I have made salambos twice. Once in 2017, when I originally started baking through The Art of French Pastry and the second being now. The difference between how my recipes turned out is crazy-it’s amazing how much I’ve learned in the past two years on my own! I decided to keep pictures from each day to show a bad batch and a good batch.
Difficulty in 2017: 4/5, purely because it was the first time I made pâte à choux AND pastry cream AND caramel…and I had to make the caramel twice…
Difficulty now: 2/5, this recipe came together so much easier the second time. Granted, there were two years in between, but I think it helped I had made them before.
Taste in 2017: 3/5. My caramel was a tad too hard and thick, so it was insanely crunchy when you ate them. Pâte à choux was not as puffy as it should have been. Pastry cream was delicious, but it didn’t fill the pastry as much as it should have.
Taste now: 4/5. My caramel was a lot thinner this time, pâte à choux was puffy, and the pastry cream filled it up completely. Salambos aren’t something I’d just whip up if we had guests coming over, but it was a fun treat and something unique. Very delicious.
How long it took me in 2017: 4 hours 20 minutes, from measuring out the ingredients to eating a bite. Keep in mind that also includes me taking pictures of every step, which adds a lot more time!
How long it took me now: Still 4 hours, for the same reason 🙂 Cut out the 20 minutes because my caramel turned out the first time 🙂
Alrighty. We’re into Chapter 2, French Pastry Classics. Chapter 1 was all about French Pastry Fundamentals, which included the basic recipes that the rest of the book will use, for example pâte à choux, brioche, puff pastry, pastry cream, meringue, buttercream, sauces, and jams. I skipped over the majority of those recipes because I’ll be using them throughout the book, and I really don’t want to make puff pastry or brioche more than I have to lol. Chapter 2 is all about every pastry you can think of when you think of Paris; however, the very first recipe threw me for a loop, as it was something I had never heard of: Salambos. Honestly, I thought it sounded more Spanish than anything and was at a complete loss as to what it could entail.
If you look Salambos up on Google, there’s just a few sites that are in English. Even Wikipedia is in French. Salambos are like éclairs in that they’re both made with pâte à choux and filled with pastry cream, but salambos are shorter, oval-shaped and glazed with caramel and a toasted almond. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Well, good grief, they’re kind of a pain in the butt and take too long to make, with a short time period of edibility! Delicious for sure though.
Starting out, choux pastry is made. The only difference between this and other choux pastries is the shape, salambos are oval. I posted below the difference in the two times I’ve made them 🙂
Now if you’ve made choux pastry before, you’ll know immediately what I did wrong in 2017: see the ends of the pastry dough, how they’re curved up like an elf shoe? I piped these incorrectly. You’re actually supposed to dip the end of the piping tip quickly to touch the pan when you’re done piping so that it forces the “tail” to stick to the pan; however, I didn’t read the directions…it’s also kind of hard to do that without getting pastry cream squashed to the pan (practice makes perfect, Emily!). In Jacquy’s book, he doesn’t say the absolute easiest secret of getting rid of that: WATER! The next batch I did I got my finger wet and just dabbed the ends down, which created a much more even pastry. What this also tells me is I didn’t add enough egg to my choux pastry; however, I didn’t know, and this is how I learn 🙂 Again, this blog isn’t going to show just successful times I’ve made recipes, it’s going to show all of my errors as well. For example, I’d like to note that the shape isn’t quite right either, salambos are a lot more oval shaped, and I made that first batch in 2017 way too skinny. You’ll see in 2019 that I not only got rid of that tip on the pastry, I also piped them correctly.
Next step is to make the filling: pastry cream. You can see how I make pastry cream here.
After the pastry cream had cooled and been whipped, I piped the pastry cream into the Salambos. What I did was push (very lightly) the tip diagionally into one side of the salambo and then squeezed pastry cream until I felt it get heavier. Then I turned the salambo in my hand and piped into the other side of the salambo until I saw the cream start to peek out. This ensures even cream throughout the pastry.
After making this recipe in 2017, I bought 100 disposable pastry bags. Not saying that gallon bags don’t work, they do, but I knew I’d be using a ton of bags if I were to complete this recipe book, and 100 for only $13 is not bad at all. Plus, I felt a lot more legit lol 🙂
After having piped the pastry cream into each salambo, I made the almonds and caramel. Almonds were easy-he recommends putting them in the oven, but I just used the stove top to toast them, and they turned out fine. My caramel? Not so much.
Now I’ve made caramel before, rather caramels. Much different, and they’re taken off the stovetop earlier than this caramel. This was my first batch in 2017:
Yup. That’s how I felt. 3 1/2 hours into it, and I was done. I kept going though, and my second batch of caramel turned out better…at least it wasn’t black. It was still pretty thick though, which is why my salambos were extremely crunchy. This type of caramel is supposed to be pretty thin. Oh well. I wasn’t about to make a third batch of caramel. Caramel may only have water, sugar, and corn syrup in it, but man it is super finicky. My first batch I walked away from. NEVER WALK AWAY FROM CARAMEL, EVEN FOR 15 SECONDS.
You can immediately tell this one turned out better 🙂
As soon as the caramel is done, you have to quickly dip each salambo into the caramel, then place an almond on the spot where the pastry cream was placed. I didn’t take photos while dipping them in 2017 purely because I was so ridiculously tired and frustrated and just wanted to be done; however, I did now!
Jacquy recommends using aluminum foil to wipe off the excess caramel, and I agree, it’s a great idea! Plus, if you’re anything like me, after it hardens, you get to eat it 🙂
He also recommends putting the leftover caramel on a silpat to harden, which I did. He said you can crush it up for ice cream or different fillings but, I’ll be honest, I threw mine away lol. When I eat ice cream, I don’t want hard pieces of caramel in it, and I really don’t see how this would work in a filling. I’d break a tooth!
Look at that beaut. Smooth and thin caramel, toasted almond, absolutely FILLED with pastry cream. Yum.
Guys, I was SO EXCITED when I realized I had filled these correctly with pastry cream!!! Also, LOOK at those vanilla bean specks!!! I just LOVE vanilla beans ♥
We’ll end with 2017 results, for your viewing pleasure:
Salambos aren’t supposed to be all shapes and sizes, but apparently mine were lol!
These aren’t perfect by no means, but they’re not the absolute worst. You can definitely see the inconsistent shapes, and you can see on the upper right salambo especially how thick the caramel was. I didn’t put almonds on all of them because I wanted to taste the difference. In my opinion, the almond isn’t needed, but it does make them look a lot prettier. I was pretty impressed with myself at the time…until I looked on the inside:
Again, this is how I learn. If I had added the correct amount of egg to the choux pastry in 2017, it would have baked better and puffier, making it easier to fill. I also didn’t fill these enough. They still tasted good though.
I took some salambos over to my niece and nephew even though (back in 2017) they hadn’t turned out great, and they definitely gave it the thumbs up.
One thing to note: salambos can only be stored for 12 HOURS in the fridge. After that the caramel starts to melt, and they get all sticky. Definitely not worth the time, in my opinion. Maybe someday I’ll make them again, but considering all the work that goes into them and how quickly they go bad, I don’t know if it’s worth it.
10:30pm that evening:
My legs and lower back were screaming, but I accomplished my first legit pastry recipe from Jacquy’s book. Praying there would be some shorter recipes in my future, I began the next recipe the next afternoon. Eclairs. Oh, and I now have kitchen crocs. They are a GOD SEND! Tim calls them clown shoes and laughs every time he sees me wearing them lol, but I don’t care how I look, my back and legs are in LOVE ♥︎