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Monthly Archive: January 2017

Lessons 5 & 6: Choux Craquant au Chocolat Noir and Opéra


So in my last two posts, I mentioned that I’d be talking about some delicious chocolate desserts that we had to make for practical. Instead of just covering the one lesson that I’d intended to talk about, I decided to combine the two lessons into one post, since they were both on chocolate & very delicious (also cos if I keep updating it post by post, I’ll end up being quite behind oopsie).

Lesson 5

Translated, the choux craquant au chocolat noir is a dark chocolate craquelin choux (basically a dark chocolate choux pastry with a craquelin layer – the craquant is that bumpy thing you see on top). For this lesson, Chef demonstrated this dessert and the religious nuns – another choux dessert but filled with caramel cream instead of chocolate ones. Pictorially, the religious nuns looked more complex and challenging to make. Taste-wise, however, I must say that the chocolate choux was way better, making me glad after tasting the two desserts that we were making the latter.

We had Chef Olivier for practical. He started off by warning us that two groups that’d made the dessert in the morning were unable to complete their desserts within the 3 hours. This made all of us pretty worried – the choux seemed really simple during demo – how could it be that bad?

Alas, when practical started, I began to understand why we were so time-pressed. For starters, Chef had instructed all of us to do all the components individually, rather than in pairs. Because the quantities were so small, it might little sense for us to use mixer either –> more time spent on making & more work for each of us. There are also so many components to this dessert – the choux, the choc pastry cream, the craquelin, a lovely hazelnut praline chocolate insert and the glaze.

At the end of class, Chef informed us that we were his first class to finish everything on time, with 5 minutes to spare. Was pretty proud of my group for this feat & glad that everything turned out well.

This is probably one of my favourite desserts thus far & I’m glad that I managed to give some of these away to people I met over the weekend 🙂

Lesson 6

From Day 1, I’d been counting down the days till I’d have to make the elusive Opéra. I recall that back in Basic in 2013, Intermediate students would come out of the Opéra demos with their aprons all stained with chocolate & warning us that the cake was one that we wouldn’t want to mess with.

I braced myself for the demo and told myself that everything would be all right. Chef showed us how the entire cake was done, skillfully and effortlessly putting together the layers. He made it all seem so simple and manageable that I left the demo room feeling less nervous than when I’d stepped in.

We got Chef Jean Jacques for this practical, which was kind of a relief to me because he’s generally more chill (i.e. less pressurizing during prac class, especially for a cake like this which requires intense concentration, in my opinion). The whole practical was fine, less my buttercream. I ended up having not enough cream for the two layers (you can see from my pics that I have only have one visible layer of buttercream oops) and needed chef’s help to spread the top layer 🙁 Thankfully we covered the cake with a layer of chocolate glaze, hiding the defect of my cake. Really wondering why I keep having issues with creams this set :/

The wording “Opéra” on the top of the cake is a traditional style of décor that was used when the cake was first created. So even though none of us find it attractive, we all had to pipe it out. Furthermore, the writing of the word “Opéra” is going to be tested for the Intermediate set’s technical component :S

I loved the taste of this cake and am glad I managed to share the cake with others (Charlie, Robyn & Sarah and Mena Jie’s family). Albeit challenging, this cake is definitely manageable and just requires a calm state of mind to complete 🙂

Well I’ve come to the end of this super long post – stay tuned for the next dessert + a snippet of my weekend to London for CNY!



Weekend to Lyon

Hi everyone!

If you’ve been following my posts, you might remember me mentioning that I was headed to Lyon to visit Joyee over a weekend, and that she’d be getting some of the passionfruit & raspberry tart.



Unlike most trips that I go on, I didn’t bother planning for this at all (i.e. I didn’t really know what there was to see/eat in Lyon) because I figured Jo would know all the best things to do. All I did was book my transport to & fro and I decided she’d handle the rest haha. The train to Lyon was super quick, approximately 2 hours, and in no time, I was reunited with Jo (after 4-5 months of not seeing her!!!).


I was blessed with beautiful weather (blue skies) over the weekend, contrary to what had been forecast (cloudy, rainy), even witnessing Lyon’s ‘first snowfall’ on Monday when I left. The beautiful weather, coupled with the awesome company (thanks Jo & Ben, Jon you were missed 🙁 ) truly made for a great weekend trip.

Just a few snippets of my time in beautiful Lyon below:



Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière

Exploring the Traboules (feat. BLACK, cos Cake is the New Black of course)

Exploring the Traboules (feat. BLACK, cos Cake is the New Black of course)


Stay tuned for my next few posts! It’s going to feature loads of chocolate yum yum ~



Lesson 4: Baba



So this week started off with a demo on two very traditional French desserts – the Baba (usually Baba au Rhum) and the Kugelhopf (you can click on the links to find out more about the history behind the two desserts).

I’ve only tried Baba au Rhum a few times, the most memorable one being at La Cantine (Bruno Menard’s restaurant that used to be at Asia Square, Singapore). Although that Baba was one of the best I’d ever tasted, the dessert is one that I’ll never crave for. As such, I wasn’t as excited for this practical as I’d been for the previous ones.

We got Chef Cotte for this practical, a Chef that I’d spoken quite a bit about when I was here for Basic. He was exactly like how I’d remembered, warm, fun and strict all at the same time.

Practical went on as per usual, with the whole class just minding their own business (the kitchen is usually super quiet with this group). Super glad to be working with Jianhua for the past few practicals – I think we’ve got a kind of dynamic going on and she’s been super helpful whenever I needed any help.

Everything was going well with my Baba until I completed my pastry + whipping cream mixture. That’s when I realised that my pastry cream was kinda softer than it should be and would probably be a problem for piping later on. I showed it to Chef but he told me to just put it in the fridge (it was near-ish the end of class & I guess re-making a pastry cream would be rather time consuming).

As I’d expected, piping was quite a pain in the butt because I needed the swirls to hold up and retain the shape that I wanted. Thankfully I went to get my Baba graded before the pastry cream started to lose the definition of the star piping tip :S Lesson learnt – gotta make sure that my pastry cream is stiff enough for piping next time!


I was also initially kinda sad cos I forgot to bring my Tupperware along to class (i.e. I wouldn’t be able to bring it home in a box to photograph). BUT given that I didn’t feel as happy with today’s cake, I decided to just photograph it on my iPhone in class, and leave the cake in the fridge for whoever who wanted to take it home (there is a system we have in place where you can just take/leave anything in this fridge). Sooo, today’s pictures are i) featuring a black background (vs the usual white) and ii) featuring the school table top heh.

We’re making some really yummy chocolate choux tomorrow so I’m pretty excited for that! Stay tuned!

Till next time,