When Chef told us we were going to focus on pastry for the next few days, I’d say about 90 percent of the guys in my class started grumbling. I was squealing with excitement. Yes, squealing.
I love baking, and secretly, I like to think I’m good at it. (Until I compare it to what my mother can do. Then my desserts look like something a kid playing with Play-doh would plate.) But we share a blood line of bakers. My great-grandfather, Georges Fiquet, started off as a cook in World War I in France. He came to the states in 1920 and apprenticed at a bakery in Brooklyn. Apparently, the executive chefs said he showed great talent, and he passed that skill onto my grandfather who supposedly makes the best cheese danishes, but I’m too young and missed out on his baking days. Regardless, I think the baking gene was passed to me because of these guys. And I couldn’t be more grateful because today was a breeze.
We started the morning rolling out two types of dough: pate sucree (sweet) and pate brisee (savory). Whenever you’re rolling out a dough that has butter in it, you need to work fast. If you don’t, you’ll have a dough that has pockets of melting butter and you’ll have a hard time getting it off your rolling pin. So always make sure to flour your work surface, dough, and rolling pin before starting. After rolling your dough out, pop it in the fridge so it can chill the butter and relax the gluten, making a flakier pastry.
We finished class with a beautiful apple tart:
A bacon-speckled quiche:
And a pear tart:
My roommates really reap the benefits of my culinary education.
TIP OF THE DAY: Putting the rolling pin in the freezer before using it so your butter won’t melt too fast.