Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Modern Cafe - The Missing Photos, Part 3

Macadamia Nut Creme Brulee, Caramelized Puff Pastry, Banana Cremeur and Dark Chocolate Tiles

Page 196.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Puff Pastry

I have always felt that puff pastry is rarely given its due. I always see it used as a part of a dessert (usually not a very good one), when in reality, it could be a dessert on its own. The lamination process, building alternating super-thin layers of butter and dough, make for a light as air, crispy-flaky-buttery pastry. I wouldn't serve it as a dessert per se, but surely as a major component to build a dessert around.
What I have done to puff for many years is to eggwash the puff then coat it in an even layer of sanding sugar, then bake it first in a very hot oven to give it an initial oven spring to separate all of the layers and to create pockets of air (created by the steam from the butter) between the thin layers of dough. Next, I drop the temperature to continue to bake the puff without burning it, and to ensure the interior layers are fully baked. Finally, I brush the puff with a thick simple syrup (or if you must, corn syrup), bake it for 7 minutes, flip it over, then bake it for 7 more minutes. The result, for me, is a perfect sweet pillow of puff. Imagine the possibilities.

Note: not a single factory made puff pastry can replicate the one that is hand made, even when they use butter.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Modern Cafe - Missing Photos Part 2

As a refresher, I am posting photos (taken by me) of items that are in my book, The Modern Cafe, that have a recipe, but no photo.

The cake above is from page 206: Sweet Vanilla-Mascarpone Cream with Raspberry Cake and Fresh Raspberries.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Perfection in Nature

The picture above is a close-up of the slab of honeycomb we use. It is humbling to think that a bee (or group of bees) is capable of instinctively building a hive that you could put a ruler to and would be perfect. We need to use instruments, things, molds, fleximolds, to get even close to replicating a pattern like this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love Macs

I have a very strong staff at work. They go above and beyond the call of duty and are sure to be industry leaders in the future. Even knowing that, sometimes they do something that blows me away. Take these hazelnut cream filled macarons for example. Sean Pera, one of my pastry staff, decided to try these out yesterday, and the results are just outstanding. First try and they were on point. So we will be selling these in the cafe until Friday.

Nice job Sean!