Decadent Paris: Cooking Class

20130203-143315.jpgIt has become a sort of tradition to take a cooking class when I travel abroad.  Part of it is because I like to eat…the other part is a way for me to bring a little of that culture back home with me.  During a previous trip to Paris, I took  a baking class (which focused on croissants, pain au chocolat, pain au raisin, foccaccia, etc.).  This time, I decided to take a desserts class.  My absolute favorite choice for cooking classes in Paris is Cook’n with Class.  The chefs are nice & knowledgable and the hands on instruction is so fun!  You can book either directly thru their website or via Viator.  They also have a Facebook page which features delicious season recipes from time to time!

During the Paris Desserts & Pastry class, we learned how to make creme brûlée, chocolate molten lava cake, golden bars, lemon tartes and Grand Marnier souffle. Delish!!!

The chefs!

The chefs!

The ingredients

The ingredients

Crust for the lemon tartes.

Crust for the lemon tartes.

Lemon tarte filling...and yes, I did order the mold :)

Lemon tarte filling…and yes, I did order the mold 🙂

Making molten chocolate lava cake!

Making molten chocolate lava cake!

Mold & ingredients for Golden Bars

Mold & ingredients for Golden Bars

Carmelizing the sugar on the creme brulee.

Carmelizing the sugar on the creme brulee.

Prepping oranges for the Grand Marnier souflee.

Prepping oranges for the Grand Marnier souflee.

Fresh out of the oven...lemon tartes with red currants on top!

Fresh out of the oven…lemon tartes with red currants on top!

Peach Lavender Honey Ice Cream

Summer…the perfect time for ice cream!  My obsession with Pinterest has finally paid off (and really, I had to step back and stop pinning decorating ideas for my non-existent multi-million dollar mansion).  I found a wonderful recipe that combines my 2 favorite things…eating & travel.  Living in Atlanta, you can find deliciously ripe peaches all summer and I had bought lavender during my visit to the Provence region of France.  The recipe is super simple and very light.  Instead of 2 cups of sugar, the ice cream is sweetened with only 1/3 cup of honey!  So I tell myself that it’s healthy for me (even though it calls for heavy cream, whole milk and coconut milk).

You can find the recipe (and many more delicious concoctions) at Tartelette.  The recipe also includes lemon shortbread cookies to eat along with the ice cream.  Delish!

IMG_1929While I mostly followed the recipe, I did make a few tweaks.  First, I found that not all peaches are created equally.  I tried to buy mostly firm peaches but it was hit or miss on the halves staying firm or being squishy when I cut them open.  I used a combination of white flesh & yellow flesh peaches.  And second, while I stayed true to the recipe and only drizzled 1 tbsp of honey, I used a bit more lavender (just sprinkling freely) in the hopes of having a stronger lavender flavor (as I couldn’t taste any lavender from my first attempt at this recipe).  I roasted the peaches for approximately 35 minutes (instead of 30) which made it easier to remove the skins.  I suggest playing around with the timing to see what works best for you based on your climate and stove type.

While the peaches were roasting (and the smell is wonderful), I started on the base.  I stayed true to the recipe.  The aroma from the base is heavenly too.  Once the base had come to a boil, I set it aside to cool prior to pouring into an airtight container for refrigeration.

After the peaches were done roasting, I removed the skins and pits, then used a potato masher to mash them up for use in the ice cream maker.

Once the base has been chilled (either overnight or by chilling in the freezer for a couple of hours), I started churning the base first…then added the mashed peaches.  The total churn process took about 30 minutes.  The result was a whole lot of deliciousness!

For those of you on Weight Watchers, 1 serving (1/2 cup) is 4 points.  Bon appétit!