Have you ever worked with choux pastry to make éclairs? A new course by PAUL Bakery is designed to teach you how to bake, fill and decorate beautiful éclairs with success, every time. My blog contributor Adrienne Fung attended the class and shared her personal experience here.
Éclair Making Course
Words and photos by Adrienne Fung
Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in an éclair making workshop at PAUL Bakery Covent Garden. Paul, a famous French bakery and patisserie now with locations all over the world, originated from a small Northern French town called Croix back in 1889. Famous for their French breads and pastries ranging from cakes, tarts, macarons, to éclairs, Paul has become a household name here in the UK and beyond.
While Paul has been offering a popular bread making course, the éclair making class is brand new. Having never made an éclair before, I jumped at the chance to give this class a try.
I’ve always shied away from baking with a personal preference for cooking. Upon arriving at Paul and meeting our éclair extraordinaire and instructor for the evening, we had a quick chat about the dynamics between cooking vs. baking.
As one can imagine, baking is a science that requires a lot of discipline. Measurements need to be exact and precise. For example, if you add half a cup too much flour to a pastry recipe, the outcome could be disastrous. Cooking, on the other hand, is a bit more forgiving. Having never been a fan of adhering to strict guidelines, I was naturally intimidated by baking. This class, however, helped me conquer that fear and made baking approachable. Let’s just say if I can make an éclair from scratch, anyone can!
The 3 hour class (£80 pp) gave us everything we needed to master the basics of éclair making including demonstrations, hands on support from our instructor, tools and ingredients.
Plus, Paul throws in an apron, recipe booklet, and baking kit too so you can make your own éclairs at home. As a bonus (and one of my favourite parts of the experience!), participants also get to enjoy an impressive array of charcuterie, wine and cheese after the class to celebrate.
Not only is the class a ton of fun and a great learning experience, but you also get to bring all your baked accomplishments home with you. I had no short of 16 éclairs to take home! So if you’re planning to host a dinner party soon, it might just be the perfect time to book in for a class.
The class was organised into 3 parts: choux pastry, pastry cream, and fondant icing.
At the start of each part, we received a walkthrough and demo from our éclair instructor. We then went off to our own stations where all the equipment and pre-measured ingredients were ready for us to use. Having everything laid out and pre-measured was a huge help, allowing us to focus on the actual technique.
The structure of the class was perfect. I loved being able to watch the demos before giving it a go myself. Having just witnessed the proper technique to approach each step, it gave me the confidence I needed to try it on my own.
What was also great was that the class size was kept small so that everyone had enough space to gather around and watch the demos closely.
We had the opportunity to make three different flavors of pastry cream and fondant icing: chocolate, coffee and vanilla. We each made a different flavour and in the end, were able to swap and share our creations. I loved that we were able to try a wider variety of flavours. It also allowed us to get a bit creative in our flavour pairings.
My favorite creation was a coffee pastry cream éclair topped with raspberries. The éclair was not too sweet and had just the right amount of coffee essence; it paired nicely with the pillowy pastry and the tartness from the fresh raspberries.
Overall, the éclair making course was a lot of fun and helped me conquer my fear of baking. It’s a great class for anyone looking to brush up on their choux pastry making skills or simply looking for a fun activity to do with friends, colleagues or a significant other.
While the class definitely teaches you some new skills, it also isn’t overly serious, making it particularly suitable for baking novices like me!
Disclaimer: Adrienne attended the workshop as a was a guest of PAUL Bakery. All opinions are her own.