Foodie Friday: Cream Puffs, Crepes, and Croquembouche

First Friday of the month: Pastries / Baking Class

I started baking when I was in elementary. I can't recall what I made first, but I remember buying a box of brownie mix and tried to bake it as instructed in the box. Then, I moved on oatmeal cookies until I learned more about cooking and baking during high school practical arts and home eco classes. Last month, I was able to attend a private baking class by Chef Christa Mendiola where she taught how to make one of my favorite pastries ever -- the cream puff!

The baking class was held in the private kitchen of Chef Christa in Greenhills one Saturday afternoon. There were six of us -- moms and two college boys. Kaya tuloy mga tita kami that day! Hehehe... but the boys were really serious to learn ha. Good for them!

Anyway, let me just show you what we did in class. I can't share the recipes here, except for the crepe below. I learned new baking techniques during the class and she showed us how to properly make these baked goodies during the hands on portion.  

According to chef, basic baking daw yan. We didn't agree with her, hahahaha! Look how complicated they all sound -- basic for us would be cookies and brownies! =)

I can't refuse a cream puff so I was really excited to learn how to make this. It's made with a choux (shoo) pastry and a creamy custard filling.  If you make lots and lots of mini cream puffs, you can create your own croquembouche.

What is a choux?
It's French in origin -- basically a light and pastry dough made from a mixture of flour, water, butter, and eggs.

The choux will be the shell for the cream puff (also for eclairs and profiteroles).

Watch how to pipe out the choux

After about 30 minutes in the oven, look how beautiful our choux turned out! Light and golden. Time to slice and fill them up with pastry cream. The boys were challenged to pipe in the cream, heehee... with a final dusting of powdered sugar.

From the same batch of cream puffs, chef showed us how to assemble the croquembouche.

So, ano naman ang croquembouche?
Another French dessert, which means "crunch in the mouth", often served at weddings and baptisms that is made from a tower of choux pastry balls and covered with threads of caramel sugar.

My phone batt ran out and missed taking a video of the all-important threading of the sugar. :(

Everyone had more that a piece of those scrumptious cream puffs during a quick break. Super sarap! I need to find time to make these talaga! Our afternoon baking session was packed. We also learned how to make apple pie from scratch, and French crepes.

This is the recipe sheet for the crepe. Measurements are by grams coz it's more accurate than using cups or spoons. Excuse the terrible handwriting. 

Watch how to cook crepe on a pan

Chef said the crepe batter needs to rest overnight, or at least 30 minutes to achieve the right watery consistency.

You can also use a pancake mix, but adjust the amount of water. Trial and error nalang coz each mix is different. 

The one on the left is the crepe I tried cooking on a non-stick pan during the class...on the right is the crepe I made at home with my Krups crepe maker.

The girl requested for Nutella crepes so I rolled them for her. It's easier to eat this way, don't you think so? =)  Mine is filled with a spread of butter and sprinkle of sugar, topped with strawberry jam. Mmmmm...delish!  Go try this out! Hit na hit sa family ito for snacks or dessert, a'la mode!

Here I am with chef Christa and my classmates at the baking class. =) Thanks, chef, for being so generous with your knowledge and expertise. I really learned so much in one afternoon from the type of ingredients, to cooking methods and proper kitchen tools.

Photo from Chef Christa: Instagram @homechefmom

If you and your friends are interested to learn, contact Chef Christa. She will have private classes this August. Super sulit! You can go as a group if slots are still open!

Cooking and Baking Class with Chef Christa
Text: +6391-78905747 for inquiry and reservation.
Paid reservation is required to secure a slot. 
Limited seats.
Venue: in Greenhills, San Juan City
August 2015 Cooking Class with Chef Christa Mendiola

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