The web edition has four links:
- the main story, about his influence on the taste and texture of desserts, from Dorie to Alex Stupak
- with Dorie's recipe for the revolutionary Tarte au Citron whose technique impressed even Alex (from "Baking")
- another Dorie recipe, this one for her essential sweet tart dough
- plus a sidebar about PH's upcoming workshop at the French Pastry School in Chicago - only 20 pros will be picked by lottery on Leap Day
I visited the holiday pastries class. A half-dozen pastry chefs from around France closed up their own shops to master inverted puff pastry (recipe in "Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé") and make the signature galettes des rois and seasonal white truffle hazelnut macaroons.
At the end of the three-day class, we sat down for a tasting and critique. As stacks of dessert plates and piles of forks grew, a few of the chefs, all big men, gave up. I didn't, but felt like a hyperglycemic Violet Beauregarde for days.
The class I've been wanting to take the most is "Desserts de Restaurant". It adds the elements of temperature and plating to Pierre Hermé's artistry - and that's the one that's €1,900 ($2,770) for five days. A session ends this Friday, but runs again December 1 to 5. The courses are taught in French but English is available upon request. Each student walks away with not only hands-on experience, but a binder full of recipes, with detailed construction diagrams, a list of ingredient sources - and hopefully a better understanding of the philosophy of Pierre Hermé to better create their own desserts.
He does not personally teach at the Atelier; his longtime chefs do. He did stop in to the holiday class however. He barely stepped inside the kitchen's doorway to unobtrusively observe as the chefs raced around completing their tasks. Their teamwork was impressive, even more so given that they'd never worked together and only met two days prior. One by one, they carefully washed and dried their hands, then went over to shake the master's hand - and ask for autographs on the binder of his recipes.
Listen and talk to Dorie live on the radio today, February 13, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET on the Martha Stewart Living Radio show Eatdrink, hosted by Lucinda Scala Quinn, co-host of Everyday Food on PBS (also home to Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie - shameless plug).
And watch Alex this week in Iron Chef America Chocolate Battle against Cat Cora. (*Spoiler alert below the Tarte au Citron au Citron - Lemony Lemon Tart. This new version contains not only the lemon cream but also candied lemon zest and lemon gelée. I'm guessing the gelée is made with gellan, which he also uses for hidden cubes of Natco rose syrup flavored flavored gelée in the Ispahan entremets.)
A lot of my friends have been shocked by the cost of the workshops - "$3,000 for cookies?!". I remind them that pros can learn how to make bite-sized black truffle macaroons, that they too can then sell for $12 each - with Pierre Hermé's blessing. But even if you're not setting up shop, if you could, wouldn't you do it too?
*SPOILER ALERT: Alex won! Though I can't believe he only outscored Cora by two points - in originality.