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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!!!
First week: Ispahan, Emotions, Sensations & baked treats
Just one week after I arrived from New Zealand I'm already off to Paris for the long awaited internship at Pierre Hermé.
After waking up at 4.30, I head towards the 15° arrondissement shop, enter the apparently empty shop sur la pointe des pieds. 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 pâtissier outfit! While I was over-excited when I bought it because it represented the first step towards my dream, this outfit is anything but dreamy. Think oversized jacket, high-waist pied-de-poule pants and Pierre Hermé baseball cap; the most fashionable item being the shoes – white sabots.
Honestly, who could look good wearing that? Well ok, some girls do but I don’t. And just in case I still had some hopes, one of the guys said 'oh mais fanny vous etes beaucoup plus belle comme ca, vraiment' [fanny you look way better with these clothes on] when he saw me leaving the building wearing my normal everyday clothes. 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 apron – 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 vous is here to remind it.
Indeed saying vous instead of tu is like the first basic rule in the pastry shop survival guide.
The second one being to say chaud [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 'dégage' 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 chaud 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 6am and I am awake (holly jetlag). Like not just awake – I am widely concentrated on everyone's moves and there are many many moves. In the morning team, everyone is here to produce all the cakes, entremets, emotions, yeasty treats... with the most dedicated passion.
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 poste to poste 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 crème onctueuse au chocolat. 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 Ispahan entremets.
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.
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 Emotions 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 Mosaic (griotte jelly, pistachio jelly, pistachio mascarpone cream) and Celeste (rhubarb compote, fresh strawberries, passion fruit and mascarpone mousse, passion fruit marshmallows).
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 Sensation Celeste. 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 Désiré, which is totally delicious by the say.
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 cannelés and millefeuilles.
The cannelés are probably the best ones I've ever had: fresh, soft and fragrant.
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 feuilletage is excellent! Hopefully in two weeks...
Next week: c'est la folie des macarons [it's all about macarons].
Something I wonder about but have yet to attempt ...
i usually make Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream with egg whites. Occasionally I make egg yolk buttercream if I have excess yolks.
Is there any reason why one couldn’t make whole egg buttercream? Whole eggs whip up plenty fluffy for genoise, what if you added hot syrup and cool butter? 🤔
Hoping for some help. I accidentally melted an old mould that is very important to us and I've had no luck searching around for a replacement.
If anyone knows where I could buy one - or even has one to spare they would be willing to sell - please send me a message.
The mould (label attached below) was originally labelled as "Easy as ABC gelatin mould", although we just call it the alphabet mould. Yes there are lots of alphabet moulds around, including new silicone ones, but we need the specific designs on this one to replace the one I damaged. Depending on the cost, I would consider paying for postage internationally (to Australia).
Thanks in advance!
we're all used to the Wednesday/Sunday food sections of newspapers far and wide, national and local. I see corrections in the local or regional columns when called for, but there's never a way to critique the ones published on a national scale because the content is behind a paywall. I get the WSJ, but don't want to pay additional (I should get access to it all on line for free-the newspaper is not cheap) for their online edition. Very frustrating to try a recipe and have major problems with it and not be able to point out some serious issues. Specifically, the WSJ published a recipe from Dee Retalli, a pastry chef in London who's recipe is in the cookbook 'Rustic' by Jorge Fernandez and Rich Wells.
I have made this cake 3 times.
First time was a total runover disaster, which I should have foreseen. This cakes calls for a 10" springform or if you don't have that, a 10" cast iron skillet. I went for the latter because that is what I had. Almond mixtures tend to really smoke when they run over, just so you know.
Tried again later with a deeper than normal 9 " springform. Happened again. Think it has to do with the 2 teaspoons of baking powder and quick activation in a 350º oven.
Invested in a 10" springform for '3rd times a charm' try. I was successful, but not because I followed the directions, rather I became a little obsessed with making this work. Checked my oven, followed with the recipe and eyed it warily. It came up to the brim...and stayed. 45 minutes later it was supposed to be done but while it was beautiful, it was a bowl of jello in the center. It was also browning at an alarming rate- the almond flour again? So I placed a sheet of tinfoil over it (beautiful top crust) and turned the oven down to 325º and carefully watched and tested for almost another hour. That's a big time difference.
I found the recipe on cooked.com - credited to the above authors and cookbook albeit in Euro style measures and temps. All seems the same, so what are the odds that the recipe was misprinted twice from 2 different media?
All I can think of is somewhere down the line (in the cookbook itself?) the cook time and temp were off. The time on both reads 45 min. The recipe took at least 1hr and 45 minutes. methinks someone left out the hour...
The temp. thing is a little more obvious. Celcius to farenheight 350ºF does not equal 180ºC, more like 176ºC. Over almost 2 hours, I think that could make the difference between cooked and burnt? Sooo, I turned it down when I saw how fast it was browning to 325.
The cake stays in form while you pour the honey over it, then orange water, then 2(!!!) cups of sliced toasted almonds. I put 1 cup and there is no way another cup would have stayed on that cake. I cup settled up to almost an inch on a 10" cake...
Has anyone else tried this recipe or have the cookbook? It's a wonderful cake if you correct the time and temp., But I'd be really curious to see if anyone followed it exactly as written with success?
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