Cook’N With Class: French Dessert Course in Paris
Paris is a beautiful city, but there are only so many Seine Cruises I can do before going a little bit crazy! While spending a few weeks there taking photos for GetYourGuide recently I wanted to schedule a couple of more offbeat and especially enjoyable activities to break up the routine a bit. The most delicious of all of these? Learning how to make traditional Classic French Desserts in a dessert course at Cook’N With Class.
As it should, the dessert course starts with a table full of basic but high-quality ingredients and a kitchen full of equipment – everything you need to make the desserts on the class’s menu. The Chef, Constance, starts with the very basics: how to properly crack an egg and separate the whites or how to pour batter without making a mess. I’m a fairly ok cook but very much a novice baker, so starting from the start was very much helpful!
(She was also kind enough to let us sample some of the ingredients – you’ll notice that chocolate jar is far from full.)
The class goes through five or six different recipes, with the preparation of all of them intermingled based on complexity and the cooking times of each dish.
Cook’N With Class: French Dessert Course
– Creme Brulee
– Strawberry and Basil Tart
– Passion Fruit and Banana Souflee
– Pot au Chocolate with Raspberry Topping
– Financier Pastries
– Matcha (green tea powder) pastries with Berry Topping
Making the financiers is the least difficult process: whip up a basic batter, pour into a pan, top with something delicious, and pop it into the oven. Don’t mistake easy for bad, however, as we were enjoying these little pastries all the rest of our time in Paris. (We, ahem, may have walked out with far more than our fair share of the sheet.)
The recipes get progressively more involved from there, but the thing is this: it doesn’t matter. No matter how many questions our class of four had, Chef Constance managed to keep us on track and teach us how to make these again at home if we wanted. Of the whole group I think I was by far the least experienced baker, but even I’m fairly confident I could pick up the recipe and repeat the process without too many difficulties. Finishing the creme brulee could be tricky, but all the rest use fairly basic equipment and ingredients.
The whole class lasted about three hours, give or take a bit. That may sound like a long time, but the flow was managed well and by the time it was over we were all fairly surprised how long we had been there. There are constantly things going in and out of the oven or new batters and toppings to prepare, so despite the length not much of it was ‘down’ time.
With everything prepped and baked and ready all that was left to do was add toppings and glaze the financiers and finish everything up, including (most exciting!) brulee-ing the creme brulee.
Finally, at the end, a table full of all the French Dessert you could hope for. Aside from the obvious visual attraction of the layout, the room smelled incredible – a combination of fresh baked cakes and ripe fresh fruit and that tempting aroma of burning sugar. It was, of course, only the foreshadowing to how good everything was to taste.
Once everything is done? Well, I think you know what comes next. FEAST! The mousse au chocolate and passion fruit souflee were the general favorites, with the creme brulee and strawberry/basil tart just next in line. By the time we all finished those, there was little room left for the other treats!
This is way to much to eat in one sitting, after all. Luckily Cook’N With Class is prepared for this too: they sent us ono our way a little bit of everything that would travel well packed into a cardboard box to be enjoyed back at home once the sugar high eventually passed. The next day? Recipes in the inbox and strawberry/basil tart for breakfast. This is Paris as it should be.
I was in Paris primarily to work with GetYourGuide as a photographer, and the Classic French Dessert Course was one of the activities I did in the course of that work. It isn’t the cheapest thing you can do in Paris, but the facilities were excellent and Chef Constance made it great fun. If you’re spending time in Paris and want to do something a bit different than the typical Eiffel Tour/Champs Elysees thing this could be a really good choice. They also run a Macaron Class which, sadly, we couldn’t fit into our schedule.