13 June 2011

Patisse: Croquembouche Masterclass, Waterloo (24 May 2011)

Shop G01, PYD Building, 197 Young Street, Waterloo NSW 2017

Tower of sweet delight

Thanks to Bill Shirley from Patisse for inviting me as a guest to experience the professionally run Croquembouche Masterclass ($160 per person) by the French Chef Vincent Gadan. He warmly welcomed the class with his humor and managed to guide everyone at a reasonable pace through all the stages of preparation, cooking and constructing of the croquembouche. As a novice cook I never would have attempted a croquembouche by myself but the class has definitely given me an insight and knowledge into the time and patience required to create one. It has also given me the confidence and skills to know how to cook one but being a lazy cook I think I'd rather just buy one from Patisse. It can get pretty messy but by the end of the class everyone had managed to create their own croquembouche of around 40-50 choux pastries and self decorate them to their own liking. Each croquembouche would probably be worth more than the class itself based on $3.50-$4 per choux pastry if you're buying a professionally made croquembouche. By the end of the night there was lots of mess on the kitchen tables but the great thing was we didn't have to clean up.

Dinner was provided about half way through the class consisting of pies and pastries with salad and wine. I think it would have been nice if there was a selection of mini pies and pastries so I could get to try a few different things — but that's because I personally like to try everything. The cakes provided before the class were very good. They included a Double Chocolate Brownie with Hazelnuts, Opera Cake and an excellent Orange and Blueberry Cake — would have gone well with a coffee. For something savoury the bite-sized Gougères (Choux pastry with cheese) were very good — I think I might have gobbled up at least 8. I wish there were a few more savoury pastries to start off the night as I didn't have time to have dinner before arriving to the class and was thinking I shouldn't be eating so many of the cakes first up.

PROS: Small and intimate class, Professional chef and kitchen with everything provided, Relatively easy cooking techniques once you know how, Has given me the skills and confidence to know how to cook one, Simple ingredients which are cheap and basic except for vanilla bean, You get to take home and show off you're own croquembouche, It will taste great if made right, An excellent dessert for sharing
CONS: Lots of time and patience required to make a croquembouche, Can get very messy, Was a long night of standing, Caramel topping sticks and burns
MUST TRY: Remembering to make Gougères as an entertaining canapé, Revisiting Patisse to try other cakes for an afternoon tea

Video of a few helpful tips

A few sweet treats before the class starts — very good although I was craving more savoury than sweet at the time


Chef Vincent Gadan welcomes the class — if you burn yourself the hospital isn't too far away, thankfully we all kept our burns to a minimum

Things to decorate your croquembouche with. Keeping it simple was good advice.

Choux Pastry recipe

Creme patisserie recipe — Chef Gadan says it's not custard!

Caramel topping recipe

In the kitchen

Milk, butter, eggs, flour

Making the choux pastry in a pot

Using the big machine to make choux pastry

Piping the choux pastry

Topping choux pastry with beaten egg

Cooking the choux pastry

Making creme patisserie

Adding the special ingredient

Pouring and cooling the creme patisserie

Dinner time

Homemade tomato relish

White or red wine

Choux pastries are cooked and ready to fill

Making the caramel topping

Making a small hole in choux pastry with a wooden spike

Filling the choux pastry with creme patisserie

Coating the choux pastry with caramel topping — watch your fingers

A tasty snack

Stacking the choux pastries on the conical mould — be sure to grease the paper so it can slide off easily after

A busy class of making croquembouches

Final croquembouche shape

Taking the mould out

Final decorated croquembouche

Making coloured toffee for angel hair

Cooking class croquembouche creations

Patisse located inside the PYD Building

Taste testing the croquembouche at work the next day for morning tea — smiles all round.

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Antony said...

Yam!!! great article Simon. Would easy have an overdose of those...

Dolly said...

oh god, id love to go to this..


Richard Elliot said...

Great idea for the class. I can see this one being popular, especially at Masterchef time!

Did you think it was good value at $160? Seems a bit on the expensive side to me.

muppy said...

I would LOVE to do this, i have never made a decent choux! but i loooooove to eat them :)

Tins@foodboozeshoes said...

Oooh yes, gougeres please!

Sharon said...

It looks like you had a blast! yum!! They're classes are so awesome too. You get to make sweets and then get a delicious dinner too... win - win i say!

edmonton cheap deals said...

Oh i love the sweet goodies..you make me drool. :)

Brenda said...

How devine! Everyone's croquembouche looks fabulous! And Vincent is such a lovely guy (I watched his cooking session at Taste of Sydney). How lucky you were to be invited to one of his classes! I'm jealous : )

Anonymous said...

sooo gorgeous! love your blog Simon, lovely photos and I love the 'pros and cons' you do at the end of a review

OohLookBel said...

I think the price is reasonable considering you get a croquembouche out of it. It's on par with the macaron courses out there.

Simon Leong said...

hi tonioz, i'm sure you would :-)

hi dolly, hope you get to try the class. it's lots of fun.

hi richard, considering you get a whole croquembouche worth that much or even more plus you get the expert teaching i think it would be worth it for those who love baking.

hi muppy, you'll certainly learn how to make the perfect choux in this class.

hi tina, great as an appetiser at a party too

hi sharon, definitely a win win

hi edmonton, glad you like

hi brenda, he was such a good teacher

hi anonymous, thanks for the positive feedback

hi bel, plus you get dinner too :-)

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