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La Technique: Pastry

I’m going to lump these two days into one post because I honestly I don’t remember what all we did during our week of pastry. There was lots of flour, eggs, a little water, some cornstarch, some more eggs, a pinch of sugar (those French don’t like things very sweet – not that I blame them), a few vanilla beans and of course, lots of butter.

Day 1 of this class focused on pate a choux (cream puff pastry dough), stuff to go in pate a choux (appropriately enough called creme patissiere, or pastry cream), creme caramel (flan) and pots de creme (if you sprinkle a bit of sugar on the top and caramelize it you call it creme brulee). Honestly, this class was something I was really looking forward to but it turned out to be kinda fun. I don’t bake much because, well, it seems like a lot of work – all that measuring and whatnot. But these techniques were really simple and in end end we made a bunch of creme puffs and éclairs of which I ate about 10. I brought home another 10, but stupidly left them out and ruined them. I’m sure my waistline thanks me.

Day 2 was tarts. Tart brisee and tart scuree. The difference? One has sugar. One new technique I learned in this class was to sort of smash and push the dough after you’ve brought it together. I can’t explain it exactly but the end result is a more crumbly, layered crust, which is what you want here. We filled the savory tart with eggs and cream and bacon and cheese and onions and made a quiche. The other we filled with apples cooked in butter and mashed and covered with more thinly sliced apples and baked. It is here:



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