My First Dessert from Hermé Recipes - SHF#5

21 February 2005

By the time I found out that the theme of the 5th Sugar High Fridays was puff pastry, I was too late, having missed the closing date already! Even so, I wanted to try a new dessert and coincidentally it was puff pastry so I decided to give it a go anyway. Clement of A La Cuisine! – the host of the SHF5 (and who also makes the most elegant desserts) – kindly added my late entry to the round-up. There were almost 30 participants and it was a great success – I really enjoyed other people’s elegant and original creations.

I bought the book Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé more than a year ago. However, I was a little put off by the fact that there weren’t very many pictures in it (I’m a visual person!) and the layout was kind of odd so I put the book back on the shelf like so many other books!

I’m a big fan of his desserts and since I started this blog, I thought this was a good time to try some recipes out. I remembered a beautiful shot of chocolate puff pastry from one of the few pictures in the book and decided to make that. I used to make plain puff pastry, but because Matthew doesn’t like puff pastry at all, I never tried since I came to Britain.

According to Mr Hermé, this is the ‘photographic negative’ of the chocolate-filled mille-feuille – ie plain puff pastry and chocolate filling. It sounded intriguing! I wasn’t sure if it was going to work when I was rolling the pastry out (although I really liked the sweet smell of chocolate from the dough, I used Valrhona cocoa powder this time), but it turned out quite well, except for the fact that I made the filling too soft – as you can tell from the picture, it all oozed out like lava even before I put my fork in! Still, the bitter, flaky and buttery pastry goes well with the orange-infused vanilla custard, with lots of icing sugar on top.

After trying this recipe, I realised that the book wasn’t so bad after all and I’m sure I’ll be trying some more recipes in the future…

It doesn’t quite look like his dough in the book, I’m afraid…

Food - Sweet        27 comments    Permalink

  • Hi keiko-san, I have never tried chocolate puff pastry... is it also the famous inside-out pastry of PH?

    I wouldn’t mind buying one of two of his dessert books, but I am kind of sure that they’re going to be more of picture book rather than cookbook for me... :P

    Posted by chika | 21 February 2005 #
  • Chika - This chocolate one is like the classic (a flour-and-water dough encases a block of butter). I haven’t tried making the inside-out pastry yet, but it says ’easier to handle than classic dough’ in the recipe, so worth trying.

    I’ve also got Desserts by PH and kept them as ’picture books’ until recently, but after trying one, I think I’ll actually use them as ’recipe books’!

    Posted by keiko | 22 February 2005 #
  • wow, that’s a lot more uniform than i’d ever get it to be--beautiful job!

    Posted by santos. | 22 February 2005 #
  • Keiko- gorgeous shots as usual!

    Posted by Moira | 22 February 2005 #
  • SOOO pretty! And mouth-watering too, you bad woman!

    Posted by Zarah Maria | 23 February 2005 #
  • Santos - Thank you, I don’t think making puff pastry is ’too’ difficult, but it just takes time... (and it tends to put me off as I’m not a very patient person...)

    Moira - Thanks, I really like caramelised pastry - crisper and flakier! Although it’s a little upsetting because during the baking you have to put another baking tray on top of the pastry so as not to let it puff up.

    Zarah Maria - Bad woman? Hmm, maybe... (in a different sense of course)

    Posted by keiko | 23 February 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko! Sure you can put up a link!...but I would also like to do the same!! Your photos are beautiful! And already your mention of Pierre Herme has my interest piqued. I’ve heard so much about him but haven’t done anything to further explore that avenue of pastry. I am looking forward very much to your experiments and writing on the subject!

    Posted by rowena | 24 February 2005 #
  • Just one question....what do you prefer to be linked as? By your name or of your blog, Nordljus?

    Posted by rowena | 24 February 2005 #
  • Keiko -- what a gorgeous blog! I’d like to link you as well, if that’s okay. You’re clearly both a marvelous cook and an amazing photographer!

    Posted by Julie | 24 February 2005 #
  • Keiko, you have a GORGEOUS blog! All the food looks delicious. You can like to our site if we can link to your’s. Can’t wait to see what else you post. :)

    Posted by J. | 24 February 2005 #
  • Delicious photos and wonderful writing! We’ll be adding your site to our links for sure!

    It’s so great to see someone else make the chocolate puff pastry and come out with great results! I noticed that your pastry actually puffed (more than our attempt did). Did you have to bake it longer than prescribed in the cookbook? Also, did you notice any salty aftertaste in your pastry?

    Posted by Alan | 24 February 2005 #
  • Hi there,

    Thanks for your compliments! Your blog is awesome too! Go Food bloggers!! :)

    Posted by Mia aka The Skinny E | 25 February 2005 #
  • Wow, your blog is really ’pro’! Thanks for taking a look at mine. Your photos are so clear and beautiful.....I have much to work towards.You are in my ’bookmarks’!

    Posted by Melissa | 25 February 2005 #
  • Hi Rowena - Thanks for visiting. Have you tasted any of his desserts? I still remember thinking ’wow’ when I tried them for the first time. Not just tastewise, more like ideawise, I would say. Thanks for your kind words about linking, I don’t mind, but the blog title might be better?

    Hi Julie - Thank you for your comment. I’ve just started taking photos recently and don’t really know what I’m doing (!) I’m hoping I’ll get better though...

    Hi J - Thank you for your comment, at the moment, writing posts in English is the hardest part for me (as you can tell)...

    Hi Alan - Thank you for visiting, I was so happy when I found the chocolate puff pastry on your site - yours is gorgeous and original as well (I’m not creative at all...). I don’t think I baked it longer than it said in the book, but I wasn’t sure about using cooling rack to cover the pastry, so I covered with another baking tray. I didn’t notice any salty aftertaste, I think I was just concentrating on eating it... :-D

    Hi Mia - Thanks for visiting, I look forward to sharing yummy stories!

    Hi Melissa - Thank you for your comment, I’m not a ’pro’ in any aspects but quite like learning new things. I hope I won’t get bored after a while... Look forward to seeing your beautiful desserts.

    Posted by keiko | 25 February 2005 #
  • Fabulous blog! Wonderful recipes and photography. Wish I could do the same.

    Posted by Susan | 26 February 2005 #
  • Hi Susan - Thank you for your kind comment, I look forward to seeing your pictures too :)

    Posted by keiko | 1 March 2005 #
  • Have you tried Pierre Herme’s pastry creme recipe? I made his chocolate puff pastry and the pastry creme came out too thick. I don’t think you really need to flatten down the pastry.

    Leftovers make great raspberry turnovers . . . top with a little vanilla ice cream or something similar!

    Posted by Lynne in Houston | 14 March 2005 #
  • Hi Lynne - thanks for visiting. Yes, I did try his pastry creme and it came out too thin... I guess it depends how long you cook it or how much corn flour you put in. Rasberry turnovers sound delicious, I’m a real custard fanatic!

    Posted by keiko | 16 March 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    I came across you blog and you have AMAZING pictures and food and desserts! Are you a professional photographer and chef?? I am in awe with your work! Let me know

    Posted by Jenny | 5 August 2005 #
  • Hi Jenny - thank you for your kind note - and no, I’ve never learnt phography or cooking properly. I’d love to, though!

    Posted by keiko | 5 August 2005 #
  • Your dough looks fine don’t worry ! For the cream you might have experienced a problem with your meringue ? The whites need to be whisked up a lot at medium speed before adding the sugar at high speed. The more sugar the longer you need to whisk them up... You should be able to use the piping bag to put the cream on the puff pastry layers. I hope this helps !



    Posted by Frédérique | 19 September 2005 #
  • Hi Fred - this cream is actually custard, so it hasn’t got meringue - I think I needed to cook it a bit longer... Thank you for your tip anyway!

    Posted by keiko | 26 September 2005 #
  • Hi,

    Your desserts looks so tempting. The pictures are so beautiful. You just explain how things are made but do you give recipes?

    Posted by zena | 4 October 2006 #
  • Hi Zena – thank you for your notes and I’m sorry I didn’t get back sooner. I always note where the recipes come from, so please buy the books if you’re interested. As for the Japanese recipes, I simply don’t have time to translate them – will try when I can.

    Posted by keiko | 12 January 2007 #
  • hi zena… hi i am a pastry student tryin to get some inside out knowledge about desserts… i found pierre herme’s book r pretty famous and rare.. cud u pls tell me bout his books

    Posted by arjun | 18 August 2008 #
  • Where did you come up with the name for the blog?
    Truly amazing pictures! You´re my idol! :)

    Posted by John | 16 November 2008 #
  • Hi John – sorry for the extremely late response! Nordljus means Northern Lights in Swedish – not that I speak the language, but I liked the sound of it and I love anything Scandinavian :)

    Posted by keiko | 27 April 2009 #

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