This pastry wins the award for ‘most impossible to photograph’
CAN YOU BELIEVE that this is the last intermediate recipe?! It feels so weird to be going into the final recipes after this, am I really capable of tackling the advanced ones? Considering the very first recipe was a hot chocolate, this certainly feels like the blog has come a long way. Intermediate has certainly had its faults (come @ me), however, it has also had its fair share of success. The only question is: will the last intermediate recipe be a success or fail?
Aside from all the mousses and creams and ganache’s (OH MY), there is one thing I have loved in this book. I’ve absolutely loved just, from time to time, focusing on some classic pastry chef techniques. Whether it's been puff pastry or brioche, I’ve really enjoyed dipping my tough in the water of what the French do with butter ;). On one hand, its usually the main component so doesn’t feel as daunting, however on the other hand, it gives you nothing to hide behind.
The arlette is the most daunted I have ever been by pastry. There is something about the wafer-thin disk of flaky puff pastry, that sends countless shivers down my spine. HELL, it took me ages to even work out what it looked like – the photo on the recipe looks like a close up photo of Jupiter, this pastry looks out of this world ;).
Similar to a palmier, the arlette is its far more delicate cousin. Ansel notes how it originates in the south of France, however, is widely unknown in the region (and elsewhere). He deduces that the reason its so unknown is due to the awkwardness of the pastry. Besides it being an absolute pain to make, how on earth are you going to walk out of a patisserie with one of these?! (honestly picturing it is hard enough). The arlette is longer than an average ruler while being the same thickness as a leaf, this was never made being easing to transport.
Like I mentioned previously, an arlette is essentially just a disk of puff pastry coated in sugar (imagine a really fancy pie top ;)). Ansel decides to take the pastry one step further in difficulty by using ‘invert puff pastry’. Invert puff pastry is when the butter is on the outside of the dough (HOW THAT EVEN WORKS I DON’T KNOW), and is worked in the same way as regular puff. As if I was daunted enough by the pastry, things just got a whole lot harder.
The recipe begins by making the dough, a regular puff pasty dough that uses strong flour (more gluten) to make it easier to work with. This takes just a few minutes in my trusty KitchenAid, and is placed in the fridge to rest while making the butter block. The butter block is essentially just butter mixed with a small amount of flour, arranged in a square and refrigerated.
Once both the dough and butter has chilled, its time to begin creating the lamination. Before the first fold can be made, the dough is placed in the centre of the butter block, and wrapped up like a birthday present. Once covered, its time to make the first fold. The dough makes use of a letter fold, and is once again placed in the fridge. Once out of the fridge, Ansel instructs to do two more ‘double book folds’ (helps create more layers), and refrigerate overnight to rest the gluten and chill the butter.
The next day consisted of rolling the dough out on cinnamon sugar (Ansel gets you to make WAYYY too much cinnamon sugar, fyi ;)), rolling it into a sausage and cutting it into segments. Each segment gets flattened to reveal a spiral of butter, and rolled until wafer thin on more cinnamon sugar.
Due to the massive size of these pastries I was only able to fit one in my oven at once (cries), and proceeded to place them in between two baking trays (the one on top weighs it down), and baking until a deep golden brown. After a good few hours sat by the oven, the arlettes were done.
BLIMEY, BLIMEY, BLIMEY. These are INSANE. They are so flaky and buttery, while being incredibly crisp and easily just crack under the pressure of your fingers or mouth, before dissolving as soon as the pastry hits your tongue. These were to die–for. I am pleased to say that my arlettes came out perfectly, and are something that I would happily eat all day-every day. If you’re a fan of palmiers you MUST try these!
NEXT UP: Chocolate Caviar Tart (NO WAY IS THIS THE FIRST ADVANCED RECIPE, IM EQUAL PARTS EXCITED AND SCARED)
I’d love to hear everything you liked/disliked in the comments below (I literally combust with joy every time someone comments), and any questions you may have about me/Ansel/the book/future posts/or literally ANYTHING ELSE.
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