Yesterday I discussed a French cookery show, Dans la peau d’un chef (France2), presented by Christophe Michalak, head pastry chef at Paris’s Hôtel Plaza-Athénée.

That post gave easy suggestions for achieving the French touch on a raspberry tart.

Today’s entry gives Michalak’s tips for piping two colours of crème Chantilly — thick, sweetened whipped cream — on desserts.

Michalak uses a mix of 400g double (heavy) cream, 80g of marscapone, 40g of sweetened condensed milk along with a dash of orange flavouring and vanilla. This thickness creates the perfect consistency for professional piping.

I think I would replace the sweetened condensed milk with an equivalent of icing (powdered) sugar, because I would have to use the remainder of the condensed milk in another dessert right away.

He then divided the whipped cream into two bowls so that he could colour one pink.

You will need disposable piping bags for this recipe.

Michalak used two piping bags which he then put into a slightly larger one for piping. The white cream goes into one of the smaller bags and the pink cream goes into another. Flatten both bags and cut the ends before slipping them one on top of the other into a larger piping bag. Cut the end of the larger piping bag.

Taking the bag into one’s hand, press down to make it balloon-shaped, then start piping the top of the dessert. You might wish to do a short test run on a plate to ensure the colours come out the way they should. Start at the side, work towards the top in a circular manner, and two colours of cream will appear, neatly and separately. It’s absolutely stunning — and, with a bit of practice, not that complicated.

The French touch — demystified and doable!

This video (16:42 minutes long) shows Michalak making Tulipe à la fraise — Strawberry Tulip — which has a fine moulded crust, topped with gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut paste) melted with Rice Krispies, a small amount of cubed strawberries in jam, a scoop of strawberry sherbet and the piped whipped cream. A small slice of strawberry and tiny mint leaf go on top in the centre.

The whipped cream part begins around the 12-minute mark:

Other tips:

1/ The crust — called cigarette pastry — is simple to make: 100g (three or four) beaten egg whites, 100 g icing sugar, 100g of softened butter and 100g of flour with a pinch of salt added. This same pastry is used to make rolled tuiles, similar to cigarettes, as well as the flat rounded-edged langues de chat (cats’ tongues).

2/ When the cigarette pastry has finished baking in rounds on a Silpat or other non-stick silicone sheet, remove them immediately to mould over the tapered bottom of a drinking glass or small bowl. Leave to rest for a few minutes.

3/ When using cigarette pastry for a tart, Michalak puts a small amount of the gianduja-Rice Krispies mix on top of the base of the crust before adding anything creamy. This is so the base remains crisp. You could also use a few biscuit crumbs to achieve the same effect.

If anyone would like me to translate the Tulipe à la fraise recipe, please do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below or on any of my other posts.