Ramekins Culinary School

By Wednesday, June 10, 2015 1 No tags Permalink 0

While I was away in California my dad and I did another cooking class. If you remember last summer I did my first ever cooking class with my dad locally and it was a lot of fun so given the chance I knew I wanted to do another one. This time we did a 3 course lunch complete with Spring Vegetable Minestrone with homemade orrechiette and basil pistou, Marinated bistro filet medallions with blue cheese butter served with shoestring potatoes, thyme roasted trumpet mushrooms and sautéed spinach and finished off with a chocolate graham cracker tart served with an Italian meringue. The food was delicious and it was a lot of fun to make it. This cooking class was different from my last one in that this time each person did a portion of the meal not the entire meal as we did in the previous class. Naturally I was happy when I was assigned dessert but I didn’t know how finicky our dessert was going to be but it was worth it because it was super delicious. (everyone was saying dessert was the best part) It was a lot of fun to do the cooking class with my dad although we did different jobs preparing the meal but we both had a great time and met some lovely people and enjoyed (too many) glasses of delicious wine all while we cooked away.



This culinary school is located in beautiful Sonoma wine country and is a gorgeous venue that also offers rooms above their culinary school where guests can dine and stay as well.




My dad working hard on cutting up the herbs for the butter.



The graham tarts ready for the chocolate ganache.


After making the ganache I added it to the tart and then placed in the fridge to set than on to the meringue.




Letting the mixer do all the work and supervising the mixing of the egg whites looking for soft peaks. While the sugar and boiled on the stove.


I than got selected to use the blow torch to toast our peaks and let me tell you it isn’t as easy as it looks.


Getting a little help from our Master Chef


The soup didn’t make for the prettiest picture but it was delicious. Those large chunks are fresh homemade pasta.


Here is our beef medallion on a bed of mushrooms and sautéed spinach with crispy shoe string potatoes on top.





Due to my fatal nut allergy I couldn’t enjoy the tart crust so my little dish had the chocolate ganache and Italian meringue.



Enjoying my glass of locally made wine and a delicious lunch with friends after our “hard” work.

Below is the recipe for the dessert I made and you are interested in the soup or entree recipes I can get those to you as well.

Chocolate Graham Cracker Tart with Toasted Italian Meringue


12 full-sheet graham crackers (or 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs)

6 Tablespoons (90g) melted unsalted butter

1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean, scraped

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick) cut into small pieces

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup of water

4 room temperature egg whites, preferably from fresh eggs

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, lemon juice from 1 lemon, or 1/2 lemon


Crust: Set oven to 350 degrees. Place the graham cracker, butter, vanilla bean seeds and sugar in a food processor and combine. Place in tart shell, pressing tightly against the sides of the container. Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Set in a cooler to chill.

Filling: Place chocolate and butter in a medium bowl; set aside. Combine cream, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves and liquid is just a simmer, about 4 minutes. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and butter and let sit until melted, about 4 minutes. Gently site until smooth. Pour ganache into the cooled tart shell and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill until set, about 1 hour.

Meringue: In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat over high heat, brushing down sides of pot as necessary with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cook until sugar syrup registers 240F on an instant read or cane thermometer. Meanwhile, combine egg whites and cream of tartar or lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Set mixer to medium sped and mix until soft peaks form (when lifted, the head of the mixer should form gentle peaks in the egg whites that very slowly collapse back into themselves, about 2 minutes With the mixer running, carefully and slowly drizzle in the hot sugar syrup. Increase speed to high and whip until desired stiffness is achieved.

Pipe the meringue over the chilled tart and toast until golden brown.

1 Comment
  • Julie P
    June 11, 2015

    Well done, Kate! You look like a pro. We’ll have to make the dessert this summer. 🙂

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