I was lucky enough to attend a cooking school at Patisse. The cIass options included a macaron masterclass, croquembouche class, art of pastry, all about the tart, French classics and French gateaux. I decided to learn how to make a classic cake with a French style and attend the 'French Gateaux' class.
The Patisse Cooking School is a short walk from Central Station. I was greeted by Bill, the manager, who makes you feel at home with a coffee and a chocolate custard filled pastry.
Aren was our pastry chef. Trained at Pier by the uber pastry chef Katarina Kanetani, Head Pastry Chef at the amazing hatted Restaurant Arras, at Belinda Franks Catering & the fabulous John & Peter Catering - and demonstrator for the day. We started off by making an almond sponge for the opera cake. I was given the job of whisking the almond meal paste together, but I was left wondering why my arm felt like it was going to fall off [a short while later, I found out we were making double quantities!]
Pastry chef, Aren at work
Flying through the ready made ingredients of coffee syrup for the buttercream and sponge, Aren made chocolate ganache and chocolate glaze. We learnt how to make a foolproof buttercream by making a Swiss meringue; whisking the mixture until it tripled in volume, then we added butter and white chocolate. Then we were ready to put our opera cake together; we layered the buttercream and sponge, brushed on the coffee syrup, added two more layers, then it was placed into the freezer to set.
Next we made choux pastry for the Paris Best and piped this into a bicycle ring. These were baked in the oven as we were treated to an amazing lunch of asparagus, pea risotto drizzled with truffle oil and a simple green leaf salad. Divine!
With no time to spare we were back to making our chocolate sponge layer for the Chocolate Framboise Pave and chocolate mousse. Assembling the cake with layers of chocolate sponge, brushing it with raspberry coulis, then a layer of mousse and repeating this two more times with a sponge layer on top. This was then put into the freezer to set.
Whilst waiting for our pave to set, it was back to our choux pastry sprinkled with flaked almonds. We piped the choux full of hazelnut buttercream and it was made extra delicious with hazelnut praline sprinkled on top.
Once the chocolate framboise pave had set, it was time to ladle the chocolate coating with the melted dark chocolate. We finished it off with slivered pistachios and freeze dried raspberries. Perfect for a romantic treat.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself with a fun bunch of people and Aren who managed to answer any curly question thrown his way. It was great to feel and taste our way through the class and of course, have a few laughs along the way.