I remember back in my early days of my culinary career when I used to marvel over the beauty and innovativeness of French cake and pastry making. I would always ask myself, “How did the pastry chefs make those cakes and pastries look so beautiful? What were the secrets?”.
Over the course of the next several postings, I shall provide you with a glimpse of what typically goes on in a professional French pastry kitchen. I’ll be revealing some tips on how some entremets are made and some best practices for producing cakes and pastries in volume.
Many people do not realise this but a key piece of equipment in a pastry shop is the freezer. The freezer is a critical storage facility for storing finished entremets and its associated components (French entremets are multi-layered mousse-based cakes that contain layers of contrasting and complementary flavours and textures). Without a freezer, it would not be possible to store the volume of entremets needed to service a thriving pastry business. It is typical for a pastry kitchen to produce entremets to last for at least 1-2 or even 3 weeks worth of business.
Contrary to what many people believe, freezing of entremets does not diminish the finished product in quality or shelf life. It is important to remember that once the volume production has been completed, the entremets and entremet components should be immediately frozen and maintained at temperatures between minus 15-25 degrees Celsius. Freezing at these temperatures ensures freshness is retained and longevity in shelf life is maintained.
Freezing also serves another purpose in entremet production. In order to build a multi-layered and multi-flavored entremet, the layered components must be frozen in order to properly assemble the cake. Many entremet components are very delicate to handle if not frozen and thus, needs to be frozen in order to properly seat the component into the entremets mould during production.
If you are running a home-based cake business, it is essential to have a chest freezer to store your production goods. If you are a large pastry shop or operate a central kitchen for a large pastry business, you will most probably invest in a walk-in freezer to accommodate the production volume needed to service your many retail shops.
As you grow your pastry business, you will find that freezer space will become more precious as you scale production to meet increased demand. But then again, that is a good problem to have, isn’t it?