Thursday, November 5, 2009

Week 11: Pastry, Bread and Yeastgoods

Viennese Biscuits

A picture is worth a thousand words they say. Well then, how about valuing a single taste – be it a smidgen of hazelnut cream licked off your forefinger as your wipe the nozzle of your piping bag clean, or a single bite from a freshly baked croissant, or the tiniest morsel of sponge cake straight out the oven, peeled from the crumbled, imperfect edges?

Simple, the value of the most powerful sense – taste – in the smallest trace amount is absolutely priceless, especially when you are using nothing but four of the most simple ingredients that are invariably stocked in the most basic of kitchens. Butter, flour, water and eggs combined with specific quantities and unwavering precision can create (notice I use the word CAN instead of will/does, because with baking, be pastry work or yeast goods there is absolutely NO guarantee of a fabulous end result) the most delicate, flaky puff pastry that justifies your whole existence or the most succulent and moist Savarin that gives you a new lease on life!

Savarins and Babas with whipped cream, fresh strawberries, kiwi fruit and mint

White Bread Rolls with Sprinkled Poppy and Sesame Seeds

The beginnings of forming croissants - cutting the dough into measured triangles

Rolling the triangles over into the traditional croissant shape

All, perfectly risen croissants by Chef Bill Caulderbank

And my sad, pathetic attempt. My yeast died on me. The result - deflated pastry and morale.

Russian Buckwheat flour Blinis with Sour Cream, Smoked Salmon, Chives and Kalamata Olives

Cooking out the choux pastry

Piping the choux pastry onto the baking sheet

Choux buns and eclairs straight out the oven

Hazelnut Cream pipped into little rosettes on the Paris Brest rings

Eclairs get a pipping of whipped cream

My choux pastry sitting pretty

A labour of pure dedication, hard-work and perseverance.
Who said love had anything to do with making good Puff Pastry?

Putting the puff pastry to use. Task one, a traditional French pastry: Pithiver.

A Pithiver is Puff Pastry rolled out into a circle, a tiny spoon of Frangapani (almond filling) and another circle placed on top. Then it is designed to look pretty, egg washed and baked.
Sounds simple. It's not. I've skipped about 12 steps or more!

But the final result is undeniably gorgeous!

Step one of making apple strudel. Roll out the dough into a big rectangle.

Generously brush with butter and sprinkle with sponge cake crumbs cooked off in more butter.
Sorry, did I just put you off strudel forever. Not my intention.
It is no fallacy that where there is butter there is undeniably fantastic flavour.

And finally the chunks of apple come to rest atop the cake crumbs with a sprinkle of
cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar for good measure.

Roll the dough into a long snaky-strudel

Manipulate it into a shape that fits onto a bakers tray to ensure even cooking and will not
bend with the intense heat of the oven (in this case a horse shoe).
Glaze with egg wash and pop into the oven, keeping a close watch.
When its crispy and lightly starting to get golden brown - it's ready!

Plate it up prettily and serve with a little Sauce Anglaise! Bellisimo!

Pasrty can be savoury too. There's pizza ofcourse!
Here we have a Snapper and Kalamata Olive Pizza with Tomato and Torn Basil

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