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Monday, September 04, 2006
Pierre Hermé, je t'aime – History of a Cœur Velours

Did I really need to write another post about Pierre Hermé? No, not really if we consider I've already spoken about this genius at least six times before.
I'm sorry but I can't help.

Pierre Hermé, je t'aime.
I love every single thing you make. Who can deny that you are the most creative pâtissier of the world.
Avocat banane chocolat
Pêche abricot safran
Chocolat au lait banane passion

Just to say three of them.

Pierre Hermé, je t'aime.
Though I already secretly knew I had to be a pâtissier, you gave me the courage to finally face the truth. Now I'm brave enough to say that as soon as I'll graduate and save enough money I will attend the pastry course at le Cordon Bleu to, one day, open my own patisserie.
Maybe it was my fate. I am a Lenoir's mascotte afterall.

Pierre Hermé, je t'aime.
By publishing a book collecting all your recipes you couldn't make me happier. At the second I had PH10 in my arms, I knew we would love each others.
This book is more than a cookbook. It's my bible. Whenever I feel like making something special I only have to open the book and choose (and there you don't have to be fiddly about the choosing time – it is long but every second is worth it).

After that love delclaration you may think I'm insane and though I pretend I'm not, I am, well almost!
I simply love Pierre Hermé's work to the point of no-return.
So when I say Pierre Hermé, I love you; I do mean, in fact, I love what you do, but isn't I love you more poetic than I love what you do?

This was just an introduction to a dessert I made the other three days.
- Did I already say how much I loved Plaisir Sucré?
- Everyone says YES!

So I pass this part.
Anyway this is, for me and for most of the people I know, milk chocolate heaven.
It was then a quick decision to make one for my dad's birthday. Though, I wanted it to look more like a birthday cake; thus when I found the recipe for Coeur Velours (otherwise know as Coeur Plaisir Sucré) I knew it was the ONE.

It takes quite a long time to make – I started Friday whereas the birthday party was on Sunday.
But although it's really time-consuming I simply don't mind because, for me, making of of Pierre Hermé's creation is like choosing the perfect wedding dress or to grow the perfect orchid. It needs time, love and devotion.

Here is its history.

Coeur Velours
This entremet de fête, as Pierre Hermé calls it, is another form of the famous Cerise sur le Gâteau.
It makes a lovely birthday cake and would be perfect in fact for every occasion (have you ever thought of self-inflicted parties – think 'I have a new car, why not make a party', or 'it's raining, why not…').
Pierre Hermé suggests that it should be eaten alone to underline the different tastes and textures and I can only agree with my maître-à-penser.

Coeur Velours
serves 8

make a list of all the ingredients needed
go food-shopping
write down a retro-planning

6pm – make the dacquoise aux noisettes
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a large baking sheet.
Sieve the hazelnut powder (135g) and icing sugar (150g). Whip the egg whites (150g) with the caster sugar (50g) until stiff. Fold into the nutty mixture.
Pipe two 19cm disks on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with roasted and crushed hazelnuts (125g).
Bake at 170°C for 25 minutes. Unmould and allow to cool on a wire rack until completely cold.

6.20pm – make the milk chocolate chantilly
Bring the cream (300g) to the boil and pour over the milk chocolate (210g), mix until smooth and place into an airtight container with some clingfilm on the surface to prevent the formation of a skin. Refrigerate overnight.

6.30pm – make the milk chocolate ganache
Bring the cream (115g) to the boil and pour over the milk chocolate (125g). Mix until smooth and allow to cool at room temperature. And don't forget to set 1/4 of the ganache aside.

6.45pm – check if your water pulveriser can actually pulverise chocolate
Now you know it doesn't work so you have to find a solution before Sunday.

7pm – make the praline feuilleté
After having read the PH10 recipe you finally decide you should (to preserve yourself from the nervous breakdown) use the fully approved one from My chocolate desserts
In a bowl mix the Nutella (200g), melted milk chocolate (50g), broken crêpes gavottes or rice krispies (30g) and melted butter (15g)

7.15pm – go back to your work; you still have a 50-page paper due in five weeks

8pm – spread the praline feuilleté over one of the dacquoise disks
Then freeze both disks

9.15am – make the fines feuilles de chocolat au lait
Temper the milk chocolate (160g) and spread onto a rhodoïd sheet or two. As soon as it starts getting set, draw three 18,5cm circles. Keep in the fridge.

9.30am – spread the half of the chocolate ganache onto one chocolate disk, then top with the other chocolate disk, spread with the remaining ganache and top with the last chocolate sheet. Freeze.

10am – work, work, work!

12pm – line the side of a 19cm cercle à pâtisserie with the reserved ganache
Place the dacquoise, then the chocolate sheets/ganache then top with the whipped chocolate chantilly and cover with the upside-down dacquoise. Smooth the top with some remaining chantilly and freeze overnight.

6.45am – melt 100g of milk chocolate with 50g of butter

7am – release the entremet from the cercle and ice it with the prepared mixture
After I discovered the pulvériser wouldn't pulverise chocolate, I decided to simply chill the milk chocolate/butter mixture then spread it on the entrement as you would for any icing/frosting.

7.20am – after having struggled against the pulvérisateur spatula, place the entremet on a nice cake stand, pop into the fridge and go back to bed

2pm – finally enjoy the delicious entremet and don't worry if it's not as good-looking as it was on the book

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Sunday, September 03, 2006
Now 100% sweet

Something happened friday night.
Even though I've had already tried to create a new template for foodbeam countless times (without success - do I need to say that!) I started coding again and again and I finally managed to produce something I actually like.
foodbeam is now sweet and pink - just like me :)

I know there still are some problems and that it's best viewed with a 1024x768 resolution (actually if anyone can fix that white band on the right, it would be more than fantastic), but you know, foodbeam looks finally as I wanted it to do.

Thanks to Philippe for the background and to Girliebits design (for the templates that helped me to understand the categories)/CSS zen garden (for the inspiration) /CSS intro (for the tec' bits) for the great support throughout my labour.

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