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Valentine’s Day Inspirations from Paris
A gallery of some of the sweetest treats from one of the most romantic cities on earth.
Items from Ladurée are automatically a romantic gift, simply due to its beautiful packaging, but this year it also offers two specialities, as seen below. The first is Saint-Honoré Juliette, sized for two with flavors of rose, raspberry and ginger. The second is Coeur Ispahan, a heart-shaped macaron with rose, litchi and raspberry.
At Café Pouchkine the seasonal specialty is called Lioubliou Tibia—red French meringue, whipped with a raspberry and a creamy vanilla on a biscuit, with white chocolate accents.
Arnaud Larher offers four different heart-shaped treats, all served on the French version of marshmallow rice treats.
From the top: Crunchy meringue with whipped vanilla mascarpone and raspberry marmalade, sprinkled with lime zest and raspberries.
Crunchy meringue, Caribbean chocolate 66% cocoawhipe ganache sprinkled with dark chocolate.
Crunchy meringue, whipped pistachio mascarpone and apricot glaze, sprinkled with pistachio chips and soft apricots.
Crunchy meringue, whipped rose mascarpone rose, with poppy-scented raspberry marmalade, sprinked with raspberry seeds.
At Dalloyau, two special hearts are available, both a base that could be called the French version of a marshmallow rice treat—almonds, puffed rise and feuillantine. Coeur Blanc features lemon-infused white chocolate with a raspberry ginger compote. Coeur Rouge features the same flavors in a reverse presentation.
Fauchon’s seasonal packaging, featuring passion flowers, includes this tin filled with two different types of heart-shaped chocolates—a milk chocolate filled with Piedmont hazelnut praline and a dark chocolate filled with gianduja and crispy bits of crêpe dentelle.
Another rose, raspberry and litchi items is this macaron from Pierre Hermé with a rose macaron biscuit, rose petal cream, whole raspberries and litchis. Center is a version inspired by the parfum Joy by Jean Patou, a combintation of jasmine ganache and rose mascarpone cream on sables. The third heart is a hazelnut dacquoise biscuit, hazelnut praline, thin layers of milk chocolate, milk chocolate ganache and chantilly cream.
Also from Pierre Hermé is Vénus, a Breton shortbread biscuit, cake, confit of quince and apple flavoured with rose, rose mascarpone cream.
At Angelina the featured dessert is the Couer Passion—a dark chocolate shell filled with a layered filliings of milk chocolate, mango andpassion fruit, and tonka bean divided by thin layers of chocolate biscuit.
Other special offerings from Angelina include La Valse, featuring a cream cheese mousse with apricot/passion fruit compote; and Joséphine, a raspberry and vanilla pâte à choux.
Purple Sweet Potato Mousse with Maple Bourbon Honey Syrup & Graham Cracker Crust
Created by chef Tim Thompson of Marisol for the Got to Be N.C. Competition which pairs two local North Carolina chefs in a single-elimination, blind-dinner format. The chef’s menu is created around a North Carolina ingredient that is revealed at noon on the day of the competition. This secret ingredient must be used in each course. Grand prize is $2,000 and a red chef’s jacket.
Chef Thompson recommends making this recipe the day before you plan to serve it.
- 1 pound roasted and mashed purple sweet potatoes
- 1 pound cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup local honey
- ¼ cup good maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup melted butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Sweet potatoes: Set out the cream cheese two hours prior to use. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse all the dirt from the sweet potatoes (sweet potatoes vary in size so when you buy them just remember to buy a little extra, this will account for lost product after roasting and peeling). Place the potatoes on a foil-lined baking and put them in the oven. Cook the potatoes until you can easily pierce the potato to the center with a knife. Cooking time will depend on the size of the potatoes; you should probably allow yourself two hours to cook the potatoes. Once the potatoes have been removed from the oven and given time to cool, peel and puree the potatoes, then set them aside.
Crust: While the potatoes are cooking melt the butter for the pie crust. Mix the butter with the rest of the pie crust ingredients. It is best to mix this with your hands. Line a nine-inch pie pan with graham cracker mixture and put that into the oven with the sweet potatoes for about eight minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and set it aside to cool.
Sauce: Pour all the sauce ingredients in a heavy-bottom stainless steel saucepan. Cook on medium heat and reduce the contents by a third. The sauce may appear thin, but this is normal when it is hot. Allow the sauce to cool for thirty minutes; it will be thick and sticky.
Mousse: First whip the heavy cream with powdered sugar to stiff peaks, set aside. Then in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the potatoes with the remainder of the mousse ingredients on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and completely blended together. Now fold in the whip cream with the potato mixture until both are completely blended.
Spoon mousse into cooled pie crust, refrigerate for two or three hours. The longer you leave it in the refrigerator the firmer it will be.
Garnish with berries and finish with the syrup you made earlier.
Coconut Raspberry “Transparance”
Soft Coconut Sponge
80 g ground almonds
80 g shredded coconut
70 g flour
160 g icing sugar
100 g egg whites
40 g whipping cream
320 g egg whites
180 g sugar
1) Combine the dry ingredients with 100g of egg whites and mix with a spatula.
Whip the 320g egg whites with the sugar to a stiff peak meringue.
3) Fold the meringue into the coconut mixture.
4) Bake at 180°C/ 360°F. until lightly browned.
Light Manjari Mousse
200 g milk
420 g whipping cream, lightly whipped
250 g VALRHONA MANJARI 64%
3.5 g gelatin
1) Soak the gelatin in cold water.
2) Bring the milk to a boil and stir in the drained gelatin.
3) Pour about a third of the hot milk over the melted chocolate and stir vigorously in order to obtain the beginning of a perfect emulsion.
4) Continue to add the rest of the milk, keeping the same consistency.
5) When the temperature of the ganache reaches 40°C /110°F fold in the lightly whipped cream.
400 g raspberry puree
270 g VALRHONA ABSOLU CRISTAL
40 g lemon juice
Mix together the raspberry puree, Absolu Cristal, and lemon juice with a hand blender.
Pour about 15g of coulis into a dome mold and freeze.
Coconut Ivoire Chocolate Whipped Ganache
160 g coconut puree
50 g coconut milk
25 g glucose
190 g VALRHONA IVOIRE 35%
380 g whipping cream 35%
50 g coconut milk
20 g Malibu coconut liquor
1) Heat the puree and 50g of coconut milk with glucose.
2) Gradually add the hot coconut mixture over the melted chocolate, stirring vigorously in order to obtain the beginning of a perfect emulsion.
3) Continue to add the rest of the coconut milk, the whipping cream and the Malibu coconut liquor, keeping the same consistency.
4) Set aside in the refrigerator to crystallize overnight.
5) When ready for use, whip the ganache to a texture sufficient to pipe.
Pour about 35g of light Manjari mousse into each glass and top with a frozen raspberry dome.
Set aside to crystallize.
Whip the coconut ganache and pipe onto the top of the Manjari mousse.
Pour some raspberry coulis on the piped ganache and then arrange the coconut sponge, cut into (10g) 1cm squares, on top.
Cilantro Crunch Bar
Created by Chef Lauren V. Haas for Cacao Barry
||“Citrus and cilantro may be a non-traditional pairing for white chocolate, but I feel that they complement white chocolate’s milky creaminess. For this bar, I also wanted to add some texture in the form of a buttery, slightly salty sablé, mixed with Alunga milk chocolate and hazelnut paste.”— Chef Lauren V. Haas
Citrus Cilantro Ganache
140g cream (re-weighed to 98g)
10g lemon zest
10g lime zest
17 cilantro leaves
150g Cacao Barry Zéphyr 34% White Chocolate,
melted to 43°C / 110°F
22g softened butter
1. Boil the cream with the zests. Add the cilantro and blend
well with an immersion blender.
2. Allow to infuse covered for 10 minutes.
3. Strain the cream and weigh out 98g. Add the glucose
4. Pour over the Zéphyr white chocolate, creating an emulsion
with a spatula.
5. At 35°C / 95°F, add the butter with an immersion
6. Allow the ganache to cool to 27°C / 80°F before piping
Alunga Hazelnut Sablé
145g cake flour
38g Cacao Barry 100% Pure Hazelnut Paste
38g Cacao Barry Alunga 41% Milk Chocolate
1. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla.
2. Sift the cake fl our and salt. Add to the butter and mix
until just combined.
3. Roll the dough evenly between two pieces of parchment
paper and bake at 150°C / 300°F until golden all the
4. Allow to cool before crumbling by hand into small
5. Melt the Alunga milk chocolate and combine with the
hazelnut paste. Gently fold into the sablé crumbs.
6. Roll between two pieces of parchment to 1/8” thick and
place in the refrigerator until set.
7. Cut into pieces just slightly smaller than the snacking
1. Spray polycarbonate bon bon molds with tempered
cocoa butter and cast with tempered Alunga milk
2. Pipe the Citrus Cilantro Ganache into the molds until
they are 2/3 full.
3. Add the pieces of Alunga Hazelnut Sablé
4. Allow the ganache to crystalize before sealing with
Alunga milk chocolate.
Cast in Zéphyr white chocolate.
News Flash! Americans Love Cakes & Pie!
As mentioned in the July 8 issue of Slice, the research firm Mintel has tracked U.S. retail dessert sales for the past five years and has discovered some interesting trends.
Total retail sales of prepared cakes and pies grew 24% from 2009-14 to reach $11.2 billion, and the market research firm projects the category to grow an additional 18% from 2014-19, reaching $13.2 billion in sales.
The projected growth will depend on new product development that is focused on better-for-you attributes, controlled portion size and flavor innovation. Those first two attributes are important to note for the health of these dessert-prone professionals as according to Mintel, 41% of consumers claim to eat prepared cakes and pies as a snack between meals, a higher percentage than many other occasions, including for a special occasion dessert (18%).
Nearly half of consumers who eat prepared cakes and pies (46%) view them as an indulgence, and 42% said they are open to trying new flavors of these items. About 61% agree gourmet or premium products are worth paying more for, including 72% of those aged 25-34.
Perhaps surprisingly, men are significantly more likely than women to eat prepared cakes and pies as part of, or in place of, a meal. Mintel said about 24% of men eat prepared cakes and pies as part of breakfast, and 25% eat them as part of lunch, while 13% use them as a meal replacement altogether. Meanwhile, women are significantly more likely than men to eat prepared cakes and pies as a dessert (75%, compared to 66% of men).
Click on the above image to view a full-size version.
“Over two-third of consumers have eaten some type of R.-T.-E. cake or pie within the past six months, and the majority are open to experimenting with flavors,” said Amanda Topper, a food analyst at Mintel. “To that end, they can stay interested with hybrid flavors, such as sweet and salty options, or seasonal and limited-edition varieties. Natural ingredients, without additives or preservatives, are also important to consumers who buy prepared cakes and pies, so manufacturers should focus on promoting the quality of their ingredients, and promote them via easy-to-read ingredient lists. At the end of the day, people are willing to indulge, but they just want to make sure the calories are worth it.”
June Food Holidays
A recipe round-up
June features a lot of fantastic food ‘holidays’ and we found some delicious cake recipes to go with some of them. Even though some of these “holidays’ may be over by the time you read this…we guarantee the recipes are worth a try. Plus, there are other great June holidays to develop a recipe around: Cognac, Fudge, Chocolate Ice Cream, Peanut Butter Cookies, Pecan Sandies, Pralines and many more!
June 1, Hazelnut Cake Day: Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake via Smitten Kitchen
June 2, Rocky Road Ice Cream Day: Rocky Road Cake via Taste of Home.
June 5, Gingerbread Day: Gingerbread Latte Toffee Crunch Cake via Sweet Style Canada
June 6, Applesauce Cake Day: Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze via Food52
June 9, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day: Strawberry Rhubarb Layer Cake via Taking on Magazines
June 11, German Chocolate Cake Day: German Chocolate Cake via David Lebovitz
June 21, Peaches and Cream Day: Peaches n Cream Cake via A Spicy Perspective
June 27, Orange Blossom Day: Orange Almond Cake with Orange Blossom Buttercream via Adventures in Cooking
June 29, Almond Buttercrunch Day: Almond Butter Crunch Cake via Group Recipes
|Bourbon Pecan Pie Vanilla Milkshake
- 4 large scoops vanilla ice cream
- 1 slice pecan pie
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/4 cup pecans, divided
- Whipped cream, optional
1) Chop the pecans into small pieces.
2) Add the ice cream, slice of pecan pie, bourbon, and 2 tablespoons of the chopped nuts into a blender. Then give it all a whirl.
3) Pour your milkshake into a large glass, top with whipped cream and sprinkle on some pecans.
Snapshots from the March 2014 Paris Pastry Tour
lead by ACD magazine.
As part of our adventures in Paris, we visited a wide range of pâtisseries, boulangeries, confiseries, gourmet shops and more. We had such a great time we're planning on doing it again! Email us if you're interested in finding out about the next Paris Pastry Tour—it’s a culinary treat for sure!
Our first stop on our first morning out was Dalloyau, one of the oldest traiteurs in Paris.
From there we went on to a much more homey pâtisserie…
And after that it was a stop a Georges Larnicol…and it wasn't just the kouignettes that captivated people! These red heels were available in milk or dark chocolate, as “patent leather” or “suede” and could be filled with a variety of treats.
We hit a few more places before getting to Pierre Hermé, where the windows were all about Infiniment Citron.
A few stops later was Arnaud Larher where, among many other things, this throughly modern take on the tarte tatin (left) caught our eye. It's next to a tropical fruit cheesecake that looked and sounded delicious!
At Patrick Roger we all marvelled over the range of textures and shapes this master was able to create with chocolate! His approach is so incredibly different than the expected “showpiece”
Another day involved many gourmet product, equipment and tool shops, but as we couldn’t go long without a pastry fix, we dropped into one of the newest breed of Paris pâtisseries—the single-product shop. Here's most of our group after downing a variety of sweet and savory eclairs. From left: Sue Ross, Ellen Vonesh, Chelsea Whitney, Susan Schultz, Sara Dobbins and Bob Dobbins.
It wasn't all just snacking. Grace and Susan were fortunate enough to get a reservation at L’Atelier du Joël Robuchon and had the passionfruit souffle for dessert. (Sorry about the cool filter on this shot!)
Grace and Susan also had the wonderful experience of a leisurely Parisian gourmet lunch at David Toutain’s highly acclaimed restaurant, where the plating and presentations were as impeccable as the food and the service! Grace grabbed a shot with David as he came out at the end of service.
And funny enough, they were seated right next to table with well-known pastry chef Christophe Adam, whose latest venture, L’Eclair de Genie, was one of the stops on the previous day.
At Europain, sampling was encouraged!
We caught some of the second day of the “Sugar World Cup” finals, a mixed-team competition that was truly captivating.
The show floor was filled with demos. At Barry Callebaut’s IBC division, a chef shows how to color chocolate using the newly launched Power Flowers product.
A Popular Business Trend Crossover
by Julie Bashore
The treasured tradition whereby the bride and groom cuts a slice from their grand wedding cake display and serve one another, symbolizes two people facing life’s journey as one, with the mutual commitment to share and provide for each other.
But there’s an affordable way to update this tradition and make beautifully designed cakes affordable for all—lease the wedding cake. A display cake with real frosting created by true confectionery artists but faux inside, allows the bridal couple to have the cake of their dreams at a fraction of the cost.
There are multiple benefits to the happy couple:
- The new trend at a wedding reception is to have a dessert buffet featuring solo-desserts, gourmet cupcakes, cake pops and an eclectic array of chocolates and candies. By leasing the wedding cake clients can have their cake and eat it too!
- Perhaps there’s relative who has a wonderful family-recipe and would love to bake the wedding cake, but does not have the cake artistry skills to provide a cake of beauty.
- Reception halls often have a cake-plating fee, which is incurred when outside cakes are served at the reception. Leasing a faux wedding cake eliminates these charges.
- Faux cakes are light and easy to move around, in spite of their delicate decorations.
- These cakes are perfect for outdoor weddings alleviating weather-related stress or concern. There will be no melting or sliding!
- These cakes can be shipped anywhere, nationally or internationally.
What about the cake cutting ceremony?
A wedge can be discreetly removed from the back of the cake, where a cupcake or a slice of cake is replaced. The bride and groom may still cut a cake and serve one another for celebration and photography purposes. This is done in such a discreet manner and no one would need to know.
Destination or other remote weddings
The wedding cakes can be shipped the week prior to the wedding to nearly every destination. Include the option of renting pedestals to give the cake an additional air of elegance, along with variety of lifelike sugar flowers and adornments to complement the cake style.
How to start
The general rule of thumb is for a safety deposit to be paid with the rental fee. The deposit is refunded once the cake is returned after the wedding. The client can simply return the cake to the box and ship it back, via preprinted labels FedEx or UPS office. Leasing a cake is definitely a new concept, but it makes sense!
You can work work faster on cake forms vs. real cake, allowing you to give your clients more design for the money. You can also work farther in advance, given that the cake does not need to be refrigerated. And with some advance planning and simple redesigns, certain cakes can be leased over and over again.
This is a win-win situation for both cake artists and thier clients!
The ACD Paris Pastry Tour!
Join an exclusive group of sugar fiends March 5-12, 2014 for the ACD Paris Pastry Tour and Europain, of the world’s largest pastry and baking shows. Explore the ultimate “City of Dreams” with a group of likeminded traveling companions. Grace McNamara, publisher of ACD magazine and Susan Schultz, editor, have more than 15 years travel experience in Paris, speak French and are thrilled to introduce others to their favorite city in the world!
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity! Join us as we explore Paris through the eyes of a sugar artist. We’re staying in the Saint Germain neighborhood—home to restaurants, shops, chocolatiers, confiseries, pâtisseries and hip boutiques. This is not an every-moment-of-your-time-scheduled trip. Instead, we’ve pulled together all the logistics, arranged for some exciting opportunities, but leave you free to arrange your days (and nights) to explore, taste and experience as you see fit. We’ll be there to answer questions, offer suggestions, help you plan your days, make recommendations, etc., to help you make it your trip to Paris! Here’s a sneak peek:
7 days/7 nights in Paris, March 5-12, 2014 includes:
*Accommodations at the Hôtel d’Aubusson, a four-star hotel, double-occupancy in the heart of St. Germain (Super-convenient location and we’ve stayed in this hotel and love it!) Five minute walk to the metro, direct line to the show. Walking distance of the Louvre, D’ Orsay, Notre Dame, Luxembourg Gardens, Sorbonne; surrounded by galleries, restaurants and all kinds of shops.
*Daily breakfast at the hotel.
*Airport transfers to and from airport.
*5 day Paris central metro pass
*RER transportation to Europain
*Admission to Europain
*As-you-wish meet-ups for cocktails to review the day compare notes, share stories, etc.
*Pre-travel web session with to preview locations, planning, travel details, our Paris faves and more
*Cruise on the river Seine
*Entrance to d’Orsay or Louvre (choice of one)
*Walking tour of some of the best of the St. Germain gourmet, pastry and chocolate shops
* A guided tour of the Musée Gourmand du Chocolat
* Hit list of key gourmet, pastry and chocolate shops in other neighborhoods for you to explore
* All taxes included.
Pricing $2995.00 per person. The group is limited to 12 people to keep the low-key, non-tour approach
All are land only, double occupancy based on exchange rates as of July 1, 2013: Guarantee your reservation with a non-refundable $1500.00 deposit by November 15, 2013. Balance of $1495.00 due on or by December 30, 2013.
Please note: Costs are based on a rate exchange as of July 1, 2013. The final cost is subject to a surcharge based on the exchange rate as of March 2, 2014 and will be billed and due upon receipt prior to departure. Contact Grace McNamara if you have more questions at 651/756-8834
Photos from the Tate & Lyle Tasting House in Soho, London
The “porcelain’ cake vase for the British room was created by Katie Shirazi of Cakeadoodledo, with sugar flowers by Rosalind Miller of Rosalind Miller Cakes.
Below: The five-foot long rainbow Mardi Gras cake with sugar skull embellishments in the Mississippi room created by Two Little Cats Bakery.
In the Guyanese inspired room, a collection of sugar sea shells along with a sea turtle cake(below) nestled in Demarara sugar sand. Visitors were encourage to dig out sea turtle egg cakes. Featuring the work of Jenni Powell of Two Little Cats Bakery, and Kate Haigh of All Mine Patisserie.
Green Inspiration for St. Patrick’s Day
Go green with the handy color chart from McCormick’s and check out the special dessert ideas the company provided for March 17.
This chart makes it easy to create the green ombre cake and provide special colors for the “Luck o’ the Irish” cake pops, shown below.
U.S. Chocolate Master Named in Barry Callebaut Competition
Jean-Francois Suteau was named the 2013 U.S. Chocolate Master at the final competition in Chicago, hosted by Barry Callebaut, the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products.
During the competition, the finalists presented a chocolate showpiece, a molded praline / molded bonbon, a gastronomic chocolate dessert and their own interpretation of the classic American pastry, the donut. The jury named Suteau the winner based on his artistry, the taste of his creations, his adherence to the theme of Architecture of Taste and his technical skills.
Suteau will go on to compete against top culinary artisans from 20 countries in the 2013 World Chocolate Masters, the fifth edition of the only culinary competition dedicated exclusively to the art of chocolate.
Some examples of the 2013 Flavor Forecast combinations, clockwise from top left: black rum, charred orange and allspice; cajeta, a Mexican caramel with anise; bittersweet chocolate, basil and passionfruit; cider, sage and molasses.
2013 Flavor Forecast from McCormick
Every year McCormick produces a Flavor Forecast, and for 2013 the company has identified five trends that it believes will drive new product development and innovative menu additions over the coming years. The follwing themes with accompanying flavor combinations illustrate how these trends are coming to life through taste.
The themes are:
“Around the world, we’re seeing a fascinating collision of tradition and innovation. Authentic, real ingredients are still at the core – though now they’re being enjoyed in unique, updated ways that reflect a much more personalized approach to cooking and eating,” said McCormick Executive Chef, Kevan Vetter. “Don’t be surprised if in the next few years Japanese Katsu, a tangy cross between BBQ and steak sauce, and cajeta, a Mexican caramel, gain the broad appeal that once-regional tastes like Asian hot chili sauce have achieved.”
No Apologies Necessary includes the taste combinations of bitter chocolate, sweet basil and passionfruit; and black rum, charred orange and allspice.
Personally Handcrafted features a cider, sage and molasses combination, as well as smoked tomato, rosemary, chili peppers and sweet onion.
Empowered Eating with a faro grain, blackberry and clove combination and a emphasis on dukkah, a Middle Eastern spice blend that used cumin, coriander, sesame and nuts.
Hidden Potential focuses on uncovering the fullest flavors from familiar ingredients such as meat combined with plantain and cinnamon, or artichokes with paprika and hazelnut.
Global My Way features katsu, a tangy Japanese sauce with oregano, as well as cajeta, a Mexican caramel with anise.
One of the many cakes Beatrice recently shot while in Lyon for Sirha--The World Hospitality and Food Service event.
Beatrice Schneider, the creative director at the Chicago School of Mold Making has a job that requires lots of travel for pastry competitions. She also loves to shoot—the locations, the amazing work at the competitions and her visits to local bakeries, cafes and other culinary destinations. She shares her trips through Pastry Postcards. You can sign up to receive new deliveries directly to your inbox, or stop by the Chicago Mold School’s Pastry Postcard webpage to view updates.
Customers at the Chicago Sprinkles location for its cupcake ATM. Image via Snow and Graham.
Sugar Fix--Update from April 2012
Updating a report from the April 2012 Slice on Sprinkles ATM for cupcakes, the company recently opened its second ATM at its Chicago location. Understandably, throughout the autumn lines remained consistent, but we wonder how ATM transactions drop off during the cold Chicago winters!
Some of the custom cutters available from SugarCubedShop on Etsy.
Custom Cutters--Update from December 2012
While an recent Etsy search no longer turns up any products from SugarCubed, as shown left, there's a very active Esty producer of custom cutters called Plastics in Print on the site. There are some great chevron cutters in various sizes, different designs of thought bubbles, and much more.