Our Pastry Chef of the Year at The Leaders in F&B Awards, Nickola D’Souza, cake specialist at Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay gives us her thoughts on using PatisFrance Source De Seduction Chocolate.
Leaving behind a 11-year career in media, Nickola D’Souza, cake specialist at Steinberger Hotel Business Bay, found herself increasingly drawn towards the art of baking, something that started out for her as a hobby. Passion, talent, and determination kept her going, and she continued learning from books, videos and good old-fashioned trial-and-error to launch a full-fledged career as a pastry chef. Her specialisation in cakes can be seen under Cakes By Heidi, at Brothaus Bakery and Bistro at the hotel with the popular picks being dark chocolate ganache and coconut crème cakes.
PatisFrance Source De Seduction Chocolate is made of 100% pure cacao butter offering a great quality of couverture. The product is rich in flavour for dishes like the ganache, mousse, and mouldings and has a semi sweet couverture for coating and decoration. A French product, PatisFrance has a shelf life of 24 months.
An ideal chocolate for French pastry, PatisFrance chocolate is made of passionately selected cocoa beans by French Chefs to give a French touch to all things dessert and we combined this product with leading Pastry Chef of the Year, Nickola D’Souza, who made a chocolate brownie walnut tart using PatisFrance 64% chocolate.
“It is the first time that I am using this product and I found it really good to work with. There are certain things that you look for in chocolate when cooking, I only use brands with which give me a very smooth texture, that is crucial for a pastry chef and PatisFrance has that smoothness, it wasn’t waxy, and the taste was great,” D’Souza says.
“Since it is festive time, I went for a chocolate brownie walnut tart, but I could use this same PatisFrance product for chocolate fondant too because the consistency of it is such that it would be perfect for chocolate fondant.
“However, the recipe I used with the product is a bitter walnut tart, so I was looking for something that is not very sweet but gives that chocolate flavour and when you speak about chocolate it is a very sensory thing, because everyone has their own taste, it is hard to describe in words what I want when speaking chocolate but I like a nice, rich, smooth texture and that is exactly the consistency that I was looking for in my tart and PatisFrance did not disappoint.
“At this time of the year, a pastry kitchen can get very busy and PatisFrance makes things simpler because it is easy to use. I was comfortable working with it and came across no issues. The key things that I look for are the taste and the texture, how it feels is important too. When you have your chocolate pellets and you taste them, you will know exactly what your product is going to taste like, it should be smooth and crisp, and shouldn’t have any air bubbles at all. When you tick all these boxes, you know that the final product is going to be great,” she adds.
Speaking about the time span working with the product, the cake specialist said, “In terms of time, there was no issue, it was like regular chocolate. They important factor is that this product is easy to work with, as I have worked with other brands and some are more difficult to use. We would love to try this product more often as we haven’t used it before. The brochure has many options with different chocolate percentages to meet requirements.
“All in all, it is a good tasting chocolate, not overly rich – we used the 64% one, and I would recommend it for use in pastry kitchens,” she adds.