Quick like a bunny, here’s a report from today. Don’t let it detract from yesterday’s post, which is more of a deal in my mind. This is just pastry. Today, we came home from class, I dumped my stuff in my room and went out with Erica to (a) buy some glorious Lyonnaise silk scarves, and (b) to take a thank you gift of some wild rice from the Mille Lacs Tribal grocery store to my favorite boulanger (baker of breads) in Lyon> He showed me what he did lat January, gave me his recipe and proportions and helped me take a quantum leap in baguettes. So, I ended up having about long conversations in French with people in the silk shop (one fascinating couple – he’s a musician and their 2 children each married Americans about food and Lyon. The second conversation was with two older women in the silk shop about the disappearance of the traditional artistry of the silk scarf painters (the ones who make the couturier scarves for Chanel, Dior, Hermes). This store is the local outlet, but their main customers are the Parisian couturiers. (See their website -www.tousoie.com.) But we talked about the disappearance of the amazing artists who do this work, the lack of young people who want to take their places. It was a poignant conversation.
But here’s the quick update. We started pastry classes yesterday and only have 3 more days at the Paul Bocuse Institute. We’re all in grief at the thought of this tremendous experience ending. But just to give you a taste of the greatness, here is what we did the first two days of pastry class. Our teacher is a young guy, fabulous teacher. I’m learning something new every 5 minutes. For 14 years, he was the head pastry chef in a 3 star Michelin restaurant near Bresse (where the world’s best chickens come from – see photo 2 posts ago). He had 3 bakers and 5 pastry chefs working for him and now he’s teaching here. For those of you who don’t know, a 3 star Michelin restaurant is the most coveted and rare restaurant designation in the world. I’ve never been to one. Our class will go to Paul Bocuse’s own restaurant (the only 3 star restaurant in Lyon) on Thursday. So, in our new pastry class, we are learning great things.
Monday: 3 classic desserts with loads of dessert techniques –
- Lemon tarte (Tarte aux citron)
- Tarte aux fruits exotiques (a tarte with almond flour and coconut in the crust with mango, kiwi and pineapple on top)
- A pear charlotte (lady fingers with bavarian creme and pears, with dark chocolate decorations on top)
here they are:
Tuesday: verrines, mini-desserts layered in tiny little glasses, as I recall:
- chocolate mousse with coffee bavarian creme, topped with a coffee whipped creme, chocolate coffee nougat and gold-covered chocolate mini-balls
- pistachio pannacotta with strawberry glaze, fresh strawberries and pistachio almond crumble (pablo and I did that one – it’s the diagonal line across the middle of the desserts), with carmel-covered pistachio decoration.
- raspberry mousse with an almond blanc mange, raspberry conserve, fresh raspberry with a crumble top, and a carmel sugar decoration a hazelnut
- mint cream with lemon jelly (sort of like a dessert aspic), topped with crumble and crystallized lemon jullienne
- apricot something or other (big chunks) with 2 other layers I don’t remember (I haven’t tasted this one yet – I saved it for breakfast).
Anyway, they were all fabulous. We gave little presents of the nuts covered with carmel sugar long tapering spikes to our next door neighbor class (the 6 week professional class), when they trooped in to see what we’d at 4 o’clock. Pablo and I finished first, so I got to do the full presentation of the desserts .
We also traded my box of take-home desserts to the bakery chef who promised to give us his recipe for baguettes and croissants tomorrow. Tomorrow is macarons. this is the dessert that EVERYONE tries to do right. I’ve tasted theirs. These guys do it right. I’ll have things to share when I get back. Start working on your Italian meringue, guys. More later.
Bonus pcture: Chef David’s quick sugar decorations (a treble clef, a series of concentric circles, and a geometrical interweaving set of cool-looking-things. They’d go on top of a dessert and stand up. They also taste exquisite.