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Tastes & Traditions: Tartelet "Karamel of Toasted Nuts" by Nicolas Haelewyn

Tastes & Traditions

TARTELET “KARAMEL OF TOASTED NUTS” BY NICOLAS HAELEWYN

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Makes: 6 tartlets
Preparation time: 2.30 h
Cooking time: 1 h


Ingredients:



For pecan sweet pastry dough

80 g butter
30 g egg
45 g powdered sugar
125 g flour
1.5 g fleur de sel
15 g pecan meal

For vanilla Karamel fondant & fleur de sel

100 g sugar
15 g water
20 g glucose
60 g butter
50 g cream
1 g fleur de sel
1 vanilla bean

For mixed toasted nuts

Pine nuts – 35g
Unblanched almonds – 75g
Whole pecans – 50g
Pistachios – 75g
Skinned hazelnuts – 50g

Syrup:

30°B syrup / Water – 100g / Sugar – 100g

Pecan sweet pastry dough





Soften the butter, and work it in a stand mixer using a flat beater. Add the powdered sugar and blanch the mixture. Gradually add the tempered egg. Combine the dry ingredients (flour and pecan meal, sifted together) into the mixture. Wrap the obtained dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours.

Vanilla Karamel fondant & fleur de sel



Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and cook to a blond caramel (185°C).



Infuse the vanilla in the hot cream, and deglaze the caramel with the hot infused cream
 
Cook together for approximately 1 minute
 
Add the butter in pieces and the fleur de sel. Keep at room temperature

Toasted fruits



In a bowl, combine all the nuts by hand with 30 g of 30°B syrup*.
On a black baking sheet with baking paper, spread out the mixed nuts to toast in the oven for approximately 8 minutes at 170°C. They need to be toasted all the way through.
Leave to cook at room temperature.

* 30°B syrup = water + sugar brought to a boil

Assembly



Line Exoglass® tartlet rings with the dough.





Blind-bake the tartlet cases for 20 minutes at 150°C.

Make a very thin melted milk chocolate base (chablonne), sprinkle with a pinch of fleur de sel and reserve.





Chef Spotlight: Nicolas Haelewyn

Chef Spotlight

NICOLAS HAELEWYN

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

By his own admission, Nicolas Haelewyn fell into the caramel pot when he was small. A childhood in Normandy and grandparents who bred dairy cows has definitively sealed his fate: after a decade traveling the planet for Ladurée, the pastry chef opened his shop “Karamel Paris” last year. Meet the “Karaboss” is his Yvelines lab.

   

DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A PASTRY CHEF BECAUSE OF NORMANDY AND ITS DELICACIES?

Without a doubt! I’ve been immersed in a universe of good products since a very young age as my grandparents had a dairy farm in Normandy. I grew up on the farm, spending all my holidays there. My grandmother would prepare ‘tergoule’ there, which is a type of rice pudding with caramel, it was delicious! Gastronomy has always had an important role in my family. I also had a great uncle who owned a bakery in the Cher area. I started there at a very young age, working firstly in bread baking and then continued in pastry. After that, I continued studying in Normandy until I earned the ‘brevet de maitrise’ (master’s qualification).

THEN YOU LEFT YOUR DEAR NORMANDY FOR THE CAPITAL?

I left Normandy when I was 21, after working for 5 years in the same establishment, a traditional pastry and chocolate shop who worked by the book, it was a very good school where I integrated the basics. Then I came to Paris to work at Ladurée. That lasted 10 years, and I spent the last 5 years as an international chef. It was then that I really learnt another profession: I traveled the world teaching the French method to other pastry chefs.

HOW DID THE SWITCH BETWEEN NORMANDY AND LADURÉE TAKE PLACE?

I wanted to go abroad, and so I simply answered an ad placed by the chef at Ladurée. And I can tell you that I have traveled far more than I imagined! As well as being bilingual in English, I’ve got a really open mind and have made some magical encounters… this position taught me to be resourceful, to adapt not only to basic ingredients and equipment in each country but also to the culture of local pastry chefs who need to be trained from A to Z. For us, it’s almost innate because we learn pastry. But for Filippinos or Sri Lankans who haven’t learnt like us, you have to start at the very beginning!

YOU WERE ALSO IN CHARGE OF PURCHASING EQUIPMENT?

I had the chance to manage laboratory plans and referencing materials and primary ingredients: I selected them for diffusion in each territory. There were even times when I’d place orders directly. The reference was Paris. Then, we had to adapt according to the sizes of the laboratories: Paris, is 1000 m2. But when you open a lab in Qatar with only 80 m2, then the materiel just won’t be the same…! To start with, Ladurée worked exclusively with a single supplier but it was becoming redundant, so I brought in Matfer for the international scene.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE IMPORTANT CRITERIA FOR A SUPPLIER?

Quality, and Made in France! I can remember being invited by Matfer to Longny-au-Perche and when you visit the factory, they show you whisks, still made in France. You can see the machine that makes scrapers, etc. … and that matters. And, to be honest, the fact that the factory is in Normandy helps (Laughs). For Ladurée, developing greatly overseas, what can be better than working with French suppliers! You know, there are few who work for the artisan, and we can always count on Matfer.

AN INNOVATION THAT MAKES YOUR LIFE EASIER?

“I’ve been using Exoglass moulds for the past 4 years, and was using them at Ladurée. I’ve never had a problem with turning out. With Exoglass, no need to grease them and cooking is really good, leaving no marks. What’s also good is that you can use the mold on both sides: if you want a straight edge in a cake, you can simply just work on the flat side. You can even obtain a rounded edge, like for a pear and almond cream tartlet by simply using the other side.”



HOW WAS THE KARAMEL ADVENTURE BORN?

I spent 10 fabulous years at Ladurée, and professionally grew a lot. I was very lucky to have carte blanche with the general management, and I left on very good terms. Yet, I think that I’d come to the end of what I could bring to Ladurée, I’d done it all. I also just wanted to settle down and I felt ready to build my own business. I have the soul of an entrepreneur.

WHAT DRIVES YOU TODAY?

I take pleasure in creating, in meeting people. We have a magical profession, in a magical city. It is possible to have fun and to live off your creations! I’m always creating, however I have a hard time creating under pressure: for example if I have an event the next week, I’ll get a blockage, sometimes I can’t even sleep, it’s a nightmare. And yet, when I have time, like when I’m on vacation, that’s when I’m bubbling the most!



WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?

My associate and I are looking for a second sales point in Paris, near the Marais. This shop will be very different from the one in the 7th district: each Karamel shop will have its own identity, with some specific products for the type of clientele. As for overseas, we’re in an advanced stage of discussion with Japan…

RESUME

Born in 1985, Nicolas Haelewyn spent his childhood in Normandy. In summer, he worked in his uncle’s bakery and then in his cousin’s pastry shop where he discovered his passion for caramel when making his first croquembouches. He then took on studying pastry in the region to learn the profession, taking on a CAP, BEP and Brevet de Maîtrise. He then spent five years working for a pastry and chocolate artisan in Normandy before answering a job offer at Ladurée for its international development.

At the age of 20, he began working for this prestigious establishment, starting out assisting the pastry chef in Paris, then in 2011, as international pastry chef. Another 5 years, during which he opened a dozen of the brand’s establishments around the world. At the age of 30, and after 10 years at Ladurée, the young chef felt the need to express his own talent, acknowledging both his childhood souvenirs and his dear Normandy, and in 2006 opened his first boutique – tea room “Karamel Paris” in the 7th district of the capital.

Tastes & Traditions: Duck Liver Parfait with Elder Flower Gelee

Tastes & Traditions

DUCK LIVER PARFAIT WITH ELDER FLOWER GELÉE BY CHEF JOHNNY BESCH

Friday, May 4, 2018

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Ingredients:



Duck Liver Parfait:


Duck Livers, Fresh 500g
Shallot 10g
Garlic 10g
Butter 150g
Cream 230g
Eggs 5 ea.
Salt 7g
Cognac 30g
TCM 2g

Elderflower Gelee:


Elderflower Liqueur 100g
Ver Jus Blanc 50g
Sheet Gelatin 4.5g

Huckleberry Pickle:


Costal Huckleberry 200g
Red Wine Vinegar 200g
Eau 130g
Sugar, Granulated 70g
Juniper Nerry, Dry 50g

Duck Liver Parfait :

Sauté shallot and garlic, set aside to cool perfectly. Scale out remaining ingredients, melt butter.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Combine in vita prep. Puree on high 30-45 seconds. Pass mixture through a chinois.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Fill glass jars with 100g of liver base.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

In a hot water bath steam/bake at 150°C for 25-30 minutes until pate is set slightly firm. The mixture will soufflé and have a slight bounce.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Elderflower Gelee :

Combine Elderflower liquor and Ver Jus in a small sauce pot and warm up to 90°C. In a small container pour cold water over gelatin sheets to hydrate. Once hydrated remove from cold water and whisk into warm Elderflower mixture. Pour over perfectly chilled duck liver parfait and place in walk-in box to set firm.

Huckleberry Pickle :

Make a sachet out of Dry Juniper with cheese cloth. In a small sauce pot combine vinegar, sugar, water and juniper sachet. Bring pickle up to 100°C and cool down before pouring over fresh huckleberry. Place pickled huckleberry’s in a airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours before use.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann



Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

TOOLS FOR THE TASTE

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: Elvéo Spatula, Frypan, Sautepan, Exoglass® Strainer, Automatic Funnel.

Chef Spotlight: Johnny Besch

Chef Johnny Besch

Chef Spotlight

JOHNNY BESCH

Friday, May 4, 2018

BLVD restaurant and its chef Johnny Besch

PWINDY CITY: JOHNNY BESCH

All Chicago was a buzz last June when BLVD opened its doors in the West Loop, an area which had previously a rough reputation, but where today is known as the breeding ground of up and coming chefs.

It is an area where an industrial atmosphere collides with elegant restaurants. We discover diversity in cuisine styles, which give rise to an electrifying atmosphere. BLVD restaurant and chef Johnny Besch’s menu, all make sense in this unique district.

At the helm of this trendy new table, chef Johnny Besch. The made in America traveler, with his titan stature has come home to settle his pots and pans in his native town, and this time he’s decided to stay here. Here, at BLVD, he moves within a cinematographic setting inspired by Art Deco and works for a clientele made up of businessmen and hip young Chicagoans.

Chicago’s BLVD restaurant in the US state of Illinois is a unique establishment in a 1950’s Hollywood style setting. A glamorous site that is suspended in time between the past and present, gives rise to an exciting setting. At BLVD Chicago, the cuisine reignites American cuisine from the 1950’s with beef steak and potatoes, inspired by world cuisine, revealing a cultural blending and flavor explosion.

Chef Johnny Besch   

Meeting chef Johnny Besch:

You propose a menu in two parts: dishes to share and individual plates. Is this a common concept in Chicago?

Here, not all restaurants propose a concept of sharing. Most of the time, traditional tasting menus are served in very small portions with a maximum of two to three bites. At BLVD, I work with larger portions because our dishes are designed to be shared by four, five or six people. I’m very attached to this style of shared cuisine. In the last ten years in the US, chefs and caterers are really trying to push this. You know, Americans are used to eating for themselves, in an egotistical way. Among our clientele, we have a lot of businessmen in their fifties. For them, the concept of sharing doesn’t really work. But, on the other hand, friends or families like sharing dishes as it’s friendlier. They’ll choose two or three starters, two or three mains… We send them out and everything is set out on the table before them and that way, everyone gets what they want!

Chef Johnny Besch

Chef Johnny Besch

What are the latest culinary trends in Chicago?

Oh, there are plenty! I’ll just mention a few; firstly a Middle-Eastern influence, flavor combination, spices and plating styles. Then, there’s a big trend to respect seasonality, to work with products from local farms, and this comes from the request of the customer. Some chefs highlight independent farms, which I do too. I’ve met with producers who supply me with mushrooms, flowers, ducks… At the moment I work with Closed Loop Farms, a network of regional urban farms around Chicago, that connects the producer to the consumer. For example: the Chicago Mushroom Company for mushrooms, or Publican Quality Bread for bread. This proximity with the farmer is one of the biggest trends in Chicago.

Who are the chefs who inspire you?

Everyone I’ve worked for! And I’ve learnt from many prestigious French chefs in the US. Including Alain Ducasse at Mix on the Beach at W Retreat and Spa, in Puerto Rico. He has about 30 restaurants, and inspires me greatly, he’s an ultra-perfectionist: ingredient intensity, style, esthetics … a beautiful experience, difficult but excellent! He’s one of the founders of French cuisine. Before him, I worked with chef Laurent Gras at L20. It doesn’t exist today but it was one of the two Michelin three-star restaurants in Chicago. I learnt a lot from him too. I spent ten years on the west coast, and worked for a “master chef”, Philippe Bulot at Heathman Restaurant. A great source of inspiration for me … And when I came back to Chicago, I moved around a lot, even if it wasn’t overseas as much as I would have liked. I’m going to South America at the end of the year. And I’d like to go to Europe. I’ve never been there but it’s my next destination!

Chef Johnny Besch

Are you influenced by French cuisine?

Very much! I’d even say that I spend most of my time working with French cuisine, but not exclusively. Of course from the years I spent in Puerto Rico and Central America I’ve been influenced by Latin cuisine and its ingredients. I’m also strongly influenced by Asian cuisine, especially Japanese.

Chef Johnny Besch

Would you say that French cuisine is more demanding?

You know, success for me is first and foremost the customer who appreciates their dish. I think that many chefs are obsessed with perfection. And for us, perfection is a direction but not an end in itself. For example, I don’t think our style of cuisine is Michelin style. I wouldn’t refuse a star of course, but it’s not my main goal.

Matfer and chef Johnny Besch:

For several years, Matfer and chef Johnny Besch cultivate a trusting relationship around a common value: the respect in the work of the product. Chef Johnny Besch attaches importance to the choice of ingredients that he will then work with. Together, we strive to sublimate the products when they come to be cooked. A desire we find when he evokes the Matfer utensil he prefers: the dough scraper, A Matfer utensil that has followed him around for several years, and which is in line with his vision of cuisine, where the product is at the center of attention and should not be wasted.

Chef Johnny Besch

When did you meet Matfer?

I knew Matfer about 10 years ago. For me, this French brand symbolizes quality. And especially in pastry as Matfer is without a doubt, the best brand by far.

What is your favorite Matfer utensil?

My favorite tool is my scraper! I’ve been using it for years. For me, it’s essential to get to the bottom of a bowl and reduce the amount of waste. I also use it to cut and divide doughs into portions, to mix, and for a lot of other things. It’s easy to hold, and I’ve tried several, but this one is the most appropriate. I’d also say the whisk, very practical and resistant to high temperatures.

Chef Johnny Besch

You have tested the Prep chef professional French fries cutter. What do you think about it?

It’s great for preparing fries for example (discover our professional French fries cutter Prep chef). You can do everything with just one hand! We can cut them small, the pieces are regular and it’s not as dangerous as the mandolin for example. Just put in the potato and presto! It’s safe and efficient.

Chef Johnny Besch

Express resume of Johnny Besch and his career path before BLVD

Chef Johnny Besch

 

Born in Chicago in 1981, Johnny Besch left for Portland, Oregon when he was just 20 to train at the Western Culinary Institute, a well-known school, and until recently known under the name of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. After graduating in in 2004, Johnny worked for two years as sous-chef at the gastronomic restaurant Epicure before becoming chef de partie at the Heathman Restaurant & Bar for French chef, Philippe Boulot until 2009.

Johnny then left Portland and returned to Chicago, working as chef de partie at the Michelin 3-starred restaurant L2O under chef Laurent Gras’ direction until 2010. At that time there were only two three-starred restaurants in Chicago!

Travel called again to the eager young chef who accepted the position of sous-chef at Mix on The Beach, the Alain Ducasse restaurant at W Retreat & Spa on the island of Puerto Rico. In 2011, Johnny returned to his hometown to become executive chef at Bistro Bordeaux, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, in Chicago’s northern suburbs, working alongside the Bordeaux restaurateur Pascal Berthoumieux. In 2013, feeling the need to return west to work with ocean products, he ran Pickled Fish at Adrift Hotel & Spa, an 80-room hotel in Long Beach (Washington). He then moved to Cape Cod as executive chef and culinary director for Tap City Grille and Beech Tree Cantina, running a team of 50 staff.

In all, Johnny Besch spent a decade in the Pacific Northwest to learn alongside the best chefs. In returning to Chicago, Johnny joined Sancerre Hospitality to open their flagship restaurant, BLVD in the West Loop district in June 2017.

Tastes & Traditions: Brioche with champagne

Tastes & Traditions

Brioche with champagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Ingredients: (Yield : 12 brioches scaled 400g)



Champagne preferment:


Bread flour 450 g
Fresh Yeast 12 g
Champagne 375 g

Dough:



Bread flour 1500 g
Salt 53g
Fresh Yeast 20 g
Sugar 300 g
Milk 375 g
Whole eggs 525 g
Butter 790 g
Golden raisins 600 g
Rum 60 g

Macaron Mix:



Almond paste 50% 270 g
Whole almond powder 525 g
Oil 115 g
Corn starch 115 g
Egg white 200 / 300 g
Vanilla paste 40 g

Finition:



Chopped whole almonds 150 g
Confectionary sugar
200 g

Preferment:

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Mix the preferment with a spatula and store overnight in the cooler.

Dough:

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Mix the dough in planetary mixer like a brioche : preferment, flour, salt, yeast, sugar, milk, eggs 5 min. in 1st speed, then 10 min. in the second speed (until the dough doesn’t stick on the). Add the cold butter and mix 5 more min. in second speed. Add the soaked raisins and mix at first speed until incorporated. Let rest the dough at room temperature during 45 min. Divide and preshape, let rest 10 more min.

Shape:

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Shape and put in exoglass brioche molds. Proof 2 hours at 80 F.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Preparation of the macaron mix:

With the paddle in a kitchenaid mix all the ingredients together and adjust the consistency with more or less egg white.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

The mix must be spreadable, but not liquid.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

At the end of the second fermentation, use a piping bag and a rubban nozzle on top of the brioches.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

With a stainless steel sieve cover the brioches with icing sugar.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Bake at 320F during 30 min. in a convection oven or 356F during 35 min. in a deck oven.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

TOOLS FOR THE TASTE

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: MIXING BOWL, EXOGLASS® SPATULA, DOUGH CUTTER, EXOGLASS® BREAD MOLD, ALUMINUM SCOOP.

Chef Spotlight: Pierre Zimmermann

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

Chef Spotlight

Pierre Zimmermann

Monday, April 2, 2018

Pierre Zimmermann's soul is Alsatian, and his heart Chicagoan. From Schnersheim to Old Town, on one fine day in 2009, he took the step to sell the family bakery in the Bas-Rhin and move to Chicago. With his wife Michèle and their two sons, the master baker founded La Fournette, with the idea of recreating his own small local bakery here. It was without counting on the American dream! Today, eight years later, this bakery world champion enthusiastically manages a flourishing business which has become a benchmark for chefs and local clientele alike.

Chef Pierre Zimmermann   

How did you arrive in Chicago?

Between 2000 and 2010, I’d come to Chicago twice a year to teach at the French Pastry School. Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sébastien Canonne, the founders of the school needed technical advice for breads and viennoiseries. That’s how the story started! At the beginning I jabbered a few words in English, and in my opinion it was a disaster for the students! (Laughs) But, as the years passed, the idea of opening a business germinated in my mind and in my wife Michèle’s. Then one day in 2010 we sold our Alsatian company of over 110 years to come here. We gave ourselves two years to build the concept. Of course to begin with, our idea was a bit smaller and even improvised in a French way of baking bread out the back and producing it out front. But in a city like Chicago, that type of concept doesn’t last long. Faced with a huge demand, we quickly moved on to plan B. In the United States, anything can happen!

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

How was the transition to increased production?

In the end, we didn’t go through the small shop stage that we’d dreamed of, because rents are too high to have a production area in the city. So we very quickly decided to split production and sales. We took a large empty warehouse and had everything built on plan. It was a colossal project for us coming from a small village with only four hundred inhabitants! And we opened on the July 14 2012. Today, we have two units. We got our hands on the one next door and we'd like to buy the next one.

How do you explain La Fournette’s success?

This city had a real need for artisanal bread. Chicago isn’t like Paris where you can go from one patisserie to another. I think La Fournette’s success is mainly due to the quality of our products and the fact that we use natural primary ingredients, even with large scale production. Making fifty baguettes without using improving agents is easy, but when you’re talking about making more than a thousand, then it becomes a real challenge. Also, we have retained a totally artisanal concept, and not mechanized production.

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

How do you maintain a traditional mode of production when you produce so much?

We have only multiplied the number of “arms”: we started out with fifteen and have fifty today. The three thousand breads we make each day are all manually shaped, in a very traditional way; with no preservatives, improving agents or food colours. This also applies to our macaroons; all made with natural food colours. The market exploded and last year we produced one and a half million.

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

Does the majority of your turnover come from B to B marketing?

Yes, we supply bistros such as chef Domique Tougne’s (Chez Moi), but also gastronomic restaurants. Our signature is bread and viennoiserie. We also work with hotels for the “VIP receptions” part which represents 50 to 3500 viennoiseries per hotel: Renaissance, Sheraton, Sofitel, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Blackstone,… The quality of our products is known in Chicago and many chefs want to work with us as we select our ingredients and try to be as “green” as possible. From local farms and mills I’ve found butter and flour with equivalent quality to French products. Our eggs come from free range chickens, without antibiotics and our products will shortly be guaranteed without GMOs. At the moment, we are working on a new range that is even more natural, artisanal and local. This is our footprint.

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

Since when does this demand for traceability exist in Chicago and the United States in general?

It has been a very strong phenomenon for the past five years. The customer is of course interested in the chef who prepares their dish but also the ingredients. Fifteen years ago, French chefs were considered gods in the US, and all they said was taken for granted. Today, it’s a very different story. We are not considered credible if we buy flour filled with preservatives while we say that we use premium products. It is necessary to go to the beginning of the chain, and yet the hardest part was to find people with whom to work sustainably. For example, to make macaroons, we buy almond powder directly from a farm near San Francisco. This is because we have specific hydrometric and particle size requirements. Today, we use a crate of almond powder every week!

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

When did you start working with Matfer?

In the Alsace, I already had Matfer equipment. You know, the catalogue is in every bakery-pâtisserie in France! So I continued when I arrived in Chicago, especially since Matfer was one of our partners at the opening of La Fournette: the company helped us greatly with purchasing our equipment. It is an important choice because when chefs come to the laboratory, the fact that we use Matfer, to them, is a true guarantee of the quality of the equipment.

They say to themselves : “this is a specialist, and if he chose this brand, then there is a reason for it!”

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

 

What utensil do you prefer using?

All of our sandwich bread moulds are in Exoglass. Firstly, the thermal conduction works very well. Then, honestly, there is a real difference between a metallic mould which will always transfer a taste to the bread, which isn’t the case with Exoglass, even with highly hydrated doughs. And for slow fermentation, it’s unbeatable, it doesn’t budge! In the dishwasher, Exoglass holds its own compared with metal moulds. For me, it’s a real advantage. Another advantage with Exoglass moulds is that you can directly shape the dough in the moulds and bake them the same day; you can put them in the refrigerator to bake the next day or even in the freezer before proving. This means you can bake fresh products every morning.

 

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

 

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

Another indispensable product?

What’s seriously missing here, are dough containers, so we had them brought over from Matfer France. Stackable containers are a problem with cooling in the refrigerator due to the insulation, whereas trolleys with eight containers leave enough space with good air circulation which ensures better control of fermentation.

Could you share a chef’s tip with us?

To waste less icing sugar on my brioches, I place the Exoglass moulds in such a way that the edges overlap before sprinkling. It’s just a little trick which divides the surface of sugar in two, which is usually lost down the sides of the mould.

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

 

And finally, do you miss the Alsace?

Leaving the Alsace for Chicago was a huge challenge for all the family since we’d never lived there. But Chicago is becoming a little Alsatian; there are a few of us who come together regularly here

“Alsatian mafia” rules! (laughter)

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

 

At the age of 15, Pierre Zimmermann started an apprenticeship at Naegel, a patisserie in the heart of Strasbourg where his friend Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of the French Pastry School (Chicago), also made his debut. Two years later, he ‘returned home’ and joined the family bakery in Schnersheim in the Alsace, where he proudly represented the fourth generation. At the same time, Pierre pursued his studies at the Chambre des Métiers d’Alsace and the Lenôtre school in Paris. He sat the Brevet de Maîtrise (Master’s qualification) in pâtisserie-confectionery-ice cream and that of baker, before brilliantly entering the competition arena. In 1996, it’s the Holy Grail: he won the Bakery World Cup. In 2008, it’s he who coached the French team at the World Cup and is yet again victorious. At the same time, between 2000 and 2010, he taught at the renowned French Pastry School, where he proposed the bakery-viennoiserie programme and created the “Bread program – l’Art de la Boulangerie”. In 2010, he founded La Fournette, working with his wife Michèle and their two sons, Luc and Nicolas. Master Baker, Master patissier and Bretzel d’Or, Pierre Zimmermann is also Member of the Académie Culinaire de France (The French Culinary Academy). He also won the prize for “Best Baguette Chicago 2017

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

Chef Pierre Zimmermann

Tastes & Traditions: Hybrid Desserts

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

Tastes & Traditions

Dining in the Age of Digital Dessert

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

In a Millennial-informed age of “too much is never enough”, dessert is no exception. While the top trends in delectable sweets used to focus on pairing unusual and unexpected ingredients, the recent rise of hybrid desserts - the innovative combination of two distinct dessert concepts into one - has officially assumed the spotlight. Pastry chefs across the country are getting creative with the latest trend that combines two pastry staples into one sweet surprise.

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

Perhaps one of the most illustrious examples is the Cronut (croissant + donut) made famous by New York pastry chef, Dominique Ansel. What seems like a donut on the outside, once ravenously bitten into, reveals itself to be a buttery, flaky, and often times filled croissant on the inside. In fact, the Cronut became so popular that a trademark was issued to protect the name. Now numerous adaptations exist such as "dossants."

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

In a similar fashion, Zac Young’s holiday-themed mash up, “PieCaken”, put a spotlight on his restaurant and career - this luxuriously rich hybrid pastry includes decadent layers of cake and holiday pie with a finish of oat streusel. Not unlike Ansel’s Cronut, Young’s PieCaken resulted in a firestorm of braggadocious social media posts from sugar-saturated fans lucky enough to get in on the highly addicting and ever-so-trendy action.

With the modern pastry market now rife with everything from crepe cakes to churro ice cream cones, the question must be asked: what's driving this trend’s popularity? Perhaps it’s an increasingly health-conscious generation choosing to eat less sugar and thus wanting to cram as many sweet flavors into one serving as possible. Or - and this would seem to be a more likely assertion - perhaps it’s the democratically-driven peer pressure of social media and hybrid desserts grabbing more of our collective attention with the all-too-rampant fear of missing out (FOMO).

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

In recent years, there is no mistaking social media’s influence throughout the culinary space, providing a landscape where digital influencers and a mass audience protected by the screen between them and their subject matter have the combined power to make or break the success of a dish, restaurant, and/or chef within a single post. So for the time being, it would seem hybrid desserts are enjoying the favor of the social audience at large - and the chefs responsible for leading the charge have the collective approval of their consumers from a granular level.

Who’s to say what the next socially-driven food trend will be? For the time being, we say let them eat PieCaken. Read more about hybrid desserts in this month's featured Chef Spotlight with Sherrie Tan.

Tools for the Taste

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: Revolving Cake Stand "Stabilodecor", Offset Spatula, Bourgeat Excellence Sauce Pan Without Lid, Non-Stick Crepe Pan, & “Tradition” Flared Sauté Pan Without Lid.

Chef Spotlight: Sherrie Tan

Chef Sherrie Tan

Chef Spotlight

Sherrie Tan

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Moving to upstate New York at the age of 19 to attend The Culinary Institute of America after spending her childhood in the Philippines, chef Sherrie Tan has never been shy about pursuing her passion in pastry. She began her post-graduation journey under esteemed pastry chef Gale Gand at her restaurant Tru in Chicago, moving on next to the renowned Charlie Trotters as assistant pastry chef. She followed this with a stint at the Peninsula Hotel before deciding on a change of pace, taking on new challenges as a cake decorator at Chicago-based Sweet Mandy B's in 2009. Sherrie has since flourished in the world of cakes and cookies, becoming Sweet Mandy B's head pastry chef in 2011. Lucky for us, she sat down to talk about her love of baking while making us a Key Lime Crepe Cake with Pineapple Coconut Jam to toast to the arrival of summer.

Chef Sherrie Tan

Chef Sherrie Tan

Your dessert is inspired by your Philippine heritage. What are some other key flavors from the Philippines you love to bake with?

I actually wanted to do something with ube, because I want the real thing like I can find back home. It’s hard to get it in the U.S. unless you’re friends with someone who actually grows it. I’m actually going to Hawaii to meet with my family next week, and I’ve asked them to bring me some ube goodies!

What does ube taste like?

It’s a root vegetable, and it’s very subtle. It’s very similar to taro, but less starchy. Because of it's subtlety, you put a lot of ingredients on top of it to compliment it's delicate flavor.

Chef Sherrie Tan

While we're talking about foods from other cultures, what culinary culture do you think has the best desserts?

You know what, I love Japanese desserts. They aren’t too sweet – some people may consider Japanese desserts to be bland because they’re less sweet – but I feel like their techniques are so spot on! The Japanese have borrowed a lot from other cultures, like French techniques mixed with Japanese technology. I just love how subtle, simple and clean the desserts are there. And every single component is perfect.

Chef Sherrie Tan

Chef Sherrie Tan

We understand the allure of a crepe cake. For those of us not familiar, why a crepe cake?

I like the texture of it, and it ends up being really visually appealing while still tasting good. It’s worth the extra labor time you have compared to a standard cake.

Speaking of extra labor, are there ingredients that you find particularly hard to work with?

There aren't really difficult ingredients so much as there are difficult preparations. Let’s say you’re making Thai curry ice cream. I like to make the base on my own by getting the raw ingredients and pounding it with a mortar and pestle – that takes a while. With challenging ingredients, it's more the process that can be tricky – and that's where using the right tools comes in! Although maybe when you use fresh coconut that you have to crack into – sometimes that can be pretty difficult!

Chef Sherrie Tan

Chef Sherrie Tan

Other than the standard chef’s knife, which no good chef can live without, what kitchen tool do you find indispensable?

Definitely rubber scrapers. Both professional chefs and home cooks need that in the kitchen, so you’re using all of your ingredients and wasting nothing.

A couple of years ago you saw a rise in global street food and correctly called it as one of the culinary world’s next big trends. So what’s next?

I think Filipino desserts and cuisine are on the rise. Filipino dishes and flavors have already started popping up, but I think it’s happening more rapidly now. Pretty soon your grandma is going to be asking you, “What’s ube? Where can I find it?”

Chef Sherrie Tan

How has baking in an “old-fashioned dessert” spot shaped your baking style?

My training is mostly in fine-dining, so it was a bit of a culture shock for me to end up baking old-fashioned, home-style desserts. But it opened my eyes. Before I started at Sweet Mandy B’s, I felt like I just had to have to best ingredients for everything all the time. When you’re in fine dining, you use all of these fancy ingredients and have access to that. While I really appreciate that, I think there is beauty in something simple and approachable. There are more great desserts out there other than fine-dining style plated desserts. 

Since we've been talking about desserts this whole time, we can't let you go without asking: Do you have any guilty pleasure junk foodS?

A lot! It’s really bad. Everything doughnuts. Even Hostess! There are also these things called Tastykakes from Philadelphia that I absolutely love. I could eat a whole box of their Butterscotch Krimpets.

Chef Sherrie Tan

Chef Sherrie Tan

As a baking expert, do you have any advice for someone who is intimidated by baking and pastry?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! I still make mistakes every day. I’ll still burn a tray or two of cookies or cupcakes sometimes. That’s just the way it is. You just have to do it, and if you make a mistake, you try to do it differently the next time – maybe use a different technique or tool. Change up the ingredients and read up on cooking as much as you can. There is no way to get the intimidation out of the way unless you actually do it.

Tools for the Taste

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: Revolving Cake Stand "Stabilodecor", Offset Spatula, Bourgeat Excellence Sauce Pan Without Lid, Non-Stick Crepe Pan, & “Tradition” Flared Sauté Pan Without Lid.

Tastes & Traditions: Coffee in the Spice Drawer

edible flowers

Tastes & Traditions

Coffee in the Spice Drawer

Thursday, June 1, 2017

General interest in boutique and artisanal coffee shops has exploded over the last few years as baristas are looking to more complex and interesting forms of brewing. That coffee can inspire such attention to detail and cultish following as a drink may explain why it’s being explored in culinary applications, too. But chefs aren’t just changing the face of the coffeehouse by opening coffee concepts in conjunction with their full-service restaurants — this strong bean is also making its way into cocktails, pastry, and cooking in general.

chef working with edible flowers

edible flowers and tomatoes make the perfect pair

Once coffee is added to a dish, it lends new dimension to the flavor profile as well as a level of exotic appeal. Until recently, this was most commonly seen in a classic combo: coffee and chocolate. It’s unsurprising, then, that coffee has a long history in baking because it's so well suited for sweets. However, coffee can be traced back to at least the 1930s in cocktail applications as well. Irish coffee is credited to a chef in Ireland who tossed whiskey into coffee for American travelers in the 1940s, and Tia Maria — a Jamaican coffee and rum liqueur — has been around since at least the '30s.

matfer prep chef used to slice tomatoes

Today, coffee pairings far outstrip these basic combinations as chefs experiment with the many sweet and savory flavor profiles that can be enhanced by coffee. The caffeinated bean complements many unexpected dishes by adding a quintessentially roasted, bitter, earthy, and complex taste element. Chefs are beginning to test innovative cooking processes, like simmering coffee beans in olive oil to extract their earthy essence into their cooking, or using ground coffee in spice rubs to tenderize and add flavor to meat. From prime rib to spaghetti Bolognese, we are seeing more interesting and inventive uses of coffee for beverages, desserts, and main dishes alike.

matfer prep chef used to slice tomatoes

matfer prep chef used to slice tomatoes

Coffee-infused beer, and coffee sodas will also be making a larger appearance this summer, as breweries are partnering with artisanal roasters to create boozy, coffee flavored brews. The Italian espresso brand illy is responding to consumer request and promoting an “espressoda” – illy espresso, club soda, and vanilla syrup served in a latte glass. As these trends develop and evolve, we can expect to see coffee integrating itself into the general spice drawer for general baking and cooking. Read more about baking with coffee in this month's featured Chef Spotlight with Zac Young.

Tools for the Taste

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: Exoglass® Tart RingsExoglass® Pastry CuttersExopan® Steel Non-stick Open Savarin MoldPetit Bowl Ludico, & Petit Bowl Evaz

Chef Spotlight: Zac Young

Chef Zac Young

Chef Spotlight

Zac Young

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Named one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America 2015, Chef Zac Young has taken the pastry world by storm with his irreverent takes on classic American desserts. From his beginnings working in the wig department at Radio City Music Hall to his all-in-one viral Thanksgiving sensation, The PieCaken, Zac's career has been anything but ordinary. Now the Pastry Director of Craveable Hospitality Group (formerly known as David Burke Group), we were thrilled to sit down with Zac to enjoy his signature wit and pastry wisdom while he whipped up the perfect surprise just in time for Donut Day: a coffee and donut tart.

Zac Young makes coffee and donut tart

From wigs to whisks, what was it like switching careers?

Scary? I was kind of naive coming into this industry. I didn't really know what I got myself into. By the time I figured it out, it was too late. I was hooked.

What was the first dessert you ever made?

Cookies are actually what sparked my interest in pastry. I started playing with recipes, and fell in love with creativity within the confines of science, which I think is the heart of pastry.

Zac Young makes coffee and donut tart

Zac Young makes coffee and donut tart

When was the last time you tried a pastry or dessert that completely blew you away, and what was it?

Dominique Ansel is best known for the Cronut, but I'm obsessed with his Kouign-Amann. It's basically an extra sugary croissant baked into a ring so the edges are crispy and the center is gooey and buttery. They are even better hot out of the oven!

What is your favorite quality about pastry?

Creativity within the confines of science. Every dish is a challenge, a puzzle, an equation. It is mental, physical, and artistic.

Zac Young makes coffee and donut tart

What was the inspiration for this tart you’re making us today?

It's a play on my French training mixed with my slightly over-the-top American style of desserts. It also glorifies the donut.

How do the tools that you use affect your creative process?

I love tools and toys! Sometimes, I'll see a Flexipan® and the shape will inspire a dish. I'm also always looking for inventive ways to use the tools that I have, like baking on the back sides of a Silform®, or setting a panna cotta in a glass placed on an angle in a French Bread Pan. I actually got the idea for the tart by looking at the Savarin Exopan® Molds. I thought, "Hmmm, that looks like a donut... what if I made a kind of finessed but fun coffee and donut tart?"

Zac Young makes coffee and donut tart

What 3 ingredients do you use on a daily basis?

Aside from the obvious like AP flour, butter, and eggs... crème fraîche, blueberries, and bourbon.

What would you do without butter?

I'd survive, but life would not be as great.

What is your favorite coffee to use in your baked goods?

Something that is fresh. Coffee has a shelf life. I like to use something that's locally roasted.

How do you bake with coffee without overpowering the dessert?

I like to do a cold infusion. I take the beans, gently toast them in the oven to wake up the oils, then add them to cold cream or milk and let it sit overnight. It gives a lot of flavor without being acidic.

Zac Young makes coffee and donut tart

Zac Young makes coffee and donut tart

Do you taste everything that you make?

I do... but just a taste... except for ice cream, then I have a very big taste.

What is a pastry chef’s secret to staying fit?

It's all about balance. I'm not willing to sacrifice delicious food, so I have to work extra hard at the gym. I alternate between Pilates and Hot Yoga, which also gives me time to clear my mind.

Zac Young makes coffee and donut tart

How did it feel to have your #PieCaken go viral?

Strange. I actually had no clue what was happening. My friends kept texting me, "Hey, you are on Kelly & Michael." "Hey, you are on the Today Show... In Australia!" It took on a life of its own. I was focused to keeping up with orders.

What would be the ultimate mash up dessert?

Bourbon, ice cream, and a nap!

Zac Young makes coffee and donut tart

Zac Young makes coffee and donut tart

Tools for the Taste

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: Exoglass® Tart Rings, Exoglass® Pastry Cutters, Exopan® Steel Non-stick Open Savarin Mold, Petit Bowl Ludico, & Petit Bowl Evaz