Healthy and gourmet cakes, a fundamental concept
"Nowadays, we want to enjoy ourselves, but we also want to take care of ourselves," Zakari Benkhadra, director of Institut Culinaire de France, likes to repeat this fundamental notion. He believes that the teaching in pastry schools today should respond to the consumer desires of "eating well and healthily and doing us good rather than just looking good."
In fact, well-being pastry chef Johanna le Pape made this her guiding principle in 2015, having been crowned World Champion of Confectionary Arts the previous year. "Pastry can still be gourmet and aesthetic, while incorporating a new value: being healthy," says the professional. "Of course, there are certain recipes that can’t be stripped back, like a Paris-Brest, which would be nothing without cream. But, without spoiling certain classics, we can rework products that can bring us this sweetness without the guilt."
Johanna le Pape's healthy pastry
What is Johanna le Pape’s secret when it comes to making a dessert? "Combining baking, hard work and respect for the body," she says, along with questioning which types of flour, sugar and processes to use, and working with seasonal fruits. And creating pastries that are "toning, revitalizing, skin beautifying"—labels that are "not just marketing," the pastry chef assures. For Johanna le Pape, "the pastry of tomorrow will be transparent: people want to know what they are eating".
As a consultant pastry chef, Johanna le Pape travels the world to explain her concept and 360-degree vision of well-being, in which pleasure remains at the heart of all her creations. The concept is divided into four pillars.
Pastry can still be gourmet and aesthetic, while incorporating a new value: being healthy
1) Use products from the Earth
"I try to enrich my pastry with ingredients from the Earth. Whether that's vegetables, herbs, roots or essential oils, I play around with a lot of ingredients to try to get out of that ‘butter-cream-flour-sugar’ diktat. In my opinion, it's time to approach pastry in a different way!"
2) Reduce fat and sugar
"To make the pastry lighter and also more nutritious."
3) Preserve micronutrients
"To try to find processes that transform ingredients while preserving their micronutrients. For example, I use gentle cooking methods. I think about the products that I use, their benefits and how to transform them as gently as possible in order to preserve these benefits. I put innovation at the service of well-being."
4) Produce little waste
"Or no waste! These are treasures, and with each recipe I make, I try to use up the whole ingredient, for example by introducing rehydrated peels or putting peel through the juicer, this kind of thing, to use the product to its fullest potential. Opening up the field of the notion of what is sustainable and being in harmony with the nature that surrounds us is, for me, a new form of luxury. The luxury of tomorrow is to succeed in valuing everything that is given to us by the Earth."