Two days have passed, there are four more to go: remember, we have basic patisserie classes from Monday to Saturday!
On our third day, we had Saint Honoré. I remember this one from a very old cookbook my mother had when I was younger (and probably the main reason why I’m so passionate about baking) and always thought it was a very hard dessert to do.
It turns out that it’s very simple: a round base made out of sablée dough, rounded by choux dough and covered with small choux balls dipped in caramel and chantilly. Super duper easy, but physically demanding.
Choux dough is one of my favorite types of dough to make. I love to make it sweet, savoury, filled and dipped with a lot of different things. But to be honest, it is quite hard to do it only manually, especially after you cook it and need to add the eggs, one by one. And in addition to that, we needed to beat chantilly by hand… so you can imagine how my arms were after the class!
This one was quite tasty, but I still need to practice more the piping with this Saint Honoré tip. I saw some people doing wonderful things with it, so there is still a lot to learn.
I don’t remember if this one was done on the forth or fifth day, but I know that it is a vivid nightmare to me: we were going to make Gateau Basque.
The pie itself is delicious — it is a very soft crust filled with orange-flavored pastry cream and small pieces of griottines.
But to make this freaking soft crust is extremely difficult, to say the least. It breaks at the oven if too thin, it rises too much if too thick; it has to be refrigerated for an hour before handling it (which means it’s impossible to make it in Brazil) but when you start opening it, it melts right away… oh boy! No wonder why this one is always asked on the final test.
Mine was fine but the top cracked a bit, the chef noticed… *sight*. I was just hoping not to get it on the final exam.
Fifth day was about a fruit cake and Madeleines. I think my Madeleines were terrible, awful, ugly but tasty. But they weren’t worth a photo.
The fruit cake was fine, however the chef wasn’t completely happy with me sprinkling powdered sugar on top of it. I still think it was a good idea, but you know… he didn’t like it.
And I didn’t like this cake either. I hate candied fruit, so one of the cakes we were bringing home went straight away to a homeless guy in the metro. And the other one was half eaten by my husband, and the rest went to the garbage.
Saturday was puff pastry day! I was somewhat terrified of making puff pastry in less than 3 days (yes, days!), but to be very honest, it is perfectly feasible to make everything in less than an hour if you have:
1. An air conditioned kitchen;
2. The right kind of butter and flour;
3. The right utensils (i.e., heavy and big rolling pin, sharp knife and cutters) and
4. A good recipe.
This time we were making Chausson aux Pommes and Palmiers, and I’m very proud to say I was extremely happy on how they turned out. And this time, both the chefs at the class also gave me some compliments so I guess I did a good job.
Puff pastry is not as hard as it looks. In fact, I enjoy doing it now at home, even though I often lack one or another thing I need to make it right.
I think that the only way to master these techniques is to practice, practice and then practice some more. Ever since I came back home I tried doing again all these recipes more than once — sometimes with success, sometimes not so much. But I’ll keep doing them, because that’s what I love to do and people usually don’t mind eating my “failures” (even though I always feel ashamed for them)
Want to know what happened in the other weeks? Check out more here: