Home' D Fine Redland Lifestyle Magazine : September 2009 Contents d'fine magazine September 15, 2009 19
Ph 3498 9138
3/354 Main Rd, Wellington Point
with Michele Round
Executive Pastry Chef
Real patisseries are among the most
tempting of all food shops. Few people can
pass the window of a high class pastry shop
without stopping to gaze longingly through the
window and having stopped and looked, it's but a
short fall to the interior and counter.
One the underlying basics of a quality patisserie
is pastry making. It is one of the fundamental skills
of being a pastry chef and a skill that is learnt early
in your apprenticeship. It can be as basic as a
shortcrust pastry or as complex as puff pastry. In
fact any cook worth their salt must be able to make
pastry and it is surprising how many people can't.
Attention to just a few details can ensure good
results every time and the rewards that come with
making your own pastry are worth the extra effort.
The taste is something you cannot replicate from a
bought product. Most commercial pastry you buy
in supermarkets comes from factories where
quality is not paramount.
Viennoiserie describes the highly specialised
area of croissant and puff pastry making. At
Bittersweet I create the croissants, puff and fine
butter pastries all by hand, using traditional
techniques. The dough is mixed using a slow
milled low extraction wheat flour that gives a crisp
short finish to the crust of the croissant and a
tender melting crumb. The croissant and puff are
made with pure butter and the pain au chocolat is
filled with Belgian chocolate -- a high cocoa
content chocolate with a strong bittersweet taste.
The almond croissants are filled with ground
almonds, butter sugar and eggs. No artificial
flavours, essences, margarines or bulking agents
Puff pastry is one of the most remarkable
products in the patisserie. It is made up of many
layers of sandwiched dough and butter that when
baked, creates steam which is responsible for the
spectacular rising power. It consists of over 1000
layers and the rolling-in procedure takes a great
deal of time and care.
Puff is the most complex of all pastry making
and takes great skill especially in a sub tropical
place like Brisbane. Some places use special
shortening that is cheaper and easier to work with
than butter as it doesn't soften and melt at warm
temperatures when rolling - but the finished
product can be unpleasant to eat as it tends to
congeal and coat the inside of the mouth. Butter
definitely produces a superior product both in
flavour and texture. In all pastry making you must
use butter if quality is what you want to achieve.
And if you are going to the effort of making your
own pastry at home, well why bother with
If you follow a few simple rules in pastry you will
1. Always use the right kind of flour and use ice
cold liquids or water when mixing the dough.
2. Fat should be cool and firm.
3. When adding liquids to the flour and butter, mix
for shortest time possible to prevent gluten
developing (this will toughen the pastry).
4. Chill and rest dough before rolling out. Line tin
and chill again before baking to minimize
5. Use a minimum amount of flour for dusting
when rolling out the pastry.
This French inspired leek and pancetta tart
is delicious served with drinks. The
sweetness of the leeks and richness of the
pastry works well with racy dry whites or
sparkling wines. Impressive though it looks,
the tart is super fast to prepare as long as the
leek filling is pre-cooked.
Use the idea as a template for making other
quick tarts, sweet or savoury. For the savoury
version, any pizza style topping will work but
these are particularly good -
Tomato sugo (available in jars), fresh
mozzarella, artichoke hearts and parmesan
Tomato sugo, slow cooked onion and
Wafers of potato, fresh mozzarella,
pancetta and rosemary
Puff pastry is a lovely base;it's a little finer and
more elegant than standard pizza dough and is
incredibly convenient if you use Pampas frozen
butter puff. In less time than it will take to get
your lips around flamique à porions (French for
leek tart) you'll have the circle cut, leek topping
spread and sprinkled with pancetta and
parmesan. A 10 minute bake and there'll be this
gorgeous thing, almost like magic.
Nutmeg is my favourite spice and is essential
in this dish. It's so much better grated fresh,
which is no big drama. Whole nutmegs are
readily available from delis and most
supermarkets.You can use the ultra fine holes of
a standard grater or buy a mini nutmeg grater.
In the time before we were alert and never
alarmed I travelled Europe with a sharp knife
and nutmeg grater (and nutmegs) in case I ever
ran into potatoes, leeks, spinach or eggs that
Leek and pancetta tart
(makes 2 x 23cm tarts)
2 sheets Pampas Butter Puff Pastry, cut into
5 large leeks
half cup cream
half nutmeg, grated
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
6-8 slices pancetta, cut into strips
half cup grated Parmesan or Grana
Use the white and pale green part of the leeks.
Wash them well to remove any grit.Cut the leeks
in half lengthwise and then into slices. Melt the
butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and
saute gently until they start to soften. Season
with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the cream,
pop on the lid and cook slowly for about ten
minutes until soft. Remove the lid and keep
cooking until no cream is visible. Turn up the
heat slightly if necessary. Check for seasoning
and cool.The mixture will keep well in the fridge
for two days.
Preheat oven to 220deg.C. Place the pastry
circles on baking sheets. Score a line about
1.5cm in from the edge of each circle. Prick the
centre part with a fork.Spread out the leek filling
up to the scored line.Scatter pancetta strips and
Parmesan/Grana over the top. Bake until the
pastry is richly golden and well cooked out
underneath - 10 to 15 minutes.
Cut into wedges to serve.
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