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

Posts tagged ‘poached pear’

Day 44 – Eclairs, more desserts and petit fours – Tues 13th March

Today we had a couple of practicals and a demo between them.

The first was to make the eclairs from the previous day’s eclairs and we all treated this as a practice for the patisserie exam as eclairs is one of the dishes we might get asked to make.
Doing this again showed me that this dish was not hard to do and I made some pretty good eclairs, filled with pastry cream and decorated with fondant and chocolate.

The demo was another cuisine demo about desserts and chef Neil made 3 desserts:

Pears poached in port served with chocolate sauce

Oeufs a la niege, which are meringues poached in a sugar syrup and served with creme anglaise

And creme caramel

We finished the day with a patisserie practical making some of the petit fours. We had to make the sablé biscuits and the almond meringues.

The almond meringues were quite straightforward, as long as you didn’t knock all the air out of the meringue while folding in the dry ingredients. They came out well and were decorated with chocolate.

The sablés were more challenging. This is a mixture which goes from too firm to too soft to work in seemingly nanoseconds so was quite problematic. I did manage to make a reasonable checkerboard and spiral, though we will be repeating this a lot in intermediate and superior patisserie classes. I think the answer is to really chill it well between working it.

Day 20 – Making the pear and almond tart and other puff pastry desserts – Fri 10th Feb

The first class today was making the puff pastry and pear and almond slice the chef made yesterday.

We started with the puff pastry and while the détrempe was resting we peeled and poached the pears.

Next we incorporated the butter and gave the first turn to the pastry. While it rested again we made the almond cream and rolled out some puff pastry. As our puff pastry wasn’t ready to use yet, we were using ready made puff pastry of good quality. We’ll be using our puff pastry in the next practical.

After another couple of turns on the puff pastry we piped the almond cream, laid on the poached pears, topped it with latticed pastry and baked it.

We finished by giving the pastry the last 2 turns and took the pear and almond slice home to eat. It tasted excellent and looks pretty good too:

Next we had another demonstration with chef Matthew, who does a sideline as a comedian, with jokes thrown in throughout his demo.

He used the puff pastry made the previous day to make palmiers and a puff pastry slice decorated with fruit.

Palmiers are made from puff pastry rolled in caster sugar and rolled up, then cut across the roll, laid flat and baked. The shape always reminds me of the head of ET.

We got to taste one each and, while well made, I didn’t find palmiers particularly interesting and wouldn’t think of making them myself. Perhaps a way to use left over puff pastry but I think there are more exciting things to make with it. Imagine  using parmesan, instead of the sugar, for a savoury snack to accompany a martini.

The chef then made the puff pastry slice.

The puff pastry was rolled out and a wide strip cut and two narrow strips all the same length. The 2 narrow strips were placed on the sides of the large strip leaving a central strip which he filled with creme patissiere and fruit.

The chef crimped the edges of the pastry, egg-washed it and baked it, then left it to cool.

Once cool, creme patissiere was piped across the central strip of the pastry and then assorted slices of fruit were arranged on top, The chef had made a couple of these slices and arranged the fruit on one in a regular pattern and on the other in a more random arrangement. Lastly, the fruit was given a glaze to give it a shine and stop the fruit getting oxidised. We’ll be making one of these next week:


Day 19 – Puff Pastry and Pear and Almond Slice – Thurs 9th Feb

Today in Patisserie we were going to be learning to make Puff pastry (yes, we made it last week in Cuisine last week already) and using it in a few desserts.

The chef made puff pastry using the English method – we’ll be learning the French method later in the course. The version we used in the Cuisine lessons seems to be some hybrid of the 2 versions, dismissed with disdain by the pastry chefs.

In the English version the chef started with the détrempe which is a dough made of strong flour, water, melted butter and salt. It was mixed together in a bowl then kneaded until smooth, shaped into a flat rectangle and chilled in the fridge to rest.

Meanwhile the butter was prepared. A slab of butter was kneaded until pliable and formed into a rectangle.

Once the détrempe was rested it was rolled out into a rectangle half again as long as the butter and just a little wider. The butter was placed on the détrempe towards the bottom and the top third of the détrempe was folded down over the butter and then the bottom one third folded up to make 2 layers of butter encased in 3 layers of dough.

The pastry was turned 90 degrees and rolled out lengthwise, then folded into 3 again, turned through 90 degrees again and refrigerated to rest. Each time the pastry is rolled, folded and turned is called a ‘turn’.

Once rested, the pastry was given another couple of turns, rested again, then given a final couple of turns and rested again for use later or the next day.

The chef next made the pear and almond slice. Pears were peeled, quartered and poached in syrup until tender. Butter, sugar, eggs, ground almonds and a little flour were mixed together and flavoured with lemon zest and rum to make the almond cream.

Some puff pastry was rolled out and cut into 2 strips. On one, the almond cream was piped in the centre and the poached pear quarters laid on top. Then the remaining pastry was cut with a lattice tool and laid on top, egg-washed and baked. Here is the chef’s finished dish, cut into portions:

No practical today. Instead a lecture on flours and sugars.

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