First Two Weeks at Ferrandi

Tarts, Tarts and More Tarts…….

The first month at school was admittedly quite difficult for me. Baking at home is one thing and baking in a professional environment is a completely different ball game altogether. The tools that you use, the quantity in which you make things was a little intimidating at first for me. 🙂 Nevertheless, I was quite excited and it has been a fun, hectic and hard first month for me.

We started off with tarts and it continued for a good two weeks. We were taught the traditional techniques that French use to make the different doughs, line tart rings etc. And I think it would be appropriate to skip the recipes and share with you interesting facts or techniques that I learn at school!

We started with the basic PATE A FONCER (shortcrust dough).We made only the TARTE AUX POMMES(apple pie) with this dough.
The French use the “SABLAGE” technique (taken from the verb Sabler which can be interpreted as Sand-like).
The flour and the fat (butter, chopped) must be rubbed together lightly until the texture is sand-like. If you over work the dough, the butter melts and you get crumbles. This means the dough shrinks while rolling and after being baked.

Chef's Tarte Au Pommes

Chef’s Tarte Au Pommes

 

The next dough is the PATE SUCRÉE(sweet dough) and we made quite a lot of French classics with this one. The major difference between both the above doughs is the content of sugar. As the sweet dough has more sugar it is more sweet and less elastic than the shortcrust dough. Hence, it is difficult to roll out compared to the shortcrust dough as well.

2 techniques to knead the dough. One, is sablage as explained earlier. The second method is CREMAGE where the butter, sugar and eggs are creamed first and the flour is added thereafter.

Once the dough comes together, the dough needs to be smoothed by the technique called FRASAGE. Form your dough into a log and using a scraper, start to scrape the dough from one in small quantity until all of the dough is smooth. Must be done a maximum of 2 times only.

One the dough is done, it MUST be left in the refrigerator to rest as the gluten gets relaxed and it is easier to roll out the dough.

Technique to Line the TART :
1. roll out the dough and place over the ring.
2. Create a base by pushing the dough in with your thumb.
3. Push in some dough by your thumb at the top to create an edge
4. Crop off the extra dough.
5. Pinch the edges to decorate.

Steps for Lining a Tart ring

Steps for Lining a Tart ring

Apart from the usual apple, lemon, chocolate tarts we also made some different ones like the Tarte Dacquoise, Victoria Tart. The Tart Dacquoise has a baked dacquoise( it is a mixture of meringue and almond flour) base, topped with vanilla cream and topped with tropical fruits. Whereas the Victoria tart has a sweet dough tart base blind baked, filled with sauteed pineapple cubes, topped with pineapple cream frozen disc, decorated with praline cream.

These were my least preferred tarts :

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The tarts that I loved the most :
Tarte Amandine : Sweet dough tart baked with almond cream, topped with almond flakes.
Tarte Citron : Sweet dough tart with lemon curd and confit lemon slices.
Tarte Bourdaloue : Sweet dough tart baked with almond cream and sliced pears.
Tarte Au Figues : Sweet dough baked with almond cream and sliced figs.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Next Post : Puff Pastry 🙂

Although late, I am still taking these tarts over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday! 🙂

PS: Apologies for the disastrous photos!

Tartelette au citron

Lemon and Limes! Two of my absolute favorite fruits ever. They are so versatile and enhance the flavor of any dish they are used in, sweet or savory. I love lemons so much that my hubby thought it fit to surprise me with a lemon cake for my birthday. 🙂
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This recipe is perfect for the summers. The tartness of the lemon lime cream is well balanced by an element of surprise that comes from the sweetness of the tart. The cream can be made as tart as your taste buds enjoy.

Tartelettes Au Citron

Tartelette Au Citron

Makes about 2 dozen mini tartlets or 12 muffin sized tartlets
Ingredients:

Sweet Tartlet :
150 g all purpose flour, extra for dusting
1 pinch baking powder
75 g sugar
zest of 1/4 orange (optional)
75 g butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp cold water

Lemon Lime Cream :
1 1/2 (3g) sheets gelatin
150 ml lemon juice
50 ml lime juice
60 g sugar
3 egg yolks
1 egg
75 g butter, diced and softened
2 drops green food colouring

Instructions :
Sweet Tartlet :
Preheat the oven to 180°C

Place the flour, baking powder, sugar and orange zest on the work surface.

Add the butter. Using your fingertips rub the butter into the dry ingredients.
Continue rubbing until you get a crumbly texture.

Make a well in the center and add the egg yolk and water.

Knead until the dough is smooth.Cover with plastic wrap and chill for an hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough slightly less than 2mm thick. Chill for 10 minutes.

Prick the dough with a fork.
Using a cookie cutter, stamp out rounds. Line the mini muffin pan or muffin pan with the rounds.

Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until firm and lightly brown.

Let cool slightly in the pans and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
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Lemon Lime Cream:
Soak the gelatin sheets in a medium bowl of cold water until softened, 5 – 10 minutes.

Combine the lemon juice, lime juice and sugar in a heavy saucepan.
Whisk in the egg yolks and whole egg.

Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.
Remove from the heat.

Add the food coloring and whisk until well mixed.
Squeeze the gelatin and whisk until dissolved.
Whisk in the butter until smooth.

Strain the cream through a sieve and blend it with a blender until smooth.
Remove into a bowl, cover and chill for 2 hours.

Spoon the cream into a piping bag and pipe mounds of cream into the tart shells. Or use a spoon.

Freeze until set, about an hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and serve at room temperature.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Sea Salt Caramel Macaroons

Sweet and salty, this has always been one of my favorite food combinations. I absolutely love having my samosas and jalebis for those special Sunday brunch, not to forget the savory sev and sweet boondi at any time of the day.
Watching a movie sans salted and caramel pop-corns combo…..ummmm…..No, nie, can’t do. 🙂

Having made a rich, decadent and delicious salted caramel sauce successfully on my second attempt, I decided to bake macaroons to put them to good use. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated for about two weeks, drizzle some over an ice cream or french toast, use it for a creme caramel, bake chocolate cupcakes with caramel centers. I can’t stop thinking of how I am going to use mine. 🙂

In this recipe, I have opted to use the caramel sauce rather than making a butter-cream with it as this makes the caramel pop out and the star in the caramel macaroon recipe.I’ve used the basic macaroon recipe for the shells, coloring them in the ratio of yellow:ivory:red as 4:2:1. The caramel sauce needs to be tended to constantly as it can get burned in a matter of seconds.

The recipe is fairly straight forward and needless to say the fruit of my labor was well worth it!

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Makes 24-30 depending on the size

Ingredients

For the pâté à macaron :
93 g icing sugar, sifted
93 g ground almonds
1 medium free-range egg whites

For the Italian meringue :
1 medium free-range egg whites
1 drop lemon juice or 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
93 g caster sugar
1.5 tbsp water
Golden yellow, ivory and red Food coloring

For the Caramel filling :
0.5 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/8 liquid cup water
1/2 liquid cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
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Instructions :

Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Pâté à macaron:
In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites to form a paste.

Italian meringue :
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar(or lemon juice) in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.

Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 1 minute.
Now add the food colouring, I have used golden yellow and brown (4:2) and whisk again until the meringue is coloured uniformly.
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Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 8mm nozzle.

Pipe on 3cm/1in discs on the baking trays, at least 2cm apart.

Bake in the oven for eight minutes.As soon as the macaroons form feet open and shut the oven door to release some steam.
After eight minutes remove from the oven and then leave on a cooling rack until completely cold.

Salted Caramel :
In a heavy saucepan stir together the sugar, syrup, and water until the sugar is completely moistened.
Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling.

Stop stirring completely and allow it to boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber. Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel. It will bubble up furiously.

Stir in the butter and salt. The mixture will be streaky but become uniform after cooling slightly and stirring.

Cool completely before use.
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Spoon about one teaspoon of caramel onto the flat side of a cooled macaroon and top with another macaroon to make a sandwich.
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Repeat with the remaining macaroons and store in a single layer in an airtight container in the fridge.

Note: They keep well refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Chocolate Macaroons

We had a bake sale at our clubhouse fundraising and a lot of people were bringing different type of mouth watering cakes.Hence, I decided to go for cookies and made two dozen chocolate chip cookies.

Not satisfied with just cookies, I stepped back into my cute little kitchen to get down to business.Justifying my theory of there being a healthy French community in the club who would definitely appreciate macaroons, I got out all of my ingredients with much enthusiasm.
I usually use aged egg whites for macaroons, having none I used fresh ones and voila! they turned out pretty good as well.

This recipe is adapted from Raymond Blanc’s chocolate macaroons.

Chocolate Macaroon

Chocolate Macaroon

Makes 24-30 depending on the size

Ingredients

For the pâté à macaron :
60g/2½oz unsweetened chocolate, ideally 100% cocoa solids
185g/6½oz icing sugar, sifted
185g/6½oz ground almonds
2 medium free-range egg whites
For the Italian meringue :
2 medium free-range egg whites
1 drop lemon juice or 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
185g/6½oz caster sugar
3 tbsp water
For the ganache filling :
100ml/4fl oz whipping cream
100g/4oz dark chocolate, or white chocolate if you wish
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Instructions :

Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Pâté à macaron:
Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water – do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites to form a paste.
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Fold in the melted chocolate and set aside.

Pic from one of my earlier batches.

Pic from one of my earlier batches.

I happened to accidentally eat some of the chocolate which left my pâté à macaron looking like its weaker cousin.
Therefore, the macaron shells for this batch do not have the perfect brown color as expected.

Italian meringue :
Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.
The original recipe calls for using lemon juice, as i was out of lemons i have instead opted to use cream of tartar which works fine too.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
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Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 2-3 minutes.
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Fold the Italian meringue mixture into the pâté à macaron until it reaches the ribbon stage – this is when a spoonful of the mixture poured back into the bowl sits like a ribbon on the surface. Do not over-mix or the macaroon will crack when cooked.
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Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 8mm/¼in nozzle.

Pipe on 3cm/1in discs on the baking trays, at least 2cm/¾in apart, which i didn’t do. 😦

Bake in the oven for eight minutes.As soon as the macaroons form feet open and shut the oven door to release some steam.
After eight minutes remove from the oven and then leave on a cooling rack until completely cold.

EXPECTED

EXPECTED

Chocolate Ganache:
Place the cream in a small pan and bring to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until the mixture is smooth.

Spoon about one teaspoon of ganache onto the flat side of a cooled macaroon and top with another macaroon to make a sandwich.
Repeat with the remaining ganache and macaroons and store in a single layer in an airtight container in the fridge.
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NOTE: The recipe calls for preheating the baking trays as well and sliding on the baking paper with the piped macaroons onto them (pre-heating the baking trays kick-starts the cooking and forms the distinctive ‘collarette’ on the base of the macaroons).

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I haven’t tried this and will give it a go next time i make macaroons.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

P.S They were a sellout. 🙂

Sablée (Butter Biscuits)

I was going through my school photo album and reminiscing the most carefree, fun-filled days of my life. I was telling my better half all the silly things me and my friends would do at school.Diving further into past I remembered that we, my brother and I would pester our mom to get us cream biscuits. They are nothing but two biscuits with a flavored cream or jam within them. Much to my mother’s annoyance and amusement, we would open up the cream biscuit, lick off the delicious cream and discard the biscuits! 🙂

The ones filled with jam were called Jim Jam and my family loved to have this with tea.

In memory of my childhood days, I have made butter biscuits and topped the jam on two biscuits instead of making it as a sandwich so I don’t embarrass my hubby. 🙂

Mini Sablés

Mini Sablés

Makes about 325 g dough – Makes about 24-26

Ingredients:

125 g all purpose flour
100 g butter, cut into small pieces and slightly softened
50 g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk

Instructions :

Preheat the oven to 170°C.Line a baking tray with baking mat or baking paper.

Heap the flour on the work surface and make a well. Put in the butter, icing sugar and salt.
With your fingertips, mix and cream the butter with the sugar and salt, then add the egg yolks and work them in delicately with your fingertips.

Slowly, draw the flour into the center and work the mixture delicately with your fingers until you have a homogeneous dough.

Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you 3 or 4 times until it is completely smooth.
Roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

There are a lot of ways you can bake these biscuits!You could just bake them the way they are or if you have kids, they would love to have Strawberry jam biscuits.You could also just top them up with some almond flakes and voila!
You have a treat to serve for a tea party.

Roll out the dough to a 2-3 mm thickness.Using a cookie cutter, cut out as many discs as possible.
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Make the sablés as below:

Strawberry Jam:
Place an even number of cut out dough (discs) on a baking sheet and moisten lightly with pastry brush dipped in cold water.You could also just pat water with your fingertips.

Cut a hole in the center of half of the discs and place them on top of the solid discs.
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Use a teaspoon to fill the cavities with the jam, then brush the borders with egg wash.

Almond:
Place the desired number of pastry discs on a baking sheet, brush with egg wash and arrange 5 or 6 almond flakes on each one.
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Bake the sablés:
Bake the sablés for 6-10 minutes, depending on their thickness.

If you’d prefer more color, increase the temperate to 180 for the last minute or two.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool before serving.

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My mom would serve tea in the pretty tea cups with saucers. I have none, 😦 and we Indians like our tea in glass too, this one is french…. 🙂
ummmm..masala chai in a french glass served with french sablés, pretty neat I’d say 😉

Chai Biscuit

Chai Biscuit

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!