Remember my lunch at Potenza? Well, Lindley who does PR for them, asked me if I'd like to take a cooking class at 1789 (another restaurant she works with). I've heard many impressive things about this established Georgetown restaurant, but have never had a pleasure of dining there. Of course I was more than happy to accept an invitation to attend a cooking class. Even better, Anna was staying with me after our trip to Madrid, and agreed to be my +1.
Just so that you know, I've assisted at Sur La Table's culinary program for almost 5 years. In fact, that's how I met Robyn Webb and eventually became one of her recipe testers, and am now her sole freelance blogger and photographer.
The cooking class at 1789, however, was leaps and bounds above and beyond anything I've ever experienced at Sur La Table. We were greeted with coffee, orange juice and freshly baked coffee cake. Each student also received an apron (for keeps) and a folder with recipes and extra pages of paper for notes.
Check out one of the gorgeous dining rooms: it's like you stepped into something from 1789 :)
This was not your typical class, as it was taught at the restaurant's professional kitchen! Of course, being a graduate of the CIA, Anna felt right at home. I was just glad that I did not wear heels.
The theme of the class was seafood, but we also learned how to make dessert. This post will cover dessert, and Cooking Class at 1789, Part 2 will cover seafood.
Travis Olson, the pastry chef at 1789, demonstrated how to make a tart with frangipane, blood oranges and pistachios. This was a demo class, which was absolutely fine by me. Travis was a great instructor: low key, knowledgeable, adorable (ok, maybe this isn't a necessary qualification, but it doesn't hurt), and friendly.
Below are the ingredients for the Frangipane (butter, sugar, eggs, almond flour, all purpose flour, salt, dark rum, vanilla extract and oranges).
The dough for the tart was made in the food processor, and I was amazed at how smooth it came out. One of the tricks I learned was to add a bit of baking powder to keep the tart dough from shrinking as it bakes.
Travis used bottomless tart rings and fit the dough inside of them, after which it was chilled and the edges were trimmed.
The blood oranges were absolutely gorgeous! Did you know that blood oranges can be any color from yellow to deep red on the outside and that it's not in any way an indicator of the color of the flesh? See, you learn something new every day.
The picture above is of the Frangipane, which went into the tart and was then topped with cross sections of blood oranges and sprinkled with pistachios. The photo below is of Travis holding two tarts before putting them in the oven.
After baking, the tarts get a brushing of apricot jam thinned out with a bit of water. The dessert was served to us at a sit down lunch with a side of cardamom ice cream. I'm not usually a huge fan of cardamom, other than in Indian dishes, but I absolutely loved it!
Stay tuned for Cooking Class at 1789, Part 2 which will be all about seafood and head chef Daniel Giusti.