dries and toffee (my favourite!). 

Thanks for reading and keep watching for more delicious morsels :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Deliciously evil.... mmm.

Prepare and Produce pastries 102: Creaming method making lemon meringue pies.

We made short pastry again this week but using the creaming method instead of the rubbing method we did the previous week.

To do this we creamed the butter until very soft and added the sugar. We do not want to aerate this mixture. Next you add the eggs and emulsify then your chosen flavour. We used Vanilla extract. Add the flour a little to start with then turn everything onto your bench and combine with your hands. Remember: DO NOT OVER WORK YOUR DOUGH. Place our baby in the fridge to rest for 30min.

All sections of lemon meringue pies were cooked separately and then put together to get this deliciously evil sweet and sour pie.

While our dough was resting we made our lemon filling which consisted of lemon juice, butter, sugar and eggs. We cooked this till above 60 degrees but made sure not to curdle our eggs at the same time.

Our pie shells were blind baked at 180 degrees until golden. Blind baking is cooking the tart shell before adding your filling. This can be done by stabbing the pastry with a fork which is what we did or lining the base of the tart/pie shell with beans, rice or pie weights. We made small tarts so we didn't need to use anything to weigh it down.

Once the shells were cooled we filled them with our lemon filling and placed in the fridge to set.

We then made Italian Meringue which we have made previously at TAFE and piped that on top of the lemon filling.

To top it all off we used a blow torch to give the edges the cooked look.

Overall my favourite thing so far! Love that sweet and sour taste... have to admit also loving the peoples facial expressions when they don't like sour things :) hehe just a little bit evil?

Friday, October 28, 2011

From cakes to pastry.

We changed topics and finished off cakes with a bang. Now onto pastry and starting with the basics.

Prepare and produce pastries 101: Short pastry making Tarte Bourdaloue.

We used the rub in method then all gave up (including chef) and used the mixer with the paddle attachment. I think he realised we would all take too as it was a cold morning and our butter was hard as a rock. We sifted the flour and sugar on our bench and then added our cold butter which was cut into small cubes. Rubbing with the tips of our fingers (you can do this also in a food processor or a mixer with the paddle attachment). Once the mixture resembled fine breadcrumbs and there were no lumps of butter throughout we added some lemon zest for flavour. Next we made a well in the centre and poured in our eggs and vanilla in and combined it all using our hands, kneading lightly into a log shape. You have to be very careful here not to overwork the dough as you don't want it to shrink when it is being cooked. We then glad-wrapped our little pride and joy and placed him in the fridge to rest. He can also be frozen at this stage for up to 2 months.

For our filling we poached some pears in sugar syrup (equal parts sugar and water), lemon zest and vanilla, made almond cream and used some tinned pie filling to see the difference between home made and canned. Home made was so much better!

After our dough had its time in the fridge we rolled it out and lined out tins.

Ready for delicious goodness.

We then filled some with almond cream and topped them with the sliced poached pears and with the others we mixed together almond cream and apple pie filling and filled our tarts. We then topped these with slivered almonds ready for the oven.

My Little boys ready for the oven.

We baked them at 180 degrees celsius until golden and cooked on the bottom. The pear tarts took less time then the apple tarts.

Mmmm warm pear tart straight from the oven anyone?
After they came out we glazed them to give a nice shine for that extra professional look :)


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just a little bit fancy.

Lesson 4: Gateau Fraisier

Sponge cake again today but this time we got to make it fancy and even more delicious then what we have done previously to a sponge cake.

When the cake was in the oven we made a Creme Patissiere and turned it into a mousseline. YUM!

Creme Patissiere
500mL milk
125g sugar
50g corn flour
3 eggs yolks
1/2 vanilla bean
25g butter

To make a creme pat whisk half the sugar and eggs yolks together, adding the corn flour next and whisking again till all combines. Heat the milk with vanilla and remaining half of the sugar till just boiling and pour over egg mix. Return to the pan and cook on medium heat until you get bubbles coming through the bottom and cook for another 30 seconds. Take off the heat and stir in the butter. Pour into a clingfilm lined tray and cover with more clingfilm to avoid a skin occuring. Once cooled slightly, place in fridge to chill.

To make mousseline
1 batch x creme patissiere
250g soft unsalted butter

If anyone has watched my favourite movie 'Julie and Julia' they would see why I say butter makes everything delicious and this time it is crazy how delicious this turns out. This has been whisked into submission... seriously!

To make Mousseline whip butter till light and fluffy with no lumps. Whip cold creme patissiere until smooth (you can add a splash of alcohol here if you like). Combine butter and creme patissiere and whisky until they are combined.

Putting our Gateau Fraisier together: 

We made the sponge cake in a square tin (20cm x 20cm) and when cooled completely (chef said it is better to do this the next day but as we have only one day at TAFE we did it the same day) we sliced it in half horizontally and brushed off any crumbs. We spread the base with chocolate then placed it in the fridge to set. We did this so the cake has a bit of structure to the bottom and doesn't stick to the cake board (not sure this was a good idea as on the car trip home I drove even more like an old nanna so my cake didn't slide in its box).

marsipan flowers in the making.
Place chocolate side down on a cake board and brush the top with sugar syrup. Spread a layer of mousseline over and line it with cut strawberries having the fat end of the strawberries facing out. Spread another layer of mousseline over the top, covering the strawberries (careful not to put too much on here). Place the other half of the cake on top and press down lightly and evenly. Brush more sugar syrup over the top and spread a final thin layer of mousseline on top. Place in the fridge to firm up.

While it is in the fridge roll out some marsipan and add your desired colour to it or leave it natural. Leaving some extra to start the fun stuff.

Once the cake has firmed up place your rolled out marsipan over the cake, trim the edges with a bread knife and glaze the top.

For the fun stuff we make flowers to go on top of our cake. Chef made them so quick in class it was a whirl wind so a girl in my class showed me. I also asked the pastry chef at work and he showed me a way to do them too. I will have to do a picture step by step to show you how. Words will do this no justice and only confuse both you and me.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the pictures and fancy-ness of this post.

Friday, October 21, 2011

slap me! ...I know I need it.

I need a good slap. I have been terrible at keeping this blog up to date. Think of my morning off today as a HUGE catch up. I will keep you all up to date today and gradually post one (hopefully... fingers crossed) every couple of days :) But this morning task is to write everything I have learnt from TAFE so far. Here goes, I have till 1:10pm until I have to leave for the train and head off to work...its 11:16am now. So here goes!

Lesson 3: Maderia cake and Fruit cake.

A Maderia cake is a great cake for cake decorating as it is a dense sponge like cake which holds its shape very well and is great to travel as it wont end up in a load of crumbs in your picnic basket. The taste was pretty boring to me but good to learn incase I need a dense cake and I am sure you can add different flavouring to it. It was a cake I felt would be delicious toasted and slathered with butter and a cup of tea on the side. Oooo then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, I'm a sucker for cinnamon sugar... mmm hot cinnamon donuts... sorry getting side tracked. Back to cakes.

We softened the butter (175g) with a spatular and then added the sugar (180g) and lemon zest (1 tsp) creaming it together with a spatular, not our whisks like we have done before in the pound cake as we don't want to incorporate air into the cake because we are using chemical aeration. We then added the tempered eggs (200g) one at a time. Tempered means they have had the chill taken off them and are slightly warmer then room temp. Next we added the Vanilla extract (5g) and the batter should be smooth and silky. If the eggs have curdled because they were too cold add a tbs of flour and give it a good mix or warm the mixture up over a bain marie slightly. Usually works for me when this happens. Next add your sifted cake flour (260g) and baking powder (1tsp) and mix to combine.

Place in loaf tins or cupcake cases and bake at 180 degrees celsius until golden and cooked through. Test with a knife to see if it comes out clean.

When the cupcakes were cool we iced them with fondant. To get the fondant to the right consistency you add a tiny splash of water but be careful hour much you add if you are also adding food colouring. This was our big mistake so far. The whole class (except a few experienced cake decorators... me not included here) added WAY to much and ended up with fluro icing rather then a nice shade of baby pink. I added more fondant to mine to dull the over bright colour down and thicken it up. You need to take it to blood temp over hot water so it dried shiney. This I need to practice... too much colour, not hot enough.

They turned out... well... there is a reason there are only two in the photo  :)

We iced the loaf cake while it was still hot with a lemon icing (lemon juice and icing sugar) and then quickly stuck it back in the oven to seal for 10 seconds.

Maderia loaf, fruit cake and cupcakes.

The fruit cake. Now this was no much chopping sticky gooey fruits that in the beginning I don't like. Dried fruit in my opinion is old fruit, why would you eat old fruit?!?

We had old...sorry I mean dried apple, pear, apricots, sultanas, peel, dates, currants, glace cherries, almonds and hazelnuts. After you have chopped your old... sorry dried fruit and nuts and soaked it in some rum you start on making the batter. Do the same method as the maderia cake in regards to creaming the butter and sugar then adding the tempered eggs and finally the flour. Mix this through your old fruit... sorry dried and then add a fresh (wahoo!) grated apple last. Pout into a double lined 20cm x 20cm square tin and bake at 180 until coked, this felt like hours and might have been but silly me didn't write the time down.

We glazed the cake with a flavourless glaze from a tub (looked like really runny jelly) and decorated it with almonds.

If anyone wants the whole and complete recipe for this as even me who hated dried fruit really enjoyed this fruit cake let me know in the comments and I'll email you a copy.

Thanks for reading and keep watching because I promise next post will have more pictures :)