Pastries in a Day

2014-07-26 14.57.56

I have never mastered the art of folding and rolling needed to create layered pastry, so I decided that it was time to do something about that. When I spotted the Showroom Cinema’s Pastries in a Day course, I jumped at the chance. The fee of £39.95 is really good value, considering that it includes a day of tuition, with ingredients, lunch, many cold drinks and cups of coffee – and your creations to take home. What a great way to start the summer holiday.

Under the guidance of sous chef Jon Tite and Jodie Thompson, a small group of us mixed and kneaded dough firstly for Danish pastries and then for croissants, before going on to the process of folding, rolling and resting the dough until it magically transformed into a mass of layers. We watched Jon make crème patisserie and learned how to shape and assemble our Danish pastries. We cut and shaped our croissant dough, making both the traditional crescent shaped rolls and pains au chocolat. Finally, we did a spot of decorating: glazing, icing and adding some flaked almonds to our freshly baked Danish pastries. What had seemed complicated when described in a cookbook became accessible when demonstrated by an expert.

2014-07-26 15.14.44Jon was not just an expert chef, he was also a really good teacher. He managed the difficult balance between knowing when to help, when to simply encourage and when a bit of intervention was required. His infectious enthusiasm kept us engaged throughout the day, as did his well-judged mixture of advice, information and anecdotes. Jon’s passion for cooking was evident, and he happily answered our many questions about a whole range of skills and recipes, not just pastry making.

I had a great time. I learned a huge amount and I have managed to put this into practice at home, both by reproducing the recipes from the day and by having a go at some puff pastry. OK, so my first attempt was flaky rather than puffy, but it tasted great, which is the most important thing.

If you would like to learn about making pastry, I highly recommend the course.

The Showroom does a Bread in a Day course too. I’ll be signing up for that one.

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