French Culinary Updates
After reading Julia Child last week, I went on a spree of making everything French. I guess I’m just going to write this post as an update with links of things I’ve made so I don’t forget.
I kind of went overboard made some baguettes. I was inspired by the last part of the book where Julia talks about the complications of recreating French bread in America- I went on around looking for some vital wheat gluten to get that strong bread flour (I’ve heard the Flour De Ble T55 is good, but I have yet to try! ) but failed miserably. I had to go with just using normal all purpose flour and sacrificed the texture of my bread but it honestly turned out amazing and reminded me of all the French bread I’ve had before.
I followed this recipe by half (would totally recommend!) My next baguette goal is to follow the Tartine Bread recipe- can’t wait to make that Poolish and Leaven! (Need to start on my starter, I forgot to feed my last one for a week and it turned blue.)
I also went on a super long adventure with making choux pastry. I don’t understand why but I have this want to be good at pastry- though I really really don’t have the knack for it. I think a part of the reason why I really got into baking last year because it was just easier to transport baked goods everyday to work then spilling hot rajma over the rapido dude (I still feel really sorry for that guy, I hope he’s doing okay.)
I started with making Churros and it seemed super simple. I used this recipe here and made half of it.
And then I realised what I really really wanted to make with choux pastry was Paris Brest. Something I had eaten on my adventures when I had visited my brother in Rennes. It was my favourite holiday I have ever gone to- possibly because I spent the entire day outside eating from various places and come back home at the same time as when my brother came back from home and he’d just bring me more food from patisseries. I remember having Paris Brest the most because it just looked gorgeous also because the name was so weird that I started calling it Paris boobies. Again a weird name, because the historical context behind this dessert is the fact that it was made for a cycling competition between Paris and Brest therefore the circular face.
I tried out a couple of recipes, and I think I ended up making it four times in four days back to back. My parents were rather fed up from eating it. But this is the recipe I finally finalised on after testing many. I cannot stress enough how important it is to properly mix your choux pastry. That V- shape is necessary and can be a deal breaker when it comes to piping the choux. Something that nobody seemed to talk about was how important oven settings were. I swear, the first three times it went wrong for me was because I kept ruining the oven settings. I have a Morphy Richards OTG (I really would not recommend this to anyone) the temperature settings are all haywire. But the temperatures that worked in my oven were 160C for 20 minutes and 140C for 40 minutes afterwards. It’s also VERY important to keep ajar you oven for 20 minutes after done baking and to leave your choux inside. Otherwise it’ll deflate and most important never open your oven throughout the baking process.
For the praline paste, I went for a chikki flavour because who can afford buying hazelnuts in this country, please. I roasted 100 grams of peanuts till they were brown. Took a medium saucepan, added 100grams sugar, 2 tablespoons water and kept stirring it till it turned to an amber colour and added in the roasted peanuts. Stired for a couple of seconds and put it on top of an oven tray with parchment paper. Voila! Chikki Paris Brest.
Fun random advice: If you have excess choux pastry left you can make some Gnocchi Parisienne. I would advise if you put this on boiling and you see white parts coming out and if its just floppy, just add 50grams more flour to it.
Gnochi with lettuce and leftover baguette