Christmas at Thomas Haas
The reindeers, angels and christmas trees are ready!
During my stage I was helping the pattisiers and chocolatiers to get all the chocolates and pastries ready for the busy christmas season. It was an amazing experience to work with the famous Thomas Haas. We made very impressive chocolate work as you can see on the pictures. And this is just a small part of the collection. For more see www.thomashaas.com
And ofcourse I made the famous ‘double baked almond croissants’! You absolutely have to try them.
A basic egg custard is an egg-based cream consisting of eggs, milk or cream, sugar and flavouring, often vanilla. The mixture is thickened or gelled trough the heat coagulation of egg proteins. It is made tempering the eggs/yolks and cream/milk.
Tempering is a way to ease two ingredients of extremely different temperatures (room temperature egg yolks, and cooked milk/cream) together to prevent premature coagulation. If eggs are added directly to hot milk, heat from the milk prematurely cooks the eggs. Slowly add a small amount of hot milk/cream to the eggs (whisk constantly) before they are added to the pot with the rest of the milk/cream. This dilutes the eggs without drastically raising their temperature. Once diluted the eggs are much less likely to be heat damaged (scramble) as they are added to the rest of the milk.
Many pastries have a custard base. For example, pumpkin pie filling, bread pudding, rice pudding, pastry cream, quiches, cream pie filling and even cheesecakes are variations on the basic egg custard.
They are best baked in a wather bath. This slows down the process and evens out baking so that the outside of the custard does not become tough, rubbery, and curdled before the inside bakes.
There are many different types of custards. We distinguish stovetop custards and oven-baked custards.
- Crème anglaise is a sauce and the base for many pastries. It is used for ice-cream, sauces, buttercream or mousse it is the base for baked custards. They all are variations on the basic formula for crème anglaise. It thickens around 71°C and turn into scrambled eggs at 82 degrees, not much room for error!
- Pastry creamor crème pâtissière is a creamy custard and is used as a filling or base cream in many pastries. Think about Danishes, fruit tarts, cream pies, profiteroles and éclairs and Napoleon. It uses the same method as crème anglaise but the ingredients are a little different. A little bit of starch is added (cornstarch or other starches) and the liquid is only milk. While crème anglaise cannot be heated above 82°C, pastry cream is cooked. The starch prevents the egg yolks from curdling.
- Crème brûlée: the most famous of all baked custards. It is baked in a ramekin in a water bath at low temperature and has a crispy layer of caramel on top. It is served in the ramekin.
- Crème caramel: the base is similar to that of crème brulee but slightly firmer because it is turned out of its mold before serving. Before baking the ramekin is coated with a thin layer of caramel. This will turn in to a sauce after baking.
- Pot de crème: a baked custard that translates in “pot of cream” because the custard barely sets and is very silky in texture. It is slightly richer than crème caramel and a little less rich than crème brulee. It is also easier to make than the two other baked custards because it requires no extra step in making caramel.
- Crème diplomat: pastry cream combined with whipped cream and gelatin. It is used as a filling for cakes, tarts and other pastries.
- Crème Chiboust or crème St. Honoré: pastry cream combined with French or Italian meringue. This makes the cream very light. Sometimes gelatin is added to stabilize the crème. The ratio of pastry cream to meringue is about 4:1.
- Mousseline: pastry cream combined with soft butter that is whipped until light and fluffy.
- Crémeux: a crème anglaise that has been thickened with butter and sometimes gelatin. It is often used as a filling for a tart or as an insert for a moussecake.
- Crème Paris Brest: pastry cream combined with butter and praline paste. This is the classic filling for a Paris-Brest pastry.
- Crème Baumanière: mix pastry cream with Grand Marnier and fold in stiff whipped cream. This is one of my favourites!
- Crème Légère: a crème anglaise mixed with whipped cream to make a delicious light crème.
Frank Haasnoot, the new World Chocolate Master
Congratulations to Frank Haasnoot. The Dutch pastry chef won the World Chocolate Masters 2011 in Paris! On the picture you see his amazing showpiece. The theme for the competition was: “Cacao, the gift of Quetzalcoatl”. With this in mind all the 19 contestants from around the world had to create 6 six innovative and delicious creations solely made of chocolate that reflect this theme.
The name of the showpiece is ‘Warrior’. The warrior of darkness is in search for cocoa in the mysteries of the jungle.
Salted vanilla caramel sauce
Here is a recipe for a delicious caramel sauce, with vanilla, Fleur de Sel and Jack Daniels!
185 gram sugar
75 gram water
250 gram whipping cream
½ vanilla bean (scraped)
shot of Jack Daniels
pinch of Fleur de Sel
In a big pot bring the sugar and water to a boil. In another pot, at the same time, bring the whipping cream and ½ vanilla bean and seeds to a boil. If the sugar is light brown or brown (caramel) pour the cream (remove the bean) into the caramel. Be careful! The mixture will start to foam and is very hot.
Add the salt + Jack Daniels and stir until combined.
You can make your own variations on the sauce. Hereby I will give you some suggestions to add to your basic caramel sauce (without salt and Jack Daniels).
* Add goats milk instead of whipping cream for a whole different flavour
* Add a shot of espresso for a creamy coffee caramel sauce
* Add some orange juice and cardamom to the caramel
If you have other delicious variations, let me know!
Pastry school has come to an end. It was an amazing journey in the world of Baking and Pastry. I was voted valedictorian of my class, a big honour! I would like to thank all the chefs and everyone at school, without them I wouldn’t be an graduate right now. And ofcourse my wife for her support. But this is not where it ends, this is just the start!
I will continue writing this blog, here in Canada and wherever I will go next!
Walnut macaron with an espresso caramelcream filling
And again, a macaron! Instead of almonds I used roasted and grinded walnuts. The recipe can also be found on this blog, just substitute the nuts for walnuts.
The filling is made with an Italian buttercream and mixed with a creamy espresso caramel sauce.
200 gram egg whites
400 gram sugar
200 gram water
600 gram butter
Start making the Italian meringue. Mix the sugar with the water and heat it up. When it reaches 115°C, start beating your egg whites into soft peaks. When the sugar reaches 121°C, pour the sugar slowly into the egg whites. Beat until mixture cools down and slowly add the butter, beat until stiff.
Now make an espresso caramel sauce (the recipe is also on this blog) and mix the sauce with your Italian buttercream and your espresso caramel cream filling is ready!
This tart is a tribute to Mr. Hasley, an employee of Mars and the creator of the famous Twix bar.
The Hasley tart contains the same flavours as the Twix bar but in a different way.
I got the recipe from Sherry Yard, a pastrychef from Los Angeles.
The tart consists of a blind baked tart shell with a ring of whipping cream mixed with a creamy vanilla caramel sauce. In the middle there is more of this sauce and the whole tart is sealed with more whipping cream + creamy vanilla caramel sauce. On top a coating of dark chocolate couverture.
On the picture you see my plated dessert. The Hasley tart is paired with a scoop of tiramisu ice cream and creamy vanilla caramel sauce. Enjoy!
On the picture you see my newest creation for the bakeshop. The Tropical Dutch!
It is a cake made with a vanilla white chocolate mousse and a coconut crunch bottom. The cake contains a rum and pineapple floater and a lime genoa cake floater. On top a passion fruit glaze with grated coconut. All delicious components and bringing them all together makes it even better! The cake is a real hit in the bakeshop. So if you want some, be quick!
A tropical cake made by a Dutch pastry student, tropical Dutch!
Deconstructed Lemon Tart
What do we have here? What is the difference between the pictures? Believe it or not but both pictures are the same! On the left you see the original, traditional lemon tart. On the right is the so called ‘deconstructed lemon tart’, new style. I made this dessert for the restaurant. The dessert is made with the same components as the original lemon tart but in a different way. You get the same textures and flavours but in another visual context.
De traditional lemon tart consists of a crunchy tart shell with lemon curd and Italian meringue on top and in the middle there is a blackcurrant floater. My version has a crumble instead of a tart shell. For the filling there is the traditional lemon curd (same as in the lemon tart) and also a creamy lemon mousse.
The Italian meringue is also on the plate. For the blackcurrant floater I made a black currant yoghurt ice cream with pear liquor. Last but not least a delicious pistachio crème anglaise.
In the deconstructed version there is also the option to eat the different components separate, they are all delicious on their own. Or you eat them all together like the traditional lemon tart. You decide!
Blackout cake with white chocolate ice cream
Here is my plated dessert for this week. It is a round (donutshape) blackout cake with a cookie on the bottom. The blackout cake is a rich chocolate cake with fresh brewed coffee in it. On top a scoop of homemade white chocolate ice cream.
I am serving this dessert with a coffee-amaretto crème anglaise. It is a basic crème anglaise but I added coffee beans to the milk and let it boil. Add some amaretto to the sauce and it is ready to go! The sauce is pretty strong so a few drops are enough to give the dessert some extra flavour. Finally I added a nice chocolate curl to give it a luxury look.