Last Saturday I had the opportunity to take a class at the KAF Baking Education Center. The class was Croquembouche taught by Roland Mesnier, who spent 25 years working as a pastry chef in the White House.
I had never heard of Croquembouche until the day before I took this class. After a little research I found that Croquembouche is a French cake often served at weddings, baptisms, and first communions. The product is a high cone of "cream puffs" sometimes dipped in chocolate bound with caramel, and usually decorated with threads of caramel, sugared almonds, chocolate, flowers, or ribbons.The morning started with fresh pastries and coffee from the KAF bakery.
We dove immediately into making pate a choux - the dough for "cream puffs". I've never made this pastry before so I had a lot to learn.
Wall of mixers.
Wall of supplies.
Mr. Roland Mesnier himself.
Butter - the beginnings of delicious baked goods.
Checking for consistency.
Mine did not look so great.
Puff covered in caramel.
Beginnings of PB & Jelly goodness.
It's an acorn!
It's a mouse!
PB & Jelly filled eclairs. Probably my favorite.
Since we weren't all able to construct an elaborate Croquembouche, each student built a smaller version filled with raspberry mousse.
Roland built a much more extravagant tower of pastry puffs.