Thursday, February 11, 2010

Guimauves, Napoleons & Macarons – Ooh La La!

Imagine waking up on a beautiful Saturday morning to the intoxicating aromas of a French bakery wafting through the air – well this is exactly how our lucky students started the past 2 weekends! Pastry chef Charmaine Baan taught her exquisite P1: Introduction to French Pastry and P2: French Pastries Part II classes in our new Bonnie Gordon School kitchen, sharing her years of experience and professional techniques with our eager students.

In our Introduction to French Pastry class, students were enthralled by the tips and techniques used to create French classics such as mille feuilles, frangipane tarts, profiteroles and rich chocolate mousse to name a few. This hands-on class had the students involved from start to finish, giving them the opportunity to put their new found skills into practice. Intimidating tasks such as making puff pastry were easily overcome as pastry was expertly folded and rolled many times over to create buttery crisp layers that had endless possibilities. Mousses were whipped, and profiteroles were individually rolled by hand, filled and covered with delectable ganache. The day ended with a room full of smiling faces eager to take home and devour their artistic creations.

Our French Pastries Part II class started with the classic Madeleine, delicate little cakes made with a genoise batter and flavoured with pure vanilla extract. Next up, the ever popular macaron which many of our students sheepishly confessed was the very reason they signed up for this class! These mouthwatering meringue based treats are notoriously difficult to master for both the amateur and professional but with Chef Charmaine’s guidance, our students found success! A delicate crisp crust, soft chewy interior and a sweet, creamy filling – what more can a pastry lover ask for?

Passion fruit flavoured Guimauve, or hand crafted marshmallows as they are often described, were next on the list. Don’t be fooled – once you try one you will never want a store bought marshmallow again! The afternoon finished with chocolate canelĂ©, a crisp chocolate outer shell filled with a warm gooey chocolate-y interior, and ever addictive honey cashew caramels. With all the goodies baked and ready, Charmaine then showed our students the perfect way to present all their hard work to their very lucky family and friends.

To sign up for our next P1: Introduction to French Pastries class on March 16 & 17 or our next P2: French Pastries Part II on March 18 & 19, please call the school to reserve your spot today!