The afternoon session that I attended was sponsored by French Glace Cherries and we were well looked after by the company's PR, Pauline at Sopexa. The company had teamed up with Cindy, a French chef who runs a baking business, Petit Gateau. Her blog also has information about her business and tons of great recipes.
|Cindy and Pauline|
Cindy and Pauline welcomed us and told us a little about French glace cherries - originally they were candied not to satisfy a sweet tooth but as a way of preserving the cherries, and this process dates back to about 1600! I also discovered that glace cherries can be different colours - some batches darker than others - and this is a deliberate process, based on the juice that is used to stain them.
Cindy had already made a variety of treats for us to try, which were quite simply amazing. In the pictures below you can see French glace cherries wrapped in bacon, which are then baked in the oven; mini oatcakes that contain chopped French glace cherries, topped with a French glace cherry chutney and blue cheese, and some mini French glace cherry smoothies, complete with a red and white striped straw. So cute!
And in the pictures below, you can see some mini cheesecakes with a layer of French glace cherry compote, and chocolate fondants topped with a French glace cherry - I couldn't decide which of these two were my favourite!
Cindy had devised some different recipes for us to cook on the day - Frencg glace cherry 'jaffa cakes' and French glace cherry financiers. We began by making the jaffa cakes as they needed to set in the fridge. First we made a genoise sponge for the base, which involved whisking eggs and sugar in a bain marie.Here you can see where I have finely chopped some French glace cherries for the filling.
Cindy had already made us a jam from French glace cherries, as we wouldn't have had time to do this in the class; we mixed this with gelatine and added the chopped cherries and put it in the fridge to set.
We cooked the genoise sponge in a silicon cupcake tray so we would have small flat discs for the base of the jaffa cake.
When the jelly came out of the fridge, we used a small round cutter to cut out circles.
It's much easier to make these if you keep the cakes in the silicon mould!
We placed a circle of jelly on each cake then melted some chocolate, and after waiting for it to cool a little (so it wouldn't melt the jelly), we poured it over the top.
Finally we decorated them with some candy and sugar paper hearts - it was nearly Valentine's day after all!
The finished French glace cherry 'jaffa cakes'. They tasted fantastic and the cherry was an interesting alternative to orange that I think worked really well.
We heated butter so it was slightly burnt and golden brown; it takes on a nutty flavour so is called a 'beurre noisette'. Then you mix flour, ground almonds and sugar and add the butter. Then add egg whites - so this is a good recipe if you are using egg yolks for something else and have the whites left over!
We added chopped French glace cherries to the batter once it had gone into the pan. We used a cute heart-shaped silicon mould for this but you could use any shape pan or muffin tin even.
After just a short time in the oven, they were ready:
Very pretty! And again another recipe I wouldn't have thought to use French glace cherries in.
Thanks to French Glace Cherries, Pauline at Sopexa and Cindy at Petit Gateau for organising and hosting the event and for inviting me - and for my fabulous goody bag! It was great to meet some other bloggers and to learn some new recipes.