Celebrated chef Bruno Menard, formerly of the three-starred L’Osier in Japan and MasterChef Asia, led an exclusive group of industry professionals and media representatives in a pastry showcase at Plentyfull, Millenia Walk on 31 January 2018.
Working with cream manufactured exclusively in the European Union, he whipped up two desserts: le crémet d’anjou and dorayaki with maple syrup Chantilly cream and caramelised pecan nuts.
Chef Menard, who comes from a family of culinary professionals—his father was a chocolatier and grandfather a pastry chef—dished out insider tips on cream to young chefs in the crowd. According to chef Menard, many aspiring chefs and home cooks make the mistake of storing and handling the cream at room temperature. He also cautioned against over-whipping the cream, which causes it to split later on in the cooking process.
He had nothing but praise for European cream and butter, which he believes to be the raison d’etre for French pastry’s reputation of world-class excellence.
“What is pastry made of, mostly? It’s cream, butter, milk, sugar, eggs and flour,” he said. “That’s the DNA—the base—of what pastry is all about. When you go to France, you have all these pastries which are so good and tasty. It’s because of the amazing consistency and quality of the cream you can find in Europe. It’s not magic—in cooking if you want good food, you need quality ingredients.”
Drawing upon the analogy of wine, he had this to add as well. “European cream has a terroir, a flavour, that is very different. It’s very specific and has a special flavour. Much like how French wine is different from wine from Australia or Chile, European butter and cream are very distinct. It boils down to the breed of cow and even how they are raised; this produces an exceptionally high quality of European cream.”