Ever since the summer of 2009, I have wanted to open my own Café/bakery.
In my mind’s eye it would be an informal version of Princis, with book cases and comfy chairs to entice you to sit there all day long.
However, realising that my skills in the kitchen could do with some refining, I decided to enroll myself on a more technically challenging course. And who better to teach me than Poppy Smadja, creator of the infamous Le Snickers tart.
I first sampled Le Snickers at Maltby Street Market and have been dreaming of it since.
Imagine a crisp chocolate dome, covering an intense yet smooth chocolate mousse, underneath which lies a sharp orange fondant, crisp peanut brittle and gooey caramel sauce, all sitting on a buttery tart……
Seeing on twitter that Poppy was generously holding a course on how to make Le Snickers, I quickly signed up to the £80 lesson.
The course was held on a Sunday at Unit 11, Dockley Road industrial estate, Bermondsey, home to a warehouse sized kitchen.
As we put on our aprons (how pro!), Poppy handed out the recipe sheets and explained to us how she came up with her delightful treats: she is a self-taught baker (swoon) and was inspired by her brother (a trained chef) and the experiences she had whilst living in France.
Due to the nature of the tart (most of the ingredients require freezing for many hours), each individual component of the tart (crème brulee, glacage, chocolate mousse, caramel bavarois, lemon cream, caramel) was made by a separate member of the class (I made the mousse!).
As baking is surprisingly taxing, Poppy kindly made us lunch to help us refuel:
(Rosewater fruit tarts – my kind of lunch!)
As we sampled the beautiful tarts, Poppy imparted some great advice:
- get a thermometer, especially if you temper chocolate or deal with syrups/caramels
- get digital scales. Accuracy is key!
- buy a hand blender!
- whisk cream by hand, especially when dealing with thickened cream (which can become overwhisked in a matter of seconds)
Throughout the rest of the day, Poppy showed us some interesting techniques and made me realise how much more I have to learn.
Tempering the chocolate:
The end result:
The perfect end to a perfect day. Thank you @poppysebastian