Modern French Pastry: Innovative Techniques, Tools and Design

Modern French Pastry: Innovative Techniques, Tools and Design

by Cheryl Wakerhauser


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781624144370
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 10/24/2017
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 217,041
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Cheryl Wakerhauser is the executive chef and owner of Pix Patisserie and trained with MOF Philippe URRACA, a prestigious patisserie located in southern France. She has been featured in World of Fine Wine, Delta Sky Magazine, Thrillist Portland, Food Network Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Bon Appetit. She lives in Portland, OR.

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This chapter focuses on different styles and flavors of cakes — vanilla or chocolate, fluffy or dense, almond or flourless. The cakes then become the base of dessert creations that are so much more than traditional birthday cake. None of the cakes contain any baking soda or baking powder, which are rarely used in French pastry. Instead, the French will used whipped egg whites, whipped egg yolks or both to give lightness to a cake. It is also customary to soak your cake with a flavored syrup to keep it moist.



Perfect for a picnic or summer barbecue.

This dessert is relatively easy to make and the pistachio and almond pastes really pack it with a burst of flavor. The pistachio cake is a moist, barely sweet, dense nut cake. Crème légère translates to "light cream." Here we are making a basic pastry cream and then lightening it with whipped cream. The combination of the dense cake, light cream and fresh berries is the perfect trifecta.

You can make your own pistachio paste by grinding pistachios in a food processor, but start with 50 grams pistachios to account for any loss in the process. It takes a while to get to paste consistency.

For this recipe you will need a 20 centimeter (8 in) cake ring.

YIELD: 10 servings


300 g almond paste
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place a 20-centimeter (8-in) metal cake ring on a half sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat.

Place the almond and pistachio pastes in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined. Slowly add the eggs in 3 parts, scraping the bowl after each addition. When all the eggs are incorporated, increase the mixer speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Sift together the flour and cornstarch. Decrease the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients. Once incorporated, add the butter and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the cake ring and place a second half sheet pan underneath the first. Bake until lightly browned and the top of the cake is firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. The cake will pull away from the cake ring and fall slightly as it cools.


200 g Soaking Syrup
Combine the syrup with the kirsch. Set aside.


½ vanilla bean
Prepare a pastry cream by cutting the vanilla bean in half again lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and place them in a small saucepan with the milk. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.

Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add the sugar and cornstarch to the egg yolks and immediately whisk until the mixture turns pale, about 10 seconds. Slowly whisk the milk into the egg mixture and then strain it into a clean saucepan.

Over medium heat, whisk continually until the mixture starts to thicken. Pull off the heat and keep whisking while the mixture continues to thicken from the residual heat. Return the pan to the heat, still whisking, until the mixture boils, being careful not to burn the bottom. Remove from the heat, add the butter and stir until it melts. Pour the pastry cream into a shallow bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate immediately.

Once cold, transfer the pastry cream to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.

In a separate mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream to stiff peak. Fold it into the softened pastry cream.


50 g pistachios
Run the back of a small offset spatula around the inside of the cake ring to loosen it and remove the cake. Turn the cake upside down onto a half sheet pan lined with parchment.

Heat the kirsch syrup until hot. Generously brush the cake with the syrup. Place a cake board or platter on top, lift up the sheet pan and flip the cake over. Remove the sheet pan and soak the other side of the cake generously with the syrup.

Chop 40 grams of the pistachios. Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of vanilla crème légère over the top and around the sides of the cake. While holding the cake off the table with one hand, press the chopped pistachios to the side of the cake until they stick. Layer 175 grams of the raspberries on the top of the cake, leaving the outer 2 centimeters (0.75 in) uncovered. Spread 250 grams of the crème légère into a mound over the raspberries. Using a piping bag fitted with a 1.25- centimeter (0.5 in) open tip, pipe small dollops of cream around the outer edge, then cover the whole center. Sprinkle the top with more chopped pistachios and decorate with whole pistachios and raspberries.



Leftover cherries? Make a Manhattan.

Amarena cherries are gown in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. They are dark in color with a slight bitter note, but when preserved in sugar syrup, as they are usually found, they have a lovely intense sweet cherry flavor. The overprocessed, neon red maraschino cherries on grocery store shelves are no comparison, and no substitute!

The cake featured in this recipe has an intense chocolate flavor but still manages to be light on the palate. The use of invert sugar helps keep this cake extremely delicate and moist. If you cannot find invert sugar, substitute honey.

Avoid the temptation to bake the cake in the 20-centimeter (8-in) cake ring used in the assembly, or else you will end up over cooking it and it will be very dense.

For this recipe, you will need a 20 centimeter (8 in) cake ring, 5 centimeters (2 in) tall, with acetate for molding and various sizes of demisphere polycarbonate molds to make the gold sphere décor.

YIELD: 10 servings


100 g dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a half sheet pan with a silicone baking mat.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave on low, stirring often.

Sift the flour and powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the almond meal, egg yolks and invert sugar and whisk on high speed until pale, about 3 minutes. Place this mixture in a larger bowl and set aside.

Prepare a French meringue with the egg whites and brown sugar, whisking to stiff peak. Take a fourth of the meringue and stir it into the egg yolk mixture. This will loosen up the mixture and allow the rest of the meringue to incorporate easier. Fold in half of the remaining meringue and then the final half. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture.

Spread evenly onto the half sheet pan, using an offset spatula. Bake until dry to the touch and just barely firm, about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. This cake will be very soft and fragile, so after it cools, place it in the freezer for easier handling.


80 g unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a half sheet pan with a silicone baking mat.

Mix the butter with the brown sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.

Stir together the almond meal, pastry flour, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and then add them to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts clumping together, about 1 minute. Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a single mass.

Break off randomly shaped pieces about the size of a hazelnut and place them on the pan in a single layer. Bake until lightly golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.

Once the streusel is cool, melt the chocolate. Add just 80 grams of the streusel to the chocolate and stir until the streusel is completely coated. Spread in a single layer on a half sheet pan lined with parchment. Place the chocolate streusel in the refrigerator and chill until the chocolate is set, about 5 minutes. Remove it from the refrigerator and set aside at room temperature.


8 g powdered gelatin
In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with the cold water and stir well to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes to bloom.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the remaining 75 grams of water and the glucose to 217°F (103°C). Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl along with the condensed milk. Add the gelatin and the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute, then mix with an immersion blender until smooth. Add red food coloring, little by little, mixing until a desired shade is reached. Reserve at room temperature.


80 g egg yolks
Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Combine the cream, milk, cocoa powder and sugar in a small saucepan and heat to 185°F (85°C). Slowly pour the milk mixture over the yolks while whisking. Add the chocolate and wait for 1 minute for it to soften, then blend with an immersion blender until smooth.


800 g dark chocolate Gold leaf, as needed

Temper the chocolate in the microwave (see Techniques). Pour the chocolate into the demisphere mold to fill all the cavities. Tap the mold on the edge of the counter fast and vigorously for a few seconds, to release any air bubbles. Flip the mold upside down, holding it over a piece of parchment. Tap the side of the mold with a wide metal scraper to get rid of the excess chocolate. Scrape the top of the mold smooth and place it upside down on a clean piece of parchment.

After 1 minute, lift up the mold and scrape the top clean with the metal scraper. Place it right side up in the refrigerator and chill for 5 minutes, to set the chocolate. Repeat with the second mold. Remove the molds from the refrigerator and let sit for another 10 minutes.

Slide half of the demispheres out of the mold. Heat the metal scraper with a propane torch. Holding the demisphere flat on the surface of the scraper, melt the edges. Piece the melted edges together with the edges of one of the demispheres still in the mold. Continue until all the spheres are complete. Let sit 5 minutes at room temperature. Wrap in the gold leaf.

PARLOR TRICK! To get the gold leaf to stick to the chocolate spheres, try this tip! Spike the chocolate spheres with toothpicks. Fill a wide bowl, 10 centimeters (4 in) deep, with cool water and place it on a stool just below the counter edge. Open a book of gold leaf to reveal a full sheet and place it on the counter just above the water. Pinch the front corners of the sheet of gold leaf and slowly drag it onto the surface of the water. Plunge the chocolate into the center of the gold leaf and down under the surface of the water. While it is still underwater, turn the chocolate right side up and push it up out of the water. Place the toothpick into a piece of Styrofoam and allow the sphere to dry completely, about 1 hour.


Cocoa powder, as needed
Strain off and discard any liquid.

Remove the chocolate cake from the freezer. Lightly dust the cake top with granulated sugar so it will not stick when unmolding. Cut around the edges to break the cake away from the sides of the pan. Place a piece of parchment over the cake and flip it upside down. Peel back the silicone mat slowly, starting at one corner and pulling the mat not up, but almost parallel to the mat itself in the opposite direction.

Using a 20-centimeter (8-in) cake ring, cut 2 circles from the cake and set aside. Place the cake ring on a parchment-lined half sheet pan and line the ring with acetate. Use the remainder of the cake to piece together a flat bottom layer in the cake ring (you get to eat anything that doesn't fit!). Top with half of the chocolate cream (about 340 grams). Sink the cherries, one by one, into the cream, creating a layer of cherry- studded chocolate cream.

Place one of the cake disks on top of the cherry-studded chocolate cream and press firmly. Top with the remaining chocolate cream and now sink the chocolate-covered streusel into it to create a layer of streusel-studded chocolate cream. Top with the final cake disk, press firmly and freeze overnight.

Once frozen, remove the cake ring and acetate. Place the cake on a wire rack over a clean sheet pan. Warm the milk chocolate glaze to 95°F (35°C). Pour the glaze quickly and generously over the top and sides. Using a large offset spatula, push the glaze once to level it off, letting the excess fall over the edges. Lift up the cake, using a large offset spatula, and place it on a cake board or platter. Dust the non-chocolate coated streusel pieces with cocoa powder and stick them around the base of the cake, going up the sides about 2.5 centimeters (1 in). Top the cake with the gold chocolate spheres and a few more pieces of streusel.



Seaside. Brittany. That's where you want to be.

A bit of Americana layered with French technique. The joconde biscuit is the cake used to make the classic French Opéra dessert. It is also used as a side décor in many entremets. Take care when folding the ingredients together, as you want to maintain as much volume in the batter as possible.

For the cheesecake mousse, it is highly recommended to seek out a top- quality cream cheese, such as Sierra Nevada's Gina Marie from California, or one from your local cheese shop or farmers' market. The ubiquitous grocery store brand just doesn't offer the same flavor.

YIELD: 12 servings


Pan release spray
Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Line 2 very flat half sheet pans with silicone baking mats. Spray with pan release.

Sift the powdered sugar and flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the almond meal and stir to combine. Add the eggs and beat on high speed until the batter is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Place this mixture in a larger bowl and set aside.

In the clean bowl of the stand mixer now fitted with the whisk attachment, make a French meringue by whisking the egg whites and granulated sugar until just firm. Do not overwhisk, or else the meringue will become crumbly and not incorporate into the batter well. Very gently, fold half of the meringue into the almond mixture, followed by the butter and then the remaining meringue.

Divide the batter between the 2 half sheet pans (about 370 grams per sheet). Spread the batter with a large offset spatula, making sure you have an even thickness across the pan. Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating once after 6 minutes. The cake is done when the top springs back and is dry to the touch and just starting to brown. If overcooked, the cake will become crunchy toward the edges or in shallow spots.


14 g powdered gelatin
Line a very flat half sheet pan lined with a silicone mat.

In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with the cold water and stir well to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes to bloom.

Combine the puree and sugar in a small saucepan and heat just until warm and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the solid gelatin mass to the puree and stir until the gelatin is melted, then pour the mixture onto the half sheet pan. Spread the coulis as evenly as possible (tapping the pan bottom on the counter also helps) and place it in the freezer. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Cut along the edges to release the coulis from the pan. Spray a piece of parchment with pan release and place it, sprayed side down, on the coulis. Flip the pan over and remove the pan. Remove the silicone mat, cut the coulis and the parchment in half widthwise and place back in the freezer. Freeze until assembly.


14 g cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Place a silicone baking mat on a half sheet pan.

Sift the cornstarch into the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the cream cheese, sugar and zest to the bowl and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla. Add a third of this mixture to the cream cheese. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix on high speed until combined. Add the next third, scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix to combine, then repeat scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix to combine, then repeat again with the remaining third.

Pour the batter onto the half sheet pan. Bake until set, about 18 minutes. The cake may still be wet to the touch, but when the pan is tilted, the cake should not move. While the cheesecake is baking, whisk the cream to soft peaks.

Scrape the warm cheesecake into the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 15 seconds.

In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with the cold water and stir well to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes to bloom.

Melt the gelatin in a small microwave-safe bowl on low in the microwave. Swirl the bowl every 30 seconds to stir the gelatin, until it is completely melted. While mixing on low speed, add the melted gelatin to the warm cheesecake mousse. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure it is well combined. Fold in the whipped cream. Use immediately (see Assembly).


Excerpted from "Modern French Pastry"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Cheryl Wakerhauser.
Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Pistachio Picnic Cake,
Cherry Bomb,
Bûche de Noël,
A Moment of Zen,
The Oregon Get Down,
Going Bananas,
Strawberry Fields,
Sunset on the Boulevard,
The Cha-Cha,
I Pity the Fool,
Spanish Coffee,
Chocolate & Churros, Frenchie Style!,
Get the Door. Pedro's Here.,
Baller's Delight,
Beer Float,
The Ricky Ricardo,
Chocolate Pandemonium,
Bye, Bye Pumpkin Pie,
When Life Gives You Lemons,
Daddy Mac,
The Royale,
Not Your Grandmother's Bûche de Noël,
Moulin Rouge,
Lemon Poppy Seed Macarons,
Miniature Bourbon Éclairs,
Blue Cheese Truffles,
Crème Brûlée Cookies,
Raspberry Almond Tea Cakes,
Baker's Dozen,
Earl Grey Napoleons,
Chocolate Nougatine,
Equipment and Ingredient Sources,
About the Author,

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