A couple of weeks ago, I knew I would have a whole day free to get on with some baking. So I decided to use this time to create an entremet and some Tour de France inspired Paris-Brest. I came up with some combinations of my own from both ‘the book’ and the LPDR (La Pâtisserie des Rêves) book. It also gave me an opportunity to re-visit some of the recipes I’ve featured on this blog.
During this day of baking I learnt one very important lesson… when you have a whole day free do not attempt to do 101 things in that one day. Instead pick one recipe and do it well, rather than spreading yourself thinly across a number of tasks.
In future, I am going to scale down my ambitions. Whilst it’s great to be creative and explore ideas there is only so much one woman can realistically produce in a domestic kitchen with a normal fridge/freezer on a warm sunny day, before it is no longer fun and turns into a stressfest!
As that was over a week ago, I can now type about it calmly. My day began around 11.30 am, after a trip to the post office and a trek around the supermarket to pick up the items I had forgotten. When my time in the kitchen came to an end at 9.30pm and I had neither stopped for lunch or dinner, instead snacking on pastry, icing and cream etc throughout the day (none of the major food groups I suspect), I looked in the fridge and I could’ve cried at the meagre foodstuff I had produced.
Whilst at a glance they looked quite pretty, I had been staring at the damn things all days, so much so, that all I could see were the flaws. There were some positives though, it was my first time using chocolate transfer sheets, making chocolate decorations and it was the first time I created a chocolate mirror glaze.
So first up, the chocolate entremet, this is a term I had only recently heard of and it’s not mentioned anywhere in ‘the book’. I couldn’t quite understand what makes an entremet different to a gateau, however on further reading, an entremet generally contains a mousse, with textural contrasts, complementary flavours and an attractive visual appearance.
Armed with this information I set about creating my Chocolate Strawberry Entremet:
This would form my textural component and using a tip I picked up from the classic gateaux section of ‘the book’ I painted the sablé breton rounds with melted dark chocolate. This would act as a barrier and stop them soaking up all of the moisture from the other components.
When the chocolate had set, I spooned some of my homemade strawberry jam on top and popped them in the freezer. I happened to have some coffee-chocolate crème patissiere leftover from creating a mousseline cream. As I was feeling in a ‘throw caution to the wind’ kind of mood, I decided to chuck a bit of that in as well. So I piped the crème pat on top of the now jammified breton discs, smoothed it to create a dome and popped them back in the freezer.
The next step was to make the chocolate mousse. I’ve made this mousse a few times for the blog, mainly when I was working through the classic gateaux chapter. It’s a mix of egg yolks, sugar syrup, melted chocolate and whipped cream. The end results is one of the nicest mousses I’ve ever had.
With the mousse made, it was time to assemble the entremet, I was using a 10cm cake/pastry ring and a sillicone muffin pan. The pastry ring was lined with acetate cake strip and sat on top of a sheet of acetate, which was on top of a baking tray. The muffin pan I didn’t line with anything, as I would be able to pop out the entremet.
I piped some chocolate mousse in the base of the moulds and then some around the edge of the mould, using an angled knife to smooth it up the sides, I then took the frozen mounds of sablé breton and topping and dropped this upside down into the moulds. I pushed them down lightly so mousse rose around the edges, but did not go higher than the base of the sablé breton.
These were put back in the freezer and left to set.
The last thing to do was make a mirror glaze and pour it over the mousse to complete the entremet. I used this recipe by John Whaite to create the glaze.
I knew the entremet needed to be frozen, so that the warm mirror glaze could be poured over the top, what I didn’t realise is that the glaze shouldn’t be any warmer than 36 degrees. So despite freezing my mousse for two hours, my glaze then melted the mousse. This ended up give my entremet a melted look. Not what I was going for.
The other issue I had was that my mini entremets didn’t turn out of the silicone muffin moulds as well as I had hoped. I ended up using my chocolate decorations (which were not as perfect as I hoped either) to hide the imperfections.
I’ll do another blog post about chocolate transfer sheets and chocolate decorations when I have got to grips with them a bit more. I’m certainly no authority at the moment.
Here is a picture of the entremet cut in half, so you can see the layers – it’s not the best photo I’m afraid.
The idea behind the Paris-Brest was to take the streusel recipe from the Religieuse I had made from the LPDR book and dye it (I had seen this done in ‘the book’) to match the colours of the four main jerseys in the Tour de France.
So there was Yellow for the leader of the general classification, red polka dots for the ‘King of the mountains’, green for the points/sprint jersey and the final batch I left plain, but later dusted with icing sugar, to create white streusel for the fastest young rider.
These were actually really easy to make, choux pastry was piped into rings, and topped with dyed streusel rings. The streusel was pretty tricky to handle, so the trick was to roll the streusel out between two sheets of baking parchment and then freeze it, before attempting to cut out the streusel rings and circles.
I then popped these into the oven for 30mins and got on with make the mousseline cream. This was exactly the same method as the mousseline cream I made in my Paris-Brest post, however this time I used the chocolate-coffee crème patissiere recipe from the Religieuse instead of a hazelnut praline based cream.
When the Paris-Brest were cooled I cut them open, piped in the mousseline cream and hey presto they were completed.
Despite my dissatisfaction with some elements of the finished patisserie, it was really fun to cobble together my own recipes from things I have learnt over the last six months.
Lesson learnt, experimenting is fun, but it’s probably best to set realistic goals.
For my next post, I’ll be returning to viennoiserie, I’ve attempted chocolate chip brioche with pastry cream and an inoffensive wholemeal croissant among other things.
Thanks for reading.