I must say this week has been so inspiring and recharging. Rather than take off for Europe or just chill at home doing nothing, I decided to finally to get off my ample derriere and take a continuing education class at French Pastry School. These courses are not cheap mind you and I never really thought it was possible for me to do this.But it is education and where there is a will there is a way.I will take another course in late August as well ,dedicated to Event /Wedding cakes. French Pastry attracts tout le monde as both professors and students. Don't be surprised if you find yourself sitting next to a student whose family owns a bakery chain in South America or a housewife from Brazil. One student I heard flew in from Singapore for a weekend event at the school with Spanish Chefs Oriol Balaguer and Paco Torreblanca.French Pastry School is first class and we students get spoiled a lot. It would be so hard to condense what I learned a few posts. I plan to write more extensively for EbonyJet.com . In the meanwhile I will start saving my dollars for some more classes. Here is a lineup of future course offerings. I would highly recommend this to anyone. Well worth the experience and money.
My instructor Chef John Kraus was amazing. Its a gift to teach and connect with the students. He told us if a student isn't getting it, its reflective of the teacher and how hard they tried to work with the student.Not only was his teaching method excellent but he was a great raconteur of stories about work, travel. food history, and his travels as he honed his craft. A fascinating man who has worked with the best of them.He got his first break with Marco Pierre White. Chef Kraus also believes in sharing recipes and info rather than withholding.You can read a recipe but its up to you as a chef to to put your stamp on it. And that's whats makes your dish different from mine essentially.
Here is a jam I fell in love with. Of course my home version could use some work, but the ones we turned out in class was excellent. The key is using really ripe bananas that are black. Let them sit out for a few days in a covered container at room temp sliced before you start to make the jam. They will start to liquefy and get really going. I experimented at home and added a cinnamon stick and Banana Rum from our trip to the Bahamas. You can really play around with this. I wish we saw Banana Jams more in the US. It really is treat that can go on so many things.
Chocolate Banana Cinnamon Infused Jam
*adapted from French Pastry School by Coco Cooks
makes 6 half pint jars
1 1/2-2 lbs/ 800 grams bananas very ripe( black)
1 cup fresh orange juice/200 grams
1/2 cup dark chocolate/100 grams
3 1/2 - 4 cups sugar /700 grams
1 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp extract
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp rum
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan combine sliced bananas, orange juice,sugar , vanilla( pod split open and scraped), and cinnamon stick. Cook until translucent(make it either lumpy or more refined). Add chocolate( break it up a bit and melt a bit in microwave).Remove from heat and cover and let rest overnight.
The following day bring to a boil. Jam should hit 65 Brix or for us home cooks until it forms like a raindrop on car rather than tar. Place in sterilized jars/lids, seal and turn over. Let rest and cool overnight.
Process according to your canner instructions.
* In class we learned you can process in a dishwasher. Just run it through the first wash cycle( not the complete one). Its an effective method method that has enough heat to seal the jams .
For a prinatble version click here.