Thursday, July 30, 2015

Introduction to Pastry and Baking Class Seven: Puff Pastry

Baking relaxes the soul and most definitely can scare away a bad mood. So can the kindness of a classmate. After my car broke down on the George Washington Bridge and I was an hour an a half late for class seven of our pastry class at the Institute for Culinary Education, I was delighted to learn that a fellow classmate had rolled out all my puff pastry dough for me so that I could hit the ground running. 
Cheese twists with parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper
I made a pear tart, cheese straws, almond twists, and palmier cookies (aka "mouse ears" for small ones and "elephant ears" for large cookies). Each pastry, beautiful and magical in appearance and taste, gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment and gratification.
Palmier cookies made with puff pastry, and rolled and dipped with sugar
Cammi made a gorgeous mille feuille (a "thousand leaves" French pastry similar to a an Italian Napolean) made with puff pastry, pastry cream, whipped cream, and strawberries and then topped with fondant and chocolate icing.

Mille Feuille topped with fondant and piped with chocolate
Simple pear tart with frangipane, pears poached in wine, nappage apriocot glaze, almonds and powdered sugar. Crispy and golden brown palmiers.  Twisted puff pastry dough with parmesan/cayenne and also with almond/sugar fillings.
Pear Tart with Frangipane, Apricot Glaze, Almonds and Confectioner's Sugar
The kindness of the classmate who rolled out my dough and the sweet smells coming out of the oven were enough to crowd out the stress (and trauma) of breaking down on the interstate and getting towed from New Jersey back to the city. Baking really does relax the soul.

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