We discover how one of France’s best export product fits seamlessly into the thoroughly modern pastries of Singaporean pastry chef Cindy Khoo at the Cream of Europe Pastry Show 2020.
There’s nothing quite like being woken by the fragrance of baked goods—and a live demonstration of how two worlds collide so perfectly in a dessert—on a balmy Tuesday morning, is there?
One of the true hallmarks of French cuisine is its ingredients. Especially so when it comes to French confectionery—known for its precision and discipline. And notorious for being sinful and sweet, but never cloying, the success of French pastries relies heavily on quality produce.
And when it comes to edible excellence, French cream is known the world over—with its density, texture and moderate fat content; making this impressive dairy velvet the perfect catalyst for an unlikely dessert that marries all the celebrated gastronomic virtues of the West with all the delicious marvels of the East.
A weekday morning unlike any other, the seemingly incongruous pairing of French cream and tropical fruits native to Singapore and the region, become delectable wonders in the hands of executive pastry chef of the Hilton Singapore’s D9 Cakery, Cindy Khoo, at the Asia Pastry Show 2020.
Here, we find out more about how Khoo is paving the way for women in the hallowed realm of pâtisserie and learn more about the true versatility and adaptability of French cream.
What is your earliest memory of French cream?
I was first introduced to French cream in 2010 when I enrolled in the Baking Industry Training College. I was impressed with its versatility to be able to be incorporated into both hot and cold cuisines, such as a hot pan sauce and my favourite French pastries.
How often do you use French cream in your profession?
I love the versatility of French cream and its various techniques, that is why it’s not surprising that I use it on a daily basis for many of the cakes at D9 Cakery—including my new creations: Yuzu and Passion Fruit Gateaux; Mangosteen, as well as our popular Fraise Chantilly Strawberry Shortcake, which I have incorporated French Chantilly cream as one of its key ingredients.
What are the benefits of using French cream?
French cream is a versatile ingredient component which can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes and it can also be served raw or heated. French cream is also easy to manage as it can be whipped easily, creating a light and fluffy texture which combines perfectly with other flavour profiles without affecting the original flavour and integrity of the aromatic and buttery French cream.
What is your favourite thing to make with French cream?
I enjoy incorporating French cream in my French pastries especially combining fresh fruits and various blends of tea. In my new creations of Yuzu and Passion Fruit and Mangosteen, I am using a 35% French cream and fresh fruits as the light and aromatic profile of the cream perfectly blends in with the flavours of the fruits. The former with a refreshing, acidic and citrusy flavour profile, and the latter being an uncommon flavour that blends in perfectly with almonds and chocolate.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I have the utmost respect for chef Gabriel Paillasson, a renowned pastry chef from France who has been in the trade for over half a century and still continues to be passionate by pâtisserie after all these years. I am truly inspired by his unfaltering passion and attitude to always deliver the best and be consistent in whatever he does.
If you weren’t a pastry chef, what would you be?
I played the saxophone for close to seven years after picking it up in the symphonic band when I was in school. Though I have not played it for quite some time, if time permits, I would love to pick it up again as it is still one of my muse of inspiration. If I were not a pastry chef, I would have gone down the path as a musician majoring in saxophone.