A Lovely Pierre Herme Weekend (Part 1)

Now, just how many ladies out there would fight tooth and nail (okay…  😉 … an exaggeration) to spend an afternoon with a plump French man who seemed to be nursing a flu?

Well, at least 70! And a handful of gentlemen, one of whom was my dad who I half dragged and half coaxed into coming with me!

Yesterday afternoon, the lovely L, my dad and I joined at least 80 other pastry enthusiasts at the Singapore Tourism Board for an hour-long masterclass with the Picasso pf Pastry, Pierre Herme.

The classes were organised in conjunction with the World Gourmet Summit 2008. The pastry maestro was here to present some of his delectable desserts at Mezzanine at the Grand Hyatt (of course we went… more on that later) and conduct two masterclasses.

With the aid of an interpreter, he demonstrated the preparation and construction of two of his desserts, Tarte Magador, a chocolate tart with passion fruit scented ganache, served with spiced roasted pineapples, and Revelation, a dessert with an interesting tomato and strawberry compote and mascarpone olive oil cream dotted with black olives.

We’ve tasted both desserts the evening before at Mezzanine. I am just a tad disappointed that he did not demonstrate making Ispahan – I absolutely love the ingenious combination of flavours in that one and would love to have the recipe to the fantastic lychee cream.

Anyway… Though down with a runny nose, Pierre Herme conducted the class with good humour, fair amount of enthusiasm, and I appreciated that he took the time to dispense practical tips and hints (now I know how to make my chocolate ganache with a less greasy mouth-feel).

I also like it that he didn’t compromise on the recipes and had given us the professional recipes used in his kitchen. The vanilla and olive oil mascarpone cream has three (!) types of vanilla bean in it – Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexican. Some ingredients are also not commonly available for homebakers. Even so, I am looking forward to the challenge of making the desserts.

 A tasting session followed the demonstration. Maybe it’s because we had been given a look at the painstaking process of constructing the desserts and the story behind the combination of flavours, they tasted much better than they did the evening before. The flavours seemed to come to life and complemented one another perfectly. In the case of Tarte Magador, the passion fruit scented ganache tasted more intensely of the fruit and the spiciness of the roasted pineapples was refreshing and at the same time, so robust with all the lovely spices! And I really like the saltiness of the black olives with the dreamily light mascarpone olive oil cream in Revelation. It’s a bold combination that works. However, I am still quite undecided about the tomato strawberry compote.

It was a great experience hearing it from the maestro himself. I am looking forward to three weeks later when L comes back from her vacation, so we can try the recipes. Meanwhile, I will bake my way through my Chocolate Desserts By Pierre Herme… signed by the man!  

🙂    But of course! 

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