Tag Archives: how-to

Blitz Cronuts

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished CronutWhen I first heard about Cronuts, quite frankly, I thought they were obscene.  Having made several batches of them, I can tell you they are!!

Using Dominique Ansel’s recipe, which I cut in half, I applied the same technique I came up with years ago for Croissants and Puff Pastry. in record time. Where he takes 3 days, this method makes them in less than a third of that time.   As you can see from the photo to the left, the flakiness is beyond anything iI have ever seen.  The are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  While his recipe for home cooks as he refers to it, takes 3 days and a lot of elbow grease, this version of cronuts can be made in a day.  Much of that time is just resting the dough.  The actual work is minimal and spread out.  To make these easier, you can refrigerate the cronuts at various stages if you want.

The dough is like no other yeast dough I have ever made. Although soft and smooth, it has a craggy look and an almost aerated texture. Continue reading

Pumpkin Mousse Torte

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

This recipe contains raw egg yolk and as such may not be the best choice for the elderly or very young. Although, I haven’t tried it, I can’t think of a reason the egg yolk can’t be omitted and still have a good dessert.

Pumpkin Mousse Torte I can’t even remember when we started making these at the bakery.  I do remember it took many tries to get the amount of gelatin just right so it would keep it firm but not turn rubbery, a sure sign of too much.  But I can sure tell you we sold hundreds and hundreds.

As popular as it was with my clients, I don’t think anyone could love this more than my grandson, Sam.  I do remember we had gone to Chicago to take care of him for a few days so his parents could have a weekend get-a-way.  Sam was still in a high chair and was a hugely picky eater – something that dismayed all of us. In an attempt to get something into him, I gave him a bite of my pumpkin mousse.  Well, that sure opened the floodgates!  I couldn’t scoop the dessert into a spoon and offload it into his mouth fast enough.  He barely swallowed and his mouth would fly open again for another bite.  He reminded me of baby birds being fed by their moms!  Sam even requested it for his 7th birthday cake.  Not an unusual request, except it was July in St. Louis.  Hot, hot, hot and humid!   Did I mention it was outdoors?

This is a very straight forward recipe with little to trip you up.  Just make sure everything for the pumpkin mousse is at room temperature.  Then the warm gelatin needs to be poured in a steady stream while the mixer is running.  If the pumpkin mixture is cold, the gelatin can immediately set forming undesireable rubbery blobs.  Very unappetizing!

A cheesecake pan is, as always, my recommendation over a springform pan.

A reader brought to my attention the need to do something with the leftover pumpkin. If you go  Streusel Topped Pumpkin Muffins  and you make  1 1/2 times the recipe you will use the remaining 3/4 can of pumpkin.  If you are a tad short, that’s fine.  They also freeze beautifully.  Continue reading

Lemonade Cake with Blueberry Sauce

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Lemonade CakeI was once asked where creativity comes from. It can be found anywhere and everywhere. A pot of basil can inspire pesto but then what to do with it. Why turn it into a Goat Cheese Pesto Tart of course. A great dessert you taste can make you think of what you would do with it – how you would tweak it. Or, in this case when I was asked for the recipes six months out for a class, I just made up Lemonade Cake with Warm Blueberry Sauce. Doesn’t that sound inviting? The only problem there was no recipe.

I always mean to start early when I have designed something on paper but not tested it in the kitchen. I usually don’t. As the days counted down to the class, I tried every lemon mousse I could think of and made some up myself. In the end, I reverted to my go to recipe for the most lemony of all fillings – lemon curd. It was a simple matter of folding in beaten egg whites and whipped cream to give the Lemonade Cake a smooth, luxurious feel in your mouth. There is just enough gelatin in the curd to have the mousse set up perfectly. Continue reading

60 Second Brioche

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Fiinished photoThe title, “60 Second Brioche” (pronounced BREE-ohsh) comes from the article title as it appeared in Bon Appetit Magazine.  While it takes a few minutes to prepare the ingredients, it does indeed come together in about sixty seconds in the food processor, making it the fastest brioche around.

In my first book, “The New Pastry Cook”, the theme was to take a basic dough and make 10 to 12 items using that dough. When I first started learning to make the classic doughs I thought it a shame to spend the time to learn them and then use them for just one or two things.  In the Bon Appetit article, they used the 11 recipes I developed for my book and an additional one I developed for them as they wanted an even dozen.

I learned to make many of the traditional French pastries from Andre Gotti, a marvelous French pastry chef.  After I learned the traditional method, I became a consultant to Cuisinart specializing in pastry using the food processor. I modernized many of the traditional French techniques without sacrificing quality. Brioche was among them. Continue reading