My friend Squeaks and I spent an evening learning how to make some classic French pastries at Laguna Culinary Arts.
At the end of the evening we enjoyed the fruits of our labor.
We arrived for class a little early so we killed some time enjoying a glass of wine.
Chef Maurice planned a busy evening for us.
Luckily we had Chef Gina assisting Chef Maurice. Not only is she extremely knowledgeable, she's a lot of fun.
Our classmates were mother daughter/son and BFF teams, OMG did we have fun.
We got right to work making a Pate Brisée Sucree. Here Chef shows us his technique for incorporating the butter into the flour.
He debunked our lifelong belief that the butter has to be stone cold and cut in with a pastry blender, or at the very most, rapidly with our fingertips.
We cut the room temperature butter into chunks and added it to the flour. Some of the butter/flour combination is scooped up between the palms of your hands and rapidly rubbed back and forth between the palms of your hands as it sifts back onto the counter top. Dang, talk about a quick and easy way to incorporate butter into the flour.
Eggs and a bit of water are added to the flour/butter mixture and stirred into a cohesive dough.
Using the edge of a bench scraper, smash and scrape the dough, bit by bit. Form into a ball and set aside at room temperature to rest for 20 minutes.
Classmates busy at work.
While our Pate Brisée Sucree was resting we got busy making a Pate a Choux. Chef is monitoring my ability to dab, not brush on the egg wash.
Squeaks is splitting and scraping a vanilla bean for the Crème Patisserie that we will use to fill the Pate a Choux.
Busy whisking the Crème Patisserie.
While we were making the Crème Patisserie, the Pate a Choux was baking in the oven.
Yippiee hot out of the oven, it looks like we did great.
Meanwhile, the Pate Brisée Sucree has rested and is ready to become part of a Pear-Almond Tart.
Chef demonstrates how to roll out the Pate Brisée and assemble the Pear-Almond Tart.
Squeaks concentrates on making sure the sliced pears are all facing in the right direction, we want Chef to be proud of us.
After the pears bake for 15 minutes, a batter mixture is poured over the top of the pears and the tart is baked for another 15 minutes.
While the tart is baking we fill the cooled Pate a Choux with the pastry cream.
Now it's on to the Puff Pastry Apple Tart. Whewwwww busy, busy.
Apples are fanned out over puff pastry then given an egg wash, dollops of butter and a sprinkling of sugar.
The finished apple tarts.
A lovely setting in which to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
I will be posting the recipes and step by step with photos of each pastry.
We had such a wonderful experience and can't wait to take more classes there.
Check out their website, they have lots of great things going on.
And that's that.