Sunday, 6 October 2013

Religieuse from episode 7

I made religieuse. These are pastry desserts which comprise of two choux buns sat on top of each other, filled with crème patissiere, topped with chocolate ganache, and decorated with a whipped cream collar. They were a huge success and tasted delish! Once again they were a pain to make though. Not too difficult, just very time consuming. The suggested 1-2 hours was an understatement. I started at 5pm and we ate them at 10pm. Admittedly I had dinner in between and watched Strictly Come Dancing but still, it was pretty full on. You had to wait for everything to cool before you assembled the dessert, so it took a while, and then the assembling was very fiddly. However, these desserts made me feel like a proper baker more than any other thing I have made during this blog. The most surprising thing was how well the choux buns turned out. They went into the oven looking like turds and magically reappeared looking magnificent. Here is what you need:


For the crème pâtissière filling
For the chocolate ganache icing
For the collar
  • 150ml/5fl oz double cream

    I had help with my baking for the first time! My boyfriend was visiting for a few days and he helped me to heat things and draw circles and whatnot. It was delightful to have some company in baking central for a change. 6 music on, equipment at the ready - BAKE!

     First I pre-heated the oven to 220C. Then I got some baking paper and drew circles onto it (8 that were 2 inches wide and 8 that were 1 inch wide). Now this was more like maths than baking because I was using a compass and it brought back GCSE memories. The most amazing thing was saying, "I might have a compass to do the circles" and then going to my bedroom and, having not seen or used a compass for 6 years, I located one in about 10 seconds. Good job I kept the damn thing. Never going to use it for maths again but baking yes!

    In the zone
    Next, I put butter and 150ml water in a sauce pan and melted it, then brought it to the boil. You then tip in the flour and stir a lot until it becomes like a ball of dough. Then I returned it to the heat to cook more whilst stirring constantly.

     I then let it cool a bit and added the eggs until it formed a smooth paste. I put it into a piping bag and used the biggest nozzle I owned - which was tiny. I created the first disc on the baking paper with tiny worms of dough. It looked bad. I then realised if I removed the nozzel all together it worked much better. The discs looked good in the end, if a bit turd like. 

    They went into the oven for 10 mins then stayed for another ten on 190C. I then pierced them all with a skewer to let steam out (apparently that is why) and put them back in the oven for 5 mins to dry out. Then I put them on to a wire rack to cool feeling rather proud of myself - they looked great.

    Here is my reaction to one falling on the floor and Rory treading on it.

    Now on to the crème pat. I heated milk and vanilla seeds (from a pod) until it boiled, then removed the pan from the heat for a few seconds before adding it to the egg yolks, caster sugar, corn flour and plain flour. After whisking that for a bit, I put it all back into the pan and brought to the boil again, whisking all the time. The liquid became thick very quickly and then it went into a bowl to be covered with cling film, and put into the fridge to cool. 

    Ganache! This seemed like the most easy thing to do out of the three stages yet it turned out the worst. It was a bit too thick and not overly shiny. All you had to do was bring cream to the boil and then mix in chocolate until it melted. Simple! Well, first my boyfriend cooked the cream to oblivion until it was extremely thick - into the bin. I then took over the cream heating responsibilities, tutting all the way of course, and heated the cream without stirring until it started to boil. I added the chocolate and it looked great but a bit thick. The mistake was putting it in the fridge where it got even thicker. Anyway it tasted good and I spread it on to the choux buns with a spoon which seemed to work. 

    FINALLY, I assembled the religieuse. RELIGIEUSE ASSEMBLE! I put the crème pat into a piping bag and filled each little bun. You think nothing is happening for ages, then the bun starts to suddenly burst at the seams, overflowing with crème pat. You stop piping at this point. 

    I then spread the ganache on top of all the buns and balanced the small ones on top of the large ones. Bit precarious but not too bad. I think the ganache was so thick and glue like that they were pretty stable little towers. The last step is piping a cream collar around the join between the two buns. I learnt that if you over whip cream, you can add a bit of milk to make it softer. Baking really is all about experience and I am starting to know the little tricks. Even more satisfying is that I am learning what consistency things should be or what it should look like - I'm getting the baking sixth sense. Hurrah! 

    Well after a gruelling bake I had eight religieuse that tasted good and looked even better. Success.

    Rory/religieuse interrogation: The verdict. 

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