It was love at first sight when I made Chef Hidemi Sugino’s Tartelette aux Figues some years back. The composition of this creation is simpler in comparison to some of his other works, most notably Ambroisie which won him the Coupe de Monde Patissiere more than 20 years ago in Lyon. Since then I had made them twice again over the last 2 years, making slightly changes and modifications along the way to make it more workable for our tropical weather, especially in a non-air conditioned kitchen like mine. Whenever I see good figs on display at our local supermarkets, I think of Sugino’s Fig Tarts, a recipe from his recipe book, Le Gout Authentique Retrouve but seldom makes its appearance in his dessert boutique in Kyobashi Tokyo. So now in 2015 I made them again, as a quick revision of some classic techniques in French pastry making. Thankfully this season’s black figs did not let me down.
タルトレット • オ • フィグ Tartelette aux Figues, a re-creation of another of Hidemi Sugino’s recipes. I’d been wanting to try out this recipe ever since I’d gotten his book, Le Goût Authentique Retrouvé 素材より素材らしく―杉野英実の菓子 last year. In fact, it was the first recipe that I’d laid my eyes on and was like “WOW!”. There were several opportunities earlier on as we saw several imports of figs from Israel, California and then Israel again but somehow I’d let them slip by. Too ripe, not sweet enough, wrong tartlette moulds… so many deterring factors. Alas the stars finally aligned nicely with everything seemingly in place, so here I am trying it out!
If I have to pick a confection which I love to eat and eat a lot, it has to be scones. In fact. there was a point in time a couple of years ago when scones become much of a personal fanaticism when I snacked on them at every opportuned moment. Much to my disgruntlement, they are not the easiest pastry to find here in Singapore, barring sophisticated English High-Tea sets at 5-star hotel cafes. The latter usually mean a hefty price tag which isn’t exactly appealing for me. The Connoisseur Concerto (previously The Coffee Connoisseur) serve them as part of their afternoon tea sets but the quality seemed inconsistent. A local bakery chain, Four Leaves produce fairly decent-tasting ones, and its here that I get my supplies. Still, me aint entirely satisfied, which leaves my stomach still lingering…
A couple of months ago, I chanced upon Chef Gregoire Michaud’s blog and incidentally his scone recipe, which he professed to be from a well-known afternoon tea joint in London. While I have complete faith in its authenticity, I was skeptical if such delicious stuff could be so simple to make. So the recipe was bookmarked but KIVed for quite a while but never materialised. Then more recently, Chef Gregoire was featured in a video for Wall Street Journal. Watching the expert at work certainly helped. And when I finally saw the product at the end of the video, I was sold! They really looked imbued with all the desirable qualities of what I look out for in a good scone, the right degree of crumbliness, the right degree of crusty appeal on the outside and the right degree of soft and buttery textures on the inside. Sound really anal retentive I know. But while some discoveries were made through accidents or luck, many good things are really produced through sheer perserverance and being anal retentive, to the last detail.