The year-end holidays are fast approaching and the Burgundy Paris dons its Christmas clothes ... On this festive occasion, the pastry chef Julien Chamblas offers a gourmet Christmas recipe to enjoy with your family!
Step one: a delicious gingerbread
For this first step, the chef requests the assistance of Louis Burgundy! The small gourmand doesn’t mind being asked to help and gets stuck in to gathering all the ingredients demanded by the Chef:
- 225g of water
- 95g of caster sugar
- 225g of acacia honey
- 12g of yeast
- 3g of gingerbread spice
- 16g of lemon zest
- 8g of orange zest
- 1g of salt
- 6g of star anise
- 140g of butter
- 225g of flour
Louis grabs a pan and mixes the spices, zest, star anise, honey, sugar and water... He now leaves it to the Chef to keep a watchful eye on the mixture, as it must boil and be allowed to infuse for 10 minutes. The still-hot mixture must then be agitated and the butter stirred in.
Once the mixture has been thoroughly blended, it is imperative to allow it to cool. The Chef explains to Louis that the preparation will not blend properly if the syrup is still hot. So, in the meantime, Louis prepares the mixture of flour, salt and yeast in a separate container.
Once the syrup is fully cooled, it must be incorporated gently and steadily into the mixture of powders to avoid the formation of grains within the preparation. As soon as the preparation is smooth, Louis applies it evenly and carefully within an appropriately sized baking tray. All that remains is for him to cook his delicious gingerbread! He sets the oven at 170 ° C for 15min and places the baking tray within. But as the Chef quite rightly reminds him, he must not forget to keep an eye on it as it bakes to ensure that the end result is as perfect as possible!
Step two: a crunchy speculoos shortbread
Now let’s move on to the next step! This time it’s Victoire Burgundy offering some welcome assistance to the Chef. She rummages around in the kitchen and sets out upon the table:
- 310g of butter
- 250g of icing sugar
- 1g of salt
- 50g of eggs
- 175g of raw almond powder
- 15g of a mixture of 4 spices
- 325g of flour
- 15g of yeast
For this auspicious occasion, one must look the part, and to get in the mood Victoire puts on her apron, lovingly hand-sewn by her mother, Marie! Calling for her complete attention, the Chef explains that it is very important to take the eggs out of the fridge well beforehand so that they can warm up to room temperature. Cold eggs mixed with butter is the guarantee of a non-homogeneous mixture ...
The Chef asks Victoire to begin preparing the softened butter. She doesn’t really know what that means. Time for an explanation! Softened butter is a butter at room temperature, worked with a spatula to form a sort of cream. Quick tip: pop it in the microwave to make it easier to work with! Once the mystery of softened butter has been resolved, it’s time to add raw almond powder and icing sugar, as well as half of the flour, and finally the spices and salt. It’s with great pleasure that Victoire puts her hand to mixing everything! She’s very proud of the result! Once the mixture has been well blended, Victoire pours the eggs in gently, in accordance with the Chef's instructions. This must then be re-mixed with the rest of the flour and yeast. The Chef stresses to Victoire the importance of not forgetting the yeast that gives the shortbread its lightness. Now we need to shoot the dough into the fridge to rest for one hour in the cold! It’s time to sip a fruit juice cocktail at the bar Baudelaire with Louis and Victoire, who are very happy with their participation.
An hour later, it's time for Victoire to produce her rolling pin and roll the dough. The chef recommends a thickness of about 4 mm for optimum cooking. Now, we need to choose the appropriate shortbread dough cutter. Victoire looks around the Chef’s kitchen and opts for a charming 15cm pine tree. Once trimmed to shape, the results are popped into the oven for 12 min at 170 ° C.
Step three: gourmet decoration
This is the final step, the one most loved by children. Decoration! Just as they have dressed the Christmas tree in their living room with gleaming baubles and fairy lights, it’s now time for Louis and Victoire to unleash their creativity once more with some fabulous gourmet decoration. To do this they first cut the gingerbread with the same cookie cutter tree used for the shortbread. Approaching it like the creation of a montage, Louis and Victoire begin by placing the "gingerbread tree" on the "shortbread fir." For decoration, the Chef recommends the use of fondant, which can be bought in speciality stores. Louis spreads the fondant between two baking sheets and pops it in the freezer until it’s very cold. After it’s chilled to perfection, Victoire quickly cuts it into shape with the cutter to finalise the overlay, so that our capable assistants now find themselves with three layers of trees. The Chef now offers his young apprentices a decoration of any delicacy they wish. For the pine thorns, Victoire uses lime zest on the white fondant. Then, to give a festive and radiant side to this divine gourmet creation, Louis’ little hands gently place silver leaves on the trees. Finally, the Chef sprinkles on icing sugar to create a fine layer of Christmas snow...
Louis and Victoire are very proud of their achievements and, thanking the Chef, rush off to join Marie and Carl for a tasty and original Christmas Eve! Why not invite your children to be apprentice pastry chefs and join you in creating this simple and tasty recipe? You’ll have great fun together! Soon, we’ll have some more new culinary adventures for you...
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