This year, Paul A Young celebrates his tenth anniversary of owning one of London’s most celebrated chocolate shops. His iconic purple packaging, innovative truffles flavoured with things like port and stilton or black pudding and Willy Wonka-esque shops attract sweet-toothed chocaholics from all over. We invited him to Le Cordon Bleu cookery school to host a Great British Chefs masterclass so he could share some of his expert knowledge.
The main aim of the class was to show people that cooking with chocolate at home is easy, and that all sorts of everyday ingredients can be used to add flavour. ‘The class is all about getting people to use chocolate at home,’ says Paul. ‘If you haven’t got one thing, you can usually substitute it for something else, and everyone has some spices in their cupboard. You only need a bar of chocolate and then you’re ready to go.’
Paul was keen to demonstrate a water ganache in his plated dessert – something that sounds quite complicated, but is actually relatively simple. ‘The general rule is to not get any water in chocolate, but if you dilute it quickly enough so it emulsifies together it works really well,’ he says. ‘I’ve chosen to make the ganache with a strong Earl Grey tea for its beautiful bergamot flavour, and sit the chocolate on top of vodka-poached rhubarb. To finish it off, I’ll be adding some white chocolate curls, rose petals and rhubarb syrup.’
Once everyone in the class had completed their own versions of Paul’s dessert, head pâtisserie chef Julie Walsh was on hand to demonstrate a Le Cordon Bleu classic – the Florentine. ‘They’re something you have after your dessert, usually with coffee, and they're just a nice way to end to a meal that’s honest, nice and quick,’ she says. ‘It’s a simple way to marry good quality dark chocolate with a nice fruit and caramel base.’