Making converation in class
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today was another one of those long days where we had a 4 hour art class and 5 hours of lab. We were also all sleep deprived from staying up to finish our art homework as well. We had to sketch a self-portrait and design a pièce montée (edible centrepiece for formal events and celebrations). My self-portrait was a disaster and did not resemble me in any way.

In our lab, we made 2 puff pastries, a conversation and a pain complet (also known as pain hollaindais). I thought conversation was a rather odd name for a pastry. According to our Chef, it was created in the 18th century and named after a book called Les Conversations d’Emilie by Madame d’Epinay.

Pain complet. Similar to the pithivier, we rolled out 2 thin layers of puff pastry, and piped almond cream in the centre.

The top layer is made of whipped hazelnut powder, almond powder, icing sugar and egg whites. This was my favourite part of this pastry. Tasted like a sweet and nutty biscotti to me.

Pain complet completed. Before baking, a heavy layer of icing sugar was dusted on top and lines were drawn with the tip of a small piping tip.

Cross-section.

Conversation before baking. This pastry is also made of 2 layers of puff pastry dough with almond cream in between. On top (white) is a layer of meringue with strips of puff pastry dough.

Conversation completed. The meringue layer on top was a bit too sweet for me and since I don't like almond cream, it's in almost every puff pastry, I didn't like this pastry very much.

Cross-section.

A trick we learned when making meringue is to add a few drops of vinegar to help dry it out. We noticed a drastic change in texture of the meringue after vinegar was added, the mixture became much thicker.

We also did the preparation for chaussons italiens which we will finish tomorrow.

Chaussons Italiens. The first step is to roll a large sheet of puff pastry dough, apply a thin layer of butter to cover and separate layers of dough, and roll the dough along the length into a cylinder. After baking, they will look like clams, see tomorrow's post for the final product.

Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!