We popped in to Dream Cuisine for breakfast the other day, and when I saw the breakfast pastries coming out on plates for us, my heart sank a little.
I am not a big fan of sweet stuff for brekky, if it isn’t pancakes or waffles (smothered in imitation maple syrup because I am classy like that). I’ve had too many poor ‘continental breakfast’ experiences with sunken, sticky pastry that never delivers on its French heritage.
The pastries coming out from the kitchen looked perky, crisp and impossibly flaky though, so we all busied ourselves photographing them as our host Owen began to talk about his craft.
He is passionate about French pastries. In fact, he got into the industry, not as a chef, but from the perspective of a disillusioned young customer. As a 7 year old, he experienced a disappointing chocolate cake and remembers thinking ‘I could make a better, more chocolaty cake than this.’ With that, he began a journey of experimenting with baking alongside his Mum, Marilyn Chalkley who runs the business with him. Marilyn’s later trip to Paris where she fell in love with French pastries, particularly macarons, shaped the direction their creativity has gone.
The term Owen used when describing his pastries is ‘laminated pastries’. This is the process where pastry is separated by butter over and over, creating layers- 27 layers to be precise. Butter, and lots of it? All of a sudden Owen had my full attention. Mmmmm, butter!
Owen mentioned that he only sources sultanas that have been dried naturally in the sun, leaving them juicy, plump and full of flavour. As bowls of these sultanas were brought out to sample, I had a flashback of tiny black currants from a pastry snail in my childhood; the currants that were so tough and chewy, they got stuck in my molars. I cautiously nibbled at a portion of the snail on the plate in front of me. It was wonderful. The sultanas were moist and tender and the custard was house made, using organic ingredients.
It is common practise for bakeries to use low quality chocolate in chocolate croissants. Not in Owen’s chocolate croissants! No sir! His staff form bars out of chocolate from French Cacao Barry 55% cacao chocolate; bars that are placed inside the chocolate croissants. Of course when he told us this, I had to sample one! It was the real deal! I am not a connoisseur of food by any stretch of the imagination, but the quality ingredients in Owen’s pastries shone through.
We snuck into the kitchen for a peak at where the magic happens.
The pastry is put through this contraption over and over to create those 27 layers!
The ingredients are of wonderful quality.
I wish I remember the brand of organic flour….
Mmmm, butter! Myrtleford butter, possibly the best butter in Australia.
Seriously good quality butter.
With butter and flour of such quality, Owen doesn’t gamble with any old chocolate. He uses Cacao Barry, French chocolate.
You can sample other French pastry staples at Dream Cusisine- macarons, tarts, brioche, brûlée and éclairs.
So where will you get your hands on a pastry from Dream Cuisine? If you are close to Manuka/ Kingston, Dream Cuisine have a café at 9/18 Whyalla St, in Fyshwick. And now you can visit their outlet (called Little Dreams) at the Hamlet in Braddon. Bon appétit!