One ingredient that is essential for making French pastries, is egg and there is no substitute to it if one wishes to retain its original flavour. So, are the pastries that are enjoyed by young and old alike, authentic? Chef Guillaume Lejeune asserts that what is eaten in India in the name of pastries are different from the authentic French pastries.
“In India, since a majority of population is vegetarian, people look for substitutes of egg while baking. However, the authentic French pastries are loaded with eggs and cream,” he says.
Ask him reason and pat comes the reply that it is the choice of people to remain vegetarian that leads to the change in flavour and taste. When the same pastry is baked without egg, it becomes difficult to retain its flavour and hence the taste changes. The commonly used substitute in India is milk and water,” he says.
Once an egg gets substituted with milk, the texture of the pastry changes. “That's why sometimes when people want to eat a macaroon, there isn't any way to make it except using egg whites. So, it becomes difficult for vegetarians to enjoy it,” he says.
With over 20 years of experience in French pastry and baking, Chef Lejeune has worked with some big brands like Fauchon and Ritz in Paris. After opening an academy in Malaysia, the chef has now joined as the director of pastry studies at the Academy of Pastry Arts, Gurgaon. He now plans to teach Indians the art of mastering the technique of baking French pastry.
“I would be conducting various classes on different subjects. I would show students the techniques used in France and their evolution to modern times. It will be a hands-on experience where students will work under my guidance. In a skill like pastry-making, it is important to get your hands dirty doing the product rather than reading from a recipe,” he says.
The young aspiring chefs will be able to learn the art of baking authentic French bread and patisserie, besides the mouth-watering tuile, macaroon, sugar eclair and tarts.