If you look for bits and pieces of France in all corners of the world like I do, look no further than Mille-feuille Bakery, just steps away from Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of lower Manhattan. Executive pastry chef and owner Olivier Dessyn moved to New York years ago to pursue his passion for pastry after studying with pastry chefs such as Camille Lesecq and Pierre Herme (who makes my absolute favorite caramels!) Due to popular demand, Mille-feuille Bakery began teaching macaron, croissant, and Mille-feuille making classes. CJ and I took the croissant class, and it did NOT disappoint!
Each class is taught by a Parisian chef and is capped at eight students, so you truly do get a hands-on experience with a skilled pastry chef. Our specific class only had six people, which included CJ and I, so it was extremely easy to ask questions freely and get personal attention. Our pastry chef is working here for a year and then will go back to Paris, but is originally from Yvoire.
You are first given dough already folded and prepared for you and are taught to shape and make plain croissants, pain au chocolat, and almond croissants. Our teacher even gave us the option of making them with cheese, but everyone was free to make whatever they preferred. Sometimes in a baking class you are required to work in groups and therefore have to make the same things to then share at the end of your lesson. However at Mille-feuille, each croissant enthusiast will make his or her very own 15 croissants. Because I made mine a little smaller, I was actually able to make 18 croissants and CJ made 20! You do not share your creations with the other students, so you can truly make your pastries however you’d like.
While your croissants are proofing and then baking in the oven, you then learn how to properly create all the layers of butter and dough to give your croissant all the delicious flakey tiers that make it so special. THIS is where I found Mille-feuille Bakery to once again stand out from the rest. After creating your dough/butter folds, you actually get to take that home with you at the end of the class so you can make even more croissants.
Note that if you are making more croissants immediately, go straight home after class and put your dough in the freezer for 10 minutes just so it can get cold again after travelling from the bakery to your home. Then you can move it to the fridge and take it out when you are ready to shape your croissants. If you are not making more immediately, keep the dough in the freezer for up to three weeks. As for the fresh aromatic delectable croissants that will be produced fresh out of the oven after 2-2.5 hours, they are best eaten the day of. In the fridge, they will last one week, and in the freezer in airtight bags they will last one month.
I highly recommend this class as the staff is extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and knows how to make the perfect pastry. Because making these treats require many steps, it is great that you get to have a handle on the process from start to finish and you individually create your own croissants.
For more information: https://www.millefeuille-nyc.com