It feels good to be back in baking again, after an almost month-long hiatus. Been busy with a trail of Asian delights from Cantonese claypot rice to Hainanese Pork Chops, and not to forget a couple of Asian desserts along the way. Quite a walk down memory lane to prepare dishes which I’d learnt to prepare years back, but have not gotten a chance to reprise them over the last year or so, well since the passing of my mother actually. So it felt really warm and nostalgic to get in touch with my culinary roots again, with dishes that ignited my love for food and cooking many moons back. But life has to move on, so here I am back again, having fun once more with flour, eggs, butter and sugar! First off with a simple petit four, Ladurée’s Financier Pistache…
I’d read about pistachio paste being used in pastry recipes for the longest time and have been really curious to how it actually taste like. I even tried to make some myself, modifying Jacques Torres’ recipe for DIY almond paste and used it for Tarte aux Fruits Rouges sometime back but its definitely one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” kinda experience which I’m not too eager in replicating anytime soon. This is to much relief of Mr Food Blender who overworked and concussed twice while the homemade pistachio paste was churning furiously in his guts. Thankfully after some cooling down and ample rest, he sprang back to life, though i’m sure the old dog is not quite the same as before after his “near-death experience”. Surely is “diet” has become more picky, and wary of what he is being “fed” nowadays. I’ve heard of others of his kind “fuming mad” quite literally while in action, probably lamenting how they had been ill-treated by their owners. I can’t risk giving Mr Food Blender indigestion problems as he is a much valued asset in the kitchen, probably assigned simpler tasks now like purees and rempahs, so no more “hardcore” stuff, quite literally.
After some searching around, I’d managed to source some commercially made pistachio paste which was quite pleasing in colour and texture. But there’s a whooping 1kg of it to be expended so I’m finding every means to use it whenever I can. Since there were leftover raspberries from Tarte Ispahan, a fine opportunity for another Pierre Hermé’s macaron creations, Macaron Montebello.
When news of a new Ladurée publication “Sucré: The Recipes” broke out more than a year ago, it created quite a stir amongst the culinary scene. The pre-orders were selling like hotcakes leading to the title selling out before it was even published! Opportunistic resales on amazon and other online bookstores at astronomical prices but yet it didnt seem to deter hardcore pastisserie afficionadoes from snapping them up at 3-digit prices. Thankfully I didn’t yield to the temptations then or I’d probably be banging my head against the wall now. Resale pricing fluctuated over the next couple of months and that meant quite a bit of “price watching” over the major online bookstores, not unlike market share prices. When “the price was right”, I went in and made the kill. Finally got a copy for myself at a very satisfying 42 bucks including shipping. I last checked with a local Japanese bookstore in town and it was going at a whooping 71. I can only say that I’m a very happy man…
Which recipe should I try first? So many delectable recipes from macarons to petits gateaux, viennoiseries to entremets, there’s even a recipe for french waffles which’s so intriguing!!! Well, for me at least. But I settled for a individual tartelette recipe which calls for two fruits which are in season now, cherries and apricots. Ladurée’s Tartelettes Croustillantes Abricots ou Cerises it shall be.