Is it possible for a baker to offer their customers high-end patisserie without specialist knowledge and skills?
Your sourdough wins awards and your sausage rolls deserve to be put on a pedestal – shame your mille-feuilles look like they were made by a toddler wearing welding gloves.
Few bakers can be masters of all aspects of their craft, and producing high-end patisserie from scratch requires years of study and practice.
“You are dealing with science, chemistry and physical reactions,” notes Richard Blades, general product manager at
Paul UK, adding he was always told it takes 10 years to become a master craftsman.
“You need to understand the use of proteins, fats and the viscosity and density of sugars and syrups,” he says.
To deliver the highest-quality results, producers need experience of consistently making products on a daily basis, adds James Elwood, co-director at Anne’s Patisserie in Flint, north Wales.
“Every single element needs to be perfect for the result to be perfect,” he says.
So, what options are there for bakers who want to offer their customers patisserie, but don’t have the skills to do it themselves?
One solution for bakers lacking experience is buying in finished patisserie.
“It will be a much safer place to be if you source some of your products from a wholesale patisserie company which knows what it’s doing,” suggests Yvon Coignard, managing director and head pastry chef at the Gourmet Patisserie.
Bakers can buy items which are finished, take them out of the freezer and put them straight into a display, says Blades at Paul UK. For the more ambitious, there is the option of purchasing individual elements.
“If you want to create, you can buy pastry cases or macarons to assemble into different things,” adds Blades.
Bakers with limited patisserie experience need products that are ready-to-use or require little preparation
It’s a view echoed by Michael Schofield, marketing manager at Bakels, which has recently launched the colourful Raspberry Millionaires Caramel.
“Bakers with limited patisserie experience need products that are ready-to-use or require little preparation to deliver top-quality finished goods – such as convenient concentrates/mixes and ready-to-use finishing ingredients,” he says.
Patisserie products can be personalised by filling a pastry case with chocolate mousse or ribboning white chocolate across the top, adds Blades.
Bakers could also cut their shop logo into a piece of plastic and dust the top of a chocolate tart with icing sugar or cocoa or spray it with different colours.
Working with a bakery supplier means bakers can draw on the experience and know-how of the experts to help deliver a quality end product, suggests Stephanie Brillouet, marketing director – Northern Europe & North America at Délifrance.
With patisserie being difficult to create from scratch, she recommends bakers stick to traditional products, such as éclairs.
I would always recommend the staples like macarons, éclairs, along with tartlets
As does Robert Whittle, managing director at Pidy UK, who suggests bakers of all abilities can produce patisserie.
“I would always recommend the staples like macarons, éclairs, along with tartlets. They can be adapted easily with different on-trend flavours. Having ready-to-fill products means bakers have more time to spend on fillings and finishing touches.”
Vicci Forward, application specialist for industrial patisserie at Puratos UK, believes all a baker needs is a bit of imagination and high-quality, easy-to-use products.
“We also work with our customers as their partners in innovation, supporting them at every step,” she adds.
With suppliers ready to lend even the least experienced baker a hand, there’s little excuse for not displaying cannoli alongside your crusty cobs.
- Unsalted butter, 75g
- Icing sugar, 75g
- Ground almonds, 75g
- Flour (T45), 15g
- Eggs, 2
- Mix sugar and almonds to make ‘tant pour tant’
- Add the flour and mix
- Work the softened butter into the flour, almonds and sugar mix
- Crack the eggs and beat lightly with a fork
- Work gradually into the mix, beating well after each addition
Source: Paul UK
Recipe: Cherry Bakewell Tart
(Makes 12 portions)
For the almond paste filling:
- Unsalted butter, 250g
- Caster sugar, 250g
- Whole eggs, 4
- Ground almonds, 250g
- Self-raising flour, 75g
- Dash of vanilla
- Dash of almond extract
For the sweet pastry (x3 tarts):
- Plain flour, 500g
- Unsalted butter, 250g
- Caster sugar, 125g
- Whole eggs, 2
- Water, 50ml
- Black cherries
- Cherry jam, Approx. one-third standard jar
- Apricot jam glaze, Place a couple of spoons of jam with 4 tsp of water and bring to the boil
- Water icing, Combine approximately 50g icing sugar with a dash of water.
- For the pastry: Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and water and mix into the butter mixture. Add the flour and lightly bring together to form a smooth paste. Wrap in clingfilm and chill until firm enough to roll.
- For the almond paste: Cream together the softened butter and sugar with the vanilla and almond extract until light and smooth. Add the lightly beaten egg and dry ingredients and continue to blend until well mixed.
- In a 10in x 1in pastry ring, blind bake your pastry shell using beans, until cooked but still looking pale.
- Add the cherry jam and spread evenly over the base. Top with the almond paste and finish with the black cherries.
- Cook the tart at 150°C for approximately 50 minutes until springy to touch and golden brown.
- Allow the tart to cool before glazing with apricot jam and water icing.
Source: Anne’s Patisserie