I have often daydreamed about being a pâtissière, specifically one with a cute, boutique little shop somewhere in the prettier streets of New York (i.e. Soho), littered with white reclaimed wood furniture; bushels of blooming, soft pastel flowers; and piles of different antique dishes, cake stands, pottery and frames. In these daydreams, I have a shimmery bob cut and a rustic white and blue apron, and I am consistently happy, giggly and not numbed and dead inside by an overflow of anti-depressents and mood stabilizers. I often too snap out of these short daydreams really quickly when someone is suddenly standing beside me ready to talk about something serious; or JH is staring at me because I zoned out to him droning on about mortgages or something equally not pastry-related. Oops.
I will not really go into why I have left this thought as a recurring daydream because everything will sound like a cop-out, BUT when you cannot simply take a year off in Paris to pursue sugary daydreams (or take your around-the-world-trip-in-100 200 365-days because your husband is, well, quite frankly a stupid-face), the next best thing to live out some daydreams is through the internet. Thank goodness I grew up in the social media world. I mean, what WAS the world / life like before Google searches, recipe communities, travel blogs, and picture sharing? It’s just so hard to imagine (#firstworldproblems); it was probably way more consistently productive.
Anyways, sometime ago, I saw a picture of some glossy mirror-glazed red spherical multi-layered mousses on pastry on Instagram, and I wanted to replicate it for the life of me. The picture was of a dessert from some pastry shop 5 billion miles away, and naturally, pastry shops do not share their recipes. That being said, the picture gave me inspiration to conjure up something similar, but in the end, my own. Well, almost my own, since some of the components are adapted from my favourite pâtissières’ recipes (bless their hearts). My end result looked a lot uglier than a professional pâtissière’s would, but happily for me (and, for all the time it took to make all the different components), it tasted pretty good, and photographed kind of well. Thank you internet, and thank you graciously creative brain. All I need now is some futuristic ability to teleport into a pâtissière’s kitchen whenever I need to pick up a new skill quickly, then I am set. Come on Jetson future – come faster!
- Mood – Sunday was probably the worst day I have had in ages, at least the worst cry I have since Christmas; but I have since ‘calmed down’.
- Focus – Sugar.
- Craving – Multi-layered mousse thing. It will sound all more appealing below.
- Feedback from the husband – He really liked it. He poked around all the components with lots of curiosity and itchy fingers, and stared a bit at the end product asking what it was before actually eating it. But, when he finally ate it, he said he really liked it. Happily so, this actually meant he really liked it, because his feedback often comes in the form of “it is fine”.
The Not-So-Secret Secrets:
WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE TARTS WITH SALTED CARAMEL GLAZE (vanilla pastry cream, chocolate & toasted coconut)
Pâte Sucrée – Adapted from Bouchon Bakery
|375 grams all-purpose flour||Place flour in a medium bowl. Sift in 45 grams of confectioners’ sugar and almond flour. Whisk to combine.|
45 grams /
95 grams confectioners’ sugar
|Place butter in stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream on medium-low speed until the butter holds a peak when the paddle is lifted. Sift in 95 grams of confectioners’ sugar; mix at medium speed for 1 minute.|
|50 grams almond flour||Scape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla bean seeds, and mix for 30 seconds.|
225 grams unsalted butter,
|Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing for 30 seconds each until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients. Add the eggs on low speed until just combined.|
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise,
seeds scraped out
|Step to fraisage the dough – Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Use the heel of your hand to smear the dough (very therapeutic) and work it together. Gather the dough and divide in half, forming a flattened circle for each piece. Wrap each piece in a double layer of plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.|
|55 grams eggs||Note: The dough may need to be left at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes the next day so it is easier to roll.|
Note: I made about 10 entremets with a little bit of each of the components left over.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
|150 grams egg yolks||Set up an ice bath in a medium-large sized bowl.|
|1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out||Put yolks in stand mixer with whisk attachment. Add vanilla bean seeds. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Add sugar and whisk on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes until pale yellow.|
|135 grams granulated sugar||Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl; then whisk on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until the mixture is very pale yellow and thick.
Reduce speed to low; add the custard flour and slowly add in the cream. Mix for a minute.
|100 grams custard powder||Pour the mixture into a saucepan and set on medium heat. Gently stir until the mixture thickens. Once you see the mixture starting to thicken slightly, and there are bubbles on the surface, immediately lift off the heat, whisking constantly until the pastry cream is really thick.|
|675 grams cream (I just used whipping)||Pour the pastry cream through a sieve into a bowl set over the ice bath. Whisk for about 1 minute letting steam out; gradually add the butter while continuing to whisk.|
|35 grams, unsalted butter, room temperature cut into mini-cubes||Pour into covered container; press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let sit overnight in the fridge. When ready to use, whisk slightly.|
White Chocolate Mousse – Adapted from here
|180 grams whipping cream||Over a double boiler, whisk the smaller amount, egg yolks and vanilla bean seeds until there are slight bubbles on the surface, and the mixture is warm to touch.|
|2 egg yolks||Remove from heat, and add the white chocolate and bloomed gelatin.|
|1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out||Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool.|
|400 g chopped white chocolate||Once the mixture has cooled, fold in the whipped cream.|
|600 grams whipping cream, whipped to soft consistency||Divide the mixtures in silicone molds and freeze overnight.|
|1 gelatin sheet, bloomed in cold water|
Salted Caramel Mirror Glaze – Adapted from here
|200 grams granulated sugar||Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. The sugar will begin to melt, caramelize and develop an amber colour. Stir every so often.|
|100 grams water||Give the sugar a quick stir and deglaze by quickly stirring in the water. The mixture will bubble violently, so be careful with your hands and eyes. Stir in the salt.|
|200 grams whipping cream||Note: The sugar also might crystallize and harden very quickly with the addition of the water, but as you continue to add in liquids over heat, it will melt again. Just keep stirring.|
|20 grams corn starch, mixed together with an equivalent ratio of water||Quickly stir the corn starch mixture into the caramel-water and bring to a boil. Then add the heavy cream.|
|1 gelatin sheet, bloomed in cold water||Bloom the gelatin by quickly stirring it into ice cold water. Add this into the saucepan.|
|1 tsp fleur de sel (or regular salt)||Cool to about 29 degrees for pouring. Add the salt.|
- Roll and shape the pâte sucrée into tartlet ring molds. Prick the dough all over lightly with a fork.
- Allow the tarts to rest in the fridge / freezer for approximately 30 minutes to an hour so they do not shrink.
- Line the tarts with parchment paper, and fill with rice or other pie weights. Bake the tarts for approximately 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. Take out the pie weights and bake for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
- Allow the tart shells to cool and remove from molds. Subsequently add vanilla pastry cream to the tart shells. Smooth the pastry cream with an angled icing spatula. At this point, to add to the overthinking, I actually added a small layer of chocolate mirror glaze leftover from my brioche donuts (it keeps for awhile).
- Release the white chocolate mousse entremets from the old carefully onto a cooling rack positioned over a cookie tray. Pour the caramel over each mousse, covering each one completely. Note: If the caramel hardened, you can loosen it a bit by putting it in the microwave on 5-second increments.
- Using a clean angled icing spatula, slowly transfer each mousse over a filled tart shell.
- Garnish the sides with toasted coconut or other fancy things like edible gold.