I have such mixed emotions about this being the sixth week of my cooking classes at Edom Bakery and Grill with Chef Jackson York. I have learned so much and enjoyed myself so thoroughly that I am going to be sad when it’s over next week!
The class this week was extra-enjoyable for me, as it was all about baking! I love to bake, as most of you know. We used puff pastry to create several different desserts, including the ever-popular mille-feuille, or Napoleon. It was good to learn the basics about using puff pastry to create desserts, as you can be as creative as you’d like to be and use your favorite ingredients to make your own special dessert.
Now, we did not make our own puff pastry. Puff pastry is very time-consuming and laborious to make, in my opinion, so it is much easier to buy good puff pastry (or phyllo dough) to use in your recipes. See Emeril’s recipe for puff pastry dough here and you’ll see what I mean. I bet even Emeril buys his for use in his restaurants. 😉
We also made Pâte à choux, a light pastry dough used to make eclairs, cream puffs, etc. It was really fun to pipe it out on baking sheets to make different shapes to bake and then use to fill and/or construct things later.
We used a variety of fillings and toppings for our desserts: chocolate mousse, whipped cream, sliced strawberries macerated in rum and brown sugar, creme patissiere, and chocolate ganache. (By the way, Chef Jackson’s chocolate ganache was so delicious that I just had to take a second sample taste of it! Amazing.)
Creme patissiere is simply pastry cream. Chef Jackson gave us a great recipe to use, and said that it could be used to fill pastries, of course, but that we might enjoy using it to make cream pies, like chocolate or coconut. YES, please! 🙂 Let me share his recipe with you:
2 quarts of milk
16 egg yolks
vanilla extract, to taste
one pound of sugar, divided in half
5 oz cornstarch
5 oz plain flour
2 oz cocoa powder (to make this chocolate pie filling)
Boil milk and half the sugar. Mix the remaining sugar & egg yolks in a large bowl, beating until they are pale yellow. Then add cornstarch to mixture, beating well. Next, add flour, and beat well. (do not add flour and cornstarch at the same time.)
When milk and sugar has reached boiling point, add vanilla extract, then temper your egg mixture (so that you don’t have sweet scrambled eggs!) by stirring in a little of the hot mixture to the eggs, (Jackson added two or three ladles full of hot mixture to the egg mixture) and as soon as you make the egg mixture warm (test this by feeling the bottom of the bowl) you can add remaining milk mixture to egg mixture, and cook until thickened. You want to stir this continuously while it cooks so that it doesn’t scorch on the bottom and release black flecks throughout your cream filling. In a matter of minutes, you’ll see foam form on top of this cooking mixture, then you’ll see that dissipate and the top of the cream get shiny, and then it will begin sending up slow, popping bubbles in the creamy mixture. It should be the texture of boiled custard, nice and thick.
This filling will be enough for three cream pies! How nice will that be during the holidays?
Here are some pictures from the bakery of our creations. Enjoy! 🙂