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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Culinary School - Session 2: Pate Sucree, Pate Brisee and Pastry Cream


Culinary School: Session 2 (08.18.14)

Pate Sucree, Pate Brisee and Pastry Cream



It's just Session 2, and I'm already lamenting the fact that only 118 sessions remain!

Yes, culinary school continues to go well. But Session 2 wasn't all fun and games, caramel and custard. 

Ah, the joy that is the obligatory topic of sanitation and safe food handling: the necessary evil that will consume half of every class for the next two weeks.

It's excruciating to sit in a kitchen discussing the Norovirus and the dangers of pus-filled cuts while the smell of Apple Tarts baking in the oven grows stronger and stronger. But it's all for the nationally recognized food protection certificate. There's no denying that it is an essential calling card in the industry. And let's face it - food poisoning sucks.

But until then, we face several hours of poorly produced videos in which actors fake gastrointestinal distress. It makes me appreciate the sterile perfection of the school uniforms and kitchens even more.

Uniformed Class in Line for Family Meal




On an infinitely more pleasant note, I thought it might be fun to keep a rolling tally of the ingredients used throughout the 600 hours of class time. Keep in mind this is what has been used just by me.

Ingredients used to date (08.18.14):
  • Flour: 800g
  • Eggs: 6x
  • Sugar: 315g
  • Butter: 375g
  • Milk/Cream: 480g

In addition to that count, there have also been numerous whole vanilla beans split opened and sacrificed in the name of deliciousness. I could honestly hide in the corner with a bag of these guys over may face like a gas mask. 

Whole Vanilla Bean



- The Recipes -



Despite the time dedicated to the captivating topic of sanitation and all things botulism, the class still turned out three recipes for the day: Pate Sucree, Pate Brisee and Creme Patisserie.

At 10:30pm, the Brisee and Creme Patisserie hit the fridge in anticipation of become Banana Cream Tarts in Session 3.



Item:

Pate Sucree (Sweet Tart Dough)


Description:
A sugar and egg enriched dough that can be used as the base for a variety of tarts. The high sugar content makes for a somewhat crumbly texture.

Focus Techniques:
- Combining butter and sugar using the creaming method
- Creating an emulsion of the butter, sugar and eggs by individually adding the eggs
- Minimizing the mixing of the dough once the flour is added to prevent gluten formation

Pate Sucree was the dough of choice for the Session 1 Apple Tart (Tarte aux Pommes). Personally, I prefer this crumbly, sweet dough to the flakiness of Pate Brisee, but to each his own.

As for the finished Apple Tart, that awesome shine comes from a healthy dose of Apricot Nappage, a water-diluted apricot jam that is used to finish a number of fruit tarts. It not only produces a glossy sheen but more practically prevents the fruit in the tart from drying out or oxidizing.

Baked Apple Tart with Apricot Nappage

Side View of Baked Apple Tart with Apricot Nappage




Item:

Pate Brisee (Flaky Tart Dough) 


Description:
An extremely flaky crust in which the dough is formed by cutting very cold butter into the flour. Pea-sized pieces of butter that become trapped within the dough create the flaky texture when the butter fat melts and water evaporates as steam during baking.

Focus Techniques:
- "Sablage" - the process of cutting cold butter into flour, preserving small pieces of butter in the dough and producing a sandy texture
- "Fraisage" - the process of smearing dough to create a homogenous mixture rather than stirring or beating excessively (which would promote gluten formation)
- Erring on the side of under-hydration to minimize gluten formation and shrinkage during baking

The Pate Brisee will be used in Session 3 for the Banana Cream Tart.




Item:

Pastry Cream (Creme Patissiere)


Description:
A sweet, smooth, starch-bound custard that is used as the base for a litany of pastry fillings and toppings. By altering the flavor and texture with other ingredients such as sugar, butter, cream and extracts, its applications are virtual endless.

Focus Techniques:
- Using Pastry Cream Powder (PCP) as the starch base
- Combining the PCP and sugar prior to mixing with the eggs to reduce clumping 
- Adding sugar to boiling milk to reduce the potential for scorching
- Tempering cold eggs with boiling milk to prevent the curdling of the eggs
- Adding sugar to eggs at the time of mixing, and no sooner, to prevent 'burning' the eggs given the hydroscopic nature of sugar
- Boiling the thickened pastry cream for a couple of minutes to thoroughly cook the starches and to denature the enzymes in the eggs

Along with the Pate Brisee, the Pastry Cream will be used in Session 3 for the Banana Cream Tart.


Next - Session 3: Banana Cream Tart and Gingersnaps 


Take a look at the full syllabus



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