Things to do with Pate a Choux...and Pastry Cream

Tuesday started a new block and new class for me, pastry techniques. Its an exciting class to be in for more than one reason. Obviously we are building on the skills we learned in baking techniques, beginning to learn decorating (something I’m really not skilled at), but our instructor is amazing. He has worked all over the world and for some jaw dropping people and places. You can tell he is just brimming with knowledge and experiences and he loves to share this information. In just three days of class we have made custards, pate a choux, pastry cream, puff pastry, and began to learn decorating with piping and forming marzipan roses. It doesn’t sound like much there but from those base items we have learned to form different products from them. We are separated into eight teams, so while we each observe the demonstration of the product, several teams are assigned to each.

For instance, from our pate a choux and pastry cream, our class formed four different varieties of desserts. The first two teams were assigned the classic eclairs filled with pastry cream. This is something that will be on our practical to go on externship, so its an important one!

The next two teams were assigned swedish cream puffs. In this dessert, a base is made with the pate a choux and then topped with sugar cookie dough. After it was baked, the teams sliced them in half and filled them with sauteed strawberries and diplomat cream formed from their pastry cream. Diplomat cream is whipped cream and pastry cream folded together.

Another two teams formed paris-brest from their pate a choux. This dessert was made in honor of a bicycle race that used to be held and is supposed to resemble a bicycle wheel. The teams formed a circle with their pate a choux which was topped with crushed almonds. It too was sliced in half after baking but was filled with a mixture of what we would call nutella mixed with their pastry cream and then a ring of whipped cream before the top was replaced.

Finally, my team got a really fun assignment with our pate a choux. We got to make profiteroles which were dipped in caramel, filled with pastry cream, and then formed a small tower out of four and some whipped cream. It then got a drizzle of chocolate sauce. It looked fantastic and for the most part we did well. There was a slight situation with our first batch of caramel and the flame being turned the wrong direction, but try number two was “beautiful.” Our pastry cream we made the day before was also perfect…so perfect it was taken to be used by another group whose pastry cream was too thin to properly finish their dessert. We got theirs in exchange. It was a big woohoo and darn all at once.

Its neat to learn more about the desserts we have been seeing since the start in the dining hall. Often we would get them to try and figure out just what was in them! Now we are quickly learning many of them. I can’t wait to learn more.