Yesterday’s cooking class with Aicha Lahlou at Santé + Magazine was a real treat. Renowned pastry chef at F.Kabbaj, her soft demeanor and simplicity made the whole learning experience enjoyable and really fun. Getting to meet my cutie pies fellow bloggers was also a blast. We had a great time watching her make incredibly simple yet extremely tasty recipes before our own little eyes. Featuring Fandy, the Moroccan flour brand, she tried three of their products to make a colorful tabbouleh, a veggie tart and a lemon & raspberry yule log to-die-for.
Mahmoud and I had tons of questions yesterday concerning the types of flour we have in Morocco. Surfing the web and finding a lot of french articles about T45 and T55 flour (amongst many other types), we were wondering what were the equivalent here. Turns out, as I was expecting, there aren’t really. The plain white flour with sometimes a label of « fine fleur » is what’s used for all types of pastries. Fine fleur means that the flour is just really, well, fine. It doesn’t need to be sifted as there’s no actual gruel. Which I noticed a long time ago during my baking adventures, so I pass on the process of sifting it altogether.
But there are specialized kinds of flour for different kinds of pastries as I found out on Fandy’s website. Those are mostly sold to wholesaler and bakeries. I wanna open a bakery just to try them out not gonna lie. I’m so fascinated by flour and what it can do, how it can transform into an infinite number of preparations. I tried my hand out at bread a couple of months ago, as well as the curious process that is boiling bagels, not to mention pies, pancakes & waffles (that was smooth right ?). Always using the same type of white flour there is on the shelves, so a change would be definitely more than welcome.
Anyway, Aicha started out the class by using a chiffon cake recipe for the yule log biscuit. Usually made with a genoise, she wanted to give her log a fluffier aspect, so that there would be more to chew on than there is with a rather flat genoise. The differences between chiffon, genoise and sponge cake are infinitesimal to taste; they’re all light and airy cakes, but the baking process is quite different for the three. You can check this article for more detailed explanation.
She then proceeded to make the lemon filling which was as sour yet sweet as a true lemon cream can be. Paired up with raspberries (my forever undying love), and the moist, fluffy chiffon biscuit; the yule log was a tender cloud of happiness. I absolutely love cream & fruits filled cakes. They’re my favorite type of pastry, I’m not really fond of almonds (or dried fruits in general) in desserts, or lots of chocolate (even if I do a mean molten chocolate cake), I prefer the softness of cream and the sweetness of fruits.
Next up was the Tabbouleh, made with the exact same way as a Couscous, Aicha used Fandy’s semolina to make her middle eastern inspired dish. Steamed thrice and combined with water between every steam sesh (you gotta use your hands for this, there’s no going around about it), she then mixed it with diced green and yellow peppers, cubed tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and a little bit of cinnamon, before adding avocados at the end. Avocados are soft creatures, they need to be handled with care. Babies.
The veggie tart was made using the new Mix Régime flour from the brand. With a glycemic index even lower than whole wheat, it combines wheat flour, wheat fibers and sesame seeds. Containing much less sugar than regular flour, this mix is perfect for people who watch their sugary intake and need less refined products. Aicha mixed it with olive oil, salt, water, yeast and oregano and let it rise for an hour before flattening into round pizza shapes and filling it with strips of eggplants and zucchini. I wasn’t expecting much from this particular dish since I’m not really big on eggplants, but the result was extremely flavorful and even a little sweet. I think the balsamic vinegar she used at the end has something to do with that. Definitely sold.
The tasting was as tasty as you’d expect and we had a really great evening, the Santé + Magazine team was welcoming and especially warm, and Aicha so ever charming and delightful. Plus the cooking workshop is something out of a dream, I wouldn’t mind having the same kitchen at my place.
Leaving you guys with the recipes and pictures of the pre-cooking class buffet down below, I wish you an amazing week end !