The New Bakers Dozen

The The Bakers Dozen: Clafoutis
By Rubble (Rubble) on Tuesday, August 01, 2000 - 01:25 pm: Edit

Hello all! As part of a final exam for the basic pastry technique class, students are required to make a sweet table with various pastries, cookies,etc. Since the theme of the table resembles a country picnic, I decided to make clafoutis with cherries. I love clafoutis and I thought it would fit nicely with the theme. When I mentioned this to one of the chef-instructors, he discouraged me since he believed a clafoutis could not be "dressed up" or made pretty enough for a sweet table. The emphasis of this basic pastry class is appearance -- it's all about the appearance of the pastry. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could dress upa clafoutis tart (apart from what has been suggested to me which is putting whipped cream and/or nuts on the border). Thanks!

By Panini (Panini) on Tuesday, August 01, 2000 - 04:38 pm: Edit

tj might have better ideas than I , but I can see sugared fresh cherries or cherries dipped in boiled sugar or chocolate dipped or Marzipan fruit.
I think you can dress it up but if the instructor who might be grading said you shouldn't do it, I would think about it. If it does not have to be traditional recipe you might be able to torch the top like Brulee. I've done that before depending on the recipe.

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, August 01, 2000 - 06:35 pm: Edit

Yes, I have an idea I got from Michel Roux's book and even Herme does a twist on this too. I make a blueberry clafoutis and top it with a lemon chiboust which I carmelize with sugar. Herme makes a peach tart where he tops it with a cinnamon chiboust and carmelizes. From there when I need a nice presentation I dress the top with either a spun sugar crown or carmelized fruit clusters or a marzipan bee etc... . Try that past your instructors if you don't get a nice grade they don't get it!

By Yankee on Wednesday, August 02, 2000 - 01:42 am: Edit

"...emphasis is appearance -- it's all about the appearance of the pastry."

With all due respect, appearance is very important indeed when preparing a presentation. But people do (hopefully) end up eating the stuff. Don't they? Hello? Seems to me they should be first teaching you to make stuff taste great.

We had a saying for our Grand Buffets at the CIA: "Looks Good. Tastes Like S***." The stuff looked great, but it was really nasty.

Remember, you are paying to be there. Have fun and make what you want to make. The Michael Roux clafoutis rocks (although I think his chiboust was a bit sweet). The carmalized sugar will also get soft after a while. Herme's tart sounds way yummy. But, you have to have the basics down hard to get through either one.

Good Luck

By Rubble (Rubble) on Wednesday, August 02, 2000 - 01:41 pm: Edit

Hmmm... Your ideas sound fantastic, and thank you! But Yankee is right -- they seem a bit challenging at this point in my education. I look forward to learning these techniques. Unfortunately now, our chef instructor's rote advice for dressing up a pastry: dip it in chocolate. It's become a joke in class!

It's interesting what you say about "looking great but tasting like shi*t", Yankee. We say that all the time in our basic pastry class. We realize that appearance is important. Each piece must have visual appeal to make it look appetizing. We often say that we could probably load up a pie shell with mud, but as long as we pipe the whipped cream neatly and make it look pretty, we're assured a good grade.

Has anyone in LA or NY seen the movie "The 5 Senses"? It's a compilation of 5 stories, each one centering on one of the senses. The "Taste" story involves a pastry chef whose cakes look spectacular but taste like crap. How hersense of taste is out of order. Sounds interesting....

By Yankee on Wednesday, August 02, 2000 - 02:30 pm: Edit

Rubble, I'm glad to see that you have a sense of humor about these things. Some people tend to get really bent over them. School can be very frustrating, but work is no better but for different reasons.

"Dip it in chocolate," that's classic. Kind of kinky, actually. (oops, wrong board!)

I'll keep an eye out for that movie, although I've seen the "fact based" version of it too many times. Yuck.


By Rubble (Rubble) on Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 04:14 pm: Edit

Just a brief update...

A few of you may remember that I asked for suggestions on how to garnish a clafoutis tart and I received many excellent suggestions. Well, I recently presented the sweet table as my final exam and torched the top of the clafoutis, as suggested. The chef-instructor loved it! Andit tasted wonderful!

Thanks very much for your help and suggestions! I read you guys every day and I learn a lot. You're all kind and wonderful people.....except when the discussion is home-based bakers...

Take care!

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, August 30, 2000 - 08:29 am: Edit's good to read I actually helped someone. I think it's quite smart and abit different! Hope you got an A?!

I making Hermes' peach tart with cinnamon chiboust this week for a formal sweet table. Again I'm using Roux's idea for the carmelized a little spun sugar (my addition).

By Rubble (Rubble) on Wednesday, August 30, 2000 - 01:16 pm: Edit

Chef DeBord - What is your ratio of meringue to pastry cream when you make a chiboust? I've been looking through my texts and I can find no mention of chiboust! (How sad...) Also, how much gelatin do you use? Thanks!

By W.DeBord on Thursday, August 31, 2000 - 07:25 am: Edit

I've worked from Rouxs' Finest Pastrys, Hermes' pastry book and the Chocolatiers books are the only sources I can think of that use chiboust.

I haven't ever sat down and looked at the exact ratios.....

At home, off the top of my head I would guess in weight it was 60% pastry cream to 40% meringue. Total weight 1 lb. uses about two sheets of gelatin. I put it on top of my tart and freeze it for 2 hours, then slice and last carmelize. My job requires me to pre-slice my desserts.

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