Pastry Chefs have long appreciated good quality cream as a vital ingredient in their exquisite creations. There is a delicate science involved in producing cream in its finest form, which gives it the power to enhance recipes. It is bound by strict guidelines, determined by climatic conditions and certainly entails intricate know-how. Recently, a professional workshop was held at the Starhill Culinary Studio to demonstrate the superior quality of European cream. Chef Jean Michel Fraisse conducted a brief theoretical introduction on the cream.
As one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen, cream is employed in all types of cuisines from all over the world. While it can and often is incorporated in cooking and baking, it is the latter that truly demonstrates its scope. One only needs to consider the myriad of European desserts, which are reknown for its generous use of cream in its various forms. Infused in crème brulee and cakes, as the crème pâtissière in a éclair, profiterole (cream puff) or religieuse, to name a few. However, the secret of French desserts as the pâtissiers will tell you is the quality of the cream. And there is none quite like European cream, which is the cream of choice of all top chefs in the world.
CREAM – it’s the best ingredient a pastry chef will be needing to execute his or her creations. Take your choice of light (12 – 30% fat) or not (at least 30% fat). Whether thick, liquid, heat-treated, cultured, or whipped into a voluptuous cloud; cream improves taste, texture, binding, and even presentation.
It graces your vanilla sponge cakes, improves the fondant used on cupcakes, turns fruit puree into mousse and fills profiteroles with sweet creaminess. Its silky, creamy, smooth and shiny texture is why the term "creamy" is so widely used by tasters to describe the smoothness of a product.
No two patissiers are alike. Each carries an individual baggage of style, techniques, and ideas that is reflected in their creations. While pastry chefs may not share a tonne in common artistically, they can all agree on one thing. When it comes to ingredients, accept no substitutes.