Summer Eclairs

Strawberries & Mascarpone Cream Éclair

Eclairs_10While testing the Saint Honoré recipe from one of our favorite pastry books, my wife and I came up with the idea for a Strawberries & Cream Éclair. Saint Honoré is a famous pastry named for the patron saint of bakers & pastry chefs. It goes without saying that such a thing could only exist in a place like France. This elegant cream puff like pastry lives up to the name never ceasing to amaze with its beautiful flavor & contrasting textures.

The book is La Pâtisserie des Rêves: The Pâtisserie of Dreams, written by Philippe Conticini; one of the most talented Pastry Chefs in France. Making these pastries and flipping through this book instantly flooded my mind with vivid memories of being in Conticini’s (Pastry Shop) Patisserie.

Eclairs_11In 2009, while visiting the “City of Lights”, we stumbled into this amazingly modern Parisian Patisserie. The facade is like that of a small boutique with floor to ceiling glass doors and windows, yet still giving off wisps of a traditional French Patisserie. Its interior is reminiscent of an exclusive clothing boutique and jewelry shop mixed into one.

Eclairs_12As you enter, there is a massive 2 tiered round table in the center of the room. The table is like a huge cake stand with a smaller one sitting on top. Spread out evenly over the two levels of the table are 15 craters. On the ceiling above is a silver medallion the same diameter as the table. Hanging from the medallion on grey chords are 15 lamps with large bell shaped glass lamp shades and their cylindrical counter-weights. Each lamp sits over a recessed hole that cradles a refrigerated piece of slate with some of the most beautiful pastries you have ever seen gracefully resting on each them. La Pâtisserie des Rêves’ uniqueness resembles no other Patisserie I have ever seen, the place is like an art gallery to display the work of a true master pastry chef.

Eclairs_1Two of the pastries that really grabbed my attention that day were the Saint Honoré and this intensely red strawberry dessert. Every time I remember that patisserie and my mind is flooded with memories, those two pastries are just hanging out in the background. The bright red of the strawberry and the creaminess of the Saint Honoré just follow the path of least resistance and become strawberries & cream.

For the Éclair part, Lya had made more Pate a Choux than she needed to make the Saint Honoré from the book. Out of necessity we had to use the dough on something and Éclairs use up more dough than cream puffs.

After some tweaking, we had a full flavored crispy Éclair shell made even more shattery when dipped in a light amber hued caramel. Nestling inside the shell is an ivory cloud of rich Mascarpone flavored Cream Legere which conceals a thin line of squashed ruby colored macerated strawberries. The pastry is finally overlaid with fresh slivers of strawberry that resemble tiny crimson swan wings.

Eclairs_7

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7 HOURS TO GO !!!!

Kouign Amann: Croissant's infamous cousin so seductive with contrast of crispy salty caramel outside and mouthwateringly gooey interior

Kouign Amann: Croissant’s infamous cousin so seductive with contrast of crispy salty caramel outside and mouthwateringly gooey interior

Thank you to all of our fans for making our Kickstarter the most popular Food Project today! There is still time if you would like join us on this amazing journey. Buy some divine pastries and get a little sneak peak of what we have in store for New Orleans in the near future. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1900262614/pastry-of-the-year-food-and-wine-magazine-2012
IT IS ALMOST TIME FOR US TO START BAKING……………
The Dough And Butter Ready to Be Laminated.

The Dough And Butter Ready to Be Laminated.

3 Days of Folding and Resting

3 Days of Folding and Resting

Can't You Just Smell, Fresh Heavenly Baked Pastries and the Salty Crispy Caramel

Can’t You Just Smell, Fresh Heavenly Baked Pastries and the Salty Crispy Caramel

 

Chocolate Silk Cake

 

I am sure that everyone has noticed that our Kickstarter project has pretty much hijacked our two blog pages for 45 days. In 8 days we will go back to having normal stories and having a normal pastry blog (La Petite Sophie Patisserie) and normal food  blog (Le Nomade Food).

But before we get back to the Kickstarter, I wanted to share with you guys a recipe that we have been working on and the story behind it.

We have been producing a Chocolate Blackout Cake ever since we were making our pastries in Salt Lake City for a European Specialty Food Market & Deli. They carry the largest selection of gourmet chocolates in that part of the country and chocolate is one of their things. Because of that the Blackout Cake had to have an intensely strong flavor of the specific chocolate that we were using. The only possible way to have the cake taste like the uniquely fruity Dos Rios from Amano, is to use a insane amount of chocolate. Of course when you use a large amount of a pretty expensive chocolate, you end up with a pretty expensive cake.

At the end of the day, the only people that truly enjoy the cake, could identify the type of chocolate we were using, and appreciated the cake for it, was is a true Gourmet Chocolate Connoisseur. Don’t get me wrong the cake was a really, really good cake! But a true Chocolate Connoisseurs is only a very small percentage of our clientele. If someone wants that type of cake we will gladly make the Blackout Cake for them as a special order.

Our uniquely deep, rich, & dark blackout chocolate cake made with Dos Rios from Amano. Giving it dark berry notes that cut through the luscious layers of chocolate pudding, moist chocolate cake, & velvety smooth icing. And don't forget the crunchy chocolate pearls!!!!!

Our uniquely deep, rich, & dark blackout chocolate cake made with Dos Rios from Amano. Giving it dark berry notes that cut through the luscious layers of chocolate pudding, moist chocolate cake, & velvety smooth icing. And don’t forget the crunchy chocolate pearls!!!!!

Just last week we had a customer request a Chocolate Cake for a special occasion. Instead of doing the Chocolate Blackout Cake, we decided that something else would be more fitting for this occasion.  So Lya decided to create a whole new chocolate cake recipe that was a little different than the cakes that we have done before. After one bite she just blew me away with what she created! (For any of you that know me you know that doing so is not a very easy feat and that I am notoriously very tough on myself with my cooking) Immediately I knew what the name had to be, Valrhona Chocolate Silk Cake!

The cake is a super moist dark rich chocolate sponge cake, filled with a delicately light yet insanely creamy chocolate pastry cream, and draped with an icing of chocolate buttercream that just melts in your mouth.

The cake is a super moist dark rich chocolate sponge cake, filled with a delicately light yet insanely creamy chocolate pastry cream, and draped with an icing of chocolate buttercream that just melts in your mouth.

 

Thank all of you friends, family, followers, & fans for your support and interest in what we do. Don’t forget we have less than 8 days left on our Kickstarter project, there is still time if you want to buy some of our pastries and become a crucial part of our patisserie. We cannot bring something truly special and unique to New Orleans without your help.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1900262614/pastry-of-the-year-food-and-wine-magazine-2012

  • Everyone please check out the local New Orleans TV show Steppin Out on WYES this Friday night 8/23/2013 . Our friend and fan, New Orleans Food Personality, Poppy Tooker will be talking about us and what we do. (at the very beginning of the show).                                                  http://www.wyes.org/local/steppin-out/
  • Also, please keep your eyes peeled for an article that I wrote appearing in the online food magazine, Zester Daily (In the Soapbox section).          http://zesterdaily.com/category/opinion/soapbox/