Morning Pastry Class, Day 1

In October I was fortunate to take a two day morning pastry class with Master Pastry Chef / Pastry Program Director Delphin Gomes at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Without a doubt this was one of the best classes I have ever taken. Even though I took the class last fall, I took many pictures of the amazing pastry we made. I can almost taste the butter now as I write. The best part of the class was the fact that there were not written recipes. The focus of the class was on the method, and not the recipe. We were given clear instructions and sage advice at the beginning of the class which included basic ratios of ingredients and the instructions for combining them, where if done properly and as was the case almost properly, would result in pastry never experienced by the students this side of the Atlantic. The pictures in this post and the pictures and videos in the posts to follow speak for themselves.

Making Pastry Cream

You’ve never had better pastry cream.

Proofing Croissant Dough

The Chef and his assistant had created some dough prior to the start of our class so we could start working right away.

Smashing a pound of butter!

After a long day at work, there’s nothing better than being able to smack a block of butter with a rolling pin to get your frustrations out. The noise level of the class was insane. I’m guessing this activity would not be welcomed by my neighbors and would result in immediate forfeiture of at least half of my croissants.

Rolling out the croissant dough

Any frustrations assuaged by the flattening of the butter quickly returned when the croissant dough had to be rolled out into a straight and event rectangle. The Chef had to intervene…often.

The first day was primarily one of setup. We had to wait a whole week to return for the second and final day where we could make our croissants, puff pastry and brioche.

Culinary Wisdom: According to Chef Gomes, a good croissant takes two days to make. If yours didn’t take two days to make, you aren’t eating a good croissant. Joking aside, the reason for this is directly related to the proofing times required and the flavor production resulting from them. Throughout the proofing, the dough had to be folded (turned) several times to create the layers of butter and air required for an amazing croissant.

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