Pure Pastries

passions, tastes, and tales of an american pastry chef

I’ve changed hosts November 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — annakbajo @ 2:52 am

Hey everyone, thanks for all your support so far!

I’ve changed to using Blogger to host my blog, so I won’t be posting from here anymore.

Go to http://purepastries.blogspot.com/ from now on for updates!

I’ve switched over all my old posts and will be updating with many more soon! Thanks for all your comments, I appreciate them 🙂


Rose and Orange Blossom Macaroons November 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — annakbajo @ 2:29 am
Rose Water Macaroon

Rose Water Macaroon

My adoration of French macaroons began two summers ago while visiting my sister, Lindsay, in Paris. We made a habit of opting out of the breakfast our hostel provided each morning and instead visiting the local patisserie for a pastry or more often than not a pistachio macaroon.

I have yet to find a macaroon in America that compares to those from Paris, although I believe the following recipe comes close. The mark of a good macaroon is a paper thin crust that breaks apart with the slightest touch and encases a soft and dense almond center. If made correctly, you will see a distinct and rough border around the bottom of the macaroon and a smooth dome top. The cookies are usually sandwiched with either jam, pastry cream, or chocolate.


My sister and I visited Laduree Patisserie on the Champs Elysees and had the opportunity to taste their macaroons. Macaroons come in a variety of colors and flavors and can be very dramatic when displayed.

Macaroons are extremely delicate and are best enjoyed fresh the day they are made, although will last about a day in the fridge. You can freeze macaroons before sandwiching them, although I would only recommend this method if used for decoration.

I decided to try to replicate the rose macaroon I had tasted on my trip to Vegas. My friend, Amy, has just given me bottles of rose water and orange blossom water so I decided to test out both these in my recipe today. waters

French Macaroon

1/2# Sugar

1 1/2 oz Water

3 1/2 oz Egg Whites

8 3/4oz Almond Powder

8 3/4oz Powdered Sugar

3 1/2oz Egg Whites

1. Sift the almond powder and powdered sugar together and mix with the first measurement of egg whites. This mixture with be very thick and dry at first, but will come together in a nice paste.

2. In a small pot with a candy thermometer attached to the side, bring the sugar and water to 248 degrees Fahrenheit.


3. Begin whisking the second measurement of egg whites when the sugar reaches 238 degrees Fahrenheit so that the whites will be at stiff peaks by the time the sugar is at the desired temperature.

4. Once the sugar reaches 248 degrees, begin slowly pouring into the whites (continuing to whisk in mixer). Continue mixing until the meringue is shiny in appearance.


5. Fold the meringue into the almond powder mixture in three stages. The first fold will lighten the paste and decrease deflation of the egg whites with the second and third fold.

6. At this stage I separated my batch into two bowls to add my food color. I dyed the first batch orange (orange blossom) and the second pink (rose water).

7. Pipe small quarter sized rounds on parchment paper that has been sprayed. It is important that the macaroons are identical in size so that you may later sandwich them. Make sure to leave space between the piped macaroons to allow for spreading.


8. This next step will ensure that your macaroons have the desired crust and the rough border on the bottom. It is also the easiest step. Allow the piped macaroons to “rest” for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour. Leave them at room temperature during this time.

9. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes or until their is a distinct crust on the bottom when turned over. Allow to cool

Pastry Cream

3 1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

9 egg yolks

6oz butter

2 Tbs Orange Blossom Water

1/2 tsp Orange extract


1 1/2 Tbs Rose Water

1. Combine sugar with the milk over heat and bring to a boil.

2. In bowl, whisk together yolks and cornstarch.

3. Once milk comes to a boil, temper egg mixture with heated milk mixture. Pour a small amount of hot milk over yolks while whisking to incorporate. Add more milk and continue to whisk.

4. Bring the rest of milk mixture to a boil, then add the egg mixture, stirring constantly to avoid clumps. Mixture will thicken and begin to bubble when ready.

5. Remove from heat, add butter and stir to combine. Add flavorings.

5. Pour mixture into a bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap touching the pastry cream. Place in fridge to solidify.

Once the pastry cream has cooled, pipe between two macaroons and sandwich them together. Yum!



Peace, Love and Chocolate: Vosges Haut-Chocolat November 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — annakbajo @ 9:45 pm

Curry powder, balsamic vinegar, wasabi and…chocolate?

Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Naga: Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Vosges Haut-Chocolat Las Vegas is located in Ceasars Palace. This was our first stop upon arriving in town and definitely started the weekend off with a bang. Katrina Markoff started her specialty gourmet chocolate company in 1998 in Chicago. She began traveling the world to discover and blend new diverse spices with chocolate. Her motto is peace, love, and chocolate and her company focuses on being green and donates a percentage of profits to improving conditions for women throughout the world.

Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Budapest: Vosges Haut-Chocolat

At her Las Vegas location, we were welcomed into the store with chocolate offerings and unlimited samples of their various truffles and chocolate bars. The salesclerks were helpful and knowledgeable and allowed us to taste freely.

My favorite truffle was the Naga made from sweet Indian curry powder, coconut milk, and milk chocolate. This is actually Katrina’s first ever truffle and by far the best. There is just enough spiciness to offset the sweetness of the milk chocolate and coconut milk. The light dusting of the curry powder on top of the truffle adds a brilliant color, which is echoed throughout her collection of truffles.

Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Viola: Vosges Haut-Chocolat

I next tried the Balsamico truffle which was filled with a 12-year-aged balsamic vinegar and topped with hazelnuts. This truffle was enrobed in dark chocolate which paired wonderfully with the tangy vinegar.

Vosges Haut Chocolat

Balsamico: Vosges Haut Chocolat

The above Viola is topped with a candied violet flower petal and is beautiful to behold.

We next tasted the Budapest truffle, which is topped with sweet Hungarian paprika and encased in dark chocolate. Incredibly curious and different.

I tasted a milk chocolate truffle filled with a sweet potato and brown sugar center and enrobed with milk chocolate. This truffle was much too sweet for my tastes.

The Red Fire truffle just makes sense. For those of you who enjoy Mexican Mole, this truffle should satisfy you. It is made from Mexican ancho & chipotle chillies with Ceylon cinnamon and dark chocolate.

Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Red Fire:Vosges Haut-Chocolat

This chocolate shop is an experience to remember and an inspiration. I plan to attempt these flavor pairings in my own kitchen in the near future.

Although I was not able to try their ice cream flavors, I hope to test one in particular very soon. Curry ice cream made from coconut milk! Maybe I will even try a chocolate ice cream infused with ancho chili peppers. Why not?


What Happened in Vegas… October 30, 2008

Filed under: Patisserie,Uncategorized — annakbajo @ 1:46 am


I decided calories don’t count if they are accrued while conducting research.

Only three of the countless pastry shops I visited during my weekend in Vegas stood out from the others as innovative, fresh and inspiring. Jean-Philippe Patisserie at the Bellagio, Francois Payard Patisserie at Ceasar’s Palace, and Vosges Haut-Chocolat at Ceasar’s Palace.

As you walk into Jean-Philippe’s Patisserie at the Bellagio you are greeted by a beautiful glass sculpture which also functions as the world’s largest chocolate fountain. Chocolate is literally pouring from the ceiling in various forms and hues. If this doesn’t catch your eye and draw you in, the bright and vibrant colors from the pastry case should do the trick.

The first pastry I tasted at Jean-Philippe’s Patisserie was his Rose Macaroon. This dessert was composed of fresh raspberries and rose infused pastry cream sandwiched between two almond macaroons and topped with a sugared rose petal.

This was by far the best dessert I tasted all weekend and quite possibly the best I have ever tasted.

It was infused with just enough rose to enhance and compliment the tartness of the raspberries and the sweet nuttiness of the macaroon. The macaroon was perfectly baked; a soft and chewy center surrounded by a paper thin crust. The colors and textures of this pastry added to the overall affect and experience when cutting into this wonderful piece of art.

The second dessert I tasted at the Bellagio was Jean-Philippe’s Chocobanana. This dessert was composed of a hazelnut crust, chocolate mousse, and caramelized bananas. It was beautifully presented and the flavors and textures worked wonderfully together.

Although I wasn’t able to taste another bite, the following pictures are of a few of the other pastries available at the patisserie.


Carrot Cake: Jean-Phillipe


Lemon Meringue Tart:Jean-Philippe