Macaroon Demonstration by Le Cordon Bleu’s Pâtisserie Chef Nicolas Houchet

World renowned in the culinary industry and with a heritage expanding over 120 years, Le Cordon Bleu is one of the finest institutions in the world that offers a wide range of courses in cuisine, pâtisserie, wine and management. It is dedicated to providing excellence in culinary arts for all of its 20,000 annual students, across 40 schools in 20 countries. Le Cordon Bleu recently visited India with Pâtisserie Master Chef Nicolas Houchet who led pâtisserie demonstrations at various locations across the country.

Chef Nicolas has participated in several competitions, coming 2nd in the French festival National du Croquembouche in 2002 and 11th in the festival International du Croquembouche in 2004. He worked as an apprentice for Restaurant Hammerer, a pâtisserie, chocolaterie and boulangerie in Nancy for five years where he mastered pâtisserie as he trained under award-winning mentor, Jean Claude Hammerer (Pastry Chef of the year 2000). Since then, there’s been no looking back for him. At the prestigious 5-star Le Grand Hotel de la Reine, he worked as Chef de Partie before moving to London where he set up Pâtisserie Macaron and worked as Head Chef for 5 years and Director for 2 years. In 2010, he joined Le Cordon Bleu London and has been teaching pâtisserie to budding bakers ever since.

During the institute’s recent trip to Mumbai, Chef Nicolas demonstrated his expert techniques at the exquisite Sofitel Mumbai BKC. I was fortunate to attend this amazing demo and learn the art of making perfect macaroons from the award-winning master chef himself. Not only did he demonstrate how to make the most delectable macaroons, he also took us through life at the esteemed institute by sharing interesting anecdotes. The demonstration was soon followed by a quick Q&A and a much-awaited tasting session.

With Master Chef Nicolas Houchet

Entremet 1 L’Été indien (Eggs free entremet):

Light chocolate mousse:
300 gr dark chocolate
225 gr milk
500 gr whipping cream
5gr gr gelatine

Method:
Soak the gelatine in cold water
Heat up the milk and dissolve the gelatine in. Gradually pour over the chocolate and stir to form a shiny mass, once cooled to 30C add in the whipped whipping cream
Use immediately or cool down further in such a way that you should be able to pipe the mousse

Mango and Lime jelly:
200 gr mango puree
50 gr lime juice
75 gr caster sugar
8 gr gelatine

Method:
– Heat up the juice and puree with the sugar
– Add in the soaked gelatine
– Pour in a mould/ring/fudge pan and let it set for 45min minimum in a freezer

Moist cocoa sponge:
100 gr T55 flour
100 gr dark brown sugar/Muscovado sugar
25 gr cocoa powder
8gr soda bicarbonate
125 gr water
50 gr vegetable oil/olive oil
10 gr balsamic vinaigar
10 gr vanilla extract

Method:
– Sieve all the dry ingredients together
– Add in gradually the wet ingredients until they combine
– Spread on baking sheet and bake for 12-16min at 180C

Glacage chocolat:
145 gr water
195 gr sugar
120 gr whipping cream
12 gr gelatin leaf
60 gr cocoa powder

Method:
– Soak the gelatin leaves in ice cold water, once softened drain off the excess water
– Place the caster sugar, water, cocoa powder and whipping cream into a pan and bring to a boil
– Take off the heat and add in the gelatin, blend with the hand blender and then pass through a fine sieve. Place into the fridge until ready to use

Decoration:
Tempered dark chocolate
Sugar garnishes
Fresh mango x1
Fresh limes x2

Entremet 2: Fraicheur Citron (Gluten FREE)

Flourless Cocoa and pistachios Sponge:
120 gr egg yolks
75 gr caster sugar
180 gr egg whites
75 gr caster sugar
35 gr cocoa powder
50 gr chopped pistachios

Method:
– Whisk egg yolks and 75 gr sugar until pale
– Make a meringue with the remaining sugar and egg whites
– Incorporate the meringue to the blanched egg yolks
– Incorporate the cocoa powder and spread out onto baking paper, sprinkle the top with pistachios
– Bake for 12 min at 180C

White chocolate and lime mousse:
150 gr whipping cream
70 gr egg yolks
10 gr gelatine
350 gr white chocolate
450 gr whipping cream
2 lime zest

Method:
– Cook an anglaise with the egg yolks and the 150 gr of whipping cream, add the soaked gelatine
– Pour the anglaise over the white chocolate in 3 inclusions
– Once cooled to 30c, add the whipped cream
– Use immediately

Lemon and lime Cremeux:
200 gr lemon juice
1 lemon zest
1 lime zest
175 gr caster sugar
3 eggs
50 gr egg yolks
140 gr butter
5 gr gelatine

Method:
– Cook the lemon juice, zests, sugar, egg yolks and whole eggs to the boil, add in the gelatine
– Once cooled down to 40c , incorporate the butter until fully emulsified
– Pour inside a mould and chill for 1h, it can also be piped after reconstitution

Yellow Glacage:
135 gr water
165 gr caster sugar
115 gr whipping cream
9 gr gelatine
75 gr white chocolate
White and yellow food colouring

Method:
– Combine cream sugar and water and bring to a boil, add the gelatine, then to the melted chocolate
– Let it cool and thicken before application

Decoration:
1x lemon
1x lime
Caramel garnishes
500gr dark or white chocolate

DSC_8124

Chef Nicolas’ tip for aspiring pâtisserie chefs – Persevere. The first few months in a working environment are very hard work and it’s important to keep on going at this stage. Also, never forget the basic techniques – it’s nice to want to make complicated sugar work or fancy desserts but the basics are the most important skills to have. Remember the fewer ingredients in a recipe, the harder it is to get right.

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