I'm studying the Grand Diplome at Cordon Bleu in London

Towards the end of the week and back to Patisserie.

Chef Graeme took us for the demo and practical today. He gives a lot of explanation of what he is doing and information around it, so I ended up taking lots and lots of notes. He is also very attentive in the practicals and commented on every stage with each student.

The focus today was pate brisée, which is the same pastry we used for Quiche Lorraine earlier in the week, and using it to make tarts.

The pate brisée was made in same way as for the quiche and the chef used it to make a Tarte au Citron and a Tarte au Chocolate.

While the pastry cases were being baked blind, the chef made the lemon curd. This a mixture of eggs, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice heated over a bain marie until it thickens. Then it was poured onto a tray and refrigerated to cool.

Some julienne of lemon rind was prepared to decorate the tart. Some peel was finely cut into julienne, blanched 3 times to remove the bitterness, then simmered gently in a sugar syrup to candy it.

The lemon curd for the tart was to be covered in italian meringue. Italian meringue is stiffly beaten egg whites to which a sugar syrup, boiled to the soft ball stage, slowly dribbled in while whisking. This means the meringue does not need any further cooking but can be piped easily.

Once the pastry was baked and cooled, the lemon curd was spread into the case and then the meringue was piped on top using a St. Honoré nozzle, which is a round nozzle with a v cut up towards the back. This creates an effect of ridges when piped.
Once piped, the meringue was lightly glazed with a blowtorch, and then the candied julienne arranged on top:

For the chocolate tart, melted chocolate, butter, eggs, egg yolks and sugar was mixed together, poured into the pastry case and baked in the oven.

Once baked and cooled, it was decorated with raspberries, cocoa and chocolate curls:

In the practical the pate brisée was straightforward.

While it was chilling we peeled, zested and juiced the lemons and cut the julienne.

The sugar, lemon juice and zest were warmed over the bain marie to dissolve sugar, while the julienne was blanched and then simmered.

The eggs were whisked and added to the lemon juice and heated on the bain marie, stirring continuously, until thick, then cooled.

The meringue was next. The sugar syrup was cooked to soft ball and poured slowly into the whisking egg whites and left to whisk until cool.

The curd was spread into the pastry case, the meringue piped on top, glazed with a blowtorch and the julienne arranged on top.

Quite a few tasks to do in the time allowed, but a good tart created and I ate half of it as soon as I got home. Yummm.

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