Paris has to be one of the ultimate destinations if you want to hone your culinary skills. Julia Child studied at Le Cordon Bleu and there are rave reviews of Patricia Well’s classes in Paris. Unfortunately I don’t think my French is really up to the standard of a Le Cordon Bleu class and at the exorbitant price of €250 for a class with Patricia Wells – I don’t think so. After reading a few good reviews on Chowhound and Trip Advisor I decided to enrol in the more moderately priced Pastry class at Cook’n With Class.
Classes are in English and are taught in small groups of eight people so Cook’n With Class promise lots of opportunity for hands on experience. I headed over to the tiny kitchen in Monmarte where the class was taught by Bernadette Laserna, an American chef who had been working in Paris as a pastry chef for the past few years. Bernadette announced that we would be making five different recipes in the four hour class. I wondered how this was going to be physically possible however the answer soon became clear as rather than each cooking the recipes we would be jointly cooking them. This was a little disappointing as I think classes are always more worthwhile when you actually get to do everything yourself rather than mainly observing. The other disappointment was that we would not actually be making pastry in the Pastry class and instead would use store bought pastry. The one thing I had thought when I enrolled in the class was that at the least I would get a decent shortcrust pastry recipe out of it.
On the other hand, the class was really enjoyable and we came away on a huge sugar high from eating so much. Bernadette emailed us a copy of the five different recipes we had helped make and I picked up some useful general tips as well. I have included the recipe for honey madelines below. After all what could be more French than a madeline. Of course, the essential thing that you will need for a madeline recipe is a madeline tin. Any excuse for a visit to the famous Parisian kitchenware store E Dehillerin
240g plain flour
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of melted butter and 3 tsp caster
sugar to grease the madeline tin
1. Preheat oven to 210C.
2. Brush the tin with melted butter and lightly dust with sugar.
3. On low heat melt the butter and honey in a small saucepan.
4. Beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl until combined and then gradually add the flour and baking powder.
5. Once the butter and honey mixture starts to foam add it to the rest of the mixture and combine.
6. Allow the mixture to cool and then pour carefully into the madeline tin.
7. Bake for 5 mins at 210C and then for 5 mins at 180C.
8. Allow to cool in the in for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
Makes around 24 madelines.
Details: Cook’n With Class, 21 Rue Custine, Paris, France (Ph +33 (0) 63 1 73 62 77) Metro: Chateau Rouge
Damage: €100 for the pastry class. A morning cooking class including a market tour is €150 however Bernadette (who was refreshingly honest) warned us not to take this class in August as the markets are quite deserted.
If you liked reading this you can read about the cooking course
I did in Morocco which was much more hands on. In London, Leith’s School of Food and Wine runs a variety of cooking courses including the Knife Skills course
which I tried out this year.