Butterflies and clams in the kitchen today
Thursday, September 22, 2011

We made some pretty-looking pastries today from puff pastry dough. First, we made some chaussons italiens, which bake up into clam shell-looking pastries. The ‘shell’ of the chaussons are made from a puff pastry dough thats been rolled out, applied with a thin coat of butter, and rolled into a cylinder to slice and shape.

Then, they are filled with mixture of pâte à choux, crème pâtissière, and rum soaked raison which we made as well. I’m not sure all that effort was worth it for the filling, it was slightly dense and dry to me. But of course, the flaky shell of the clam was yummy.

Chaussons Italiens. Yesterday, we rolled puff pastry into a large sheet, then rolled it into a cylinder. Today, we cut the cylinder into 12 pieces to shape the chaussons.

Each piece was rolled into an oval, and a batter made of pâte à choux, crème pâtissière, and rum soaked raisons was piped into the centre. It might not be very clear in the picture, but you can sort of see rings of butter in the puff pastry dough. These butter layers give this pastry it's signature clam shell appearance.

After piping pâte à choux batter into the centre, we folded the chaussons in half and baked them.

These pastries bake up into beautiful clams. Each ring of puff pastry dough is created by the thin layer of butter that was applied to the sheet of dough before rolling into a cylinder, dividing, and shaping.

The next thing we made was palmiers, which I call butterfly cookies. I used to eat these all the time as a school snack because they’re quite common in chinese bakeries. The chinese version is much lighter (less sweet and less buttery) but I’m not sure that they use pure butter like we did. Anyways, these were excellent and our Chef must have liked these too because he refused to let us try one of his! Usually, he cuts up his demo pastries for us to try.

Palmiers (butterfly cookies). We start by rolling a large sheet of puff pastry dough (just like the chaussons italien) but instead of dusting with flour, we dust with sugar. It's important for the amount of sugar to be approx. 25% the weight of the dough or else they will be either too sweet or won't caramelize. Afte rolling, we fold each end 1/3 down from the centre.

Then, we fold towards the centre.

Then, we fold in half and slice into 1.5cm thick pieces.

Before baking, they are skinny and long. Once you bake them, they expand quite a bit so make sure they are long enough or else they will open too much.

Expanding in the oven!

When baking, we flip them over after 15 mins and bake for another 5 mins so that both sides caramelize evenly.

The Palmiers are so pretty!

Mini palmiers. Made from scraps, Chef didn't let me bake them because he said they would burn. Probably true after seeing how much sugar was bubbling on the baking trays.


Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!