In the world of quality Australian pastry, there is only one name: Carême. Even Stephanie Alexander said she'd never bother making her own puff pastry again after trying Carême's. High praise indeed!
Carême was established in the Barossa six years ago by husband-and-wife-team Claire and William Wood, in response to ever-smaller pastry kitchens, and a dearth of commercially available quality puff pastry. My one attempt at making a mere 6 patons of puff pastry was an incredibly long and labour-intensive process - I can't imagine how difficult it would be to make industrial quantities week after week in a small pastry kitchen!
Claire has a background in wine marketing, and has done an amazing job establishing the Carême brand as the pastry of choice for commercial kitchens and discerning home cooks. Think about it - when was the last time you saw a pastry-based recipe in a glossy food mag that didn't say: "Use a good quality bought pastry. (We used Carême)."?
My first morning in the Barossa saw me waking up bright and early for a Carême Pastry workshop. Given the strength of the brand, I was surprised at how small and unassuming the premises are: just a small building on a quiet, mainly residential, street.
Even though I couldn't spend too much time on the production floor while the guys were making the pastry, I did get a sneaky peak inside.
|Picture Source: Tourism Barossa's Barossa's Table Competition - Winner's Journey! Facebook Album|
As you can imagine, they go through a lot of butter.
They have quite a few electric mixers, rollers and so on, but the process seems to be primarily done by hand.
|Claire and I in funky Carême aprons.|
Picture Source: Tourism Barossa's Barossa's Table Competition - Winner's Journey! Facebook Album
Claire and I then went into the test kitchen to make some little sausage rolls for a class that she was teaching that night in Adelaide. (Recipe below!) The recipe came from their head recipe tester/creator, whose full-time job it is to create new recipes using the Carême range. (So jealous!!)
Claire used some lovely Hutton Vale lamb, mixed with loads of fresh herbs, onion and spices.
She also shared some great tips for working with pastry, including cutting the pastry with a large knife in a single cut (see below), rather than dragging a small knife along the edge, to get nice even layers.
|Carême Sour Cream Shortcrust Pastry|
She also told me that you can get a super-shiny finish if you double glaze the pastry before baking - i.e. brushing it with egg wash, chilling for 30 minutes and brushing again before baking.
If you're making little crunchy bases for canapés out of puff pastry, she suggests cutting the pastry into little squares, and weighing them down with a second tray before baking. (Otherwise you'll get super-tall pastry pieces with zillions of layers, much like when I made mille feuille with Carême puff!)
|Carême All-Butter Puff Pastry|
While we were playing with a savoury dish, William was testing out some new techniques for the sweet pastry. I thought it was really inspiring, that even as an expert, he is still experimenting and trying to improve his pastry knowledge.
The aim of this particular technique was to try and speed up blind-baking for mini-tartlets. Rather than lining each indent with foil and filling it with baking beans, he simply pressed another tartlet tray on top, and then baked it.
Unfortunately the result wasn't too good - the sides cracked and cooked much faster than the bottom, so I suppose it's regular old blind-baking until they come up with a new technique. I taste-tested one, and I can confirm it still tasted delicious though!
We had to rush off to the next place on the itinerary while the sausage rolls were in the oven, so I didn't get to try any that morning... but Claire packed some away for us to pick up later!
|Moroccan-Spiced Lamb Sausage Rolls with Carême Sour Cream Shortcrust pastry - Yum yum|
Carême also make a range of delicious breads and pastries, available only at the Barossa Farmers Market, or to be collected from the factory itself. So when we visited the market later that week, I made sure to purchase a treat for breakfast. (Or alternatively, I guess you could have a go making some of these treats yourself! There are heaps of recipes on the Carême website).
There were some savoury galettes; croissants; cherry, lemon or chocolate tarts; William's famous bread; and lemon meringue pies. I love the pointy topping on the lemon meringue pies!
As you may have deduced from the intense itinerary, I was a little fooded out by Saturday morning, so I only had a potato, rosemary and lachschinken galette and a croissant. As an aside, Carême don't make their croissants using their puff pastry, and wouldn't recommend trying. Whilst croissants and puff pastry are both made of laminated doughs, croissant dough is yeasted and puff pastry isn't, so if you were to use puff for a croissant, the final product wouldn't be as fluffy or delightfully doughy.
A very buttery breakfast:
|Potato, Rosemary & Lachschinken (smoked pork loin) Galette - $4.50|
Croissant - $2.50
Even cold, both the croissant and galette were fabulous. (The recipe for the galette is on the Carême website). And a lovely accompaniment was the Jersey Fresh milk in the background - so wonderful.
And as promised, here's the recipe for those lamb sausage rolls. Enjoy!
Moroccan Spiced Lamb Sausage Rolls with Minted Yoghurt
Preparation time: 30 minutes + chilling time
Cooking time: 25 minutes
445g pack Carême sour cream shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 red onion, peeled & quartered
1 long red chilli, deseeded & chopped
30g fresh coriander
5g fresh mint
3 teaspoons Herbies Chermoula spice mix or a Ras al Hanout spice mix
550g lean minced lamb
1 egg, lightly whisked
1/3 cup (25g) fresh breadcrumbs
Yogurt & Mint Sauce
1/2 cup (125 ml) Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan-forced) and lightly grease baking trays and line with baking paper
- For the sausage filling, place onion, chilli, coriander, mint and chermoula into a food processor, pulsing until finely chopped. Add the lamb, egg, breadcrumbs and salt & pepper, pulsing until just combined. Avoid over mixing, if need be transfer to large bowl and finish combining using your hands.
- Place pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface, cut into quarters to create four equal sized rectangles.
- Evenly divide the sausage filling into four portions, shape like a sausage, placing down the centre of each pastry rectangle; making sure that the pastry is able to encase the mixture. Firmly bring one long side of the pastry up against the sausage meat and lightly brush what will be the seam with the egg glaze. Repeat with the other side by firmly bringing the remaining pastry up and over the glazed pastry, creating a seal. This will be pretty tight and there should ideally be about a 1cm overlap.
- Place sausage rolls on prepared baking tray (seam side down) and chill for at least 30 minutes in refrigerator.
- Meanwhile combine all the ingredients for the yogurt and mint sauce together in a small bowl, stirring until well combined. Set aside for later.
- Cut each large sausage into eight equal portions and snip each top twice with a pair of scissors. Brush the outside pastry with the egg glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Evenly spread out the sausage rolls onto prepared baking trays.
- Place sausage rolls in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until pastry is cooked through and golden. Allow sausage rolls to cool slightly before serving with the yogurt and mint sauce.
Sarah visited Carême Pastry as part of the prize for winning the Barossa's Table competition, organised by Tourism Barossa.