The New Gastronome
A Cake for All and None
by Maddalena Borsato, Jacopo Giacomoni
by Maddalena Borsato, Jacopo Giacomoni
We report from “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, a passage on the mysticism of cake: When Zarafrusta was thirty years old, he left his pastry lab, his blog and the forest of buildings and went into the mountains. Here, he had the enjoyment of his spirit and his solitude and he did not grow weary in it for ten years.
But at last, his heart turned – and one morning he rose with the dawn, stepped before the sun, and spoke: “Great Star! You have come up here to my cave for ten years. I have grown weary in my wisdom, like a bee that has gathered too much honey. I should like to give it away and distribute it until the sucrologists among men have become happy again in their folly and the blog readers in their curiosity. To that end, I must descend into the depths, as you do in the evening when you go behind the sea. Like you, I must go runny – as the bakers, to whom I want to descend, call it. Bless the cup that wants to overflow, that the waters may flow golden from him and bear the reflection of your sweetness over all the world! Behold! This cup wants to be empty again, and Zarafrusta wants to be a baker again.”
Thus spoke Zarafrusta.
When Zarafrusta arrived at the nearest of the towns lying against the forest, he found in that very place many people assembled in the market square, for it had been announced that a cooking demonstration by a celebrity chef would be appearing. And thus Zarafrusta spoke to the people:
“I teach you the Superegg. Egg is something that should be overcome. What have you done to overcome it? The Superegg is the meaning of pastry. I entreat you, my brothers, remain true to pastry and do not believe those who speak to you of artistic hopes!
“I have grown weary in my wisdom, like a bee that has gathered too much honey. I should like to give it away and distribute it until the sucrologists among men have become happy again in their folly and the blog readers in their curiosity.”
Choux pastry is a rope, fastened between roux and Superegg – a rope over an abyss. What is great about the choux puff is that it is a bridge and not a goal; what can be admired about the choux puff is that it is both going across and going down. I love those who do not know how to live except for their lives to be a down-going, for they are those who are going across: the choux puffs in the oven must be inflated with emptiness. The greatness of the choux puff lies in its expansion, filling up with nothing.
I love the baker whose soul is overfull so that he forgets himself and all things that are in him: thus all things become his downfall.”
And here ended Zarafrusta’s first discourse, for at this point the shouting and mirth of the crowd interrupted him. “Give us this Ultimate Egg, o Zarafrusta – so they cried – make us taste this Ultimate Egg!” And all the people laughed and shouted. But Zarafrusta grew sad and said to his heart: “They do not understand me: I am not the mouth for these ears. And now they look at me and laugh, and laughing, they still hate me. There is ice (cream) in their laughter.”
But then something happened that silenced every mouth and fixed every eye. In the meantime, of course, the celebrity chef had begun his cooking demonstration: on a large decorated table, surrounded by food journalists and bloggers, he was building a mountain of choux puffs for his famous profiteroles. One after the other he hoisted the choux puffs and the mountain slowly grew towards the sky. Just as it had reached the height of the chef the camera moved and a brightly-filtered influencer sprang out: “Forward, lame-foot!” cried his fearsome voice, “forward sluggard, intruder, pallid-face! What are you doing here? You are blocking the way of a better baker than you!” And with each word he came nearer and nearer to him: when he was next to the chef, he emitted a cry like a devil, took the choux puffs left on the table and built quick as a flash a perfectly balanced column, higher than the mountain the celebrity chef had created. But the latter, when he saw his rival thus triumph, lost his head and started piling puffs randomly over his mountain. It grew excessively, unbalanced and threatening until it bent dangerously over the chef’s body.
The market square and the people were like the sea in a storm, they flew apart in disorder, especially from around where the mountain would come crashing down.
But Zarafrusta remained still and the choux puffs fell quite close to him, overwhelming the impotent body of the celebrity chef. After a while, consciousness returned to the shattered man and he saw Zarafrusta kneeling beside him. “What are you doing?” he asked at length: “I’ve known for a long time that the Devil would trip me up. Now he’s dragging me to Hell: are you trying to prevent him?”
“On my honour, friend,” answered Zarafrusta, “all you have spoken of does not exist: there is no Devil and no Hell. Your soul will be dead even before your body: therefore fear nothing any more!”
“They do not understand me: I am not the mouth for these ears. And now they look at me and laugh, and laughing, they still hate me. There is ice (cream) in their laughter.”
The chef looked up mistrustfully. “If you are speaking the truth,” he said then, “I leave nothing when I leave fame. I am not much more than an animal which has been taught to cook by blows and starvation.”
“Not so,” said Zarafrusta: “You have made show your calling, there is nothing in that to despise. Now you lost your calling through fame: so I will give you back your anonymity.”
When Zarafrusta had said this the man replied no more; but he motioned with his hand, dirty from icing, as if he sought Zarafrusta’s hand to thank him.
People: a cake for all and none
Time: the higher the mountain, the longer it takes to build, the more it overturns, the longer it takes to rebuild; and again, the higher the mountain, the longer it takes to build, and so on, eternally.
180 gr butter
180 gr water
30 gr fresh heavy milk
4 gr salt
180 gr flour (W 200)
275 gr eggs (ca. 6)
Classic chantilly: 100 ml fresh heavy cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 20 gr powdered sugar
Cocoa chantilly: 100 ml fresh heavy cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 20 gr powdered sugar, 15 gr bitter cocoa
Pistachio chantilly: 100 ml fresh heavy cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 20 gr powdered sugar, 40 gr pure pistachio paste
Dark Ganache: 100 gr bitter chocolate, 100 gr fresh heavy cream, 10 ml Rum
White Ganache: 100 gr white chocolate, 100 gr fresh heavy cream, 10 ml Rum
Green Ganache: 100 gr white chocolate, 80 gr fresh heavy cream, 80 gr pure pistachio paste
For Choux Puffs
Prepare the roux: in a small saucepan bring water to boil, with milk, salt and butter. Add the flour and cook the dough while stirring vigorously, so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Lay the roux on a cold surface and let it cool until it reaches about 60° C. Put it in a basin and start mixing the eggs with the mixture, once at a time, until they are completely absorbed within the mixture, which must be bright and quite dense. If you have a planetary mixer you can let the dough cool down directly using the leaf of the mixer and add the eggs while the dough turns. When the choux dough is ready, fill a sac-à-poche and pipe the puffs on an oven tray (lightly greased with butter). Bake them for 15-17 minutes at about 190° C (last 10 minutes with the oven slightly open to let the moisture out).
Classic Chantilly: whip the cream (very cold from the fridge), adding vanilla and icing sugar after a few minutes until the chantilly is well whipped.
Cocoa Chantilly: the process is identical, but icing sugar and cocoa are added together when the chantilly is already well whipped.
Pistachio Chantilly: in this case, whip the cream with sugar and once whipped add gently the pistachio paste, trying not to dismantle it.
For the Frosting Ganache
White ganache for the snow: Bring the cream to boil while chopping the chocolate bar. Pour the cream over the chocolate and emulsify (with a mixer), trying not to incorporate air (which would form bubbles on the surface). Add rum and let it cool down.
Dark ganache for the rocks: the procedure is identical.
Pistachio ganache for the lawn: the process is identical, with one variant, i.e. add the pistachio paste in the boiling cream, before pouring it on the white chocolate.
Divide choux puffs into three groups. Fill each group with the respective chantilly. Frost them with the corresponding ganache. Let the puffs cool down.
Build your mystical Propheteroles Mountain with Will to Power.