Monday, July 5, 2010
Eclairs and Chouquettes
Back to class after a relaxing weekend of touristy activities! On Saturday we had the choux pastry demo (thank god, only one class). There were five different recipes for small choux paste pastries, with variations on shape, size, filling, and topping.
From the top in clockwise order:
1) chouquettes (choux pastry puffs rolled in pearl sugar)
2) acorns (teardrop shaped choux pastry with cognac-flavored pastry cream, green fondant on top)
3) eclairs (chocolate pastry cream filling, chocolate fondant on top)
4) cream puffs (with ridiculous amounts of chantilly cream)
5) salambos (oblong shaped pastry filled with cointreau-flavored pastry cream, topped with caramel and sliced almonds)
My favorites were the salambos, because the caramel and sliced almonds provided a nice crunchy contrast to the soft citrus-flavored cream and tender pastry. Chouquettes were a close second though - I can't believe I've never seen them in the states! I guess the problem with chouquettes is that they need to be eaten fresh, while they are warm and tender on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside. That said, I could totally make a killing operating chouquette carts at farmer's markets (like mini-donuts, but healthier!)
After class on Saturday, I rushed to the Louvre and got myself an annual pass.
Now I can go to the Louvre every day without waiting in line! Maybe I'll even be able to visit all the pieces!
On Sunday I spent half the day wandering inside the Musée d'Orsay. For some reason, half the people inside look like zombies - the benches inside the main gallery are packed with people with dead eyes and vacant expressions. Too much art to digest, I guess. I find it helpful to keep my focus by jotting down notes on the pieces I like and taking frequent breaks. Next time I'll even bring a sketch pad : )
After the museum, I had the occasion to take some pictures around Montmartre. It's a gorgeous district, I just wish there were fewer tourists...
This morning, we had the practical class for eclairs and chouquettes. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake, but choux pastry is such a pain to work with. It's so slippery and sticky and gets on everything, especially when you're continually scraping up your failed eclairs and putting the dough back in the pastry bag. Pipping eclairs is not easy. See my uneven ones? The chef said mine were "correct", if not pretty.
Eh, I don't even like eclairs anyway (that's what I tell myself).
I promise tomorrow's post will be more interesting. I have two demonstrations (meringue and basque cake), one practical (hazelnut dacquoise with marzipan flowers), and one pastry shop visit. It'll be a very long day...