I was invited to attend the “Lurpak baking studio” last Thursday, so I went with a colleague of mine to discover some new recipes and baking tricks. The cooking class was held in Soufra Daiemeh offices, and it was led by Paul Frangie, a Dubai-based celebrity chef who was born to a Lebanese father and Dutch mother.
During the class, we were introduced to the new Cook’s Range products, and we used them in the recipes that we prepared. But I still don’t understand why Lurpak is only launching 3 out of 5 products in Lebanon. Both clarified butter and baking butter will be interesting for any foodie here!
Anyway, we prepared 4 desserts on that day: shortbread cookies with dried apricots and white chocolate, chocolate cupcakes, baklava and banana pancakes.
The recipes should be shared with us soon, so I’ll share them with you as well, but let’s talk about the techniques and tips that we learned during the class for now!
First of all, we prepared the shortbread cookies. I loved the idea of adding dried apricots and white chocolate, but I’d get white chocolate chips to avoid the hassle of chopping the white chocolate.
Preparing the dough was not an easy job, because you need to incorporate the cold butter to the dry ingredients in order to have sand consistency. This should be done with the tips of the fingers, to avoid warming the butter with the hand palms, and, believe me, you won’t get the right consistency before your fingers hurt. It happened to all of us!
Once the dough is ready, it should be rolled in cling film without touching it, again, to be chilled in the fridge and cut afterwards. Making perfect round cookies was not an easy task at all, and the final results that we all got were not very satisfying… I think it take a lot of practice to get to the perfect shortbread cookies.
Our second recipe was chocolate cupcakes, frosted with chocolate buttercream. Preparing cupcakes is not an unusual task for me, but I could still learn some new stuff.
First of all, the Chef used some silicone trays: no need for paper cups, and no need for greasing. Once out of the oven, the cupcakes were safely removed from the mold. I use individual silicone molds, but since they are ribbed, I can’t skip the paper cups. As for the metallic trays, they always need greasing.
When is a cupcake ready? To make sure your cupcakes are ready, press their top with your finger. If they bounce back, then you can remove them from your oven. As simple as that!
How do you prepare your chocolate buttercream? If, like me, you use chocolate, butter and sugar, you should consider adding some cream. The result is way better!
Once you fill your piping bag, you need to make sure there are no air bubbles, so you should give the bag a good squeeze over the frosting bowl to remove any unwanted bubble.
That was the most interesting recipe, even though it was the easiest.
I’ve done baklava in a tray before, but I never tried finger baklavas, which was the recipe we did all together.
I remember preparing baklava would take forever since you have to melt butter and brush every pastry sheet (and you usually use a minimum of 10 sheets). But this time, we were saved by the new Lurpak mist!
Preparing the sweets was very easy: you take one phyllo (or filo) sheet, spray it with the butter, cut it into four, stuff it and roll it. Yeah, that simple!
Careful, the baklava sheets are very fragile! They should be thawed before using them, and then they should be manipulated with caution. If a sheet breaks, get rid of it. Unused sheets should be covered all the time with a damp cloth.
Once ready, spray your baklava fingers with more butter and bake until golden and crispy, then soak in syrup while they’re still hot. Voila, they’re ready!
Once done with the baklava, we started whipping the pancake batter prepared with mashed ripe bananas. Once we got the right batter consistency, we cooked our pancakes then stuffed them with Kashta, honey, bananas and strawberries. I think that was too much banana for me. For next time, I wouldn’t use them for the stuffing. But Kashta was an excellent stuffing idea!
It was a very fun morning, I enjoyed all the cooking and new tips, and I left with more of the new range products that I’ll be using soon, for a full review of each product!