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Pastries, heat and the joy of living in Paris

Jul 07, 2015

Living in Paris is pure joy. It means seeing worldwide known monuments each time I leave to school or go out at night, eating the best food possible, or even losing weight due to long and intentional walks to savour every single bit of this amazing city.

But recently, it also meant being melted by the heat wave that approached central Europe last week.
From one side, it was impossible to sleep, especially considering that my bed is very close to the roof -- which makes it much hotter or colder depending on the current climate. Ventilators apparently have become a luxury item, since the only place I found one was selling a somewhat bad model for about 100 euros.
On the other side, it was good to see how my pastries would behave in such warm weather, given that I had a very hard time early this year to bake some stuff in Brazil at the peak of the South American summer.

One thing is clear for sure: in cases like this, if you don't have an air conditioned kitchen, you're going to have massive problems. At school, all kitchens have a somewhat powerful air conditioner, which makes it easier to manipulate some more sensitive ingredients like cream or butter. And there is also a quite powerful freezer, which helps to cool down any mousse or dough that may fall apart during preparation.

However, what I have noticed, is that the ingredients here are better. Gelatin holds better. Chocolate has true cocoa butter. Molds and rings are more even. Cream and butter has more fat. And now it's even clearer to me this difference. I hinted that this was probably the main reason why all my cakes were simply not holding, despite leaving them at the freezer/fridge for long periods. Now I know it for sure.

For me, it looks like this is not going to be a problem at all. In Heaven… I mean, Canada, summer is a concept quite hard to understand and temperatures at this time of the year hardly go above 25-27°C. Ingredients, apart from dairy products, are plenty and of extremely good quality (dairy also has good quality, but options are somewhat restricted) so I don't see any major issues in my future baking endeavors once I return home.

In general, these past two weeks were pretty interesting at school. Different types of mousses, creams and presentations were shown to us. Intermediate pastry module has been by far way more interesting than basic for me. And I've been doing better as well. I'm really proud of my work.

The only thing that was a bit more complicated over these past classes, was the macarons. The results in class were nothing short of a disaster. However, I tried to make them again at home, and got some particularly good results with the recipe. I will try them again with other fillings and techniques. I hope it will be the same situation I had with puff pastry -- went from knowing nothing about it to having good results with lots of practice.

The first cake was a coconut, apricot-passion fruit mousse (originally mango-passion fruit -- I prefer the apricot version) wrapped up with chocolate Joconde biscuit, called Jamaica.

Then, we had a well known Fraisier, made with mousseline cream and filled with strawberries.

After that, we had raspberry-filled macarons, an Opera cake and the three chocolate bavaroise mousse cake.

They were all absolutely delicious, I must say. I didn't know I had the ability of doing these things, and as a perfectionist myself, I think there is lot of room to improve here. But so far I'm happy. I think it's the joy of living in Paris that has been affecting me :)


Creamy Fudge Filling

Shelf-stable for 7 days, extremely adaptable and price-conscious filling recipe. This one stays creamy even after refrigerating or freezing without changes to texture or taste. Freaking. Game. Changer.

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