From Left to Right: Mojito Macaroon, Mont Blanc and Eva Tart.
Angelina's, a famous patisserie on Rue de Rivoli, hosted our class for a tour of the kitchen, I was only allowed to take one photo, their website has more. The tea room was filled with tourists, and a line was starting to lengthen out the front door.
The basement kitchen was spacious and spotless, so nice to see after my cramped and almost filthy kitchen at Le Cordon Bleu. We started in the dough making area - amazing machines to roll out dough to a standard thickness, put pastry into little tart pans, and proofing machines that keep dough cold until 6 am, when they start warming them for the day's baking. The next area held the ovens and the machine for piping out meringues and pate a chou (for eclairs, etc). The last 'poste' was the decorating room, where the second chef in command -- just under the chef de cuisine, showed us how to make their signature desserts. A Mont Blanc - meringue base covered in chantilly cream topped with chestnut paste. The chef won a contest with a dessert he named after Eva Longoria (long story about ice cream, of which there is none in the tart). It is a little sweet dough base filled with rich chocolate, hiding a creme brulee middle, decorated with whipped cream, sugared violets, gold dust, a raspberry and a little piece of edible silver leaf. It was too chocolately to taste the creme brulee or raspberry puree. Yes, I finally said it, it was TOO chocolately for me.
Macaroons are a big seller at patisseries these days, and we tasted a mojito flavored version. We also tasted their hot chocolate, made from African cacao - so rich with a perfectly creamy texture.
Although it was good to see how a real patisserie works, it had a factory feel to it, nothing like what I envision for myself. I think many people in the class were disappointed in the use of so many machines as well as the lack of creativity. I understand using a dough roller and mixers, but some things are better done by hand, even though it might mean they have some irregularities. I think we would have enjoyed a smaller, more traditional patisserie.
PS - I think Orangina cures the common cold. I drank a liter today, and feel much better.