Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Pâtisserie Know How, Carrot & Chocolate Chip Cakes and Giveaway #50

Last year, I won a copy of William Curley's book Couture Chocolate. It's an excellent tome giving insights and detailed instructions on making chocolates and chocolate pâtisserie. Every aspiring chocolatier should have one. William Curley was the youngest ever Chef Pâtissier at The Savoy and has won numerous awards in the world of chocolate and pastry. This year I was sent a copy of his newest book Pâtisserie. This one is written jointly with his wife Suzue Curley, a pâtissiere whose work is influenced by her Japanese background. Endorsed by renowned pâtissier, Pierre Hermé who writes the Foreword, we get the idea that William is a very talented man indeed.

Twice the size of his last book, but in a similar vain, this is a detailed manual on the art of modern pâtisserie. The history of pastry making is not forgotten and makes a fine start to the proceeding chapters. Perusing the mini biographies of various influential pâtissiers, I have to admit I was only familiar with the names of Marie-Antoine Carême and August Escoffier. A detailed twenty page guide covering ingredients, equipment and basic techniques prepares us for the two main parts of the book: The Foundation and The Pâtisserie.

The Foundation covers all of the basic recipes that are needed in order to create pâtisserie. Comprising nearly half of the 344 pages, it covers all sorts of recipes and techniques for making pastries, doughs, sponges, meringues, creams, custards, mousses, syrups, glazes, compotes and caramels. Each recipe tells you what patisserie it is linked to in the second part of the book and the accompanying page numbers make it very handy to have a quick look. Precision is a key factor and even the eggs and baking powder are measured in grams rather than being left to the vagaries of teaspoons and differently sized eggs.

The Pâtisserie part of the book is where the creativity comes in and succulent tarts, pretty little gâteaux, dainty macarons and various magnificent structures can be seen in all their glory. Each entry refers you back to the basic recipes but includes any additional requirements. Step by step instructions are given throughout, with accompanying informative photographs for all but the simplest creations. The recipes are detailed, often going into four pages. With my love of matcha for baking purposes, I was pleased to see a number of recipes where it featured, including some vibrant green matcha eclairs and Les Misérables - a stacked affair of matcha and almond sponges layered with a Japanese muscovado caramel buttercream. My mouth is watering just at the thought of it and I'm feeling just a little bit miserable that I can't eat one right now. The photographs of the finished articles, by Spanish photographer and artist Jose Lasheras are works of art in themselves. For the visually orientated and those that like to see what they might make before they attempt it, you will not be disappointed - photographs abound.

As someone who is always in a hurry, elegant pâtisserie is something I very much appreciate but I'm doubtful that I'd have the patience to make myself. So I was glad to see that not everything in the book is complicated. The Baked Cakes section is more in line with what I'm used to and I'm looking forward to trying out some of these slightly more prosaic recipes. The bakes are a mix of traditional with a Curley twist and new creations. The cannelés de Bordeaux au rhum, a recipe I've long wanted to make, looked fairly traditional, but I suspect the pâtissiers of old would have been perplexed by the houji cha & hazelnut financiers. It was in this section that I found out that madeleines were much older than I expected and dated back to 1661. Amongst the French fancies, I was surprised to see a Dundee cake. I'm not sure what the good folks of Dundee would think of this version, containing rum-marinated sultanas and decorated with crystallised pistachios, but it sounds very tasty to me.  The carrot and chocolate chip cakes, one of Suzue's recipes, soon caught my eye and I decided those would be my introduction. As usual, I didn't quite follow the recipe; I suspect my reluctance to embark on some of the more complicated recipes is the need I feel to go my own way and keep things as simple as possible.

This is how I made:

Carrot and Chocolate Chip Cakes

  • Melted 150g unsalted butter and left to cool slightly.
  • Grated 150g carrots and mixed in a bowl with two medium eggs.
  • Stirred in 150g golden caster sugar.
  • Sifted in 150g flour (half wholemeal, half white), 25g ground almonds, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.
  • Stirred gently until just incorporated, then stirred in the butter and 75g chopped 70% dark chocolate.
  • Spooned the mixture into 24 mini cupcake moulds, filling them to about ¾ full.
  • Left to rest for 30 minutes, then baked at 180℃ for about 12 minutes.
I do not have the originals to compare these to, but I absolutely adored these cakes and they didn't last nearly as long as they should have done. But hey, I was only following the Curley advice to eat them within one or two days.

This book would make a fantastic reference work for anyone interested in learning the techniques and recipes involved in pâtisserie or just wanting to improve their presentation skills. Many of  the creations in this book are so magnificent, they are beyond what I even aspire too, but there are so many useful tips and techniques given here I know I shall be referring to it and using it as inspiration for many years to come. If nothing else, it's a fabulous book to browse through, dream over and treasure. Published by Jacqui Small, it has an RRP of £40.

To give a flavour of what you will find inside, here is a video of William and Suzue demonstrating one of the recipes: Strawberry and Pistachio Breton Tart.

Thanks to Jacqui Small for the copy of Pâtisserie. There was no requirement to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.

Giveaway
Jacqui Small has kindly agreed to give one of my readers a copy of Pâtisserie. To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Gleam widget below. You will need to leave a comment on this post, answering the question, which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Gleam will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted. Failure to do this may result in another winner being picked.


Prizes are offered and provided by Jacqui Small and Chocolate Log Blog accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party.

Closing date is Tuesday 29 July 2014

Do take a look at the Chocolate Log Blog giveaway page to see if there is anything else you would like to enter.

Patisserie

70 comments:

  1. I love the look of this book.... patisserie and baking is so satisfying and,I think, the most artistic of the culinary arts. The little carrot friands look lovely, I think they will do nicely thank you for today's bake for my mum in her care home :)

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    1. Thanks Lynne - the cakes are a deceptively delicious sweet and very moreish treat. I'm sure your mother would appreciate them. Oh! The book is quite good too ;-)

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  2. Your review sounds lovely and I would like to develop my cake and dessert making skills and become more adventurous too!

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    1. Thank you Tracy, always good to hear :)

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  3. I love baking & always on the look out for more recipes to bake myself

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    1. You will certainly find plenty of inspiration here Tracey.

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  4. I would love to try my hand at pretty dainty cakes and drool over the photos, I swear I put on pounds just reading my cook books, but its a passion.

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    1. Just reading the books is the real key to staying slim Jo, sadly I can't seem to stop it there ;-)

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  5. I'd love to win a copy of this book because one day I might find the patience to make fine patisserie.

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    1. That's what I keep hoping too Suelle :)

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  6. My goodness! That book is certainly eye candy! Your carrot cakes look tempting too! Did you consider putting a thin layer of ganache atop? With a pretty little marzipan carrot ? That book is already getting my imagination going! Enjoy it, dearie!

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    1. Thank you Susan. They were quite sweet cakes and really didn't need anything else, but I like your idea of a marzipan carrot :)

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  7. I would love to win a copy of this book because my mum would love it.

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  8. My goodness...I've been longing for this book as Couture Chocolate is one of my Special Things. I'd love to win it though as it IS pricey and right now I'm saving as much as possible to do a patisserie diploma. This book would be such a help and inspiration in practising along the way.

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    1. Good luck with your patisserie diploma Claire - what a wonderful thing to do.

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  9. I'd like to win this book because it sounds really interesting and there is always the need to add a new inserting book to my collection!

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  10. This book looks beautiful and although I would love to keep it for myself,I would give it to my mum who would really appreciate it.

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  11. To be able to create beautiful confections for my bed and breakfast guests and friends would give me great pleasure. Also like many, I love beautiful recipe books.

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  12. I am really impressed by those green cakes, wouldn't it be great to be able to make cakes that look so stylish. Looks like a great book as well

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  13. I bake a lot but tend to stick to old favourites and tea cakes. I like the idea of making something more delicate, detailed and artistic but wouldn't know where to start and this book looks like the perfect place!

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  14. I bake a lot but tend to stick to breads, old faves and teacakes. I would like to try making something more delicate and detailed but would need a good guide and this looks ideal!

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  15. I fancy having a go at patisserie make a change from my victoria sponge

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  16. I love the look of the matcha and almond cakes. And your carrot and chocolate chip cupcakes? Right up my street! I don't have the patience for fancy desserts, but I would love to try.

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  17. I don't have the delicate touch needed to make refined desserts so this book would be an inspiration!

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  18. I bake currently but I keep it pretty simple so I would like to "step it up" a bit

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  19. I bake currently but I keep it pretty simple so I would like to "step it up" a bit

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  20. The carrot chocolate chip cakes look so yummy

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  21. The book looks amazing! Great blog!

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    1. Thanks very much Lucy - it's a great book and I'm glad you like my blog.

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  22. I would love to win this and share it with my sister. This would be great to add to our collection and leArn some new skills! Total chocoholics!

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  23. as i love baking, and i would love to learn some new receipes

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  24. would have great fun getting the grandchildren to help bake and eat all the lovely cakes

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  25. It might make my cooking a bit more adventurerous

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  26. StaceyD (etcstacey)21 July 2014 15:57

    This is such a beautiful blog with lovely ideas .

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  27. Katie Morgan21 July 2014 16:31

    This book looks amazing - such beautiful cakes.

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  28. Looks so delicious and I need to improve my cooking skills

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  29. I am dying to get my hands on a copy of this book it looks fantastic, so everything is crossed.

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  30. I'd love to experiment and try to make some fancy cakes for a change

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  31. love the carrot cake looks nice

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  32. I have a really sweet tooth and am always on the look out for new sweet recipes

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  33. I would love to win this as I love making cakes

    Kay panayi

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  34. Baking is so rewarding, would love to try out this books recipes

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  35. Baking is so rewarding, would love to try out this books recipes

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  36. Because I would love to get better at baking

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  37. Would love to try my hand at these. May inspire me to be more ambitious.
    Sarah Hurrell

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  38. Jillanne David21 July 2014 18:39

    salivating already

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  39. i would love to have a go at the recipes, improve my baking skills x

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  40. Although I'm an enthusiastic cook I'm not a very skilled one. Hopefully this would help!

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  41. I'm a keen bread maker but would love to try being a pâtisserie.

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  42. would love this for my mum x

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  43. I've only recently started baking and would like to extend my skills. I have French relatives and would really like to impress them with my new skills. This lovely book would help me greatly.

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  44. to help me out baking i need it

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  45. these look absolutely lovely, would love to try and make these
    Claire D

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  46. I would love to get my hands on this book. Might surprise my hubby and make him something good for when he gets home from work....Im not the best chef in the world!

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  47. It's the delicacy of the decorating that's so breathtaking: would like some instruction on how to achieve such perfect pastries!

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  48. I love looking at the pictures and would like to have a go.

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  49. though I love their creations, I`m always a little nervous about following through their ideas so this book would be a great source of ideas and encouragement

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  50. I'd love to win so I can improve my skills, I'm quite good at baking cakes and biscuits but haven't really tried anything to technical and would love to hone my skills and be able to create these mini masterpieces.

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  51. I'm always on the lookout for new recipes to bake and this would expand my collection!

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  52. I am completely rubbish at cooking.. so this would be determined effort if I did win the book, it would be put to good use.

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  53. Sounds like a book that can help you make some lovely delicious treats

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  54. I love where art and food entwine.

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  55. As a gift for a friend who enjoys baking. We enjoy the results of the baking :- Delicious.


    Rachel Craig

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  56. I would love to make some impressive desserts :) Natalie Gillham x

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  57. David Zipfell22 July 2014 08:54

    I love baking, so this book looks really good and so does the recipe which i will be trying very soon.

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  58. Why would you like to win a copy of this book?.........As l am about to take early retirement l would have the time and opportunity to try most of the gorgeous recipes it contains

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  59. i like getting new ideas and this looks fab

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  60. I love cooking, but never been good at desserts, etc - Im fine at everything else!! - hopefully could help me
    (Spencer Broadley)

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  61. Rachel Davies22 July 2014 14:26

    I've really got into baking since the Great British Bake Off but sadly my attempts are not great yet, so I could really use some help - @Rcd2129 on twitter

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