Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Pastry class at LeNotre Paris

I have no idea why I didn't ever blog about one of my most magical Parisian adventures: a croissant-making class! On my penultimate day in Paris, I treated myself to a course at LeNotre. Remember I blogged about it way back when? The fabulous patisserie that effectively introduced sumptuous French pastry to the world? It is also a professional cookery school, and thankfully they run courses for amateurs like me!

It was such a fun thing to do before leaving Paris! I was so excited with anticipation that I could hardly sleep. So many of us imagine the lovely career we could have if we could only go to pastry school and open a cake shop. Or is it just me?

Actually, the class made me realise that professional pastry making is an extremely meticulous exercise, and an extremely tiring one at that. We were taught by a wonderful, passionate, man however, in the typical French way, everything had to be 'just so'. The flour's temperature has to be measured before the mixing even occurs and at many intervals thereafter. The dough has to be left in the oven with a vessel of water underneath it, whose temperature must be precise to the degree, and periodically checked. The flour's thickness is measured, and once the dough is rolled out the triangle that will be rolled to make each croissant is measured with a ruler (yesm a ruler!) for optimum size!

The whole croissant making process is an extremely laborious and long one, taking about 12 hours! And some patisseries really do make them fresh every day. There are croissants made from frozen pastry, of course, but you can imagine the frowns that that would elicit from the pastry chefs at LeNotre. The steps are too complicated to recount and certainly too complicated to give me the will to replicate them. Not gonna happen.

I had a wonderful insight into the mystery of a professional pastry kitchen, though, to tools I had never seen, to a level of precision to which I can only aspire. I would encourage any home baker to take a class and be exposed to the stringent standards of a professional kitchen.

And the croissants? Words cannot describe the delectable joy! Anything made of 50% butter would be sumptuous, granted, but these were a delicious beyond belief. Flaky, melt-in-your-mouth, stick-to-your-thighs-forever heaven!

Just look at how beautiful they are!

Pain au chocolat

I am in my element
I took all these home!


Nadia said...

OMG! That seems like such a fun experience to have! How great was that! Those pastries looked so yummy!! Love the pics and the post!

Paul said...

The croissants do luck yummy and I love the cooking wear ;) But did you say 50% butter??? Ok, I am not eating no croissants no more (can't be short and fat ;) )!!

Esme said...

I would love to sign up for this class.

Rachel said...

hahahahahahahahaha!!! a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips. brilliant, loved this one:-)

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Kitchen Butterfly said...

Wow....I didn't realise it took that longto turn out those deliciously flaky-perfect for morning,noon andnight! I shouldbe prepared topay a premium then! Looks like you had a fun day