Thursday, 28 August 2014

Sweet Couture - Pâtissier Louis Sergeant

For just a few nights during Wellington on a Plate this year, pâtissier Louis Sergeant has opened up his kitchen to teach a small handful of guests how to create an exquisite French pastry dessert. Louis assures us we can whip up a chocolate and hazelnut sphere at home. After watching him in action on Tuesday night, I'm not so sure!

Sweet Couture on Featherston Street has been on my list of places to visit ever since it opened earlier this year. I walk past it most days and promise myself that I will come back with some girl friends so we can have a ladies' afternoon tea. Just look at these tempting pastries!

Pastry counter
The session was complemented by wine pairing with Nicola Belsham on behalf of Feast & Vine. We began with a small glass of late harvest Martinborough sauvignon blanc. We were told all about the science of wine and food matching and how you should choose a wine that is sweeter than the food being served. (That explains stickies!)

We moved behind the scenes into the kitchen, where Louis demonstrated how to effortlessly create a masterpiece for dessert. He developed this recipe for chocolate hazelnut spheres especially for Wellington on a Plate and urged us to try it at home. It is created in three stages, beginning with making a hazelnut paste, which needs to set in the fridge, then mixing an almond meringue sponge base.

Louis pipes almond meringue into baking rings
While the sponge is cooking, the chocolate hemispheres are created. Louis showed us a simple way to temper the chocolate before brushing it into silicon moulds. Once set, one hemisphere is placed on a cooled meringue sponge piece, then filled with hazelnut creme. The edges of the second piece are gently melted and then carefully placed on top to create a beautiful masterpiece. Louis makes it all look so effortless; I imagine it's going to take plenty of practice to create anything that even remotely looks like a sphere at home.

Louis assembles the chocolate sphere
We moved back into the cafe to enjoy our treats, which were matched with a fortified red dessert wine.

Chocolate hazelnut sphere
This was a really enjoyable evening. Louis Sergeant is delightful and talks with real passion about the pastries he creates. The wine matching part of the evening didn't do much for me; I don't think it necessarily added anything to the event. However, I can't wait to return with friends for afternoon tea. I want to try one of absolutely everything in the counter and see if they taste as delicious as they look. (I'm sure they will!)

1 comment:

Ness said...

We went there for my birthday high tea. It was lovely! :)