Monday, November 3, 2008

What is this gadget?

On Saturday, after my pasta class was over, I went to see DH in his class, The Art of Artisan Bread, Part 2, at Johnson and Wales. I noticed the above apparatus on one of the benches and picked it up. DH asked me if I had any idea what it was. I was completely puzzled. He gave me a clue: it can only be purchased in Mexico. I still didn't know. He told me to think of pan dulce (pastries). Then I realized it is a press for making the distinctive designs on conchas, a very common pastry made in Mexico.

His class made conchas! What a splendid surprise! DH had been talking to the Chef about Mexican pastries, and it turns out that the Chef worked in a bakery in Mexico for a while. So, the Chef gave the students the option of using some of the batch of brioche dough they had made to form some conchas, using the presses he had purchased in Mexico. Everyone in the class decided to try making conchas.

They were quite a hit with the class! One student jumped at the chance to get some cafe con leche (coffee with milk) to drink with his concha. Great idea! Conchas are also excellent with hot chocolate.

The topping is a mixture of flour, sugar and fat. It is definitely decadent. Often the sugar is colored bright yellow or bright pink. The topping is also sometimes flavored with chocolate.

The crispy, crumbly topping crunches a bit in your mouth but soon melts. And the pastry itself, when made well, is moist and soft. The topping adds the sweetness, and the bread is buttery.


Beatrice said...

I love conchas! I'd never seen the concha press (if that's what it's called) before.

Kelly said...

What a cool little tool!