Le Cordon Bleu Paris – Day 10: In Love With Choux

This morning, we had to recreate the Paris-Brest from demo. The Paris-Brest is a very beautiful looking dessert. Two rings of pâte à choux (choux pastry) are piped, with one sprinkled with flaked almonds. They are baked, then the bigger ring is sliced in half and filled with noisettes caramelisées (caramelised hazelnuts), the smaller ring and crème mousseline pralinée (praline mousseline cream).

We first start with our pâte à choux, and while that is in the oven, we start on our crème pâtissière (pastry cream). Basically, crème mousseline is pastry cream that is enriched with butter. Some call it German buttercream. Someone please enlighten me how buttercreams such as Swiss, Italian and German got their names! Anyhow, this is a very delicious buttercream. Mmm… all that butter.

We also had to caramelise hazelnuts. This was, to me, the most delicious part of the Paris-Brest. Because it is hidden underneath the crème mousseline, it is quite a pleasant surprise and gives a good contrast in textures. I was snacking on the leftover caramelised  hazelnut after class!

Somehow, I managed to produce a very nice looking Paris-Brest. I’ve always loved decorating cakes with buttercream, so all that practice definitely worked in my favour today as Chef complimented my Paris-Brest. He even measured its dimensions and took photos for reference. Of course, I felt very proud and happy inside, but I didn’t want to show it in case people thought I was damn haolian or something! Haha. I had classmates tell me that my Paris-Brest was the most beautiful today. I seem to have had some luck with pâte à choux over the past two days.

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Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetCross section of Paris-Brest

I will need to whip the crème mousseline over ice for longer next time because it wasn’t as stiff as it should’ve been. The piping would’ve been much neater and more defined if my crème mousseline was colder. Some people ran out of cream because they did not whip it long enough to give it more volume. As usual, we had to whip my hand and my arms were already sore from exercising the day before. I swear my arms are getting bigger.

As you can see, there is an extra layer of choux pastry in the middle. This is to give a better ratio of pastry to cream. Otherwise, it would be cream overkill! I wouldn’t complain though. I love the cream a lot! The caramelised hazelnuts also give a good crunch. There is a generous amount sprinkled at the bottom.

I ate half of it myself. Oops 😛

I met WZ this afternoon for an Asian lunch followed by a drink at Starbucks. It’s really amazing how well we click though it’s really just the first time we’ve met. Thoroughly enjoyed speaking in Singlish and talking a whole lot of shit for almost three hours. Hehe! Nice to have company now 🙂

I had to go back to school for a theory class which ended earlier than we expected. We learnt about different kinds of flour and how wheat is milled, parts of the grain etc. Quite interesting, and definitely got me even more interested in boulangerie. I think it is really amazing how the French are so particular about their flours and have all these types which are so formally named Type 45, 55, 65 etc. To think we only have flours like all-purpose, cake, self-raising, bread and Hong Kong flour in Singapore. We are getting all the inferior stuff!

I’ll be attending a 6 hour bread-making course later this month so I can make legit bread for my grandpa. I will only be making croissants, pain au chocolat and brioche in the basic patisserie course.

Tomorrow, we will be making Moka (mocha cake). It will definitely be the most complex thing we have made. Can’t wait!

 

Le Cordon Bleu Paris – Day 10: In Love With Choux

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