Friday, February 11, 2011
Gâteau Mille Feuille De Chocolat à L'orange, Crème Diplomate, Petits Fours Glacé, Preserved Fruit Peel
Chef Gert's Mille Feuille & Petits Fours Glacé
Mille Feuille or "a thousand leaves" describes the feathery light layers (48 in this case) created from the underlying lamination. Known fondly as Vanilla Slice in Australia and Napoleon in France, it made with layers of puff pastry and a creamy filling, topped with fondant and "chocolate feathers". First mentioned in 1651 by François Pierre de La Varenne, it was later improved by Marie-Antoine Carême in the 18th century, noting it of "ancient origin."
Petits fours were probably created in the 18th century, when wasting heat was unheard of: tiny cakes would be baked during the cooling process of the ovens, hence the name which means "little ovens". Cute, eh?
But that's not all. Petits fours glacés are cakes iced and decorated in fondant or glacé icing, petits fours secs are its dry cousins such as biscuits and meringues. Then there are the petits fours salés, savoury appetizers commonly served at cocktail parties or buffets.
Inversely Puffy Layers Of Feathery Lightness
Chocolate Reverse Puff & Crème Diplomate
Due to its dark appearance, baking the chocolate puff requires extra care to ensure it bakes without burning, and today's Crème Diplomate was made with orange zest for extra oomph.
Components all in place, it's time to get cracking!
Layering Puff & Crème Diplomate
Drizzling Chocolate & Feathering
Chef Gert left out his favorite ingredient in the above demonstration: apricot jam. Sacrilege! He cried inconsolably. For all you perfectionists out there, the jam goes on the top layer of puff, before the fondant is poured on.
Covering With Fondant, Chocolate Piping
The petit fours are structurally similar to the Mille Feuille, and yet so different. Look closely and you'll note the latter has layers of dark chocolate puff against the sunshine-yellow cream, while the former, layers of golden jaconde and dark chocolate ganache.
Both however, are finished off with fondant and decorative chocolate piping.
Semi Petits Fours Glacé
My My Mille Feuille
I found Chef's Crème Diplomate quite bland so I added more sugar (A first!), zest and kirsch in mine. Margarita later pointed out there was no kirsch in the recipe. :p
I've never been a fan of Mille Feuille, as it makes such a mess when you slice into it. But the more I tasted it the more I liked how the mild chocolate crunch of the puff complemented the soft Crème Diplomate with its fresh hint of orange. It's slowly growing on me.
My Petits Fours Glacé
The fondant was too sweet for my liking, no matter how much water I thinned it down with. Nonetheless, they look absolutely adorable and make the sweetest gifts. :)