Here’s the first class from my four-session Pâtisserie Techniques course. It was so much fun, you get to see what a commercial kitchen is like, they provide you with the best quality ingredients, a variety of utensils, and (the highlight for me) you get to use a KitchenAid mixer!
The class is run by the instructor chef, and two assistant chefs. There were about 15 students in the class so it didn’t feel too crowded.
First, we were walked through the amazing kitchen. Massive ovens, blast freezers, super powerful induction hobs, marble top workspace, and did I mention KitchenAid?
Oh and they don’t call you by your names here (despite the name tag) – they call you “chef”. Everyone is called “chef”, and I mean everyone. How cool is that. Slightly confusing, yes, but extremely cool.
Anyhoo, us chefs made amazing looking & tasting Chocolate Raspberry Tart
I’ve made tarts before, but nothing this exquisite. Below is the recipe and the techniques I noted down.
Makes: 1 x 8″ tart
Pâte brisée (shortcrust pastry)
- 200 g soft flour (T55)
- 100 g butter, at room temp
- 50 g egg
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 5 g salt
- 5 g sugar
- 10 ml water
- 250 dark chocolate couverture
- 100 g egg
- 80 g egg yolk
- 60 g sugar
- 200 g butter
- 250 g fresh raspberries
- 100 g cocoa powder for dusting
- 200 g sugar + 20 g water for sugar art
Pâte brisée (shortcrust pastry)
1) Sieve together flour + salt + sugar
2) Lightly mix together egg + water + vanilla extract
3) Gently & lightly rub butter into flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs or sand.
– The softer the butter, the easier it is
– You can scoop up lumpy bits and GENTLY rub them between your hands
– Colour should still be light yellow
– This should take about 30 secs. Don’t over-do it. Few lumps are fine
4) Make a well in flour mixture, add liquid mixture. Use D scraper to GENTLY mix until it forms a paste
5) Gather the mixture into a ball, turn out onto the work surface. Position the palm of your hand above the 1/5th portion of dough furtherest away from you, push out the dough against work surface into a trail outwards. Repeat with the remaining dough, 1/5th portion at a time.
– This is to stretch the dough and smooth out any big lumps.
– Do not do any more than 5 as you’ll overwork the dough
– Mixture should be very soft at this point
6) Gather up the dough into a ball. Spread out cling film on surface, then from a height throw the dough onto the cling film. Flatten it into a disk. Wrap it up, and chill in refrigerator for 30 mins.
– Flattening the dough helps with even cooling. A ball-shape dough means the centre would remain much warmer than the outside.
7) Preheat oven to 175 C
8) Take out the chilled dough, using your thumbs, push the edge of the dough into the middle part. Repeat until the dough is softer and can be rolled. Do not overwork the dough.
9) Gently roll the dough against the surface, using your hands, to form a log.
10) Sit the log up like a glass, then push it down with your hand. This gives a good circle-shape to start rolling
11) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until 3mm thick.
– Roll the dough from the middle outwards, then repeat from the middle inwards. This gives better-distributed weight/pressure than one rolling motion across the whole dough
– After each roll, turn the dough slightly (1/12th) before next roll. This helps so the dough does not stick to the surface, and makes it easier to make it round.
– If required, add more flour (top & bottom) to prevent sticking.
– Do NOT overwork/over-roll the dough. If you need to go back to make a dough ball and re-rolling, you would be incorporating more flour, and thus changing the recipe. Go SLOWLY.
12) Dust off excess flour (top & bottom) gently with pastry brush
13) Carefully drop the pastry into tart case. Lift one edge of the pastry and drop it into the corner. Repeat until all the corners are done.
14) Take a bit of excess pastry out from the overhang bit, dip it in flour, and gently press into corners and edges. Rest for 10 mins.
15) Trim off the excess, by rolling the pin over the rim. Roll from middle outwards, then again from middle inwards.
16) Gently, with your thumb, push the pastry slightly into the side of the tin. The pastry should come up slightly higher than the case rim
17) Dock the base by lightly pricking with a fork. Chill for 15 mins.
18) Place two layers of heat proof cling film (2 layers for commercial grade, other wise 6 layers). Fill with baking beans until the top level. Wrap up the cling film so the pastry edges are exposed.
19) Bake for 15-20 mins, until the pastry looks dull and is starting to colour.
20) Lift out cling film & beans carefully. There’ll be some moist patches at the base.
21) Return the empty case to the oven for another 10-12 minutes, or until it is pale golden and completely dry. Set aside to cool.
22) Reduce oven temp to 150 C
23) Melt chocolate in a bain marie (container over a pan of hot water)
24) Add butter to melted chocolate. Mix well with spatula.
25) Mix together egg + egg yolk. Add sugar, then immediately whisk it briefly by hand
– Sugar likes moisture, so if you add sugar to egg mixture (moisture) it’ll absorb the moisture. If you don’t mix it immediately you’ll get yellow dots in the mixture.
26) Beat the mixture on high until pale & volumised (2-3 mins on KitchenAid on high speed).
– This is called blanching the eggs
– The colour should become lighter
27) Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture. Gently mix them.
27) Optional: rip 5 raspberries in halves, and randomly scatter them in baked tart shell
28) Pour chocolate mixture in baked tart shell. Don’t overfill it (for presentation)
30) Bake in 150 C oven for approx 15 mins (or until filling is set to the touch)
31) Leave to cool before removing from the tin
32) Once old, dust the top with sieved cocoa powder
33) Decorate with raspberries. Serve
34) Heat together sugar + water to 165 C
35) Then it’s at the right consistency, draw shapes on non-stick mat
36) Wait until it cools completely before removing from mat