A few weeks ago, while browsing the websites of Paris’s top pâtisseries, I spotted Hugo et Victor’s Tarte Fraise (strawberry tart). The pastry’s strawberry-red shell complemented its meticulously arranged strawberry slices superbly—I was quite inspired by its colour.
This weekend, I had a chance to experiment with adding food colouring to tart dough. The results were impressive. The trick is to use a food colouring that does not lose its pigment when baked.
Ladurée Patisserie’s La Fraise(French for simplyStrawberry) caught my eye two weeks ago, when I was vacationing in London. After interrogating a sales associate with a barrage of questions, I learned that the interior of La Fraiseconsists of fluffy coconut sponge cake and house-made strawberry compote enrobed in a heavenly strawberry crème mousseline.
The crème is then covered with strawberry-red dacquoise cake, studded with royal icing “seeds”, and impaled with a gum paste stem before being neatly arranged in rows in the Ladurée display case. Don’t be turned off by the cartoony, almost gimmicky appearance of this eye-catching entremet cake; La Fraise is incredibly tasty.
I think I may be a tad obsessed with Japanese pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki. I’m on an Aoki binge. Three weeks ago, I created his legendary salted caramel and milk chocolate tarts using a robot I had built just for the project.
Two weeks ago, I wrote a lengthy éclair tutorial primarily based on his acclaimed (but previously untranslated from Japanese) method. This week, I am sharing the results of my efforts to reverse engineer his black sesame éclair, one of the highest rated pastries in Paris together with his salted caramel and milk chocolate tart.