Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pate Feuilletee, Creme Patissiere, Meringue Au Chocolate, Spinach Feta & Pinenut Triangle

Chef Karen Piping Chocolate Meringue

Today was all about mise en place for a busy week ahead. We'll be making fruit tarts and a French chocolate cake (Concord) tomorrow, dark chocolate tarts and a strawberry-and-cream cake (Saint Honore) on Saturday. Hence the prep work to lessen the load in the days to come.

Telly ho! No time to spare!

 Baked Meringue, Interior

For the Concord, we whipped up French meringue and folded in heaps of dutch cocoa powder (as far as chocolate goes, my heap is always bigger than most!). The meringue is then piped into discs and logs and baked at a low-low temperature (100'C - 120'C) for almost an hour. 

The result is a crisp shell with a chewy marshmallow center, good enough to eat on its own. We had to be held back from polishing them off and leaving none for tomorrow's cake.

Folding Full Puff

Just as we did in Basic Patisserie, we made puff pastry from scratch, this time a full puff, English style, which simply means more butter, more yum. 

This along with the creme patissiere will be used to make the fruit tarts and Saint Honore.

Chef's Little Helpers

The good people of LCB probably didn't want us starving by the end of class (mise en place also means: for your eyes only, not your tummy), hence a savory spinach and feta triangle was included in today's demo for us to try our hand at making. 

Known as Greek Spanakopita, the spinach filling is wrapped in filo pastry, a delicate paper-thin sheet  of  raw, unleavened flour dough, commonly used in Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine. Think baklava and borek, the cheese parcels you get at your local kebab stand.

We used store bought filo today, as making it from scratch requires an extensive amount of skill and time (oh, about 20 years' worth), and the result probably won't be as good anyway.

Golden Triangles

Sweated onions, blanched spinach, toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta, all tossed together with some oregano and seasoning, wrapped in 4 layers of filo (generously lubed with olive oil and butter in-between) and baked for 10 minutes till golden brown and delicious. Easy as pie.

Bumble Bees

Erica made the darnest thing today: she piped towers of meringue to resembled what I initially thought was poop (I was bemused and confused all at once), then she stuck some tiny chocolate bees on and it all became clear. Poop at its prettiest.

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