- Food and Cooking
My Experience with Pastry School
cooking school - cooking classes
Have you ever thought about going to cooking school or attending cooking classes? If you’re a regular reader, you know I love cooking…and eating! I always have, and I always will. Years ago, I decided to enroll in pastry school. This wasn’t one of those expensive pastry schools that you have to fly to France to attend. This school was right in my own home town, and it was inexpensive. I had to make the 20-mile drive a couple of times a week for several months to complete the pastry school course. I found the whole experience to be fun, educational, and a great investment of time and money.
I guess this was more of a cooking school short course than it was a full-fledged pastry school. My sister-in-law attended, also, so we rode together for the several weeks that the pastry school course lasted. We had a good time together. I wasn’t interested in becoming a professional pastry chef. I just wanted to be a better baker and cook. I also wanted to learn to make cakes and pastries that were as pleasing to the eye as they were to the palate.
The cooking school started off well. The instructor was a professional baker, and she was nice and patient. We learned about different types of crusts and about different baking and cooking techniques for pastries. The pastry school instructor touched on different fillings, but I wish she had gone into more detail about this topic. She seemed to be in a hurry to get to cake baking and cake decorating.
We baked all kinds of cakes in pastry school, including different shapes and sizes. I learned the importance of removing the crumbs from the cakes after they had cooled. We used a small brush for this. I also learned how to make the icing on a cake perfectly smooth by dipping the case knife in very hot water before smoothing. We next went on to decorating.
I used a cake decorating kit for this purpose. It included pastry bags, couplers, and lots of different metal tips. I learned to make stiff icing for decorating and got a lot of neat ideas for unique cakes. One was the doll cake that you bake in a dome pan. You then insert a small doll torso in the top and decorate the cake part to make it look like a full ball gown skirt. Since I had little girls at home, this was a big hit with my family. I also learned that this same pan can be used to make a tipi cake, a football cake, and a bikini cake.
A really neat cake I learned to make in pastry school was one for a baby shower. First, I made a sheet cake and iced it with white frosting. I added trim and roses in blue or pink, depending on whether it was for a baby girl or a baby boy. Then I used cupcakes to make a pair of baby bootees to go on top of the cake. It took three cupcakes, with one cut in half. The results looked just like a pair of crocheted bootees, complete with ribbon ties.
We learned other skills in pastry school, too, and I took them and ran with them. I turned out a lot of delicious, beautiful cakes for the next few years, all based on what I’d learned in this special school. I’ve also been able to transfer many of these skills to decorating other types of foods that I’ve served at numerous parties and receptions.
If you have an interest in becoming a pastry chef, or just in increasing your culinary skills, I highly recommend attending pastry school. Your local college might offer a few cooking courses. You can also find private pastry school classes taught by professional pastry chefs and bakers.
I’ll warn you though – you’re likely to pack on a few pounds during and after the cooking school classes. Food is very tempting when it’s beautifully presented, and in practically any pastry school class, you’ll learn this procedure and get ideas for lots more!
My online pastry schools:
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