Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nougat De Montélimar, Pâtes De Fruits, Gianduja, Honey Ganache, Preserved Fruit Peel

Mise En Place 1:
Chef Keith's Nougat De Montélimar

It's a busy class today with not 1 but 5 mise en place's in store, so read on to find out more. 

Nougat (sometimes known as nut bread) is a confectionery made with sugar, honey and roasted nuts. Some are soft and chewy while others hard and crunchy, depending on its construction (more on that later). Today's nougat was created in Montélimar, France in the 18th century, famed for their addition of almond, a key produce of the region.

Chopping Roasted Nuts, Drizzling Hot Honey & Syrup Into Egg Whites

Almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios are used today; glace cherries optional, so I opted them out: pretty as cherries go, I didn't want them smearing the slabs red when sliced.

Cooked honey is slowly added to whipped egg white, similar to how Italian meringue is made. In next goes sugar syrup, and here the fate of thy nougat is determined, be it soft and gooey or rock solid with a snap: the more the nougat is worked, the tougher it will be, as the sugar crystallizes and hardens the final product.

Mixing Nuts Into Nougat, Molding Into Shape

Placing Nougat Between Rice Paper, Leveling It Out

Mise En Place 2: Pâtes De Fruits

Aka fruit jelly, an easy one to make. Boil raspberry puree with sugar and glucose for sweetness and pectin to help set the jelly, followed by another key ingredient: tartaric acid.

Dr. Keith's Prescription: 7g Tartaric Acid Solution

Most fruits are acidic, some more than others. It is this acid that works with the pectin to ensure a good set. Less acidic fruits such as berries sometimes need an extra boast, either with some lime juice or in today's case, a little tartaric acid for a more neutral flavor.

Mise En Place 3: Gianduja aka Praline With Pailleté Feuilletine

Pailleté feuilletine is a sweet crunchy wheat flake, like your favorite breakfast cereal, only better. Way way better. Mixed with praline and tampered chocolate, this will set into a rich, creamy and satisfyingly crunchy praline, very very Moorish indeed.

Mise En Place 4: Honey Ganache

Amazing how a little honey goes a long way. The smell of honey and boiling cream was heavenly; mixed with Valhorna chocolate (a treat for Superior students!), I cannot wait to taste this on Saturday. I'm sure it'll be good, so good in fact, I actually omitted kirsch/rum/cointreau for the first time! If I had some good mead on hand though...

Mise En Place 5: 1 Cute Chef

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