Just passed
Friday, September 30, 2011

We had a test on pâte à choux today, graded by another Chef because our Chef says he’s too lenient. For the test, we had to make 8 éclairs and 8 religieuse, including the crème pâtissière filling. It didn’t seem that challenging, especially because we had been making pâte à choux all week long.

But just like our last test, the idea of being graded just brings out all possible errors. We all made some that were the wrong size, oddly shaped and/or not decorated (with glaze and buttercream) properly. Our average mark was about 65%, my mark was average as well. The other Chef was definitely more blunt and critical and he wasn’t shy to point out all the flaws. One thing I have also noticed is that it seems customary here for teachers to read out your marks in public. A few times, our Chef lined up our pastries from best to worst. No pity!

After class, some friends and I decided to unwind with at l‘Avant Comptoir again. We have decided to make this a bi-weekly Friday evening destination. Every time we order a new tapa, it just gets better! But before we reached the bar, we just happened to walk by Pierre Herme. How could a bunch of hungry pastry students resist not walking in?

Crème brûlée macaron from Pierre Hermé. The taste of vanilla custard was evident and it was heightened by flakes of crunchy caramel. You can definitely tell it apart from a vanilla macaron. After trying quite a few macaron shops, I have come to prefer Pierre Hermé's macarons the most. I find that an italian meringue-based recipe (Pierre Hermé) has more of a body than macarons made with a french meringue-based recipe (Ladurée).

The best croissant I've ever eaten. Croissant Ispahan from Pierre Herme. Hidden inside the buttery flakes is a layer of rose-flavoured almond paste, and a layer of raspberry and litchi compote. The croissant is lightly coated with a rose-flavoured glaze and candied raspberry pieces. I wish I could eat this for breakfast every morning. And it's only (relatively speaking here) €1.80.

At  l‘Avant Comptoir, we ordered our usual favourites (carpaccio de rosbif, melange de charcuterie) and tried some new things. Everything was delicious, I would recommend all of these dishes.

Charcuterie plate. €6/ serving.

Gaufre d'artichaut et jambon. Savoury waffles with artichoke puree and cured ham. €4/ 2 pieces.

Tataki de thon. Lightly seared tuna tataki with a compote of ginger and foam. €4.50/ order.

I forgot what this was called, the name was too long. At the bottom is a parsnip and apple puree, with avocado and real crab meat, and a jelly with celery bits on top. We had to get a second. €4.50/ order.

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