Pastry School Update: More Breads, Breakfast Pastries, and Petit Fours

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This week was the conclusion of our breads and breakfast pastries unit.  This was a good thing because I was beginning to run out of room in my freezer!

We made brioche dough again, but this time we shaped it differently. The brioche has been one of my favorite breads we’ve made, especially when it is sprinkled with pearl sugar.

Photograph (right): Chouquettes

We also made a variety of breads- farmer’s bread, country bread, and sourdough multigrain. The country bread was dotted with walnuts. Croissant dough was made again (practice makes perfect!), but this time they were made into almond croissants and chocolate croissants.

On Friday we began making doughs for our petit fours unit. These included sweet dough, chocolate sweet dough, and two sable doughs.

Week 5 marked the start of our petit fours unit. French petit fours are small bite-sized desserts and pastries, which I like because not only are they cute, but they are perfect for having ‘just a taste’. We made pate a choux dough that was piped into a couple of shapes: mini eclairs, salambos, paris brest, and chouquettes.

A very rich, chocolate pastry cream was piped into the miniature eclairs, which were then topped with a chocolate fondant icing.

Salambos are shorter, fatter miniature eclair shapes that are filled with vanilla pastry cream and dipped in hot caramel, which hardens as it cools, creating an addictive crunchy, sweet, soft, and creamy experience in your mouth when you eat one.

The paris brest are circles filled with a praline cream and toasted almonds. Chouquettes are miniature cream puff shapes filled with a mixture of hazelnut paste, pastry cream, and buttercream.

Photograph (below): Salambos

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Photograph (below): Pain au chocolat

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Photograph (below): Country bread

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Photograph (below): Farmer’s bread

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We also made dacquoise, which are delightful nutty meringue wafers surrounding a rich filling. Then we made miniature blueberry tarts and almond-apricot tarts. The week was finished out by a large batch of French macarons.

That weekend I staged at a very cute bakery called Le Flour. The chefs and advisors here highly recommend we stage at restaurants, pastry shops, bakeries, and hotels as much as we can. To stage, you usually work one shift for free. While you may only be doing simple things, you can still check out the activity taking place and the best part is that it is just a short-term commitment.

One thing I noticed at Le Flour was how much fun the staff were having, working. They were all family and friends and that really got me thinking…

Photograph (below): Chouquettes

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Photograph (below): Apricot almond tartlets

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Photograph (below): Blueberry tartlets topped with streusel

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