We first met Carle during one of our courses at the Kookstudio Amsterdam, where we were very impressed with the way he teaches. His knowledge of baking, dessert and pastry is enormous and he is very good in transferring that knowledge to other people, so when we found out that he is giving patisserie courses as well, we ofcourse had to enrol. It took a while before we managed to find a date, which was mostly due to our ridiculously busy schedule but we finally managed to set four dates for the four lessons. And last night was our first lesson. We went to Amsterdam where Carle has his own bakery and shop, Douglas Delights, in the centre of Amsterdam. Carle is quite well known within the Netherlands and has an impressive resume. He’s worked for the Amstel hotel, has worked in several well known restaurants to end up in Amsterdam to teach us, mere mortals, the ins and outs of his trade.
We first started (well, we started with coffee and a wonderful delicious piece of cake that Carle made….mmm, but that doesn’t count as an official starting does it?) with going through the list of various batters and doughs that there are. I never knew there were so many!! I am not gonna name them all here, but let me just say that the list is extensive. A lot of them are not well known in Holland, but would be – for instance – well known in France. After going through the list we got to choose what we wanted to make. Obviously you cannot possibly make all of them in one evening, so we picked puff pastry, shortcrust pastry, Joconde and tulip. I had made puff pastry once before, for one of the Daring Bakers challenges where we made vol-au-vents. But we all thought it would be a good exercise to make it as it is not the easiests of dough to create. Our group is very small, with only three people, which is great as you can ask all the questions you want. Our group consists of Anita, who is also a trained patissier and has had an internship with Carle. She is now starting up her own business in Hilversum. And then there is Tom and me. So we are actually the only two amateurs in the class… 🙂 But it’s great to have two experts to teach us how it is all to be done! (although technically, Anita is not there to teach us, but we also learn a great deal from watching experts at work, right?)
Because the space is not big, we make something all together, which works better for me as well. Carle shows us how to do something and then we take turns in either rolling out the dough (and believe me, I am lousy in rolling out properly, but I now I know at least what I am doing wrong!!), kneading something, whipping eggwhites etc. So the end result is a combined effort of us all. Joconde is a type of batter that is used a lot for decorationcake. And with decorationcake I mean a very thin cake that is baked on a baking paper and then used as a ring (for instance) on another cake. You can make patterns in it by using the tulip batter to make letters or use patterns as is being done above by Carle. We started with preparing the tulip batter as that needs to freeze before you can use it. The ingredients for this are:
Once the tulip is prepared and in the freezer you can make the Joconde batter which is essentially a genoise batter but with almond and I think more sugar and flour.
Tulip and Joconde batter
- Tulip batter
- 55 gr butter (very soft)
- 65 gr caster sugar
- 70 gr eggwhites
- 55 gr flour
- 5 gr cacao
- TULIP BATTER
- Mix everything together and use to make a pattern on a baking sheet such as per the photo here. Let your imagination run wild! You can color this batter in any color you look using foodcoloring. We used cacao to make it chocolately but you could easily make it pink, red or whatever other color you fancy. Put the sheet on a baking tray and keep in the freezer until completely stiff.
- JOCONDE BATTER
- Joconde batter:
- gr ground almonds
- gr castersugar
- gr of egg
- Mix all of these together into an airy batter. Works best in a kitchenaid (or similar).
- gr eggwhite
- gr castersugar
- Beat the eggwhite stiff with the castersugar.
- gr flour
- gr of melted butter
- Mix the first part of the batter first with the extra flour, then add the butter and then the whipped eggwhites. Fold all of this in gently. Once the batter is complete and the tulip patterns are frozen you can spread this over the same bakingsheet.
Once it is evenly spread you can put it in the oven at 230°C until it is light brownish on top. Remove from the bakingplate as soon as possible (we sort of forgot and since the plate it hot, it keeps baking making the outsides too thin.. O well, we are students right?) And this is then the final result. You can then proceed to cut out small strips and put that in rings to put another cake in. We will continue on that next week and will finish it then. We also made shortcrust pastry which we’re going to make into delicious little things next week… 🙂 Aren’t you all curious what it is gonna be??