Arnaud Larher: “We pastry chefs are artists of happiness! – Brittany

December is cold, but it’s lucky for a pastry chef! What does this reflect in your performance?

It’s a quarter of my cycle, a crazy month of a thousand and one things. Even though the four yule logs on my menu can already be made in advance, this year I created a lemon Pavlova, a dark chocolate cake called L’Onde de choc, and another cake in the shape of a fir tree on a white chocolate base. and Christmas baubles for smaller budgets. Add to that a trip to Athens in mid-December where I’m the head pastry chef at the Hôtel d’Angleterre… I’m also in Tokyo and will be in Dubai soon.

Tell us about your Breton background…

Pure fat and pure sugar! My parents are from Morle and now live in Brest, my father was an artist and my mother was an accountant, but thanks to my grandmother’s pancakes, I was addicted to sweets when I was little. Every Saturday was far from the day when I tasted it at every stage, cooked it raw, and knew when it was ready only by its smell. When I told my guidance counselor before 6th grade that I wanted to be a pastry chef, she replied, “How do you already know? »

At the age of 25, I told myself that I should start working and become a boss. I was taking management classes and my classmate Caroline became my wife.

Did your parents push you, encourage you or, on the contrary, slow you down?

They were quite reluctant and warned me: “No more public holidays! “I started with Henri Coat in Brest, then with Michel Guillerme, after CAP and two years later he said to me: “You are going to Paris, I will pay for your train ticket” and gave me two letters of recommendation: one for Lenôtre, one for Peltier. . I went to the second one because it was closer to Montparnasse! I stayed there for a year, then nine months at Dalloyau, and was hired by Fauchon in 1992 thanks to Pierre Herme, who so kindly prefaced my book saying, “I am talented and determined.”

In your book

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of your installation in Montmartre, Laurent Le Daniel, president of the National Pastry Confederation, ensures you make the “best baba…”.

At the age of 25, I told myself that I should start working and become a boss. I was taking management classes and my classmate Caroline became my wife. Without him, I wouldn’t have opened this little 15 m2 shop, then the one on rue Caulaincourt, then another one, rue Damrémont, and a third one, on the left bank, rue de Seine. Without him, I would never have succeeded in the 2007 Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition. still at the top of the basket.

“Dough is not complicated, all you need is a scale, a thermometer and a timer,” said three-star chef Joël Robuchon. Do you approve?

It’s a bit of a joke, but it’s mostly a matter of common sense. So let’s start by saying that this is not true. For a cake recipe to be successful, you don’t have to respect it to the nearest gram. All ovens have their own way of adjusting the proportions, which brings a personal touch to creativity. Pierre Herme, the Picasso of dough, I have kept one thing from the four years I spent: nothing is stonewalled. But you need a solid foundation, not a leap.

If they used to work in the basement, pastry chefs became stars. How long have you received this new status?

That’s right, now I’m called Chef with a capital C, probably thanks to the M6 ​​show “Le Meilleur Pâtissier”, which has been running since 2012. We used to be in shadowy chefs in white jackets. , and to distinguish themselves from them, many of us now prefer the black jacket of chocolate pastry chefs. Me, me alternative, that must be my Breton side, gwenn ha du. Customers also know that the last impression you take with you to the restaurant is the dessert.

The pleasure we offer is always at your fingertips, around the corner, immediate and inexpensive, you just have to bite into it.

What exactly is Breton in your cakes?

Brittany has a lot of it with the three ingredients that form the basis of my work: sugar, butter and fleur de sel. My fleur de sel comes from Lionel Charteau in Saint-Molph (44). Although the recipe comes from Maisons-Laffitte (78), I make Paris-Brest. Kouign amann, of course, some are as high as panettone. Thanks to kouign-amann, Breton cuisine is limited to butter and sugar, but salt is essential: it enhances flavors and stabilizes colors. I work a lot on the contrast of textures that cannot be seen but are felt.

In your book you say that macarons were created in 1793, therefore during the Terror, and that Antonin Carême published Le Pâtissier royal parisien in 1815, the year of Waterloo. Can dough be the best remedy for crises?

You don’t think so well, we did very well during covid when we were able to stay open. We sold chocolate bars for five or ten, they taste better than antidepressants. And the flavor we offer is always at your fingertips, around the corner, instant and cheap, you just have to bite into it. Cheaper than a star restaurant, the cake, like my praline milli-feille, remains light because the buttercream has disappeared. It fed instead of caressing the palate. We are artists of happiness.

“Pastry” by Arnaud Larher, ed. Hatchet, 408 p. €49.95.



Spoon Cookies?: her two Christmas recipes

No Bake Spoon Cookies

Arrange the lady fingers on the bottom of the bowl, sweet side up. Take a good orange marmalade, mix it with water, it should be very soft, spread with a spoon in a layer of 3-4 mm. At the last minute, break 1 cm Breton slices with a knife, sprinkle over the dish.

Spoon cookies with bread

Take 5 eggs; separate the yolks (100 g) from the whites (150 g). Provide 125 g of sugar and 125 g of flour.

Beat the whites, mix with sugar, then with a spatula, add yolks and sifted flour.

Spread 1 cm and place in a fan oven at 170°C for 12 minutes.

Put the biscuit in a bowl. Buy a good orange marmalade, dilute it with water, it should be very soft, spread with a spoon in a layer of 3 to 5 mm.

Prepare the angel cream: 500 g of 35% liquid cream, 100 g of mascarpone, 35 g of powdered sugar, 1 half vanilla pod scraped. Beat on medium speed, not too fast. It should remain flexible after installation. When the cream is whipped, it spreads to a thickness of 4 cm.

Use a knife to chop the Bretons about 1cm in size and sprinkle over the food at the last minute. Add a teaspoonful of the chestnut crème and drizzle over the soup Breton, scattering the oranges in various places over the dish. Enjoy!

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