Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 9 - Don't Trust a Skinny Chef (Foray into Baking P.II)

Today's delicious and convenient lesson: "Don't Trust a Skinny Chef," as Chef Clémence of Gourmandise Desserts told us. Another wonderfully hands-on baking class titled "Rustic French Desserts," and here is today's menu:

- Tarte Tatin (Caramelized Apple Pie)
- Mousse of Chocolate Gianduja (Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse)
- Pavlova with Fresh Berries
- Peach Frangipane Tart with Toasted Almonds

My favorite part? The chocolate tasting - a platter of Vlarhona 68% and 58% dark chocolates, Vlarhona milk chocolate, and Gianduja (hazelnut), all ready to be dipped in a bit of sea salt in the center...mmm, absolutely DIVINE.

Besides finally learning how to create those beautiful tarts with the caramelized apple slices in a spiral pattern, as well as some really useful tips and tricks in baking, Chef Clemence also revealed two interesting bits of food trivia:

-If you have allergies to the pollen in your backyard and around your neighborhood, start eating some honey made organically and locally from your neighborhood, and your allergy to that pollen will disappear!

-NEVER use Hershey's chocolate for baking (guilty, guilty guilty!). Hershey's formulated chocolate candy bars for soldiers during WWII that were purposely made to be poor-tasting so that soldiers would not become obsessed with the chocolate - Hershey's hasn't changed their formula since.

Oh, oh, and some of Chef's bakery recommendations! This first one is one I've had bookmarked for quite a while now, and is also recommended by my dear copy of Frommer's Los Angeles Day-By-Day Guide
*Jin Patisserie on Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA

Umm, btw, I'm ridiculously proud of myself for just htmling the italics into that book title.

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