Dessert fit for kings

Though a pastry chef by profession, Dominique Pauvret started baking and taking orders on her friends persuasion

“This led me on a voyage of discovery to India. I made eight trips to different places including Goa over several years before coming down last year for a longer stay,” she explains.

A pastry chef by profession who trained and worked in France, Dominique now bakes for friends who have become customers by demand as the word spread.

“I started making my favourite sweet and savoury pastries out of my apartment kitchen. My friends loved them and persuaded me to take on orders. For example, we make a unique cake in France called la galette des rois which literally means the King's cake. It is steeped in  tradition and is specially eaten on January 6 (the feast of the three kings). It is made of puff pastry and  filled with an almond-flavoured paste with a lucky charm hidden in the filling.”  

Dominique makes savoury quiche’s filled with mushrooms, cheese, herbs or meats; and cakes or pastries often based on suggestions from friends depending on which fruit is in season.

What else does she make? “Choux pastry is baked into small round puffs called Profiteroles. Once cooled their  hollow centres are filled with whipped cream or custard or garnished with a hardened caramel sauce. If choux pastry is shaped into oblongs and baked until crisp and hollow and then filled  with coffee or chocolate flavoured pastry cream it is called an eclair, another lovely light French confection.”

Many dishes in France have a historical background. “Paris - Brest a dessert I love to make is the breakfast choice of cyclists the world over. Made from choux pastry, topped with baked almonds, split and filled with a praline-flavoured buttercream it was invented to celebrate a cycle race from Paris to Brest,” she laughs.

 Tarts with all kinds of fillings from fruity to savoury, light fairy cakes called Madeleines with a butter and lemon taste,  Palmiers- crisp and delicate leaf-shaped cookies made from puff pastry, her repertoire is very extensive.

“At first I thought I would have difficulty with ingredients because they are different here but the results have been excellent,” she says.

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