I was a little late in arriving, but when I sat down, in front of me were 6 different kinds of chocolate, to pair with 6 different types of coffee profiles. I learnt that I am a Velvety and Woodsy. You arrive at this after a short 6-question survey.
Here is Marie-Claude of Van Houtte, teaching us about our palate and tastes in order to discover which of the six coffee profiles we were.
After the quick sampling, our group moved over to the kitchen where we got a first hand look at how Wendy Boys makes her scrumptious Classic Eclairs! First she shows us how to make the Choux Paste, a blend of water, milk, butter, eggs and flour.
Heat up the mixture of water, milk butter and sugar. Then dump in all the flour in all at once, and stir...aggressively!
Off to make the dough in the mixer, slowly add the eggs in and mix until everything comes together.
Once the eggs have been incorporated, Wendy put the dough into a piping bag and off we go to the next step. The dough has great gluten texture. Want to know an easy way to check? Put some between your index and thumb...if it sticks when you try to separate...then it's good!
Pipe the dough onto a parchment lined pastry sheet, into 2 inch pieces. Then off to the oven they go for about 12-16 minutes.
While we are waiting for the pastries to cook, off we go to make the vanilla cream. This is a tricky process, you have a mixture of sugar, yolks with flour and cornstarch, but you have to ensure that when you add the liquid (hot milk with vanilla bean), you are tempering it so you don't end up with scrambled eggs. After it is incorporated, you put the whole thing back onto the stove and add gelatin. Let it cool to room temperature and then add in whipping cream.
Once the pastries are out of the oven, poke two holes in each and pipe in the vanilla cream. Gosh, seeing this again is making me want more eclairs!
To finish the dessert, Wendy also made a chocolate glaze. Every eclair got to take a dip in the heavenly sauce. But it's not over yet, they also get a dusting of chocolate.
See below for the delicious result.
All in all, the process didn't take more than an hour, but it is a lot of effort. To be honest, a freshly made eclair is a decadent treat, and I could have eaten a dozen of them!
To match other coffee profiles, Wendy also prepared a whole host of other desserts. One of my favourites, these lemon and white chocolate macaroons. I don't mind telling you, I scored 4 of these "to-go"! This was meant for the Mellow and Fruity profile, with Costa Rica Light Roast.
Wendy also made us some yummy Pot de Creme with milk chocolate. I do love how the pinch of Maldon Salt adds a new level of flavours to a dessert dish. This one was designed for the Mellow and Woodsy flavour profile and was served with a Mocha Java Light Roast.
Ah...anything tastes better on a stick, right? And this was no exception...a Raspberry Chocolate Lollipop...so rich and dense that a pop is all you need. For this very rich dessert, the best coffee to pair it with is the Sumatra Dark Roast, which matches a Bold and Woodsy profile.
One new thing for me was the Banofffee Pie. It's a tasty concoction of Caramel cream with banana slices, and toffee bits. This was amazing and a treat that might just make me a banana lover again! And if you are have a Bold and Fruity profile, enjoy this with a nice Kenya Dark Roast.
The other dessert that Wendy created in front of us was the Cocoa Nib Pannacotta. She made the pannacotta ahead of time, but showed us how to make the topping. It's a simple salad of clementines, mint and lime. She infused the mint into the simple syrup and used it to dress the clementines. Then she grated 99% cocoa on top of it all. Yes, 99%...that's not a typo! This refereshing dessert pairs well with the Africana Fair Trade Organic Medium Roast, a match made in heaven for the Velvety and Fruity profile.
Be sure to check out Van Houtte's website to Discover Your Coffee Profile. We all have wines varietals that we like better than others, it's time you find out your coffee preference too!
Note: Photos courtesy of Hill + Knowlton Strategies.