Tag Archives: French Buttercream

Viennese Apricot Torte

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished Photo of Viennese Apricot TorteMany years ago when I first became interested in pastry and baking, I found a book at the library introducing me to Viennese Tortes and pastries.  I was fascinated by them to the point I copied the entire book for my personal use.  This was ages before the internet and the book was no longer on the market.  A version of this Viennese Walnut and Chocolate Sponge Cake was in the book.

As with some early Viennese Tortes, bread crumbs or cracker crumbs finely ground would be used in place of flour.  Another rendering of this cake was in my first book, “The New Pastry Cook”.  It did use cracker crumbs.  However, for this version I wanted to use a sponge which would accept a brandy soaking syrup.  The original recipe for the cake in my book used only the cake and a coffee buttercream.  I expanded upon that idea for this cake.

The recipe for the Viennese Walnut and Chocolate sponge cake  is based on Bo Friberg’s Hazelnut-Chocolate Sponge in his book, “Professional Pastry Chef”.  This is one of my go to books if I am stumped by something.  The sheer volume of information in charts and graphs is astounding.  There have been several updates to the book.  I have Volume 4 which is over 1,000 pages. I love this recipe because it doesn’t require beating the egg yolks and whites separately.  It uses whole eggs that are warmed over a double boiler so they can reach maximum volume.  It is easy and as far as I can see, foolproof as long as  you fold the dry ingredients quickly and gently. Continue reading

L’Opéra Petit Fours

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

L'Opera Petit FourL’Opéra Petit Fours, a combination of chocolate and coffee flavors, are very much a lesson in component parts.  Many pastries consist of several recipes combined to make the whole.  Rearranging which and how the component parts are combined, endless pastries can be made.

There are two types of petit fours – petit four glacé which are those covered in fondant and petit four sec which are small pastries that can be picked up.  L’Opera Petit Fours belong to the petit four sec variety.  At the shop, we made petit four sec as I consider them to be so much more flavorful and beautiful.

L’Opéra Petit Fours are also the best petit four I have ever tasted.  As with much in food, that level cannot be achieved in a quickie recipe.  But most of the component parts can be executed days ahead of time making the final assembly very easy and relatively fast to accomplish.  I recently made 140 of these for a function where four additional petit fours were offered.  These not only disappeared first, but they were also the most talked about. Continue reading

Pave d’Amour

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Slice of CakeThis Pave d’Amour or Cake of Love is truly a celebration cake made for all the highlights of life.  It is one of those recipes that looks daunting but actually isn’t. It just requires a schedule and can be done over a number of days or even weeks as desired. While not as fast as some cakes, its complexity is what makes it so special.

The original recipe for Pave d’Amour came from Alice Medrich’s first book “Cocolat”.  Her version is a square cake and is stunning as are all her recipes. While her cake called for a sponge cake, I used the yellow cake which adds to the stability of the cake and also to its taste.  We used the Pave d”Amour as one of our wedding cakes and it is the best celebration cake I know of to this day.  When cut, the layering is stunning and never fails to receive accolades.  When eaten, it never fails to receive well deserved praise.

We used the whipped ganache in multiple other recipes besides the Pave d’Amour at the bakery.  It has a mind of its own and must be made a day or more ahead or it won’t whip.  We tried making it in the morning and whipping it in the afternoon and it simply wouldn’t whip.  So we just scheduled it in days ahead of time and we were good to go.  It can be tricky to whip so take it slow and test it before over beating if you are unsure.  If it is over beaten, it cannot be used.  However, this is perfect when a heavy chocolate ganache would be overpowering.  As with many things in baking and pastry, it just takes getting used to. Continue reading

French Buttercream

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Brown and White CakeFrench buttercream is distinguished by the use of egg yolks as well as whites.  A sugar syrup is used and it is flavored with vanilla or other flavors of your choice.  The combination of egg yolks and egg whites will whip into a foam that does not need to be stabilized as do egg whites alone.

This buttercream is the last of the European buttercreams based on an emulsion.  This is considered to be the most stable of all of them as it uses whole eggs and  yolks not a meringue as do the Swiss and Italian.   Although this is not as light as the Swiss and Italian, it is by no means heavy.  We are talking degrees here.   I think this buttercream has a richer, deeper taste due to the added richness of the yolks.

If  you research this along with the other two you will find varying amounts of the eggs, yolks and whites (for the Swiss and Italian) along with varying amounts of sugar and butter. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive recipe as long as the proportions are correct.  The French buttercream requires a hot sugar syrup as does the Italian.  However, because whole eggs and yolks are being used, they do not need to be stabilized as do egg whites alone.  Just beating them will obtain the desired effect.

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