The Ritz-Carlton’s weekly cooking classes is a fun weekend activity for anyone looking for something different to do in Doha. If you’re an avid foodie, this should definitely be on your list to try out. Go behind the scenes to La Mer’s expansive kitchens, as Chef William Khala and his team give your first hand cooking tips, show you professional techniques, and demonstrate perfect presentation in their class. This week was the first that they touched on desserts, and those partaking got to learn how to make two different kinds of chocolate. The distinguished truffle and the ever popular mousse.
Recipe sheets are given out to everyone with listed ingredients and methods. Settle in and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while Chef William and his team introduce themselves and elaborate on the menu for the day. The pastry chefs start by doing a basic demonstration, then, inviting everyone to try themselves with the pouring and the mixing and they make sure everyone gets to take lots of photos and ask as many questions as they want. Almost everyone was busy taking notes as well, as lots of helpful tips were readily given by the chefs.
The first thing we were shown, was how to make exquisite chocolate truffles. With only four needed ingredients, it’s quite simple to accomplish. Inverted sugar, which is a mixture of glucose and fructose, is used to sweeten the dark chocolate. Why inverted sugar, is because its properties tend to retain moisture and are less prone to crystallisation. We were also taught that, to obtain a successful ganache, is getting the right emulsion. Which is mixing fat with liquid, and in this case, the cream and chocolate. Those that want to add a little liqueur in their ganache can do so in the last stage of the mix before setting it.
A batch of ganache had cooled down in the fridge overnight, and it was brought out for everyone to have a go at rolling it by hand and dusting it in cocoa powder. Chef William brought out some crushed pistachios to show us that it can be rolled in lots of things, such as almonds or coconut. A very exciting thought.
The truffles tasted even better than they looked, and they looked fab!
Now the mousse took a little longer to complete as the techniques were far more tedious. Lots and lots of mixing and what the chefs called hot water baths.
One important tip when melting the chocolate in the microwave or over a hot water bath, is to not let any water or moisture from humidity get mixed, to maintain a smooth texture. The egg yolks that were lightly heated over a bath earlier, is put in the mixer to get a much more fluffier consistency, like a lovely sabayon. Warm chocolate and cold whipped cream are then mixed together, stirred over a warm bath again and then added to the sabayon. The rest of the cream is folded into the mixture, being careful not to break the foam, mixing from bottom to top.
The key is the right temperatures. The chocolate has to be warm and the cream, cold.
Once the mousse is done right, the creativity doesn’t stop there. Liqueur or assorted fruit purées can be added to your mousse. Serve it in a glass with a biscuit crumble and fresh berries. Pour it into silicon moulds to set and glaze it with more chocolate. Whatever your hearts desire.
Of course everyone gets a taste test as well. And under the watchful eyes of our teachers, everything turned out wonderful and tasted first class. The real test comes when you are brave enough to put it to practise at home.
So come on down and experience being a chef for a day. Classes are every Friday at 11am at La Mer. Each class is priced at QR160 per head or QR300 per head if you would like to have a lovely lunch prepared by Chef William after the class.
For reservations, please contact +974 44848000 or email email@example.com.
Bon Appetit x Priscilla Emmanuel
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