Lesson 3: The Highs and Lows of Pastry
Now although pastry is best achieved by the combination of creativity, technique and taste; ultimately, perfectionism is what is required for greatness.
There is a battle raging on in my head… I need and want to learn the basic techniques and traditional recipes. But for a purpose, so that I may then break free from the restrictions with the foundations needed to explode with invention and creativity.
However, for now, the rules and practices of recreating the “masters” with ‘exactement’ are quite difficult and almost restrictive.
Lesson 4: Assorted Butter Based Cakes ßà Assorties avec Crémage
Pound cake with Candied Fruit – “Cake aux Fruits”
Lemon Pound Cake
We had no choice… Today was Fruit Cake! Hilarious because every student hated it and wanted to make something else. Even just a few tweaks and it could have been delicious and more presentable in today’s preferences and taste. Remove the freakishly coloured horribly tasting candied fruits such as radioactive green Angelica and add instead candied orange peel.
Yet, the saviours of the day were the Madeleine. They are something so French, so simple, so perfect.
They were ingenious. They were so basic and so easy to completely ruin.
There are so many slightly different techniques that every chef has their own secret touches.
One method suggests preheating the madeleine tray in the oven, then piping the mixture into the searing heat of the tray and placing it in an oven preheated to 250˚C then turned off with the door closed.
Another method suggests not preheating the pan but placing it in an oven preheated to 200˚C. You leave the oven off for two minutes and then restart the oven at 160˚C and cook them until they have risen and are golden brown.
Either way the tray must be buttered and dusted with flour – known as “Chemise”.
Marvel as they caramelize from the edges and then begin to rise from the centre creating the perfect madeleine humps.
…. Presenting MY MADELEINE!
Serve a huge basket of these beauties to friends with a cup of tea, as trust me, they will all go quickly.
As an aside, two of us more devious students, were scheming as to how to best make use of this diamond in the rough; the initial suggestion was to remove the hump and pipe with some lemon curd to accentuate the lemon flavour, another was a lemon cream-cheese frosting. I look forward to the trials.
P.S. Here are my two Fruit Cakes which both overdosed on RUM!!