Trends

CREATIVE GATHERINGS #4 - STRATA

Get some fresh creative inspiration from L’École Valrhona’s pastry chefs! Reinvigorate your classics, create unique chocolate products, and dream up remarkable desserts. Get all the guidance you need from the 4 issues of Exercises de Style and make products like no other to enchant your customers.

For 4. Strata, the latest issue of our trend-spotting series, L’École Valrhona’s pastry chefs are taking it up a level!
Nature serves as an endless creative inspiration in everything from architecture to patisserie. On this occasion, we think it’s safe to say geological stratifications have inspired our chefs with their physical materiality and colors. Whatever the case, we have certainly been playing with superimposed layers, repetitions, juxtapositions and folding shapes.

In design as in architecture, stratification both multiplies shapes and, conversely, creates depth, providing rhythm and movement while also generating contrasts in material. The same goes for pastry-making. Superimposing layers and playing with flaky pastry sheets and folds provides new dimensions, weightlessness and texture. As such, each of our creations has a crispy, crunchy look, tempting diners to slowly uncover stratum after stratum.

You guessed it: This time, flaky puff pastry is the star attraction. Desserts are shared out layer by layer, millefeuilles break every convention, croissants are devoured like a good book, contrasting flavors sit side by side, and tarts take on multiple textures. We have avoided prissy, smooth surfaces. Playing with strata is a formidable way to re-imagine traditional pastries.

DESSERT DECONSTRUCTED

You won’t have seen a dessert roll quite like this… This ephemeral work of art is an homage to craftsmanship and the natural world, and diners will love sharing it layer by layer.

This creation marks a renewal of the classic roll, transforming it into a plated dessert fit for your dining tables. This sweet delight is deconstructed and shared out layer by layer, with each diner excavating their own little bit of the raw material that makes up this masterpiece.

The aim behind the dessert is to unite art, craftsmanship and pastry-making. It’s as evocative of an artisan’s unprocessed piece of wood as it is of an artist’s canvas painted layer after layer, or the rings of a tree sketched out over time.

Our pastry chefs are delighted to reveal to you the techniques behind this surprising, offbeat pastry. You are welcome to replicate our recipe to the last word or dream up new flavor combinations. Just remember to share your creations with us!

 

MILLE ET UNE FEUILLES

Our chefs have created a highly original, redesigned version of the classic millefeuille. They’ve re-imagined it from top to bottom, from its shape to its slicing and assembly, making for exceptional flaky pastry and an endlessly surprising dessert.

Check your preconceptions at the door and picture a millefeuille in the round!

With its unexpected shape, simplified slicing and incomparable crispy texture, this dessert shakes up pastry-making tradition with real panache. The Mille et Une Feuilles layers three rings of upside-down puff pastry and flaky pressed biscuit.

This ultra-original set-up is doubly interesting: On the one hand, it’s easier to dig away at than a standard millefeuille. On the other, it places particular emphasis on flakiness, using balanced shaping that creates a weightless, rounded look.

As such, it presents you with a fantastic chance to reinvigorate a classic and offer your customers something more than a standard millefeuille. Its luxurious, quirky look is sure to catch gourmet diners’ eye.

Our chefs explain how to make it step-by-step.

See the recipe here:

 

PAGE TURNER

In its standard format, the croissant hides away all its puff pastry’s complexity. Our chefs, however, would like to invite you to read this pastry like an open book – What’s more, to appreciate its flavor all the more.

A quality croissant needs quality pastry, yet this feuilleté stays hidden inside, invisible until you’ve already taken a bite! Our pastry chefs were inspired to play with this idea and find a way of honoring this much-loved, quintessentially French, flaky product.

The puff pastry is folded just once to reveal the many layers which have developed within. The spontaneous result is that this gourmet treat is devoured like a good book, one sheet of pastry pulled away after another, with care and delight.

It’s an undoubtedly fun idea to suggest your customers leaf through a pastry rather than the morning papers! Make chocolate or almond paste bread rolls using the same concept and you can even give them a variety of “stories to read”.

Check out all the details for making them.

 

CHOCOLATE STRATA

This visually bold, fun chocolate bar uses a constructivist approach to playing with straight lines. It pieces together geometric shapes to breathe life into a unique, multiple-flavored creation.

By juxtaposing features, superimposing layers and embedding shapes, we have used simple geometrics to create amazing compositions. For this gourmet bar, our pastry chefs have selected rectangular forms and five-point quincunx layouts that make use of pure, architectural geometry.

These simply beautiful bars will delight chocolate-lovers. Each layer uses a different ganache sliced into regular shapes.

The idea is simple, the possibilities are endless, and the results are sensational! Our pastry chefs would like to introduce you to a variety on this theme. Why not design your own? Seize your chance to make your mark by offering customers bars they’ll find nowhere else.

See the recipe here:

 

L’AUTHENTIQUE

The trend for getting back to our roots is certainly an enduring one, and you can still rely on traditional recipes to bring you guaranteed value. L’École’s pastry chefs have proven this with a tart which appears rather old-school and yet not quite what it seems… They have added a bold, new dash of something special.

This authentic baker’s tart is inspired by our childhood memories and the aroma of caramelized apple rising from rustic pies. However, you won’t be surprised to know that our pastry chefs have taken it a step further. While its look and taste are reminiscent of our grandmothers’ creations, it has a rather surprising texture.

Instead of classic flaky pastry, this cooked apple tart has a croissant base beneath a soft praline sponge. The idea here is to bring an extra level of texture and substance: This was all that was needed to enchant gourmets of all generations.

L’Authentique is by nature a breath of fresh air, yet it’s also a product that stays true to our belief in our terroir and authentic flavors. It allows us to give top quality ingredients and seasonal fruit pride of place while retaining an absolute simplicity of execution.

See the recipe here:

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