Sunday, August 27, 2006

Miscellaneous Food: Cooking Class at Canelé

That was certainly a nice bit of alliteration. Earlier this week I had the fortune of attending a patisserie course at Canele, taught by Chef Pang Kok Keong, the enfant terrible of Singapore's pastry world.

Chocolate Factory

The course was conducted at Canele in Robertson Walk, a veritable chocolate factory with patissiers all hard at work behind the glass wall like stylish Oompa Loompas.

Limoncello Granite, Chocolate Espuma and Chocolate Crumble

First on the list was a cocktail of limoncello granite, chocolate espuma and chocolate crumble. If that sounds intimidating, that's because it is. While not technically difficult, the patience required of systematically creating each component and assembling them may be slightly beyond my ability.

Chef Pang

Here you see Chef Pang charging his siphon in order to create a cloud of chocolate espuma for our benefit. Makes you want to just get your hands on one.

Chocolate Espuma

The siphon was used to pump nitrogen-pressured chocolate foam on top of the granité, before topping with chocolate crumble cubes and cocoa powder.

I was fortunate enough to taste the final concoction, which I quite enjoyed. The punch from the limoncello was considerable, even though it'd been cooked slightly, and unfortunately the granité melted too quickly, so I didn't get a good contrast of textures.

Chef Pang

Next on the syllabus was something I was really looking forward to. It's not, as you might think, Chef Pang teaching us how to fill a piping bag with whipped cream.

Chef Pang

Here he's piping beautiful shapes onto a baking tray. Guessed it yet? Not choux pastry, though it's a good guess.


Any idea yet? It should be pretty obvious by now, but let me help you along a little more.

Macaron Sandwich

Yep, those are chocolate macarons Chef Pang is so carefully sandwiching. The very same macarons I became fascinated with after J of Kuidaore's exceedingly enlightening post about them.


While Chef Pang made making macarons look like an everyday affair (and I'm sure for him it is), it may take me a while to work up the courage to attempt them myself. Nonetheless, I'm very glad to have had a first-hand view of the pitfalls and pointers in making macarons, should I ever try my hand at them.

Tempering Chocolate

Our final lesson involved a short tutorial on tempering chocolate, which strikes me as something the home cook would be unwise to attempt, unless you happen to have a customised marble top lying around and ample air-conditioning.


The tempered chocolates were to coat the roasted almonds that had been heated with caramelised sugar to sweeten them, as well as some butter to improve their aroma.

Swiss Rocks

The end result: Swiss Rocks. Coated with glossy chocolate, they were crunchy and intensely aromatic, having benefitted from a substantial roasting period.

The course was certainly interesting and educational, and even came with lunch prepared the chef (although I think his desserts are better).

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