He chose to show us the finer points of choux pastry and piping, which for some is a really tricky one and have taken their trays out of the oven to find little discs of rockhard sadness. I don't know why this happens, but it's never happened to me. I don't know why mine have always worked - dumb luck or the way I'm doing it is the right way, who knows. But it was still interesting to sit and listen to him talk us through the whole process.
The first thing he mentioned was that you never use a whisk, always a wooden spoon. A whisk will incorporate air into the dough which you don't want - it rises because of the egg whites so whipping the dough isn't necessary.
Unless you start thinking about reproduction again, in which case you've ruined the eclair anyway I demand you give it to me instead of gagging through a cream filled phallic pastry. Yes I just went there.
On another topic - you're meant to make choux with full fat milk. Did not know. You can go half milk/water, or just water, but he always uses milk. Will have to give that one a go and see what the flavours like, just in case filling it with cream and dunking it in chocolate wasn't unhealthy enough. Whatever - the damage has been done, eat another one.
It was great to hear him talking while he was working - he praised the effect things like Masterchef have had on peoples ability and willingness to cook, but criticised the fact that it's resulted in people expecting restaurant quality meals at home, or having that expectation thrust upon you when you have guests. He talked about the fact when he has friends over, he cooks simply - he'll drive for miles to get the best ingredients, but will treat them carefully, he doesn't want to spend the whole time cooking, and if he DOES want to spend time cooking it will be on dessert or canapes. I tend to agree with him, you don't go to a mates house for dinner to see them stressing in the kitchen, you want to see them, catch up, have a chat, have too much wine. Shit I'll do that anyway even if you are in the kitchen, but at least you can talk back to me when I'm asking how you're doing, rather than trying to perfect your jus foam paste.
He always uses his notebook, tests and tweaks his recipes until they're perfect. His book was battered, old and worn. Just think how much it's been used, and how much time and knowledge is in there. If anyone nicks it, most of you reading this know where I live. Just sayin.
I really enjoyed his masterclass and would love the opportunity to attend a more hands on class where I could fully take advantage of his knowledge and practice some skills I'm not good at - dishes and tidying my room doesn't count, classes will never fix that.
Thanks to UWA Publishing for putting the event on and of course the EDB 2013 crew for organising it!