The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fruit and nut levain, Paris-Brest and Florentina surprise

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hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Fruit and nut levain, Paris-Brest and Florentina surprise

I loved the deep wheaty taste of the whole-wheat levain that I posted about last time, and I feel the preferment itself (a wet whole-wheat preferment) added a tangy, earthy flavour to the loaf. It'll be interesting to experiment with different flours in future preferments, as it could be an easy way to "extract" more of the flavour and aroma characteristics of the flour that is used.


I baked another whole-wheat levain yesterday, but added toasted nuts and rum soaked prunes. For the loaf below, I used pine nuts and sunflower seeds, and let the toasted nuts soak in dark rum together with prunes overnight. I think this gave the nuts a soft, almost buttery mouthfeel. Other than that, the whole-wheat levain formula from "Bread" was followed, with a final proof in the fridge overnight. Here's the loaf:


Prune & nut levain


The toasted nuts and sweetness from the prunes go very well with the slightly bitter flavour of whole-wheat. The combined weight of nuts and prunes is about 30% of the total flour weight.


Prune & nut levain


 


OK, I know you're thinking that Tour de France is over and all that (so what if I'm not a sports freak??), but that didn't prevent me from making some Paris-Brest pastries over the weekend! I've made these once before, and I've had a craving for more ever since... Below is a photo of the unbaked (left) and baked (right) choux wheels:


Paris-Brest


I used the recipe for choux pastry from Suas' book, and both times I've used it, I've ended up adding more eggs than in the recipe in order to get the right consistency. Perhaps I'm cooking the paste a bit too long before adding eggs? Anyways, the more eggs the merrier, right? They piped nicely, and sprung up quite good in the oven.


So much about the choux - let's be honest: The choux wheel is merely a...*ehem*... vehicle for the filling, if you ask me. The real star of the show is the Crème Paris-Brest; the luxurious, artery-clogging cream that is sandwiched between two halves of choux.


May I trouble you with a bit of choux, Madame?


Paris-Brest


 


Finally, for a truly ship-sinking cookie, here's my take on Friberg's Florentina surprise. They're pretty elaborate as far as "cookies" are concerned, but if you happen to have some buttercream and shortdough in your freezer (I mean, who doesn't, right? ;), this is a great way to use it all up. The florentina surprise is a shortdough bottom layer, topped with hazelnut flavoured buttercream and a mound of rum flavoured ganache, dark coating chocolate and a thin florentina cookie on top. Below are photos of the florentina and shourtdough components (left) and shortdough with filling piped on top (right):


Florentina surprise


After the buttercream is set, the cookie is dipped in dark coating chocolate, and the florentina cookie is pressed on top:


Florentina surprise


The "surprise" part of the name comes from the rum flavoured ganache in the centre of the filling - it's a mouthwatering combination of flavours: Sandy shortdough, buttery hazelnut, crisp caramel-almond taste from the florentina and a great kick from the rum-spiked ganache. Ship-sinking stuff!

Comments

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Hans! Wow, what a gorgeous whole wheat levain loaf!  For some reason I crave fruits and nuts in whole wheat loaves.  I love everything about this loaf!


The Paris-Brest Pastries are Beautiful!  I have put off so long making these for my husband's cycling team!  Pizza and PBP...they need the carbs!  Thanks, for the reminder!


Sylvia

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Wow!  Your bread is the most beautiful bread I have seen in a long time.  It must taste heavenly!


I haven't bake for a while since I can't get my sourdough starter to work as it did before!  Your bread  picture will be posted on my refrigerator door to get me going again. 


Thank you for sharing.


Mantana


 


 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

I'm weak for fruits and nuts in whole-wheat loaves too! I love the sweet-and-earthy flavour combo in breads like these.


Thanks!