Written by Marianna Saran
Executive Pastry Chef Pierrick Boyer has captivated “foodies” from around the globe, and is the celebrity mastermind behind some of Melbourne’s most impressive desserts.
With more than 20 years experience in the industry, Pierrick has worked in some of the world’s top restaurants- including Three Michelin Star Restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris.
Pierrick’s passion for his work is clearly flaunted with all the delectable delights that adorn the shelves of his boutique pâtisserie, Le Petit Gâteau. There is no doubting that every pastry and dessert is hand crafted meticulously to perfection- with love.
Marianna of the Australian Cake Decprating Network was extremely lucky that Pierrick took time out of his busy schedule to chat with us, here’s what he had to say.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be on this culinary journey?
I’ve been a pastry chef for 25 years. It seems like a long time when I actually think about it!
I started at the age of 15 in France, then to Belgium, Italy, California, Boston, went back to
Paris for a year and half and have now been in Melbourne for the past 10 years.
Tell us about Le Petit Gateau, for those who have never been, what food experience can they expect?
“LPG” as we like to call it, has been open for around 7 years now. When we opened the store, I wanted to provide something different & not typically French or old school French.
Don’t expect to get the traditional here – it’s more modern streamlined cakes, with strong natural flavours, not too much fluffing around and most of all, we’ve created our own identity as our lines are different from a lot of what’s on offer out there at the moment.
Out of all your desserts and pastries, what is the most popular choice amongst your clients?
The Brownie Passion chocolate gateau is our most popular and has done so well that it’s now our signature cake!
How do you remain passionate in your industry, especially when the majority of your desserts are very technical and time consuming to perfect?
Yes the desserts can be technical and time consuming but I’m a big believer in creating an upbeat and positive environment which helps keep everyone motivated. Plus the team you work with plays a really big part in keeping things moving along smoothly and I have to say that I think we’ve got the best team at LPG that we’ve had for quite some time! Everyone gets along really well which is awesome.
We also do desserts for several restaurants in the Club and the Banquet facility which keeps us busy so although it’s technical, we set aside the time to think through the processes to make it productive and efficient and this really interests me – it’s fascinating.
What is the secret behind creating the perfect macaron?
Well there are several points:
*Get a good almond meal and sift it evenly into your icing sugar so it’s nice and thin.
*Your meringue needs to be spot on – have a clean bowl and make either a Swiss or Italian meringue with soft peaks (not too runny or firm).
*When you mix the meringue and almond meal/icing sugar together you don’t have to be too delicate so ensure you mix it thoroughly.
*Resting the mixture (depending on the recipe) and then baking.
*For the filling (ganache or butter cream) there are different types of flavours, but for me personally I don’t like them too sweet. Also try not to make it too runny otherwise your
macarons will get soggy quickly.
You can freeze your macarons when they’re garnished so you can keep it at its freshest.
They only take around 15 minutes to defrost anyway!
You are looked up to as one of Australia’s leading pastry chefs, do you feel pressure to constantly deliver 5 star edible delights?
I don’t look it that way. I do my job, I’m passionate and most of all I have fun along the way.
Sure it allows me to travel, do great gigs and I’ve met countless amazing people along the way. For me it’s about being myself and sharing my knowledge to whoever is willing to learn.
What is your favourite technique to use when creating French Pastries?
My favourite is sharp, clean chocolate techniques.
I still use the same technique for croissants or puff pastry that I learned in my apprenticeship! I’ve tried several different ways but went back to this one as it’s proven to work consistently. There are always different methods to do the work, so I look at the whole picture keeping in mind that it needs to be clean, precise and efficient and then let the final product do the talking.
If we were to give you some chocolate, cream and a pomegranate right now, what would you create?
I would do a ganache, spread it on a slice of sourdough bread and sprinkle the pomegranate with a good hot coffee on the side. How does that sound?
What ingredients do you always have to have on hand?
Fruits, chocolate, praline paste, nuts, honey, eggs, milk, soy milk, flour, butter.
When choosing ingredients for pastries and desserts what should people keep in mind?
If it’s naturally processed. For me it a first, then traceability of its origin.
How do you rank Australia’s Pastry Industry compared to the rest of the world, in terms of new innovative techniques and pushing barriers?
I would say we are doing well – there are some great chefs around here although I would still rate Japan, France and USA in the top 3.
1. Simple reason is that it’s been a food culture for longer there than it has been here
2. They would allow a lot more time, R&D & money to it
3. It’s a much bigger market in those countries than here
I do feel that we are moving our way up the ladder though. The great thing is that we have excellent fresh and natural products here. We are only restrained by our imagination & skills.
What is the hardest technique you have had to perfect?
Consistency in anything and everything!
Thanks to social media, the culinary industry is under constant scrutiny from “Foodies”. Do they influence what you create in Le Petit Gateau?
Influence no but it makes us more aware that “WE” as a whole team, need to deliver clean, sharp consistent products with great service. It also helps to make sure we keep it a bit different from what’s already on offer.
What can we expect to see from Pierrick Boyer in the six months?
It’s no secret that I would love to expand and open a new store.
Besides being consistent I’d like to do a bit more travelling, keep having fun in the kitchen and keep creating!
You are responsible for the desserts at a number of charity gala events throughout the
Year, what satisfaction do you get being involved in such important events?
It’s great to be given opportunities to work and be involved in the community.
If what we do helps even just one person in a positive way then I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.
Are there any charity events coming up in the second half of this year?
For The Rotary Club of Penang, in Aid for the Haemodialysis Centres, link jobs to handicapped & the home nursing of Elderly.
What words of wisdom do you have for those who want to follow in your footsteps as a pastry chef?
Make sure you’re passionate about it – it make is a lot easier. Work hard and remember to keep an open mind. If you’re not happy where you are look at all the factors first before you give up on your career. Try a different organisation because maybe you just don’t like doing the specific products you do now. Don’t lock yourself into just one area of expertise – try as much as you can. You might surprise yourself where you end up!
Pierrick has been kind enough to share the recipe to his indulgent Almond, Chocolate and Coffee Tart.
Almond, coffee & chocolate tart with mascarpone cream
by Pierrick Boyer
For 1 large tart (22cm)
Caster Sugar 80gr
Plain Flour 220gr
Egg Yolk 3 Unit
Combine room temperature butter with salt and sugar in a mixer with a paddle
Then poor in the mixture the flour
Then add the egg yolk at last, reserve in the fridge for 1 hour then roll the tart.
Caster sugar 40gr
Almond meal 40gr
Whole eggs 40gr
Thicken cream 40gr
Mix the room temperature butter with the caster sugar, when mixed, add the almond meal, then the eggs and cream at last.
Pour the almond cream on the raw tart, bake at 180*C
Coffee chocolate ganache
Whole milk 150ml
Roasted coffee beans 20gr
Milk chocolate 240gr
Dark chocolate 50gr
Boil the milk and infuse the roasted coffee beans for 30 mn, then strain and boil again then pour on both shopped chocolate. Stir with a spatula, then when cool down, but still liquid, pour in the baked chocolate, almond tart.
Reserve in the fridge for 30 minutes, then cute as desired
Mascarpone cheese 150gr
Whipped cream 150gr
Vanilla beans 1
Whisk the thicken cream & vanilla to a soft peak, add the mascarpone gently and reserve in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before use, to form a nice quenelle
Simply place, a large spoon of mascarpone cream on the sliced tart, served with a Latte, would be much appreciated…
That’s how I would love it.
Red sparkling Shiraz
If you loved this recipe and would love to see some more, check out Pierrick’s websitehttp://www.pierrickboyer.com/
You can also follow Pierrick’s culinary journey on these social media platforms;
Instagram, Pinterest & Twitter: @pierrickboyer
Blog post reproduced with permission from Marianna Saran of Marianna’s Caking Me Crazy
As a former news journalist and mother of two, Marianna Saran has taken her passion for writing and cake decorating and transformed herself into a new aged cake journalist. She loves to blog about her cake and cookie creations and tries to push herself to explore new mediums of decorating, even though some are quite intimidating at times. Interviewing renowned cake decorators from across the globe gives her a spark of inspiration as she hears their stories. It reminds her that in life all you need is love from your family and friends, a cookie in one hand and a piece of cake in the other! Sit back and enjoy the journey as you follow Marianna on a roller coaster of sugary creations! Check out what else Marianna is up to at her blog and on Facebook. http://mariannacakingmecrazy.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/MariannasCakingMeCrazy