Last week, we made pasta noodles from scratch topped with a tomato pesto sauce (the pastries in the back are eclairs). The flavors were incredible – the pesto was just enough to cut the sharp acidity of the tomato sauce. The pasta noodles themselves (which were actually a huge pain in the you-know-what) were just as delicious as anything homemade I’ve ever had in a gourmet Italian restaurant.
I also tackled Creme Brulee, one of the most famous French desserts. Personally, it’s not my favorite, but it was pretty fun to try out the blow torch. The recipe is surprisingly simple and consists of cream, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla bean, orange zest, lemon zest and of course, Grand Marnier. We served our dessert with a thin, rolled-up wafer cookie called a cigarette Russe (Not sure of its origins, but the word means “Russian Cigarette”). I hear that one of my favorite French spots in D.C., Bistrot du Coin, offers a superb creme brulee. I’ll have to try it next time.
And finally, here are some French macarons created by the pastry students. The egg whites give macarons their light, airy texture. I first discovered these stylish little cookies when I studied abroad in Paris during my junior year in college. I ran across many different flavors of macarons, everything from pistachio to rose flower. In the U.S., this cookie is often called “macaroon.” Despite whatever we call it over here, this cookie will always be the macaron to me.