Learning Patisserie Magic With Ruth Hinks
I grew up absolutely loving to bake. Thanks to my grandmother, it's been something I've done since I was little, and now is the thing I do when I'm stressed, bored, happy or sad. On my 30 Before 30 list, one of my items was taking a French Patisserie class. I wasn't fussed about going to France to learn, but wanted a real, genuine experience.
One of my New Year's resolutions for 2018 was to tick off a few items on my list, and in January I booked myself onto a course with the wonderful Ruth Hinks at her cookery school, Cocoa Black in Peebles. Ruth is a master chocolatier who made it to the final 5 in the famous World Chocolate Master competition. If I was going to learn patisserie with anyone, who better than a chocolate master??
On a beautiful sunny Saturday I made the 2 hour drive down to Peebles. My class started at 10 am and the 8 of us were thrown in at the deep end. In the three hours we spent with Ruth, we were whisked through the making of mousses, biscuits, sponges and fillings. In the space of just 3 hours I managed to make sweet treats I could only have dreamt of the night before - a total shock to my system, and an eye-opener in that I never thought I would have had the skills. It turns out that making beautiful patisserie can be simple an complicated at the same time. Put it this way - I think I could do it at home without too much practise.
Here is the list of delicious treats we made;
- White chocolate mousse with a rhubarb and strawberry insert (my hands down favourite)
- Classic gateaux opera (a chocolate and coffee layered cake)
- Chocolate financiers with banana jam and whipped chocolate ganache
They all sound quite difficult and fancy don't they? Well they are - but with the right kitchen tools and some determination I'll be making them again asap. Especially the chocolate mousse, that stuff was addictive.
I have only nice things to say about Ruth herself. She was so lovely and helpful, left no one out and didn't make anyone feel stupid or like they couldn't do it. She was just a calm, efficient woman who somehow managed to wrangle 4 total strangers into making identical treats in a tiny amount of time. That takes some skill - the woman is a born teacher.
I can't wait to get myself back down to Peebles to take one of the other classes. I have my eye on the Summer Patisserie class, and I quite like the look of the Afternoon Teacakes class...and maybe the Truffles, Pralines and Ganache class. Basically I just need to go and spend a week begging Ruth to teach me everything she knows!
To check out Ruth's Cocoa Black website for yourself (and maybe book a class or two) click here. Maybe I'll see you there!