World Gourmet Summit 2012 – Ponthier Industry Dessert Workshop with Chef Christophe Grilo
Apart from the standard flour, eggs, butter and sugar, fruits come in as one of the most commonly used ingredients in pastry making. Be it a tart filling, blended into a gelée for an entremet or just to embellish a petit gateau, the possibilities of use of fruit in dessert and pastry is endless. And that could only be possible given the wide diversity of fruits available. From the tropical coconut, to the nordic strawberries, the sheer variety of flavours, aromas and textures one could tease out of fruits makes them one of the most versatile ingredients to work with.
This year’s World Gourmet Summit 2012 provides a comprehensive range of workshops, many of them helmed by michelin-starred chefs from all over the world. But the one that interests me the most is the Ponthier Industry Dessert Workshop, not only because it involves the art of pastry making, but also because it emphasises on the type of ingredients which I enjoy working with the most, fruits.
The workshop, held at Sunrice Academy is a showcase of the wide range of products offered by Ponthier, i.e. their purées and Individual Quick-Freeze (IQF) fruits. Chef Christophe Grilo, Executive Pastry Chef of Canele Pâtisserie of the Les Amis Group presented 4 desserts which he’d created highlighting the use of Ponthier’s products. These include 2 6″ square entremets, a full-sze tart and two verrines, all in 2 hours. Though some of the components were prepared in advance, i.e. the biscuit joconde au marron and pate sablee tart base, having to juggle between so many components of the 4 pieces in a matter of 2 hours is by no means an easy feat! A true patissier at work!
The morning begins with a some welcome reception of mignardises
Chef Grilo looking somewhat stern and tense as the crowd begins to stream in and settles down
He wasted no time to begin with the demonstration, whisking, melanging with commentary at the same time.
The venue is unfortunately not constructed like an arena, so most of the time, we had to rely on the video visualiser to make out what he was doing. But his commentary was very precise and clear, providing a lot of description and tips at the same time. highly informative!
Here’s a snapshot of him giving the finer details of what to look out for in the procedure
Assembling a verrine with in an utmost meticulous manner…
And here are the finished products! Magnifique!
Tarte Foret Noire
Pate sablee, marmalade au cerises, chocolate flourless sponge, mousse au chocolat, mousse au kirsch
Raspberry & Strawberry Prestimousse Gourmandise
Raspberry confit, Ponthier strawberry prestimousse, vanilla chantilly, fresh strawberry and raspberry
Mango, Pistachio & Strawberry “Transparence”
Creamy pistachio, butter crumble, strawberry gelee, mango and passionfruit jelly, vanilla chantilly, fresh mango
Chestnut, coconut and Apricot “Finger Food”
Chestnut sponge, apricot gelee, coconut mousse, chestnut filling, neutral glaze and chocolate decor
A look at the cross-section…
And we were treated to a mini degustation of the four desserts demonstrated…
The blackforest tart is presented as a verrine instead
A final shot of the four photos before taking the plunge.
It turns out that all 4 creations are very delicious with hardly any component to fault. For the chestnut entremet, the apricot flavours come through very prominently in the gelee as well as little morsels of apricot embedded within for texture. The flavours of the chestnuts come through as a second wave while the coconut uplifts the aromatics of the piece. On its own, the coconut puree was very sweet , but the flavours mellowed with the sharpness from the apricot cutting through.
For the “Transparence” verrine, the flavours of the pistachio cream was very subtle but provided support for the tart tones from the passionfruit and strawberries. The butter crumble lends a delicious crunch to the textures and compliments well with the smoothness of the gelee. And pleasantly surprising, the buttery aroma emerges well despite the highly perfumed passionfruit and mango gelee. Brilliant piece!
For the “Gourmandise” verrine, strawberry is the major theme played in this piece. The composition is so rudimentary but yet the flavours are so complex and intense! Don’t ask me why, but it reminds me of bubblegum and “girlishness”! Its almost unbelievable that no flavouring compound was incorporated.
All four pieces tasted really beautiful but if I had to choose, it has to be the tarte foret noire. Prima facie, the kirsch flavours really hits first, first the slight acridity in the mouth and then the perfumed liqueur up the nasal cavity. I love the tartness from the morello cherries and felt that it was good that they are not one of those pre-soaked griottes which most are accustomed to using. The kirsch is prominent but doesn’t hit you hard in the gut as what most infused griottes would taste. Bitterness and sourness are the main highlights of this piece and I love it. Flavour profile is excellent, IMHO.
And of course, the beautiful selection of Ponthier products used, without which the workshop would not have been possible. I most certainly look forward to working with some of these purees and IQFs in the near future.