Saturday, December 11, 2010

Almond Shortcake With Macerated Strawberries, Sable Breton With Pistachio Croquant

Chef's Shortcake & Breton Creations

In case you're not aware, it's the last class of the term today! And so we bid the year a fond farewell with the American classic Strawberry Shortcake (not the cartoon, but just as sweet) and French Breton biscuit.

Rolling & Cutting Out Shortcake, Brushing On Cream

The American version of strawberries and cream comes with a sweet, crumbly shortcake, hence the name. Almond meal, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and cream are mixed together to form a pliable dough, rolled out 5mm thick and cut into shape, brushed with cream and dusted with sugar for extra crunch before being baked.

Filling Breton Paste Into Moulds

For the Breton, egg yolk, sugar and butter are creamed together before vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt are added to form a paste so sticky it had to be slapped on to the greased ramekins to be baked.

Breton has a thick and soft texture more similar to cake then biscuit, heck it was even piled on like a cake today with Crème Diplomat and Cointreau-macerated strawberries. Sorry kids, this biscuit's strictly for the adults.

Rounds Of Creme Diplomat & Berries

Cooking & Rolling Pistachio Croquant

Similar to the nougatine we made for the Croquembouche, we caramelized glucose and fondant into a light amber liquid, stirred in crushed pistachios and a pat of butter, and while still searingly hot, rolled it out flat before cutting into shape for the garnish.

My Cookie Plate

Seeing it is so close to Christmas time, I made uno shortcake as instructed and cut the rest of my shortcake dough into festive little shapes: gingerbread men, Christmas trees, snowflakes, you name it, I  got it. And the best thing about this little plate of cookies? They're mine, all mine! So hands off, Santa.

So distracted I was cutting my cookies shapes I forgot about the caramel and burnt it, so the croquants turned out slightly on the dark side. It still tasted good, but I thought I'd improvise by smashing them into smithereens and sprinkling the jade green crystals onto my Breton instead. Quick and easy, and rather homely-looking too.
Berries & Cointreau, Somethin' For The Holidays

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