The Flaky Fantastic

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					         Global Trends

                                    By Kate Fitzpatrick

         The Flaky Fantastic
           aking flawless pastry is a skill
           to be perfected, but once a cook
           has mastered the golden touch
it’s a simple way of transforming a meal
into a masterpiece. Flour, fat and liquid
are the essence of pastry, distinguishing it
from bread with its higher fat content to
impart a light, flaky touch. It is the different
proportion of ingredients - and different
techniques - that give pastry its texture and
   Pastry dates back to ancient mediterranean
times when it was almost always enjoyed as
papery shards in filo pies and baklava. It was
the French and Italian renaissance chefs
who elevated it to the heights of light-as-
air puff and choux pastries and the French
chef Antonin Carême who pioneered the                                                                                 A golden croissant or
merging art of pastry-making.                      mentorship and is adamant about passing on his talents to
   Since then chefs have not stopped               up-and-coming chefs.
innovating with pastry and South African             While it seems the traditional art of pastry is still nurtured   sliver of lemon tart is
pastry chefs are no exception. Ilse Haasbroek      in South Africa, many hotel and restaurant kitchens favour
of amaizeing pies & pastries crafts her pastry     ready-made, commercial pastry as it saves time, staff costs
with an unconventional ingredient, maize.          and is more economical when it comes to stock control.
“After years of development we’ve created          Pillsbury South Africa is one company that takes the fuss out      a heady indulgence to
the concept of a gluten free, low GI pie,” she     of pastry making for such establishments.
says. “We faced several challenges as maize          “Our butter flavour and mini croissants are ideal for
meal is not flexible and dries out easily, but     conferences and breakfast buffets that need to be prepared         be savoured, thanks to
eventually we made a pastry that can be            in a hurry and without a hitch,” Leigh Mervitz of Pillsbury
rolled as thin as phyllo pastry or as a thick
crust for pies. Our pastries can be enjoyed by                                                                        the joys of perfectly-
everyone, even those not gluten intolerant
or suffering from heartburn.”
   Another local chef, who revels in the
creative side of pastry is Nico van der Walt,                                                                         crafted pastry. But is it
chef and programme director of the FBI
school of pastry. “I feel that on serving
dessert, the topic of conversation should                                                                             a dying art?
always change to food. It leaves a lasting
impression on the diner”, he says. An avid
baker from the age of 12 years, Nico’s talents
were nurtured by his grandmother then
honed by Sune Niemand of the Technikon
Free State Hotel School and pastry chef
Linda Kotze. Nico flourished under their

      page 44
                                                                      explains. Our tubeset frozen batters are also extremely
                                                                       useful in big kitchens to make freshly baked cakes,
                                                                        tarts and flans. With our ready-to-go products you can
                                                                         whip up a high tea in no time, wonderful stuffed mini
                                                                         croissants with crème fraiche and smoked salmon, or
                                                                         mini cinnamon twists created with the our cinnamon
                                                                        scroll pastry.”
                                                                          Rich’s products also manufacture a range of frozen
                                                                      bakery items, including danishes and croissant and
                                                                    pastry ranges. They also offer a freezer-to-oven range
                                                                 called Readibake, which replicates French pastries without the
                                                               need for proving time, saving a busy kitchen hours of valuable
                                                               preparation time.
                                                                  “Pastry is a time-consuming process and it is often better
                                                               to buy ready-made pastry instead of making it from scratch,"
                                                               says Kim McKee of Rich’s products. “Our customers range
Nico’s top tips for creating the perfect pastry…               from bakeries in major supermarkets to hotels, canteens,
• Never overwork pastry once the flour has been added          restaurants and garage bakeries, so they want time-saving,
  - this is the biggest problem with baking, except when
                                                               efficient and innovative products to get their business done.”
  bread baking. When baked, the pastry will shrink and the
                                                               Rich’s also offers a product that most chefs do not have access
  pastry will not be as crisp as it should be.
                                                               to. “We receive product requests which are passed onto our
• Always work with pastry chilled. Once the mould is lined,
  chill the pastry again and bake in a hot oven at 180°C.      development teams. We develop the idea from the concept,
• Carry over cooking, when baking soft filling tarts and       right through to the finished product.”
  cheese cake. Bake the mix until the centre is still wobbly      Kim admits that while her clients prefer her products for their
  when it comes out of the oven as the cooking process still   sheer convenience, there’s still merit to encourage cooking
  continues. After the resting period, the cake will not be    at home. “Baking at home has become popular again due to
  over-baked or dry.                                           the exposure of cooking on tv with well-known chefs,” Kim
• When making a pastry, always sift flour or icing sugar at    explains. “In the current economic climate we are baking more
  least three times to ensure lightness and no lumps.          - it’s relaxing, rewarding and great fun for the kids. African
• After making the dough, the resting period of pastry is      cuisine uses pastry to a large extent – we all love our sausage
  very important to allow the gluten to relax.                 rolls, milk tart and apple pie – and as a country we are open
• Use three layers of clean wrap - not foil - to wrap when     new ideas. This means people are experimenting a lot more
  chilling.                                                    with pastry, and food in general.”
• Use rice instead of beans when blind baking.

     page 46
 Delicious dishes
 with mushrooms
     from the
  Denny family
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 one brown onion, chopped
• 150g bacon or flat pancetta, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 4 sprigs thyme
• 50g butter
• 250g brown mushrooms, halved
• cracked black pepper
• 1 1/2 cups (300g) arborio rice
• 1 1/2 litres chicken stock
• melted butter for brushing
• 50g finely grated parmesan
• mozzarella cheese and olive oil to serve

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Heat a large deep frying
pan over high heat. Add the oil, onion, bacon, garlic and
thyme and cook, stirring, for 5-8 minutes or until the
onion is soft. Add the butter, mushrooms and pepper
and cook, stirring for a further 5 minutes or until
mushrooms are tender. Add the rice and cook, stirring
for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and cook, stirring, for
8-10 minutes or until the rice is just al dente. Brush 4x
1_ cup-capacity (310ml) oven proof dishes with butter
and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon parmesan. Divide
rice between dishes and sprinkle with remaining
parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is
melted. Top with spoonfuls of mozzarella and drizzle
with oil to serve.

For enquiries call 011 707 7500 or visit
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