Monday, February 28, 2011

ToTT: Celeste Chew's croissants class

I was contacted by ToTT's PR reps a while ago and they asked if I would like to attend one of ToTT's cooking classes. I was more than delighted as I thought that it would interesting to learn more from the professionals. After debating for quite some time on what class I should attend, I finally decided on one - croissants making. I love puff pastry, but have never ever attempted to make my own at home before. So what better than to attend a class on croissants to see how it is made!

Croissants making with Celeste Chew


First of all, we assemble in the one of the cooking studio ToTT has under their house. Each table is prepped with a ToTT apron and a tea towel. I love their aprons cos it's purple! My fave colour. And that good morning tea towel just kills me, it's like so old schooled!

Individual cooking stations
During the lesson; Ingredients

Celeste was moving around the kitchen area so frequently that it was hard to capture a clear picture of her. Anyway, as I had brought along my DLSR into the kitchen, it was a bit of a hassle trying to juggle the camera and the notes in my hands while paying attention to her. So pardon if there's a lack of photos as I left my camera mostly at my workstation while the class was ongoing. ^^

I had initially thought that the class was supposed to be hands-on lesson, but it wasn't as hands-on as I had expected. Perhaps, given the nature of the topic (puff pastry), I should have realised that no way was it possible to actually squeeze the whole process of pastry making into a few hours lesson. Throughout the lesson, Celeste was running through the recipe in the notes and gave tips on handling/shaping the dough. She and her assistant were mostly in charge of handling the dough itself, and it was more of a visual lesson than a practical one. She did made sure that the class touched the dough at stages to ensure that we were clear of how the dough texture should be and stuff though.

We did get to handle the dough when Celeste wanted to teach us the proper way to roll the croissant. She handed out cut dough to everyone and we went back to our workstations to roll the dough. We were making chocolate croissants, so she got us to place the chocolate inside and roll it all up.

Oh, and one thing I didn't know about croissants. That all butter croissants and pastry margarine croissants are largely different in terms of taste. It all depends on what you use to sandwich the dough with. Butter or pastry margarine. Pastry that were made with all butter produce flakier lighter croissants that has a lovely butter taste in the mouth, while pastry using margarine were denser and less flakier than their butter pastry cousins. Celeste had examples for us to compare - the chocolate ones we made during the class session were made using margarine pastry, she had prepared all butter croissants (plain and ham and cheese) before the class and we got to bring back a few of each flavour. Indeed, when I had them the next day. The difference was clearly noticeable after the first mouth. So if you munch on a dense, unflaky croissant in the future, you now know that the pastry's not the awesome kind made of butter... ^^ 

Croissants in the oven
Unbaked; Baked

Though I didn't get to prepare the dough and all myself, nevertheless it was a fun session cos I got to learn about pastry making and also got to bring home free croissants! ^^ And when I was removing my apron, one of the helpers said that we can bring home the aprons if we like. Awesome! Totally love the purple apron. Heh.

Chocolate croissants
I would like to thank Sihui/Danielle from Ate Consulting for inviting me to partake in a ToTT cooking class. It was certainly kind of them to do so and frankly, I was a little surprised when I saw their invitation. :)

ToTT updates their list of cooking classes regularly on their website, the class listing can be found here.

4 comments:

  1. oh were u at the class too? haha, yeah, the croissants for the margarine one was meh, but i tot the all butter one was alright tho.

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  2. Mmmm chocolate and flaky pastry are such a great combo. Looks like such a great, informative experience!

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  3. It was a good class to learn the techniques of folding the dough but I must say both end results - the butter and pastry margarine versions - were disappointing.

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  4. Yea I was there. I suspect she made the croissants nights before in a hurry for the class. Will try her butter recipe eventually.

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