July 29, 2009

ScharffenBerger & Jacques Pepin - Part 2

If you missed part 1 which talks about the amazing ScharffenBerger Chocolate tasting, you'll want to head over HERE to check it out. If you read that and came back for a bit more of what Jacques Pepin shared with us, then get comfy and read on!

The second half of our lunch was a cooking demonstration by the one and only, Jacques Pepin. Just watching him in person was a bit surreal because I've watched his shows on PBS over the years. He was charming and shared several stories about Julia Child and their long friendship. When shows are filmed for PBS, they are done in "real time" and must be completed within the 26-27 minutes allowed. However, when Julia and Jacques were cooking together, Julia informed them that they would cook and let them know when they were done! One episode took 2 hours to film and had to be edited down to fit the required time.

From Family, Friends and Food

Now, for the lunch menu we had the pleasure of enjoying:

Appetizer: Pate de Faux Gras a Ma Facon - rich and creamy, this was a perfect way to try pate for the first time. Yes, this was the first time I have tried it and it won't be the last!

From Family, Friends and Food

Entree: Tri Tip Roast with Cacao Nib Rub (sorry, no photo for this one!)

The roast had a deep, rich flavor from the Cacao Nib Rub with a kick of spice at the end. Cooked to perfection, it was tender, juicy and you could cut it with a fork.

Dessert Trio: Warm Chocolate Cake with Apricot-Cognac Glaze, Chocolate Raspberry Gratin, and Chocolate Rochers with Hazelnut and Cornflakes

From Family, Friends and Food

The cooking students at FCI prepared the dishes that we were served, but Jacques demonstrated each of the desserts for us. The one that was perhaps the simplest to remember and lends itself to so many variations was the Chocolate Raspberry Gratin. He added a handfull of fresh raspberries to the ramekin, then he added crushed cookies, grated dark and bittersweet chocolate (not too much) and a bit of butter. Then, he baked it at 350 until warm and bubbly. The first bite was sweet and tart at the same time, and like a taste of heaven! Only to be compared to the Warm Chocolate Cake... inside the dense cake was a gooey bit of bittersweet chocolate that made my heart skip a beat! Yes, it was that good!

While we nibbled on our lunch, Jacques began sharing tips for making crepes. He explained that you do not want to pour your batter into the middle of the pan and then swish it around, but rather on the side and then move it around to coat it. You must move quickly to ensure that it is nice and thin.

From Family, Friends and Food

A few lucky people who were sitting closer were served one of the few crepes he made. Oh, how I wish I was sitting closer! They were made simply with a quick spread of butter, then grated chocolate before being rolled up.

One of my favorite tips from him that day was "Stay close to the original ingredient". In other words, keep it simple and don't keep adding seasonings and ingredients to the point where you lose the "star" of the dish. Something that was demonstrated with the Chocolate Raspberry Gratins that he made. Only a few ingredients, but they made the raspberries shine in all their glory.

Thank you for stopping by and reading about the incredible luncheon that was hosted by ScharffenBerger at the French Culinary Institute! I am still on Cloud 9 from coming face-to-face with Jacques Pepin! Thanks, again to Jennifer from In Jennie's Kitchen for offering me the chance to join her for this fabulous day! I'll be diving into the cookbook I received, Chocolate, and will share what I try there as I climb back out from the chocolate fog that I still seem to be in!

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3 comments:

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Jacques Pepin is one of my favorite chefs - he really knows technique better than anyone. Wish I could have been there. lucky you.

Megan said...

Wow, how fun! Gotta love Twitter! And luck you too!
I cant wait to see what great choclate creations are in store for us. Great post!

Robin Sue said...

He is one of the best! He is a classic and classy all the time. I used to love to watch his show. He has greatly aged since I saw him last. All the greats are getting up there in age. Looks like a great time!

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