A Valentine’s Day story in three parts (Part 3)

Part 3

In the first two parts of this story, I was telling you about my misadventures in trying to impress my (then) boyfriend with an elaborate puff pastry dessert for Valentine’s Day.

In the completion of the Valentine’s Day story, I’m going to show you the pictures of the cake as it’s being made and assembled.

To make cream puffs, I started by making a batter of butter, water, flour and eggs. It starts off looking like pancake batter, but a little thicker. Then you heat it up. I’ve never heated batter before. It’s all very strange.

So I kept stirring, not sure what was happening, and then it started to pull into a coherent ball of dough (or several smaller balls)

These are the puffs cooking in the oven from the first trial in January. They turned out to be too big and after we ate a few we threw the rest out.

They sell sponge cakes at the grocery store… but only in the summer. It was impossible to find one in February … so I make my own from scratch (it was fine but not lovely, next time I’d add some flavouring, like alcohol!).

Again, I could have bought instant pudding and used Cool-Whip. But at the time I believed the future of my relationship was at stake. So I made the custard from scratch.

My pastry bag still had left over puff pastry batter in it, so I used an icing squirter-plunger-thing and just kept refilling it.

I heated up sugar to make caramel. It really smells like burnt marshmallows when it’s overdone, so I tried to stop before I smelled campfire (but was unsuccessful).

I put the rest of the pudding-cream mixture in the flan and tried to make it look smooth and lovely.

Using tongs, I dipped each filled puff into the sugar sauce, and placed on a tray to cool. They became rock hard at this stage. Once the flan had been filled, I arranged the choux buns around the edge of the flan, just inside the rim and decorated with strawberries.    

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This year, for Valentine’s Day … well, we’re married now, so perhaps the pressure is off? Nah, I’m still in super-impress mode. I think it’s a setting I can’t turn off 🙂

I’m going to make Tiramisu with Brandy Custard (yes, again with the homemade custard, although I like the idea of brandy, and I think I’ll buy the ladyfinger cookies at the Italian market, I won’t try to make those from scratch). I’ll take pictures, and share my success (or lack thereof) after February 14th.

PS/ I know someone out there is going to scold me for not giving you the recipes for the the above Gateau-St-Honore. It was a pretty advanced adventure, even for me, but if really really really want to see the recipes, I’ve posted them here.

PPS/ If you want to see a Flash slideshow version of the above images, including a few bonus pictures (such as the shot of what my kitchen really looks like when I’m cooking), you can visit this link.

As always, I’d love to hear your feedback.
You can always reach me at shelley@oneroastchicken.com.

 

Thanks and bon appetit!

Shelley MacDonald Beaulieu, Owner & Head Chef
www.oneroastchicken.com

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