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fanny_the_fairy

My life as an intern at Pierre Hermé

25 posts in this topic

So I'm not sure whether you remember it or not but a few month ago I posted a new thread here because I was slightly scared with an upcoming internship.

Now I am actually an intern at Pierre Hermé and I thought you'd like to have some update.

Thanks for all the amazing feedback you guys provided!!!

Love

- fanny

<a href="http://www.foodbeam.com/2007/07/07/sunday-well-saturday-cest-herme-first-week-ispahan-emotions-sensations-baked-treats/">First week: Ispahan, Emotions, Sensations & baked treats</a>

Just one week after I arrived from New Zealand I'm already off to Paris for the long awaited <strong>internship at Pierre Hermé</strong>.

After waking up at 4.30, I head towards the 15° arrondissement shop, enter the apparently empty shop<em> sur la pointe des pieds</em>. Where is everyone? Luckily I quickly stumble onto Sebastien, the morning team head chef, who gives me the locker keys. I can finally go downstairs and get changed.

Hmmmmm the <strong><em>pâtissier</em> outfit</strong>! While I was over-excited when I bought it because it represented the first step towards my dream, this outfit is <strong>anything but dreamy</strong>. Think <em>oversized jacket</em>, <em>high-waist pied-de-poule pants</em> and Pierre Hermé<em> baseball cap</em>; the most fashionable item being the shoes – white<em> sabots.</em>

<strong> Honestly, who could look good wearing that?</strong> Well ok, some girls do but I don’t. And just in case I still had some hopes, one of the guys said <em>'oh mais fanny vous etes <strong>beaucoup plus belle</strong> comme ca, vraiment'</em> [fanny you look <strong>way better</strong> with these clothes on] when he saw me leaving the building wearing my <em>normal everyday clothes</em>. He looked shocked, trust me!

Once this first step is checked and I've understood how pointless it is to look at myself in the mirror, I can actually go upstairs and meet the chefs. Before that, I have to put an <strong>apron</strong> – well two actually: a cotton one and a plastic one; but this is only an anticipatory action as I know I tend to get quite dirty (and this is a total euphemism) when I cook.

Then I arrive in the laboratoire, wash my hands and shake everyone's hands. At this point, I am completely lost. Who is who? Hmmm names, so many different names. Luckily, I'm quite good with names so after a few minutes I am familiar with everyone just like we've known each others for years. That's totally not true though, and the use of <strong><em>vous</em></strong> is here to remind it.

Indeed saying <em>vous</em> instead of <em>tu </em>is like the <strong>first basic rule in the pastry shop survival guide</strong>.

The second one being to say <strong><em>chaud</em></strong> [litteraly: hot] whenever you're carrying something (usually really heavy) and not necessarily hot, as the term suggests, and you don't want anyone to get in the way. Basically, chefs say chaud not to be gross and say <em>'dégage'</em> although the meanings of both words are really close. Once this rule is mastered, you have to start applying it. And believe me it feels quite weird to yell <em>chaud</em> every other minute. Though, it appears to be quite useful because you don't want to spill 118°C sugar syrup on your boss, do you? Well some of you might - sometimes, but please before doing so you should strongly consider a career change and/or an escape from your country, a face makeover and a name change.

By now it's just after <strong>6am</strong> and <strong>I am awake</strong> (holly jetlag). Like not just awake – I am widely concentrated on everyone's moves and there are <em>many many</em> moves. <strong>In the morning team, everyone is here to produce all the cakes, entremets, emotions, yeasty treats... with the most dedicated passion.</strong>

The variety of tasks makes for the most interesting job. While every member of the team is responsible of a specific area, I wander from <em>poste</em> to <em>poste</em> to help the chef do the tasks they can't do because of their super-extra-busy schedules.

Thus in one week I got to do many different things: from sorting almonds to prepare candied lemon peels.

I started by weighing the ingredients for the <strong>crème onctueuse au chocolat</strong>. This was straightforward and was the perfect task to give me confidence on the first day.

However, I was quite – and happily – surprised when the manager told me to go with Simon to decorate the <strong>Ispahan entremets</strong>.

The Ispahan entremets are definitely one of the it-pastries at Pierre Hermé, so I was really excited to know that I was about to decorate them.<img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1184766732/gallery_48830_3725_30734.png" alt="ispahan1.png" />

This part was overwhelming – first I had to arrange raspberries on the rose-flavoured buttercream, fill with chopped and fragrant litchis, and then decorate the top macaron by piping a drop of glucose on rose petals and then sticking them, along with some raspberries, on the macaron.

Assembling the <strong>Emotions </strong>was also a great job. Emotions are Pierre Hermé's signature desserts presented in glasses and eaten with a spoon - well unless you like to lick your fingers!

I had the chance to make both Emotions <strong>Mosaic</strong> (griotte jelly, pistachio jelly, pistachio mascarpone cream) and <strong>Celeste</strong> (rhubarb compote, fresh strawberries, passion fruit and mascarpone mousse, passion fruit marshmallows).

<img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1184766732/gallery_48830_3725_187337.png" alt="emotion11.png" />

These are entertaining to make (basically I piped a fixed quantity of jelly with a piston into glasses - see Sensations below for more details) and are really yummy. I must say I have a weak spot for the passion fruit guimauves, even though it was a really-teeny (don't want to sound like I'm complaining because I am not) pain when I had to separate hundreds of them and roll them in icing sugar.

As you might imagine I was happy to get to make so many different things and I was really proud when they actually let me make a whole batch of <strong>Sensation Celeste</strong>. Sensations are glasses filled with different jellies and generally topped with a macaron.

First, I had to make the rhubarb compote: gelatine, rhubarb purée, lemon juice and sugar, pour a fixed quantity of it into small glasses with a piston, and allow to set before doing the same with both strawberry and passion fruit jellies.

On the same note, I also piped some banana and strawberry jelly into small round shapes for the entremet <strong>Désiré</strong>, which is totally delicious by the say.

<img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1184766732/gallery_48830_3725_31076.png" alt="desiree.png" />

However, I couldn't do just what I had to and couldn't restrain myself from peeking here and there. Anna, who I didn't really get to work with, is responsible for all the treats that have to go through the oven step. Hence, she makes all the brioches, croissants and other yeasty treats. But she also makes the <strong>cannelés</strong> and <strong>millefeuilles</strong>.

The cannelés are probably the best ones I've ever had: fresh, soft and fragrant.

<img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1184766732/gallery_48830_3725_247953.png" alt="canneles1.png" />

As for the millefeuille I picked a Mosaic millefeuille because I love the pistachio-cherry combination. This was a real winner: the slight tanginess of the griottes nicely balances the creaminess of the pistachio cream. I can't wait to work in the dough team because their <em>feuilletage</em> is excellent! Hopefully in two weeks...

<img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1184766732/gallery_48830_3725_144654.png" alt="millefeuille-mosaic.png" />

<em><strong>Next week: c'est la folie des macarons [it's all about macarons].</strong></em>


Edited by fanny_the_fairy (log)

fanny loves foodbeam

pâtisserie & sweetness

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I've read your blog, Fanny! Those look awesome. Can't wait for you to post some more. Good luck in your endeavors!


Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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I'm also a fan of your blog, Fanny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I made the Emotion Vanille you posted and just like the writing overall.

Outstanding piece so far, can't wait for the future installments!

Thanks so much for throwing us this and I hope you continue to enjoy!


2317/5000

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Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!

Thanks.

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Wow I decided to post over here in eGullet because I'm not aware so many people read my blog. Hope this thread will be useful though!

Love

- fanny

April - I will have a look so I can tell you!


Edited by fanny_the_fairy (log)

fanny loves foodbeam

pâtisserie & sweetness

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Thanks so much for taking the time to post your adventure. I'm really looking forward to it.


Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Beautifully done, Fanny. Thanks for the treat. Your photos are stellar. I too am looking forward to further installments.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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What blog? What blog? I want to read it too!

Fanny, thank you for sharing with us; I am delighted to read about your experience and learn right along with you!

Waiting with baited breath for the next installment....

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awesome great report, thanks!

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Very cool. I'm jealous (not that I have the skills that would earn me a stage there but I'm gonna go ahead and be jealous anyway). Keep the great posts coming.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!

Thanks.

Fanny-- Wow! Thanks for sharing with us, especially the photos! When you are paying attention to how PH make canneles, I'm curious about what they use to line the molds before pouring in the batter. Wolfert swears by a mixture of oil and beeswax, but I have a hard time believing they do this in a busy pastry shop. What does PH use?

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Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!

Thanks.

Fanny-- Wow! Thanks for sharing with us, especially the photos! When you are paying attention to how PH make canneles, I'm curious about what they use to line the molds before pouring in the batter. Wolfert swears by a mixture of oil and beeswax, but I have a hard time believing they do this in a busy pastry shop. What does PH use?

I'm not Fanny, but I remember a pc who mentioned on her eG foodblog that she had to oil/grease them every day before use. And no matter what you use to grease the moulds, wouldn't it still be the same thing?


May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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What blog?  What blog?  I want to read it too!

Fanny, thank you for sharing with us; I am delighted to read about your experience and learn right along with you!

Waiting with baited breath for the next installment....

I think that this is her blog: foodbeam: pâtisserie & sweetness


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!

Thanks.

Fanny-- Wow! Thanks for sharing with us, especially the photos! When you are paying attention to how PH make canneles, I'm curious about what they use to line the molds before pouring in the batter. Wolfert swears by a mixture of oil and beeswax, but I have a hard time believing they do this in a busy pastry shop. What does PH use?

I'm not Fanny, but I remember a pc who mentioned on her eG foodblog that she had to oil/grease them every day before use. And no matter what you use to grease the moulds, wouldn't it still be the same thing?

I remember that blog - and the pc said it was beeswax they used (they tried other things but nothing else worked as well and as beautifully) to grease the molds. 300 at a time.....

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Where I work, we brush our molds with a mix of beeswax/butter (1:2) every day - 300-500 a day.


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Lucky you! This is really amazing and I'll be glued to this thread (although not as prettily as those rose petals you posted)!


If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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Where I work, we brush our molds with a mix of beeswax/butter (1:2) every day - 300-500 a day.

Almost as much fun as wrapping caramels... :wacko:


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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I am going to be willing to say that this is one of the most contructive posts ever to have graced our pages here at eg forums, good luck to you and well-keep us updated of your post, I for one sincerely thank you.

Michael :smile:

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thank you so much for sharing your experience with PH. I'm so excited to read more. His Desire was one of my favorites and I love all of his Emotions! Such a great opportunity for you. Congratulations.


Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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Hi there,

sorry for not showing up lately. I've been so busy (moving back to the south of france bc the shop is closing for a month and reading harry potter).

Thanks for all the amazing info. This is why I just love egullet - so many passionate people at the same place sharing awesome thoughts.

Love xxx

- fanny

PS somehow the quotes don't show properly; im sorry for that... did i do anything wrong? EDIT: thanks gfron for solving ths problem.

Tell us about your pastry background, how you came to be able to get such a great stage.  It's way cool that they let you work on the important stuff right away, not just sifting flour or something.

Hi Abra,

my pastry background is pretty... empty. I've never worked in a pastry shop, never took classes. I'm just passionate about pastry.

As a second year student of a french ingenieur school I have to do a 10 week intership. Most students work for chambres d'agriculture or do research in labs...

Being the stubborn person I am I decided I didn't want to do something I don't like so when Pierre Hermé sent me an email in response to one of the articles i had posted on my blog i jumped on the occasion and asked if i could be an intern at in pastry shop.

And he said yes :)

Thanks so much for taking the time to post your adventure. I'm really looking forward to it.

Thanks. I'll be posting the one about macarons soon.

Beautifully done, Fanny. Thanks for the treat. Your photos are stellar. I too am looking forward to further installments.

Thanks. Im blushing!

What blog?  What blog?  I want to read it too!

Fanny, thank you for sharing with us; I am delighted to read about your experience and learn right along with you!

Waiting with baited breath for the next installment....

Hi Jeanne,

so it's already been said but my blog is foodbeam.com and I'm really happy because it's turning 2 today!

awesome great report, thanks!

Thanks (for the comment on foodbeam too).

Very cool. I'm jealous (not that I have the skills that would earn me a stage there but I'm gonna go ahead and be jealous anyway). Keep the great posts coming.

Thank you.

Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!

Thanks.

I think it's an oven temperature problem - if the temp is too low at the beginning the cannelés will overflow. Though I need to check that.

Fanny-- Wow! Thanks for sharing with us, especially the photos! When you are paying attention to how PH make canneles, I'm curious about what they use to line the molds before pouring in the batter. Wolfert swears by a mixture of oil and beeswax, but I have a hard time believing they do this in a busy pastry shop. What does PH use?

So I asked Anna about what she coats the mould with and apparently it's a sort of spray - which is a mix of oil and beeswax. Cant remember the name though. It might start with an A.

I'm not Fanny, but I remember a pc who mentioned on her eG foodblog that she had to oil/grease them every day before use. And no matter what you use to grease the moulds, wouldn't it still be the same thing?

I really have to check on that. Will keep you posted.

I think that this is her blog: foodbeam: pâtisserie & sweetness

Thanks John!


Edited by fanny_the_fairy (log)

fanny loves foodbeam

pâtisserie & sweetness

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Where I work, we brush our molds with a mix of beeswax/butter (1:2) every day - 300-500 a day.

Wow. At the laboratoire we only make 4 a day! Always wonder why because I just love cannelés and could eat tons of them. But then, maybe it's just me?

I am going to be willing to say that this is one of the most contructive posts ever to have graced our pages here at eg forums, good luck to you and well-keep us updated of your post, I for one sincerely thank you.

Michael  :)

Well thank you a lot Michael. That is very sweet of you.

thank you so much for sharing your experience with PH. I'm so excited to read more. His Desire was one of my favorites and I love all of his Emotions! Such a great opportunity for you. Congratulations.

Seems we share the same favourites!

tres bien fait

Merci ;)


fanny loves foodbeam

pâtisserie & sweetness

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Great photos, Fanny. Would drop everything right now for a chance to do what you're doing there!

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Tell us about your pastry background, how you came to be able to get such a great stage.  It's way cool that they let you work on the important stuff right away, not just sifting flour or something.

Hi Abra,

my pastry background is pretty... empty. I've never worked in a pastry shop, never took classes. I'm just passionate about pastry.

As a second year student of a french ingenieur school I have to do a 10 week internship. Most students work for chambres d'agriculture or do research in labs...

Being the stubborn person I am I decided I didn't want to do something I don't like so when Pierre Hermé sent me an email in response to one of the articles i had posted on my blog i jumped on the occasion and asked if i could be an intern at in pastry shop.

And he said yes :)

from tan319:

"That above is probably my favorite part of the story.

Well, except for every other thing!!!"

Can't wait for more!

PS: Enjoy Harry Potter!!!


Edited by gfron1 (log)

2317/5000

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      Wealthy farmers went on to sponsor competitions between plantations and the dance moved to large cities in the South and then to the East where it became a staple of traveling minstrel shows and ultimately to Vaudeville, the lights of Broadway and throughout Europe.

      On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation with these humble words, “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Inspired by the renewed freedom gifted to them through Emancipation, a freedom that allowed them to express themselves openly through dance and music, African-Americans led a creative revival that would usher in new forms of dance and music that had never before been seen or heard. The artistic contributions of former slaves and their descendants would forever change the creative landscape in America.


      From this humble beginning in the sweltering, humid heat and back-breaking work of picking cotton, African-American artists penned the notes of a new from of music called ragtime that would eventually evolve into jazz. It was the Cakewalk, unintentionally and ironically, that crossed the bounds of race and class status as it burst into the popular consciousness of America By the 1890’s, African-American actors, dancers and musicians had started forming their own production companies and staged versions of the Cakewalk became all the rage.

      Scott Joplin, (1867-1917), was an early musical pioneer of the Cakewalk style of music. Known as the “King of Ragtime,” Joplin wrote and performed in the style of rag—a combination of dance and marching music entwined with the “ragged” rhythms and soul of African music. One of Joplin’s most famous pieces was “The Ragtime Dance,” (published in 1902), that included a Cakewalk:

      “Turn left and do the “Cakewalk Prance, Turn the other way and do the “Slow drag, Now take your lady to the World’s Fair and do the ragtime dance. Cakewalk soft and sweetly, be sure your steps done neatly.”

      The vaudeville team of Mr. Egbert Williams and Mr. George Walker were two of the first African-Americans to take their musical show on the road in a grand scale. Crowds packed into The New York theatre in 1903 for 53 stunning performances of song and Cakewalk dances in William’s and Walker’s new production “In Dahomey” -- the first all-black musical to be performed on a grand scale in a major Broadway venue. After its raging success in America, “In Dahomey” crossed the Atlantic, performing for seven months of standing-room-only audiences at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London before returning to New York.

      By the turn of the century, Americans were moving off farms and into towns and cities in record numbers. Ragtime music transformed into a new genre called “Jazz,” with emerging talents like Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington playing at the Cotton Club in New York.

      By 1930, the public fascination with dance theatre began to fade as America was lured by the intrigue of other forms of entertainment like talking motion pictures. But the early concepts and the heritage established by the Cakewalk endured throughout the twentieth century and into the 21st, namely, as a contest to raise money at church socials and school functions. The Cakewalk also delivered new words into the American vocabulary-“take the cake,” and “it’s a real cakewalk,” are terms used to refer to something that is “the best,” or a job easily done. Cakewalk software is a cutting-edge firm today that produces award-winning digital audio and recording software to the music industry.

      + + +
      I’m nearing my 54th birthday in November, some 46 years removed from my second-grade class. I had been lost until that Cakewalk at Yoke’s, yet now I’m found. I’ve learned a lesson in respect through the Cakewalk -- a lesson that taught me how emancipation allowed the enslaved to express themselves through music and dance. A lesson that freedom is an unalienable right bestowed upon all Americans. I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the place that this little ditty we call the Cakewalk plays in the history of America, opening our eyes to a world that was color blind.

      I found my personal truth in the Cakewalk -- a truth far richer and deeper than the dreams of a boy winning a cake.

      * * *
      David Ross lives in Spokane, but works a one-hour plane ride away. When he's not tending to his day job -- or commuting -- he writes about food and reviews restaurants. He is on the eGullet Society hosting team.
    • By JohnT
      I have been asked to make Chinese Bow Tie desserts for a function. However, I have never made them, but using Mr Google, there are a number of different recipes out there. Does anybody have a decent recipe which is tried and tested? - these are for deep-fried pastry which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
    • By shain
      Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves. 
       
      50-60 g very aromatic olive oil
      80 g honey 
      120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet) 
      2 eggs
      2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon 
      230 g flour 
      1 teaspoon salt 
      1 teaspoon baking powder 
      75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios
      50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts) 
      Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed
      Optional: more olive oil for brushing
       
      Heat oven to 170 deg C.
      In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform. 
      Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. 
      Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix. 
      Add nuts and fold until well dispersed. 
      On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough. 
      With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long. 
      Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. 
      Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. 
      Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. 
      Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. 
      Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. 
      Let chill completely before removing from tray. 
      Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea. 
       
        
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