Fashion and Food for your Tastebuds

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Macarons a la Menthe

Macarons. These delicate almond cookies may look simple, but believe me they are not. 
So I’ve decided to continue my French pastry theme by making perhaps the ultimate French petit treat, the Macaron. If you are a frequent foodblog reader then you have seen the macaron pop up in every blog.
A popular summer flavor at Ladurée is mint. A unique flavor with a unique color; blue. I’ve seen too many chocolate, vanilla and caramel macarons made on various blogs. Yes, they are delicious flavors, but lets try something different. It’s summer and I want bright, gleeful colors. I think a Tiffany’s blue will be just right. Now for the flavor, mint, a refreshing flavor for summer. It may not be the top flavor for everyone, but it’s a must try. 

They weren’t perfect, but definitely an improvement from what I started with. The buttercream I used was a normal buttercream with peppermint extract. I found my recipe from She helped me in so many ways and her recipe is the go to for any macaron. I hope you enjoyed my macaron journey. No matter how much I perfect my technique, they will never taste as delicious as the ones from Ladurée and that’s ok, because I need an excuse to go there and buy as many flavors as possible. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Choux a la Creme


Choux a la crème. Or otherwise known as a cream puff is the Parisian petit treat that I made. Looking into all of the wonderful windows of pastries, I saw these precious little choux a la crème and I thought to myself ‘I must make these!’ The dough that is made for these desserts is called a choux. This particular dough is used to make other desserts like eclairs and profiteroles. The only main difference is the shape that you chose to make the dough in and the filling. 
Even though French pastries are harder to make than other desserts and definitely more time consuming, I love the challenge. But what I love more is the final product and how beautifully these little petit treats come to life. Why is it that every French pastry looks like a work of art? Well here is my attempt at being an artist! Yes the process was long, but the end product was worth it!
I began with making the pastry cream as it needed to chill overnight in the fridge. I used a basic pastry cream recipe, beating egg yolks and sugar in a mixer, adding the cornstarch and heating it in a saucepan so it thickens. I placed the cream in a bowl, covered it with plastic rap and let it cool for a few hours. Now to the dough! (or the choux) Making this wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. In a saucepan I brought the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to a boil. I removed it from the heat andand then mixed in the flour. I put it back on the heat and cooked it until it was no longer sticky.  I transferred the dough to an electrical mixer and then added the eggs one at a time. Now came making the choux into medium size rounds using my piping bag. 
  After filling my choux with the chilled pastry cream it was time for the pink fondant. Now this was the most challenging part. The recipe I was using was a French one which called for pastry fondant cream, which was nearly impossible to find here. So I decided to take regular white rolled fondant, melt it in a sauce pan so it became a liquid form, added my pink food coloring and dipped the top of my choux in the liquid fondant and left it to dry. I am not sure if the Parisian pastry chefs do it the same way, but it worked for me! Last post I talked about the chocolate bug, well now, I’ve caught the French pastry bug.