Day Sixty-Seven

Thursday, October 18, 2012
I may or may not have eaten too much puff pastry tonight.  My stomach hurts.  Why do I keep doing this to myself?

I’ve changed my mind about puff pastry being too much work; it’s definitely worth it.  It’s SO good!  It’s so much better than store-bought puff pastry.  I didn’t know this, but Tom pointed out to me that store bought puff pastry uses shortening instead of butter.

That’s enough for me to stop buying it.  The puff pastry was a lot of work, but it wasn’t that bad.  I’d like to have a tutorial on here someday about making it.  It builds arm muscles!

These are the finished pithiviers.  There’s frangipane in the middle. 


So pretty.  I wanted to decorate them with berries, but Chef said that wasn’t traditional.  I want to make a savory pithivier now.  Like a chicken pot pie pithivier. 

I made a chocolate almond streusel and molded it with two rings. This is going into a cake we’re assembling tomorrow.  The streusel was made with butter, turbinado sugar, pastry flour, melted chocolate and sea salt.  Turbinado sugar works better in streusels, so you better go get some, sugar bear.


I also made a caramel cremeux.  First you make a dry caramel, then add your cream, then you temper your egg yolks, then you cook and whisk everything until it thickens up.  And then, only then, do you add your gelatin. 

Here’s a tip: Strain your tempered eggs back into the remaining simmering cream instead of straining in the end of the cooking process.  You’ll save yourself time (especially with thick pastry creams), and if you’ve cooked the pastry cream properly you shouldn’t have any lumps.  Straining early removes the chalaza from the egg. 


We poured the caramel-cream into these fleximolds. 

I walked through another kitchen today where they’re holding a continuing education class.  The class is wedding cakes by Marina Sousa.  If you’ve ever watched any of the Food Network cake competitions, I guarantee you know who I’m talking about.  You should see all of the flowers and decorations they’ve constructed.  I could’ve taken more pictures but I didn’t want to creep.

13 comments on "Day Sixty-Seven"
  1. WOW, those look absolutely stunning (and delish!) Emily, you should be very proud of yourself for all the amazing things you have created in this program. Just wanted to mention for my fellow lazy people that Dufour Pastry sells frozen puff that is made with real butter. It can be a bit pricey but it is so much better tasting and flakier than the grocery brand. Whole Foods sells it for @ $13.00 and I have picked it up in other specialty markets for a few dollars less.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Anne! Do you get two sheets or one? That is pricey, but not unreasonable if you wanted to make something special.

  2. ummmm almond inside puff pastry?!?! i just DIED. i bought a big block of Amish made (oh yeah) almond paste. i plan on making these, a Clark family favorite:

    1. Is there an Amish store in Chicago? Oh my gosh. Those cookies look AMAZING!! I wish I could have given you the puff. I think I should drop by after school some night and deliver you pastries.

  3. How funny, just watched the final of The Great British Bake Off and one of their tasks was to bake pithiviers! So I feel pretty pro to know what they are. Those look amazing! I am loving reading all your pastry school updates and constantly impressed at all the stuff you guys whip up :)

  4. You have put me in a conumdrum. I say that one day I will try making my own puff pastry, but I'm not optimistic about the results considering how bad I am making cohesive piecrusts. Now you tell me this bit about shortening and not butter, making me feel compelled to make my own. Maybe I should just take Anne-Craig's advice and shell out the bucks. It's not as if I make it that often.

    Or you can just make it for me, like making me one of those almond thingies...

  5. I am proud of you. You have really grown. Understanding puff pastry is so important, you my dear are getting there. Well done.

    1. Thank you! I really do think I've grown. It feels good. I feel older and wiser.

  6. Emily! I was in that cake class this week with Marina Sousa! It was WONDERFUL!

    1. That's awesome! Are you a cake decorator? I wish I could have said hello to you! :)

  7. Such beautiful desserts! I have never heard of a pithivier before, but now I have to try one.

    Trader Joe's has an all butter puff pastry also!