Porcupines

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Preparation info

  • Yield:

    30

    pastries, 2¼ inches long
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

The Professional Pastry Chef

By Bo Friberg

Published 1989

  • About

Porcupine pastries always bring a smile. Although they are not a particularly sophisticated pastry when judged by today’s standards, they can, if properly prepared, hold their own even when displayed with the nouvelle generation of pastries made using transfer sheets and decorated Joconde sponge, some of which actually look too precise and perfect to be real. Porcupine pastries are unusual and can be given a very cute, whimsical appearance by piping the eyes in various configurations—looking up, down, cross-eyed, and so on.

Judging from the reaction of the majority of customers and students at the school, it seems most people immediately recognize these as porcupines, with their pointed heads and big rounded quill-covered bodies, even if they have never seen a real one. However, a few years back, one of my students brought me a finished pastry on which he had inserted the almonds into the narrow end and piped the eyes on the rounded (rear) end! I guess his classmates were giving him a bit of a hard time because when he brought it to me, he said, “I have been told that I have done something wrong.” I told him there was indeed a problem and that I would show him the proper way to finish the remaining pastries. With a bit of hesitation, he then told me they were all done. Because this was a popular pastry and, being a school, we always had plenty of material for the filling, this amounted to about 300 backward animals ready for the buffet. There was nothing really to do at that point but serve them, so I told the student just put them out as they were. The embarrassed young man replied, “I am so sorry, chef, but I have never seen one of these animals. I’m a city slicker, not a country boy!”

Ingredients

Method