Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Wonderful Day of French Macarons and Panna Cotta

Some of you may think I am possibly starting a new venture in baking with all my posts about food and desserts. I highly doubt that I'm making a career change, but I'm certainly enjoying my love for baking these days. It's been a nice departure with the slow down of the wedding season to do things that I enjoy outside of work.
Yesterday, my friend and industry colleague, who I have been admiring for a LONG time offered to give me a private class to learn French macarons and panna cotta. While I've already been dabbling in panna cotta recipes, I still wanted to learn from someone who had more experience with it. My friend, Venus Wei of La Vie Douce Design is such a delightful person. She not only creates elaborate and delicious dessert bars for weddings and special events, she also does wedding and event design. She also teaches classes to those who are interested in French and European inspired desserts with an Asian flair. She has started offering classes in between her events and I have to say, she's a great instructor and not only provides a hands-on baking class, but an overall baking experience.

From the time you arrive she greets you with tea and samples of what you'll be making. I got to have some gourmet tea and French macarons. I got to try 3 different varieties, matcha with azuki bean buttercream, rose with rose water buttercream, and an Italian meringue method macaron with strawberry buttercream. So HEAVENLY!
The day started with creme fraiche panna cotta, followed by a decadent coffee panna cotta. We ran out of time so we didn't get to make the top layers of the two panna cottas, but even by themselves they were OH SO DELICIOUS!

The second part of the day was learning to make French meringue vs Italian meringue method macarons.I didn't know an Italian version existed. We made vanilla macarons but using both methods. While I love both, I think I like the chewier and fuller texture of the Italian version better. She showed me both methods and then I got to try the Italian version. While there are not a lot of ingredients, there's a lot of things that have to be perfect if you're going to come out with a perfect macaron. I left with lots of panna cotta and a dozen macarons to share with my family and friends to taste. :)
I think Venus' classes are VERY informative, lots of helpful tips, resources she uses, books she recommends, etc. She provides light refreshments and you get to go home with what you make. It truly is a baking experience and it's not just a 2 hour class. Her classes are at least 5 hours so you really learn a lot. If you are interested in her classes, be sure to check out her Facebook page for he class offerings. If you are interested in her dessert bars or event design services, definitely contact her. Her desserts are DIVINE in my opinion and artfully designed.

Thank you Venus for sharing your knowledge about French macarons and panna cotta. I'm very excited to use all the items I bought today to make these delectable desserts for my family for Christmas. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Fred @ Savorique said...

French and Italian meringue are supposed to render more or less the same texture. I agree, the slight chewy texture is more interesting but I know it can be obtained with French meringue (which is easier to prepare).