After the morning break, we went back to the classroom for more demonstration. Chef Pierre Hermé made several other recipes before he started making the one thing that I had been waiting for a long time: macaron. He uses Italian meringue for his macarons biscuit and ganache for most of the fillings. He said to let the macaron sits overnight in the refrigerator after filling it.
Someone asked what is a perfect macaron in his opinion. He said that he likes a lot of filling on it and the macaron has to be moist but not chewy.
He only did the pink macaron biscuit since all other macaron biscuits would have the same technique. He uses this pink macaron biscuit for the Ispahan creations (Macaron Ispahan, Ispahan Entremet, Miss Gla'Gla Ispahan Glace, Emotion Ispahan and Tarte Ispahan).
In case you want to know, here's the Ispahan Entremet recipe that I found on the internet, sorry I'm too lazy to type.
PH then started talking about last year's theme which was called Entre, meaning "between". There were 4 different products: Infini, Revelation, Extase, Indulgence. It came in an elegant black porcelain dish that was especially made for him. This product was available exclusively through his shops in Paris and only made-to-order, since it has to be consumed within 1 day. He said it could feed 6-8 people and the cost was €155 (which currently is about US$240), wow! He would show us how to make Revelation when we came back from lunch.
We had lunch that was prepared by Chef Dominique Tougne from Bistro 110: lentil soup with sauteed carrot and onions, pasta and chicken (coq au vin?) -- all was good, the soup was tasty, the pasta was al dente, the chicken was tender. We also had muenster cheese, bread and mango sorbet with hazelnut meringue and creme fraiche. The taste of sorbet and meringue together was wonderful, I liked it a lot. For drink I had a cup of white tea (emperor's himalayan reserve silver tip).
After lunch, PH started making the components of Revelation, one of them was tomato puff pastry. He said that tomato is fruit, not vegetable. Okay.
He then made several more recipes before we went for an afternoon break. I didn't go out right away since I had macaron questions for him. When I went out, I was very happy to see the macaron, which was Mogador. Most of them were already gone. I had to take picture first before I finally took one piece for myself. This would be my first taste of PH famous macaron! When I had my first bite, I was speechless. O---M---G!!! It was much better than I could ever imagine, definitely the best macaron I've ever tasted. It had crisp outside shell, moist inside, and not too sweet at all -- just perfect by definition. I don't know how I will be able to enjoy any other macarons after tasting this. For drink, I had the midnight litchi blossom, it was good and a perfect pair with the macaron.
We then continued watching the demonstration, starting with assembly of Ispahan Entremet. What a treat watching the Master put the final touch on his famous creation.
He mentioned that whenever there is a new product, he always educates the employees regarding the description of the product, what are the components in it, where they come from, how long it will last, as well as which area to store in the shops.
I also wanted to give a credit to Mickaël who was very helpful, he always picked up where PH left off. It seemed that both of them completed each other and worked well together. He knew what PH wanted even before PH asked for it, no wonder he is PH's right-hand man.
Mickaël showed us how to mold the vanilla mascarpone cream for Vanilla Tart. The trick was to use a warmed ring and do it fast. If the ring was too hot the cream would melt, if the ring was too cold the cream would stick.
Then after making several more recipes, PH ended today's class by showing us how to mold the marbled raspberry sorbet with litchi and rose sorbet for Miss Gla'Gla Ispahan Glace.
We were given time to get ready for Mexican food dinner at Chef Art Smith's home. Before heading out, there was margarita time (pre-dinner drink) at the school. Sébastien and Jacquy (the founders of the school) prepared our margaritas.
Around 6 pm we left for dinner by a private bus and the margarita time continued on the bus. What a fun time! Don't worry, our driver didn't drink at all.
Chef Art Smith's home was very nice, most of the walls were covered with beautiful paintings. He is the owner of Table Fifty-Two and was Oprah Winfrey's formal personal chef for 10 years. Before dinner began, both Chefs Art Smith and Pierre Hermé gave short speeches.
Then we all were invited to go to the backyard for the homemade Mexican food: fresh made tortilla, tender grilled steak, guacamole, salsa (both mild and spicy), pork and bean soup, chips -- everything was good.
Unfortunately the weather was chilly, so after finished with dinner, some of us decided to go back upstair. There were more stuffs upstair -- desserts and drinks. The cilantro marinated strawberry was very refreshing, flan was very creamy, horchata was very smooth. Sébastien came and told us to try cajeta ice cream (goat milk's caramel ice cream), we followed his suggestion and I'm glad I did, it was sweet and creamy -- so good.
I didn't try both of these, so I couldn't give any comments.
With very full stomachs, we all went back to the school. On the way Anne said we were welcomed to join for more drinks (I forgot the name of the bar). The bus stopped and several people got off to join Anne, while the rest of us went back to the school. I offered to drop off Patty since her place was close to my hotel, then my husband and I drove back to the hotel.
I brought back 1 macaron for my husband to try, he loved it too. He agreed with me that it was the best macaron we've ever tasted so far. We'll definitely buy a lot of PH's creations when we go to Paris or Japan.
I'll write about my second day of the class on the next post, thanks for reading!
Pierre Hermé Paris
French Pastry School
226 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60606