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After divulging the intriguing histories behind 50 iconic desserts, master pastry chef Pierre Hermé shares his tried-and-tested recipes for the great classics of French pastry and other definitive desserts from around the world--and then he reveals how to reinvent them. Rose-scented almond paste and a compote of raspberries and lychees fill Hermé’s croissants; his Saint Honoré cake combines green tea, chestnuts, and passion fruit; and caramelized mango adorns his foie gras créme brûlée. More...
The golden age of cakes began in the nineteenth century. Great ease of supply and technological progress allowed the imagination of the pastry cooks to run riot and each contributed in turn to the legend. As far as cakes were concerned, each country experienced its hour of glory. In the 1830s, France was in the forefront of creativity. Chiboust, the Jullien brothers, Quignard, Careme, Jules Gouffe, and Cyriaque Gavillon were among the creators of pastries that continue to grace the display windows of our bakeries and have built the French reputation throughout the world. They include the Saint-Honore cake, the Mocha cake, the Paris-Brest, the éclair, the cream puff, the Opera, and many more.
In studying each of these legendary desserts, it becomes clear that patisserie works in the same way as painting or literature--through imitation. Or, rather, through assimilation. Creating means intelligently assimilating older models, adapting them for the present day, and in turn inventing the art of one's own time. This is Pierre Herme's firm conviction, which led to the creation of this book. For him, there is no cake without a past or a culture.
Excerpted from Pierre Herme Pastries, published by Stewart Tabori & Chang.
Tarte Fine au Chocolat Noir Porcelana
(Porcelana Dark Chocolate Tart)
I was inspired by the traditional apple tart to create this new “nomadic” chocolate tart. The exceptionally deep flavor of Porcelana dark chocolate gives depth to the ganache and crunchiness to the thin chocolate veneer.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Baking time: About 20 minutes
Refrigeration time: About 5 hours 30 minutes
SWEET TART DOUGH
1 stick plus 2 Tbsp (150 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 up (95 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
5 Tbsp (30 g) ground almonds
2 dashes fleur de sel de Guerande (or other fine sea salt)
1/4 vanilla bean
1 egg (50 g)
1 3/4 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
6 Tbsp (45 g) corn flour
DARK CHOCOLATE DISK
Dash (1 g) of fleur de sel de Guerande (or other fine sea salt)
3 1/2 (100 g) Porcelana dark chocolate, 70% cacao (Valrhona)
DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
3/4 cup (180 g) heavy cream
5 3/4 oz (160 g) Porcelana dark chocolate, 70% cacao (Valrhona)
1/2 stick (60 g) unsalted butter
Make the tart dough. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the plastic blade, process the butter until it is soft and smooth. Add, in the following order, the sifted confectioners’ sugar, ground almonds, and sea salt. Split the quarter vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and add them to the mixture. Add the egg, and then the sifted flour. Process until the mixture begins to form a ball of dough. Remove it from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap, and transfer it to the refrigerator to rest for 4 hours. Divide the dough in half and reserve one half for another use.
Prepare the chocolate disk. Using a rolling pin, crush the sea salt. Using a serrated knife, chop the chocolate. Melt it in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water; the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Mix the sea salt with the chocolate. The temperature should not exceed 140 F. Remove the bowl from the bain-marie and stir the chocolate occasionally until the temperature drops to 80 F. Return the bowl to the bain-marie. Stir the chocolate gently until the temperature rises to 88 F.
Spread the tempered chocolate over an acetate sheet. When it begins to harden, use the point of a knife to score a circle 8 1/2 inches in diameter. Divide the circle into 8 segments. Cover with parchment paper and place a heavy weight on top, so that the chocolate shape does not warp. Refrigerate for 2 or 3 hours.
Roll out the chilled tart dough to a thickness of 1/16 inch. Using a flan disk as a guide, cut out a circle 8 1/2 inches in diameter. Prick the dough in several places with the tines of a fork. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the dough disk inside the flan ring on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat a convection oven to 340 F.
Place the baking sheet with the flan ring in the oven and bake the tart base for 15 minutes, watching closely to ensure it does not brown too much. Remove from the oven and transfer the tart base to a wire rack to cool.
Make the dark chocolate ganache. Using a serrated knife, chop the chocolate. Place it in a bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Add one-third of the hot cream to the chocolate and beat well with a spatula. Add the rest of the cream in two more additions, beating well with the spatula after each addition, starting from the center and working outwards little by little. As soon as the temperature of the ganache has dropped to around 105 F, cut the butter into pieces and incorporate. Beat with a handheld immersion blender without incorporating air.
Pour the chocolate ganache over the cooled tart base. Refrigerate 30 to 45 minutes. Using a heated knife, cut the tart into 8 segments. On each segment, place a triangle of the Porcelana dark chocolate with sea salt. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Copyright © 2012 by Pierre Herme. Reprinted from Pierre Herme Pastries, with permission from Stewart Tabori & Chang.
About Pierre Herme:
Pierre Herme Biography (from starchefs.com):
Heir to four generations of Alsatian bakery and pastry-making tradition, Pierre Hermé didn’t just carry on the family tradition, he rocketed it into the stratosphere. Beginning his career at the age of 14 as an apprentice to Gaston Lenôtre, Hermé went on to become a pastry chef in his own right by the age of 20, rapidly ascending into the realms of Haute Pâtisserie.
It wasn’t long before Hermé went from the patissier at Parisian gourmet mega-market Fauchon to empire-building on his own. In 1996, he founded Pierre Hermé Paris with business partner Charles Znaty, and the duo began putting the Hermé imprint on farther reaches of the globe. Their first boutique, named for the pastry artist at its creative helm, opened in Tokyo in 1998, followed by a Salon de Thé in July 2000. In 2001, Hermé returned to the gourmet scene in Paris, where his now iconic pastry shop at 72 rue Bonaparte in the Saint Germain des Prés district sets the standard for rediscovered creations and technical perfection.
In 2004, Hermé opened a second shop in Paris, featuring innovative interior design at 185 rue de Vaugirard, and established a training workshop in cooperation with the reputed Ecole Ferrandi run by the Paris Chamber of Commerce. And in early 2005, he unleashed a “luxury convenience store” and a chocolate bar in Tokyo, showcasing the evolution of Hermé’s innovations--not to mention his deft, delicate hand with chocolate and his iconic macarons. The newest Pierre Hermé Paris opened in 2006 in Shinjuku Isetan, one of the largest food halls in the world.
He has published numerous books, including Pierre Herme Pastries and the two shown below: Desserts by Pierre Hermé and Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé.
More Books by Pierre Herme: