Friday, December 3, 2010

HR Puff N Stuff

Wow! Last class went really well! We got so much done, and although puff pastry is still kind of tedious to make, I really think we’re all getting the hang of this dough. Not only does it taste great, but it’s so versatile, allowing both sweet and savory fillings that just go so well together. Last night, we made palmiers, vols-au-vents, a round napoleon, and an almond-pineapple bar tart.
First up is the napoleon. Now, I’m used to seeing napoleons in strips, with a fondant icing on top, but here we made round napoleons, and the top was covered in powdered sugar and crushed puff pastry was pressed around the side. The fun part really came when we took red-hot skewers and pressed them on the sugar to caramelize it, a technique called “quadrillage.” The entire classroom smelled like roasted marshmallows! Sadly, for one reason or another, my dough only allowed for two discs of pastry, not three, so mine was a little short. I told the chef that the dessert’s lack of height was my homage to its namesake, but I don't think he bought it. was delicious, no matter what.

We also made an almond pineapple bar tart. For this, we took strips of puffed pastry, spread some almond cream on down the middle, and layered pineapple slices on top, which then baked in the oven to caramelize. The decoration is chopped pistachios.

To be honest, I had my doubts about this one, but I have to say, I really enjoyed it. So did Adam’s office, from what I hear…those folks have been reaping most of the benefits of this class, as Adam and I usually only take a little taste for ourselves.
Next up are the vols-au-vents, which are little cups of puff pastry. We made our savory, with spinach, shallot, and goat cheese and also mushroom and shallot. These were amazing. Like, eat in the dark while crying amazing.

Finally, we sliced and baked our palmiers. These were kind of everyone’s favorite. They’re just puff pastry with granulated sugar on them, but that combination really works. Here they are sliced and ready to go into the oven.

And here’s one fresh out of the oven…yum.

Well, that’s all for the stuff we made in class. Just an addition, Chef Ron Ben-Israel was around doing a demo on his amazing wedding cakes, and my class got the leftovers.

It’s a spice cake with apple butter cream. Adam and I haven’t tried it yet, but there's a slice in the fridge waiting. This is possibly a once-in-a-lifetime slice of cake from one of the masters, so I know I’m going to savor it and look forward to having him teach us when we get to our wedding cake section!


  1. It looks beautiful, but do I like spice cake? Actually, you're getting to Dad's and my favorite kinds of pastries. That palmier looked amazing and so did the vols-au-vents. What are you bringing us when you come down?
    Love, Mom

  2. Ima need you to learn that apple butter cream recipe.