I love food and I especially love cookies and pastries. When I realized that we would be spending a few days in Paris I knew that I would have the opportunity to strike another item off my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to take a French cooking lesson and here was my chance!. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to take all the classes that I would have liked to such as making pastries, croissants, macarons, sauces, entrees and so on.
I needed to focus and decide which one class I was going to take. It actually came down to two – it would be either croissants or French macarons. I had tried baking macarons several times by myself and was never able to master it. I think that was the determining factor in deciding to take a technical class in making macarons and three different fillings.
Like I usually do, I went to Trip Advisor to look at reviews for a cooking class. Some looked really amazing and the price was amazing as well. I found that La Cuisine Paris had very good reviews and they had the macaron class that I wanted on a day and time when we would be in Paris. I was able to sign up on line and was happy to find out that there would only be 8 in our class and that we would leave with a box full of these delicious treats. What could be better?
Blogger Hubby came with me to make sure that I found that facility and since it was near Notre Dame, he would go there during my class. It’s along the river, south of the Louvre. We walked in, signed and and waited for others to arrive. Once four of us arrived, we went downstairs into the kitchen. The other two had called and said they were lost and to stay on schedule, we began the class without them. Our chef was Eric, originally from Southern California but moved to Paris when he was about 8. He worked with some of the more famous pastry chefs in Paris. He was a native English speaker which made it easier for me to understand. He passed out our recipes and asked us to “buddy up” as we would share a Kitchen Aid with our partner.
We first made a vanilla filling made by scraping a vanilla bean and then cooking the mixture on a hot plate. We then made a chocolate ganache filling with chocolate and cream and a little European butter which has a higher fat content. Finally we made a fresh pineapple filling. It was important to make the fillings first so they could cool and firm up. Next we made the first of two different macarons – one that was hot and the other with stiffly beaten egg whites. I learned that most of the pastry chefs use powdered food coloring and a little goes a long way. Once I used it I realized how much easier it was to use than the gels that I had at home. I would order some from Amazon.
We were instructed in the proper piping method as we piped our mixture onto parchment paper.
For those who have made macarons previously, we did not have them sit for 30 minutes to dry. Beautiful trays of macarons came out of the oven and we oohed and aaahed our creations amazed that we made these beautiful cookies.
After they cooled we were allowed to begin filling them with our delicious fillings. We decided as a group to have our boxes that we would be bringing home with us to be a mixture of colors and not just the two colors that we had made. The boxes looked like a pastel rainbow. I did learn that they should be refrigerated after making them for 24 hours and they should be consumer within three days after that.
These macarons looked just as beautiful and delicious as the ones we saw lining shelves in pastry stores.
Both Blogger Hubby and I enjoy taking some type of cooking lesson where ever we travel – cookies in France, a meal in the Czech Republic, a full Italian meal in Florence, and small group cooking lessons while cruising with Holland America.