It started with the Great British Bake Off, followed locally by DStv’s marvellous Koekedoor. All over the country kitchen drawers, not opened for decades, are being scoured for piping bags and palette knives. Yup folks, baking is the new sexy.
Last week I was fortunate enough to have tea at the charming M Patisserie in Stellenbosch. It belongs to Martjie Malan, a contestant on the Koekedoor baking show now on KykNet. The occasion? The launch of Parmalat’s new cream cheese range: plain, smoked salmon and spring onion.
Martjie created a feast using these cheeses, but before we tucked in, she entertained us with some of 2015’s baking trends. Geometric pattern on cake is in. So too is rose gold, anything that glitters (think sequins dahling) and all things floral. But the trend that has me extra excited, is eclairs. Martjie says they’re going to be huge, and they’re not just sweet, but savoury too.
After much nibbling accompanied by much ooh-ing and ah-ing, I headed back to Cape Town with three tubs of Parmalat cream cheese under one arm and the unwelcome notion in my head that I really ought to hit the gym on the way home.
Back home (no prizes for guessing I didn’t darken Virgin’s door) I set about making some choux pastry. Instead of normal eclairs, I thought I’d bling it up a bit, and make savoury Paris Brest wreathes (get my choux recipe here). The Parmelat salmon cream cheese is just lovely on its own, but for extra attitude, I added freshly ground black pepper, lemon and dill. Because dill loves salmon and I love dill. I cut the wreaths in half and stuffed them with cream cheese. And I added some cucumber, radish and a few strips of smoked salmon too. I loved it, but next time I won’t make fiddly mini ones, I’ll make one large Paris Brest, and place it proudly (on a cake stand with a French ribbon) in die middle of my brunch table. If choux sounds too much like trouble, serve this cream cheese filling with its fresh toppings on seed loaf or really dark rye. Or use it to make the ultimate toasted bagel breakfast.
All you need is…
230g Parmalat salmon cream cheese
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs fresh dill, finely chopped
80g smoked salmon or salmon trout
radish, finely sliced
red onion or spring onion, finely sliced
Seed loaf, bagels or Paris Brest (get the recipe here). Note: if you make one large Paris Brest, you’ll need to double up on the cream cheese filling.
Mix the cream cheese with the black pepper, lemon juice and dill. Cut Paris Brest in half and fill with the cream cheese filling. (If you want the filling a bit lighter and creamier, whip half a cup of cream until firm peak stage and gently stir into the cream cheese mixture.) Top with salmon or salmon trout, cucumber, radish and onion.