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Friday, October 10, 2014

Culinary School - Session 23: Galettes, Chocolate Puff Pastry, Jalousie and Gateau Pithivier

Culinary School: Session 23 (10.08.14)

Galettes, Chocolate Puff Pastry, Jalousie and Gateau Pithivier

Puff pastry with stories to tell...

There are two distinct hallmarks of classic French pastry. The first is obvious: butter. Without good butter, you might as well be eating Wonder Bread. The second characteristic feature seems to be a good origin story. This session's Jalousie and Gateau Pithivier are no exception.

The Jalousie is a filled puff pastry that shares its name with a window design of the same name. As the fabled history tells it, a jealous husband peeked at his wife's indiscretions through the thin slats of such a window. Why this is commemorated in a pastry is beyond me, but I suppose "Jalousie" is a better name than "Infidelity Cake".

The Gateau Pithivier is a decorative cake thought to have originated in Pithivier, France. It is designed to resemble a carriage wheel.

The Gateau Pithivier became a "Kings' Cake". According to tradition, a small nut or bean was placed inside the cake (modern versions, including a yeast-bread cake that is popular in New Orleans at Mardi Gras, use plastic baby figurines). Whoever received the slice with the bean became the king for the coming year. While that might sound great, according to pre-Christian tradition, this individual would then be sacrificed at the end of the year to ensure a good harvest. It would seem the chocking risk of dried beans wasn't the only potentially fatal risk associated with taking a slice of this cake.

Overhead of Baked Jalousie

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (10.08.14):
  • Flour: 8,660g
  • Eggs: 4,650g (93x)
  • Sugar: 4,885g
  • Butter: 5,765g
  • Milk/Cream: 4,560g

- The Recipes -



Simple, free form tarts made with puff pastry and filled with seasonal fruit. 

Focus Techniques:
- Creating a very dry compote to prevent liquid from seeping through the puff pastry during baking. This can be achieved by cooking the filling until much of the water content evaporates or by adding a thickener such as flour or corn starch.
- Properly seasoning the compote with a complementary combination of spices (including salt). 
- Keeping the puff pastry undocked so that it will rise and slightly encase the filling when baked.
- Brushing the edges of the galette with an egg wash to ensure the pinched edges of the tart retain their form when baked.

Unbaked Seasonal Galette

Baked Fig and Goat Cheese Galette


Chocolate Puff Pastry (Pate Feuilletee au Chocolat)

A version of Pate Feuilletee Inversee made with cocoa powder.

Focus Techniques:
- Creating the Beurrage with flour and cocoa powder added to the butter. Cocoa is added to the Beurrage rather than the Detrampe because fat is a good carrier of flavor.
- Using an ample amount of flour on the rolling surface and rolling pin when performing the six letter folds (Tourrage).
- Turning the dough as quickly as every 20 minutes. Given the composition of the Beurrage (flour mixed with butter), the dough will firm up faster in the refrigerator than with Pate Feuilletee Classique. 



An almond cream and raspberry jam filled puff pastry (other fillings are possible) with slits cut into the top of the pastry that are meant to resemble blinds.

For those of us who grew up in the United States, it's hard not to think of this as a giant Pop Tart.

Focus Techniques:
- Cutting the dough for the top layer of the pastry up to 1" wider than the base to account for the space taken by the filling.
- Piping or spreading the filling in the center of the base leaving at least 1" of border at the edges. Overfilling the pastry will result in seepage (see below).
- Folding the top layer of the pastry in half before making the "blinds" slit cuts. Slit cuts should be made with a very sharp knife and must cut through both layers of the dough sheet. After the cuts are made, the folded dough is placed over the filling and then unfolded.
- Sealing the pastry with a decorative edge using various tools (forks, knives, etc.)
- Egg washing the entire pastry for a shiny finish.

Baked Jalousie


Gateau Pithivier

A Frangipane (2:1 mix of Almond Cream and Pastry Cream) filled puff pastry cake formed and scored to resemble a carriage wheel. 

Focus Techniques:
- Leaving the dough undocked to allow for a significant rise when baked.
- Forming the Frangipane filling in a well-shaped mound at the center of the base.
- Firmly sealing the top layer of the cake using an egg wash as an adhesive, applied around the 1" outer rim of the cake.
- Firmly pressing out any air from between the layers of dough when sealing the top dough with the base. 
- Allowing the dough to rest and chill for 30 minutes before shaping the edges or carving any decorative elements.
- Using a round cutter or a large pastry tip to form a scalloped border.
- Tightly sealing the border by making a thumb print on each of the scalloped edges.
- Cutting a small "Chimney" at the top of the cake to allow heat and steam to escape during baking. This reduced the risk that the Frangipane will burst through any seams in the heat of the oven.
- Egg washing the entire cake before making any decorative knife cuts so that the cuts are more visible after baking.
- Brushing the top of the cake with warm corn syrup in the final minutes of baking to create a white caramel top.

Frangipane Filling for the Gateau Pithivier

Formed, Unbaked Gateau Pithivier

Baked Gateau Pithivier

Take a look at the full syllabus

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  1. I'm so glad to find your blog-!! I'm so learning here. Thank you

    You rock!

    1. So glad you found the blog too and that you are enjoying it! If there are ever topics or potential recipes of interest, let me know. I love feedback and input!