Pâtisserie is the chapter in any baking book that has, until now, filled me with dread and awe in equal measure. I bought myself a gold edged, suede covered copy of the Ladurée Sucre book a decade ago and never felt quite worthy of even attempting a single recipe… However, this weekend has changed my perception of the subject, from being something I was unashamedly scared of, to something I can now attempt – as long as I have enough time and freezer space!
The Artisan School of Food is set in the most stunning grounds of Welbeck Priory, a stones throw from Chesterfield and Worksop. It offers an extensive array of courses, both in subject matter and duration from day courses to a year long diploma (how amazing!). Our course had 11 other participants, a sprinkling of professionals amongst us but mostly civilians. The school offers breakfast on arrival, here’s the heads up, it’s worth arriving a little early for – homemade bread, preserves and granola. The cookery classroom is an expansive, well lit room – even fitted with swanky air con, which we did need for our chocolate work session. The first day was mind boggling, so much so, I still have no recollection whatsoever of making the Chocolate Crémeux which made up the middle section of the Bostock Praline Chocolate. I am hoping that eventually my brain will process all the information and file it in an orderly fashion!?
What struck me this weekend, is that Pâtisserie is not hard per se, what it does require is patience, time and a large freezer. The Praline Chocolate requires 3 different sections, first the frozen crème, a disk of dacquoise, a mousse and a disk of feuilletine (brittle crispy flakes with caramelized, praline flavour), all enveloped in a dark chocolate glaçage. Each step of the recipe requires freezing so ideally 48 hours. Once the assembly is complete the whole thing needs decorating. This means tempering chocolate and making ribbons & collars with the chocolate, I even made a set of feathers!
I have come away thinking that Pâtisserie is a little *smoke & mirrors * the end result is spectacular, yet the processes involved are relatively simple. Again, on reflection, simple may not be the right term, but for me I was relieved because apart from getting a few bubbles in my glaçage, I am proud of myself – go me !!
*Just in case there is any ambiguity on how many stages and individual recipes we covered just to make 2 entremets and 3 petit gateaux (just 2 flavours in different sizes) Here’s the list :
- Raspberry Glaze,
- Raspberry Syrup,
- Raspberry Biscuits Cuillère
- Pink Glaze
- Swiss Meringue
- Raspberry Mousse
- Gelatine Mass – for both recipes
- Dark Chocolate Glaçage
- Praline Feuilleté Noisette
- Chocolate Crémeux
- Hazelnut Dacquoise
- Mousse Sabayon au Chocolat
- Caramelia Whipped Ganache
So when you see a demure little Raspberry Charlotte fluttering its eyelashes at you from the Pâtisserie counter boasting the biggest ticket price, you may now be able to appreciate why she is so very expensive, remember she is indeed worth every penny!
Would I recommend the course : YES
Would I recommend the School : YES
Was the course instructor a Patisserie legend : YES
What course is next : Haxby Bakery 1 day Bread Course