Elle et Vire Course Report vol.1 – Pastries

The other day I was a very honored to receive an opportunity to attend a workshop by Elle et Vire, a famous French cream & butter brand in France.

The place is Maison de la Crème under the  Elle et Vire group, located in a quiet residential area close to Versailles, just outside of Paris.  (In the same building there is the same group company that produces the finest chocolate brand in France – the École Valrhona of Valona).

So I’m here to attend a course of Viennoiseries (Sweet bread eaten at breakfast, such as croissants etc) from Mr. Maxime who works as the right hand man of  Mr. Nicolas BOUSSIN, one of France’s MOF (National Craftsmanship Prize).

The bread that I learned today day are the following five.

1) Croissant:

2) Couronne Briochée de Noël: A Christmas crown shaped bread made by knitting brioche dough made with layers of butter

3) Nid de Framboise: meaning raspberry’s nest. It is bread made with two color croissants. In recent years,  Raspberry and green tea-flavored cream cheese filling has became popular.

4) Noeud Corman: Meaning, The Knot. It is a two-coloured bread tied into a knot and colored with chocolate dough.

5) Patchwork: This is simply  bread made by carving the remainder of croissant dough into an image of patchwork.

For the dough to make croissant, I used the Beurre Extra Sec 84% by Elle et Vire butter to do the folding. This butter is higher in fat content than our regular butter (fat content about 82%), so it has a higher melting point. So during the baking process, the Butter is harder to melt producing a crunchy texture. Still, this recipe has a light finish as the amount of butter used is less than normal croissants.

There, we used a dedicated call Laminoir machine to knead the dough because the craftsman makes a massive few kg of dough at a time with the recipe. Using the machine to knead and stretch produces an elaborate and beautiful dough. The morning of Paris in the early summer is cool, the temperature of the lab is less than 20 degrees. Compared to Singapore where it is everlasting summer, I felt that the authentic French weather is really an easier environment for making bread and sweets.
Finally, combined with meringue, fresh cream and fruit I was also showed how to finish the Pavlova, a fashionable sweet in Paris in recent years. A sweet, sour refreshing combination of litchi and raspberry made by Mr. Nicolas’ original recipe. At that time, I taught how to whip the cream using kitchen-aid’s mixer.
An important point when whipping cream is
① The cream is firmly chilled. Never exceed 14 degrees Celsius. When the temperature is high, it separates and turns into a butter-like shape. (In general it is said that at least one night of chilling  in a refrigerator of 3-5 degrees ceisius is recommended.
② Do not whisk on high speed from the beginning. Lather at medium speed.Sublime, a coconut cream made with Mascarpone exclusively for patisseries is used in this cake. It is high in fat content, making it easy to whip and the result is a very rich and creamy finish.。

Not only taste but also appearance is very important for making sweets, but Mr. Nicolas used silver powder for the finish of sweets, and the decoration was also a luxurious finish.
My specialty is in patisserie (sweets), so I was nvited to the seminar of the pastry club that will be held the following week. I will report it there again.。
Blog Entry By: Yuki
During her 10 years stay in Paris, Yuki learned the art of Patisserie and traditional French cuisine cooking. She is a French national diploma “CAP (Certificat d’ Aptitude Professionnelle) Pâtissier” and also a Diploma of Sommelier holder. In her class, attendees can learn French Pâtisserie and traditional French cuisine cooking techniques in simple, easy to understand steps. Yuki now teaches pastry classes at Spoonful!