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Yummy head to toe – L’Atelier Jean-Luc Pelé, la visite

Since I started my apprentissage at Nice best pâtisserie (and no, I’m not saying this just because it’s the place I’m spending the best year of my entire life at), I’ve been talking a lot about Pascal and the chef and the cool people I get to work with.

Quite coincidentally, one of them seems to be my Brazilian counterpart. Amanda. She’s perhaps just as silly as me, and certainly, just as crazy in love with life and pâtisserie.

And just like me she’s a food tasting and photography fanatic. A perfect match.

A couple of weeks ago we decided to venture off from our Nice headquarters, and headed to Cannes. More specifically, to Jean-Luc Pelé’s Atelier.

Located on the tiny rue Meynadier, a parallel of the famous Croisette and its not so pretty marches [steps], it makes an adorable chic-black boutique. And although I must admit I chose not to work there after I met Pascal and the huuuuuge laboratoire, I have to confess that the Atelier it is indeed adorable, and probably more importantly, a good pâtisserie.

You know me. I took tons of pictures, tasted a couple triple of entremets, and a good dozen of macarons. So I figured it would be more appropriate to write about the place in episodes.

Tambours. [Drumrolls].

Let me introduce l’Atelier. And the pâtisseries that you can find there. Simple. No tasting involved here (don’t worry, the entremets will follow; and so will the macarons (delicious by the way)).

As you enter the black-walled shop, you’ll probably like the panoramic view of the chocolaterie just as much as I did. But keep an eye on the pâtisseries because they’re pretty pretty, and definitely worth more than just an over-look.

Sure I did not taste them all, but it occurred to me you might like a little food sexiness around here.


La verrine exotique
Did I ever mentioned how addicted I am to food served in glasses? And when it’s pink, and has berries in it, and litchi. Verrine exotique, I’m all yours.


Les éclairs au chocolat
The éclairs – pâte à choux [choux pastry] filled with a bittersweet chocolate crème pâtissière [pastry cream] – clearly weren’t as lovely with their hazardous icing.


Le sablé breton aux framboises
This is something I quite liked. First, the square sablé got me. Then, the neatly arranged raspberries.


La mousse au chocolat
Rather straightforward. In every way.


Le macara
I’m not so addicted to the glaçage marbré. Or the chocolate and raspberry combination. Overdone.


Le millefeuilles
Another of my crushes. No old-fashionned icing. Sweet crème pâtissière that looks like a pearl necklace. Need I say more?


La verrine fleur de sel
A beautiful verrine in in my opinion. Layers of milk chocolate, caramel, and saltiness can do you no harm, trust me. Although, I must recognise I still do not get the chocolate tribal figurine. Any hints?


La tarte aux fruits rouges
Again. Berries. Square tart. A match made in heaven. This is definitely something I’ll think about for my own pâtisserie. My doodled-over Moleskine proves it.


La crème brûlée au chocolat
And something cute to end up with. A chocolate crème brûlée. And it’s over-the-top bitten miniature chocolate bar.

See you soon for the tasting! On the menu: verrine exotique, tarte aux fruits rouges and verrine fleur de sel.

Constructing your perfect cake

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You should know me by now. I can’t not bake. It gets me physically-and-emotionally-damaged. Yes, it’s that bad. I need to bake. Really, I need it.
However, I do understand that some people consider baking and pastry as difficult and time-consuming.

Here is the thing: I’m addicted to baking and you desperately need some help/step-by-step guidance.
Is there a cake/tart/entremet you’re too scared or lazy to make? Just tell me one word and I’ll make your dreams come true. May it be St Honoré, Tarte Tatin, macarons, éclairs au chocolat, doughnuts. I will make anything. Just for you.

Everyone* that bids on one of my prizes – or actually any prize from Europe – to raise money for Menu for Hope will get the chance to be one of the three lucky people that will receive a customised envelop, containing:
– the hand written recipe of their choice
– beautifully printed step-by-step pictures
– my phone number/aim so you can call me if having troubles with the recipe

I’ll be your own private pastry chef. So bid on my prizes before tonight and send me an email before the 31st of December. Three lucky winners will be randomly picked on the 1st of January.
So think about it. Whether you would like to name a sweet-looking baby goat (EU20), or win some delicious cookies that just tastes like Pierre Hermé’s (EU10), or even be lucky enough to spend a day or more with me (EU11).

Buy a raffle ticket now.

* Please pick either EU10, EU11 or EU20 by the end of the day and email me by the 31st of December. This offer applies to everyone who has already bid on one of my prizes too, just email me.

Fétichiste, moi? – Emotion infiniment vanille

[Fetishist, me? – Emotion infiniment vanille]

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Inspired by Pierre Hermé and adapted from:
Lisa Yockelson’s babas, Damien Pignolet’s chiboust and Bill Granger’s panacotta

Since I saw a television program about vanilla the other day, my dormant love for this delicate spice has been stimulated and definitely awaken.

There must be something unique about this plump, dark and oily pod; which makes it a fetish for every food lover.
Pierre Hermé says nothing less than ‘j’aime la vanille pour la pureté de son goût’ and it shows: November’s fetish collection was all about vanilla; from macarons to tartes, from éclairs to émotions.
Mais pourquoi faire simple quand on peut atteindre la perfection?
Because perfection there is: Pierre Hermé created a blend of three different vanilla types to achieve the perfect ‘goût vanille maison’.

Les vanilles

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beloved Bourbon vanilla beans

heart.pngLa vanille du Mexique – Vanilla planifolia
It seems logical to start with mexican vanilla as it’s considered to be the ‘mother of all vanillas’.
Indeed, the first vanilla crops were found in Mexico where the Aztec would call it tlixochtitl – black flower.
Back to the kitchen, Mexican vanilla is creamy and sweet with woody undertones and has lots of seeds; which makes it perfect for uncooked puddings: from blanc-manger to ice creams.

heart.pngLa vanille de Madagascar – Vanilla bourbon (though, scientifically Vanilla bourbon is the same specie as Vanilla planifolia)
This one is perhaps the most sold over the world.
I guess its strong and rich vanilla flavour and its fat pod are the reasons for this success.
I am myself a self-proclaimed addict of bourbon vanilla – I throw it in nearly everything and the results are always lovely. Especially with baked goods; while with other vanillas the flavours can be altered by high temperatures, the strength of bourbon beans makes for a beautifully perfumed cake/bread…

heart.pngLa vanille de Tahiti – Vanilla tahitensis
I have a strange relationship with Tahitian vanilla – although it’s very different from the two species mentioned above I really like it.
Do you think the fact that my mother was born in Papeete has got something to do with it?
The pods are short and very plump (due to high water content – almost 35%) and have a pleasing floral and fruity fragrance. In few words: perfect with fruits – as part of a glaze brushed over the juicy berries of a tart or in syrup poured over a freshly-baked baba to serve with a dollop of whipped cream and caramelised pineapple slices.

Emotion infiniment vanille
This recipe is inspired by Pierre Hermé’s Emotion created for the Fetish Infiniment Vanille collection (14-26 nov. 2006).
As I had no recipe for it, I went ‘par-ci et par-là’ and came up with somewhat a recipe.
Yes, I know the actual Emotion has mascarpone in it – but I ran out of mascarpone so I went for the chiboust option and I’m glad I did as it brings creaminess to the whole thing.

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It entremet is basically made of three layers (from top):
– Bourbon vanilla chiboust
– Bourbon vanilla baba infused with Tahitian vanilla syrup
– light Mexican vanilla ‘gelée’
It’s not as time-consuming as the lengthy recipe suggests. You just need to prep up the things:
1. make the babas
2. while the babas are baking, make the vanilla syrup
3. make the vanilla gelée
4. make the crème patissière
5. make the Italian meringue and fold into the crème pâtissière to get a light yet creamy chiboust
6. ‘montage de l’Emotion’ = place each baba over the light vanilla gelée and top witn pipped chiboust

Emotion infiniment vanille

serves 6 (makes 6 x 170ml glasses)

1. for the baba
5g dried yeast
30ml tepid water (35°C)
1/4 tsp + 40g sugar extra
40g butter, melted and cooled down a little
1 egg
25g sugar
seeds from half a Bourbon vanilla pod
250g flour

Mix the yeast, water and 1/4 tsp of sugar. Stir well and let stand until the yeast swells.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg with the remaining sugar and vanilla. Mix in the melted butter. Combine the flour, a little at a time (fanny: more flour can be added if necessary) until you get a soft dough (fanny: it shouldn’t be sticky though).
Knead for 5 minutes and transfer to a well buttered bowl; loosely cover with foil and let the dough to rise at room temperature for an hour.
When doubled in size, lightly press the dough with the palm of your hand.
Butter and flour the inside of six cooking rings (of the same diameter as the glasses in which you’re going to serve your Emotions) or line them with baking paper.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and form each piece into a ball. Place a ball of dough at the bottom of each cooking ring; repeat with the remaining balls.
Allow to rise for another hour and preheat the oven to 180°C.
Bake the babas into preheated oven for 20 minutes or until puffy and golden. Transfer to a wire rack, unmould and place them in a deep baking dish and drench with vanilla syrup (fanny: try to coat them evenly).

2. for the vanilla syrup
240ml water
200g sugar
half a Tahitian vanilla pod

Place the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Slice the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds. Mix both the sliced pod and the seed to the syrup and simmer for 3 minutes until thickened but not coloured.

3. for the vanilla gelée
250ml semi-skimmed milk
40g sugar
2 leaves gelatine
seeds from half a Mexican vanilla pod
180ml single cream

Place the milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat, then bring to the boil before removing from the heat.
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft. Squeeze out the excess water and drop the gelatine into the hot milk mixture and whisk until dissolved.
Add the cream and whisk until smooth.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and divide between six glasses (capacity of 170ml) and chill for at least three hours.

4. for the crème pâtissière
250ml milk
half a Bourbon vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
40g sugar
20g cornflour

Put the milk into a saucepan, scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean and ass to the pan along with the pod. Bring to the boil and set aside.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until white and fluffy; mix in the corn flour.
Return the milk to the boil and beat into the egg mixture. Put this back into the pan and place over moderate heat.
Bring it to the boil, stirring constantly – until thick.
Place the crème into a bowl and mixing from time to time, bring it to room temperature.

5. for the vanilla chiboust
100g + 20g white sugar
50ml water
120ml egg whites (fanny: I used the three whites left after having made the crème pâtissière)
pinch of salt
1 quantity of crème pâtissière (see above)

In a sauce pan, place 100g of the sugar and water and bring to the boil.
When the temperature of the sugar syrup reached 110°C begin to beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff then add the remaining sugar.
As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 120°C (fanny: I usually spot this stage without a thermometer – the bubbles are smaller and the steam has disappeared), immediately add it to the meringue while beating continuously until the mixture cools down to room temperature.
Fold into the crème pâtissière and refrigerate for half an hour.

6. Montage des Emotions
For each glass, place a disk of soaked baba over the vanilla gelée, pressing down slightly in order to make it fit.
Place the chiboust in a piping bag (with a 1cm nozzle) and pipe it to cover the baba.
Chill for at least an hour.

Il y a un an..

[One year ago…]

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…just back from Paris where I had exams, I decided to start a foodblog. After 48h spent on both nordljus and the traveler’s lunchbox, I was ready (I’d really like to thank Keiko and Melissa for being such an inspiration).
I wasn’t very confident with blogs nor I was with photography, but I though ‘never mind, you love food, that should make it!’.One year later, I realize how many things I’ve learnt: from making wine to macaroner; from whipping up the best chocolate chip cookie ever to taking care of goats… It’s been a year full of experiences and I think I won’t be wrong by saying that lots of these experiences have been motivated by foodbeam.

Foodbeam’s been acting like someone who pushes you to make things. Everyday I would think of subjects on which I could write.
Before creating foodbeam, I would have never enjoyed visiting an ice-cream factory as much I did; because this year, I knew I’d be able to share my experience with you.
I do think sharing is the key-word of foodblogging.
So I’d like to thank all of you who stopped by to share their own experience, making my food life a little more interesting everyday. I’d also like to thank all the great foodbloggers who have been and remain a daily inspiration, turning life into something yummy and blog-y-licious.

Here are some of my favourite articles among the tons of well-written blogs:
Melissa’s sweet story. Jocelyn’s brilliant write-up on macarons. Nicky and Oliver’s pink pasta – creative, beautiful and tasty. Matt’s funny articles. All of Keiko‘s pictures – she’s so talented.

I’ve literally been overwhelmed by this food world and I’m not trying to escape yet. My love for food has been growing constantly from my childhood and even faster from last July.
I do love food in every single way. I love to shop for it, to prepare it, to grow/breed it…

To round up this 90th post, below is my top-ten:

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Chocolate espresso cake with caffe-latte cream
August 12
This cake is one of the best chocolate-coffee cake I’ve ever had. As I admitted on the article, I’m not so much into coffee (drink), but I love it in sweets.
The cake itself is light. So the combo with the caffe-latte cream is a real winner: you end up with a fluffy as heaven cake.

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Aubergine, yogurt and mint dip
October 15
I am fond of dips, salsas… And especially of a caviar d’aubergine my mother is used to make.
But this dip is quite special: creamy yet very fresh. I love the combinaison of aubergines and mint.
And the pinenuts really set the final touch, adding a nutty taste to make a perfectly balanced dip.

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La pissaladiera
October 19
I was born in the Mediterranean and Mediterranean dishes hold a special place in my heart. I don’t know about you, but when eating un pan bagna, une salade niçoise or du poisson délicieux péché en Méditerranée, I can feel the sun in my mouth. That may sound a bit odd, but that’s the way it is.
This pissaladiera is a onion confit tart and is so full of sun.

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Chocolate puff pastry
December 29
This is definitely one of my greatest discoveries of the year. Mostly because it was the first time I made puff pastry but also because of the chocolate-twist that really magnifies the feathery nature of puff-pastry.

honey-semifreddo.jpg

Honey semifreddo
January 22
I love semifreddos because of their texture: between an ice-cream and a soufflé, in one word, dreamy!
This honey semifreddo is luscious and has a real melt-in-your-mouth consistency, which makes it the perfect treat to end a light summer lunch.

macarons-plenitudes.jpg

Macarons Plénitude
March 7
These are so special to me because this is the first recipe I made from one of my favourite cookbooks: PH10.
In this book, Pierre Hermé reveals the recipes for all his dazling creations.
The macaron plenitude is a caramel/chocolate macaron with a chocolate-caramel à la fleur de sel ganache. Really, what’s not to love?

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Choux et éclairs à la vanille
March 28
In France, you find vanilla éclairs in every single bakery. They’re just part of French cuisine. When I was a child, I used to love them and I still do.
So making them at home is a good way to feed your cravings.
The choux pastry is from Pierre Hermé and the crème pâtissière is from Christophe Felder, a favourite pastry chef of mine.

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Fanny and the Ice Cream Factory
April 7
Are you an ice-cream lover? Then you should read this post.
I’m lucky enough to be an engineering student and hence I can visit food factories.
This article sums up my visit of one of the leading ice-cream factories in France. Lots of behind-the-scene pictures!

charlotte.jpg

Charlotte aux framboises et au fromage blanc
April 25
A charlotte is a pudding made of a savoiardi crust filled with a fruit mousse. It’s fresh and frutty: the ultimate spring treat.
Everyone loves it, from 1-year-old to grow-ups.
PS. The picture was voted ‘grand winner’ for May DMBLGIT.

And because i can’t resolve myself to choose only ten things, the last one:

pistachio-cake.jpg

Pistachio cake with orange blossom syrup
April 13
Using pistachios results in a highly fragrant and moist cake that will send you straight on the Moroccan coast. So delicious!

La vie en rose – Macarons à la rose de Pierre Hermé

[Life in pink – Pierre Hermé’s Rose macarons]

macaron-a-la-rose.jpg
Adapted from Pierre Hermé’s PH10

I think one of the best secrets for incredible food is bright and eye-catching colours; at least in the patisserie realm.
You’re not so sure?
Check Ladurée‘s religieuse, Fauchon‘s éclairs or Hermé‘s truffles. Don’t they look yummy?

couleur.png

I do love black and white photos but I believe that colour photography enhances the deliciousness of food.
However some people can even make food look scrumptious in b&w.
But to tell the truth, when I look at black and white food pictures, my eyes do their best to retrieve the colours.
Though, it seems that simple objects (like vegetables or fruits) benefits from black and white; in contrast elaborated dishes can’t go without colour (at least in my mind). I’m afraid to say that even if this quiche looks mouth-watering, a colour picture would have made it twice as good.There is something I particularly fancy about colour in food: when the colour leads your senses somewhere the taste definitely isn’t. Imagine a red religieuse. You think strawberry. I say tomato. Another good example is the crème brûlée I recently made. Green! You think Matcha. I say Guimauve.
Here are the consequences of the trendy cuisine.
But sometimes it can be a disappointment; the reality being far from what you expected.
That’s why I have to admit I also like colours to be more classic: chocolate brown for chocolat or purple for violette.

I love to describe a colour tone by adding a food adjective (like pistache for pistachio green) because it shows how much food and colour are related.
One of the best example remains rose.
Rose is both a colour [pink] and a flower [rose].

You might have noticed I am a big pink lover: from life in general to food (one of my pictures was even said to have an Alice in Wonderland look).
So when I saw this recipe for Rose Macarons in my favourite Pâtisserie cookbook, I had to make it.

Macarons à la rose
Macarons are quite tricky. When making them you should really take care to the following few points:
1. Blitz in a food processor the almonds and icing sugar for a good minute.
2. Sieve the almond/icing sugar powder twice.
3. Bring the syrup (used for the Italian meringue) to at least 120°C.
4. Continue whisking the meringue until it’s almost cold.
5. Watch the oven temperature – too hot and the macarons will crack (I recommend 160°C).
I followed all these steps and after a almost disaster, I finally came up with my almost perfect macarons.
You should have seen me, jumping, shouting and singing in the kitchen. Anyway it’s been one of the best food moments of my life.

These macarons are luscious. I love the combination of almond and rose, filling the house and hearts with a delicious Mediterranean scent.

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I didn’t have any rose syrup and essence on hand so I used a 50g of
Confit de Rose instead.
A great add-on would be to sprinkle the ganache with bits of Rose Nougat.

Macarons à la rose

makes 500g

for la crème à la rose
100g couverture white chocolate, melted
100g double cream
10g rose syrup
1g rose essence

Bring the cream to the boil and mix in the melted white chocolate, rose syrup and essence.
Pour the mixture into an airtight tin and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

for le tant-pour-tant
125g almond powder
125g icing sugar

Blitz in a food processor and sieve.

for le macaron à la rose
125g caster sugar
31g water
47g “aged” egg whites
pink food colouring (fanny: I felt I was cheating here but I do so wanted to get the Alice in Wonderland look)
250g tant-pour-tant
43g fresh egg whites

Preheat the oven to 160°C.
In a sauce pan, put the sugar and water and bring to 120°C.
When the syrup reaches 114°C, start whisking the aged egg whites and when the syrup is ready (=120°C), pour it over the egg whites and continu whisking until cold.
The meringue should be thick and glossy.
Add the food colouring until it reaches the colour you want (fanny: I find that once baked, the macarons were paler, so if you want a brighter colour you should add a little extra food colouring).
Mix in the tant-pour-tant and the fresh egg whites.
The mixture should be still firm, but softer and very glossy.
Pipe the batter small rounds (2cm) onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 9 minutes (oven door maintained open with a wooden spoon).
Let cool for 2 minutes then carefully detach the macarons from the baking mat and set aside.
Continue until there is no mixture left.

for le montage des macarons
Pair the macarons of the same size and pipe the ganache onto one the macarons.
Sandwich and refrigerate for at least 24h before eating.