French Bakery Favorites | Sur la Table

We’ve been enjoying our cooking classes @ Sur la Table so much. You could say we’ve been taking French baking/cooking classes since the spring, so it was only fitting that our last class for the year would be French Bakery Favorites.

In this class we made:

  • Dark Chocolate Madeleines
  • Grand Marnier Souffles with Creme Anglaise
  • Pear Tarte Tatin
The ingredients for our Dark Chocolate Madeleines.
The ingredients for our Dark Chocolate Madeleines.
Does the batter look so totally yum?
Does the batter look totally yum?
Time to brush our madeleine pan.
Time to brush our madeleine pan.
Our teammate Dory started off piping our madeline mix into the pans.
Our teammate Dory started off piping our madeline mix into the pans.
And our madeleines were out of the oven, it was time to dust them with confectioners' sugar and enjoy!
And our madeleines were out of the oven, it was time to dust them with confectioners’ sugar and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Madeleines

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (4 punches) unsalted butter, plus 2 tbsp for greasing pan
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp high quality cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan and generously brush the wells of a madeleine pan with butter. Place the pan in the freezer. Once butter has hardened, repeat the process with another layer of butter and leave the pan in the freezer to chip until ready to use.

Melt the chopped chocolate in a double boiler and set aside; keep warm.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each egg is fully incorporated before adding another. Add the vanilla and salt; mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in 3 additions, mixing just until the flour is incorporated. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in melted chocolate.

Remove the buttered pan from the freer. Divide the batter evenly among each well and smooth the tops. Return the pan to the freezer until batter is chilled, about 15 minutes. Then bake cookies for 12 to 15 minutes until risen and just set.

Remove the oven and flip cookies out onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Now for our Pear Tarte Tatin…

When it comes to french bakery treats, butter is the main ingredient...
When it comes to french bakery treats, butter is the main ingredient…

Before your almond pastry gets the point below, you’re seriously going to get a work out as you cut the butter into flour until the butter is the size of small peas. To spend this up you can use a food processor or large mixing bowl. We used a hand held pastry cutter. No gym work out needed after this one.

Creating our almond pastry for our Pear Tarte Tatin. This took some serious work.
Creating our almond pastry for our Pear Tarte Tatin. This took some serious work.
We wrapped it up to go in the refrigerator.
We wrapped it up to go in the refrigerator.
My first time making caramel...
My first time making caramel…
Our pears...
Our pears…
Time to prep our pears...
Time to prep our pears…
All fanned out in two layers.
All fanned out in two layers.
Almond pastry crust added... now time to bake.
Almond pastry crust added… now time to bake.
Fresh out of the oven...
Fresh out of the oven…
Flipped over and ready to slice and serve.
Flipped over and ready to slice and serve.

So it wasn’t gorgeous… but my classmates agreed that it was delicious.

Pear Tarte Tatin

Almond pastry:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 to 3 tbsp ice water

Caramel and pear filling:

  • 1 1/2 lbs (about 6) ripe, firm Anjou or Bosc pears
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:

For the almond pastry: Place flour, almond meal, sugar and salt in a food processor or large mixing bowl. By pulsing or using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of small peas.

Add egg yolk followed by ice water, a tbsp at a time, drizzled over the flour mixture. Pulse or stir mixture until large clumps form. When enough water has been added to allow the dough to hold together, transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Gather the dough together to form a ball. Flatten the dough into a disk about 6 inches wide, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 375F. Fill a large bowl halfway with water and add 1 tsp of lemon juice. Pell, half and core pears. Transfer pears to the bowl with lemon water.

To prepare the caramel and pear filling: Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add sugar, water and lemon juice. Cook sugar, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until mixture turns a caramel color, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in butter and salt.

Arrange the pears in the skillet cut sides up and in a circular pattern with the rounded bottom of the pears touching the edge of the pan and the stem end pointing towards the center. Place one of two pear in the center to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Be careful not to dip fingers into the hot caramel.

Generously flour a work surface and place the chilled dough disk on the flour. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll chilled dough into a circle, turning and flipping the dough as needed, using a bench scraper to prevent sticking, until the circle measures 12 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Starting at one edge, roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to the skillet, topping the pears. Tuck edges of the pastry under to fit snugly against the inside edge of the skillet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow tart to cool for 10 minutes so that the caramel can cool and thicken before unfolding.

To serve: Invert a heatproof round serving plate over the skillet and working quickly and carefully, invert the tart onto the plate. Rearrange any pears that may have shifted or stuck to the skillet. Cut the tart into wedges and serve warm.

Last but not least… Our Grand Marnier Souffles with Creme Anglaise…

Our Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise smelled delicious.
Our Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise smelled delicious.

Note: As with any cooking class, you rarely make anything in order. Everything has different cook times and you are limited to the time you have. We actually made our Creme Anglaise first so that it could be sitting in an ice bath while made our other delicious treats.

Time to go into an ice bath.
Time to go into an ice bath.
Our ramekins all prepped for our soufflés.
Our ramekins all prepped for our soufflés.
Chef Lane working with our soufflé mixture.
Chef Lane working with our soufflé mixture.
Watching our soufflés. Contrary to believe, you can open the door, especially when using a small oven, but be sure to carefully close it or you'll ruin your soufflés.
Watching our soufflés. Contrary to believe, you can open the door, especially when using a small oven, but be sure to carefully close it or you’ll ruin your soufflés.
Fresh out of the oven...
Fresh out of the oven…
Creme Anglaise added and time to enjoy.
Creme Anglaise added and time to enjoy.

Grand Marnier Souffles with Creme Anglaise

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing ramekins
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for preparing ramekins
  • 3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 egg whites
  • Creme Anglaise, for serving ( recipe follows)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F. Generously butter ramekins, dust them with sugar and tap out the excess.

To prepare the soufflé base: Place the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat to melt. using a whisk, add flour and cook until thick and smooth, about 1 minute. Add milk and continue to cook, constantly whisking, until the mixture is thick, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

Place sugar into a small bowl, add orange zest and, using your fingertips, gently rub the zest into the sugar to extract the oils from the zest. Add orange-sugar, vanilla, salt, Grand Marnier and yolks to the bowl with cooled milk mixture; whisk until smooth and throughly combined.

To prepare the egg whites: Place the whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment; beat on medium speed until whites are stiff but not dry, 3 to 4 minutes.

With a silicone spatula, gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the soufflé base until almost completely combined. Fold in the remaining whites in two more stages. Stop folding when all the whites are incorporated into the batter. Divide batter among the prepared ramekins, filling each one to 1/2 inch below the rim, and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until fully risen, just set and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

To serve: With a small spoon, make an opening in the center of each soufflé. Pour a generous serving of the creme anglaise into the center. Serve immediately with extra sauce in a pitcher on the side.

Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Directions:

Fill a large bowl hallway with ice and water. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a separated medium bowl and place both near the stovetop.

Combine the milk, cream and sugar in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture just to a simmer and remove from the heat.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour about one cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, to temper them. Slowly pour the yolk mixture back into the hot milk in saucepan, whisking continuously. Return to medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with the spatula, until the custard thickens and registers 178F to 180F on a instant-read thermometer.

Immediately strain the custard sauce through the sieve into the medium bowl. Stir in the vanilla and place sauce over the ice bath, stirring continuously until warm. Use warm sauce to top soufflés or cool completely and refrigerate for future use.

~thefoodie

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