In Friday's Petit Fours class, we did different applications of Pate a Choux, which is the dough used to make cream puffs, eclairs, and other similar items. Pate a Choux is a fairly easy dough to make unless you're whisking the thick batter entirely by hand. Lucky for me, we made a decent sized batch so we could use the mixer. We worked on four different applications with pate a choux and chocolate pate a choux, but only three of them looked presentable for plating.
Using the chocolate pate a choux, my group made mini eclairs and swans. The eclairs were filled with a raspberry cream and garnished with an insanely pink flat icing. Rather than fill these in the traditional manner, we actually sliced them open, filled them, and replaced the top in an angled fashion, for a more contemporary look. The swans were filled with an orange chantilly cream.
We used the regular pate a choux to make paris-brest, which has a round base similar to a donut. Before baking these are egg washed and sliced almonds are sprinkled on top. These are sliced and filled with a praline cream, or cream paris-brest. This was my favorite item of the day in terms of look and taste.
With the exception of the mini eclairs, these items may seem a little larger to you than the size of traditional petit fours, and that is definitely a true observation. In the petit fours world, you can use smaller version of regular pastries, so this was the goal of today's class - to start seeing the larger items in somewhat smaller versions. I like working with pate a choux because of its variety of applications. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do my favorite application - profiteroles - which are basically a small round puff filled with ice cream.