BONJOUR! I write you from my teeny-tiny studio in Paris which after two weeks of nesting now feels like home. I am doing the Intensive Basic Pastry Certificate at Le Cordon Bleu Paris this summer, and while it’s definitely very intensive, I’m loving every minute of it. That’s why I want to share with you my weekly creations and experiences.
Orientation was last Wednesday, it was amazing to meet people from all over the world that have travelled just like me to follow our dreams (cheesy as it sounds). We got a tour of the school, got our uniforms and tools, and had our first class that was mostly about school rules, hygiene, etc.
The next day things officially got intense. I had class from 8 am to 10 pm Thursday and Friday, and from 8 am to 3 pm on Saturday. It got to the point that I, the girl with the sweetest sweet tooth of them all, couldn’t bare to see anything sweet after everything I had cooked in those few intense days. But still, it was exactly what we needed to jump start our life as pâtissiers, by Saturday we were all rolling and mixing doughs with the exact techniques they taught us like a second nature.
The first days we learned simple cooking techniques and terms. How to cut/slice properly, softening butter, giving volume to different types of doughs, etc. We also learned how to do a proper fonçage (lining a tart in a ring) and the secret to doing a perfect crème pâtissière.
The following days things got a little more challenging as we started learning the art of puff pastry. I was a little traumatized by the amount of butter this has and the work it requires to get the perfect puff pastry. And obviously there just happened to be a hell-like heat wave going through Paris so making puff pastry was twice as hard as our dough melted apart as we tried to roll it and turn it. Still we managed to successfully make puff pastry, which we used to make palmiers, apple turnovers, and pithiviers.
Finally on Thursday we made éclairs. I’ve been trying really hard not to overeat and just try a little of everything but the eclairs made this very hard… they were perfect. The fact that I mixed that choux pastry until I could barely feel my arms probably also contributed to the appreciation I had for them (yes, everything and I mean everything is done by hand in basic pastry, no stand mixers or food processors allowed).
We had Friday off and I actually kinda missed going to Le Cordon Bleu, I love everything about it. The experienced chefs, the classes, my classmates, the Cafe with freshly made pastries, everything. The classes are intense, chefs are demanding, the practical classes require lots of time management skills and you definitely need to take good notes during the demonstration classes, but everything is worth it.
I’m sure this next four weeks are going to fly by, so I hope you join me and have as much fun reading as I’m having cooking. Wish me luck this week!
P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram (@ilpiattone) to keep in touch with everything I do daily!