Monday, June 16, 2014

Introduction to International Pastry Class at King Arthur Flour

Hello! This past week I was up at King Arthur Flour taking a course called Introduction to International pastry. It was a professional level course so I was a bit, okay a whole lot, nervous going into the first day, especially when I turned the corner and saw that everyone was wearing white chef's coats! Fortunately, if you did not have your own coat, King Arthur lent you one! I felt pretty cool wearing my white coat, though I never got to snap a picture in it.

While I was intimidated by it being a professional level class, the instructor, Jeffrey Hamelman was fantastic and welcoming to all of us, no matter our skill level! I seriously cannot say enough about him, he was awesome! I can't wait to go back and take one of his bread baking classes!
Before making a recipe, he either demonstrated or talked us through it, I found this to be very helpful. We then would make recipes with a partner, the person you shared a bench with, or as a large group. We made SO MUCH FOOD, I don't even know where to begin here are just a few: puff pastry, lemon meringue pies, chocolate and vanilla chiffon cakes, Italian meringue buttercream, raspberry mousse cakes, marshmallows, flourless chocolate cakes, palmiers, torta meringata, florentines, almond horns, napoleons and apple galettes! I'm guessing we made somewhere in the ballpark of at least 30 recipes! We took some home with us for sampling and quality control issues, ya know?
My pants were a bit tighter yesterday...

Piping these amaretti was an interesting experience because it was the first time I felt limited by the hand my dog bit last summer. I wasn't able to pipe many, and the few that I did pipe were too small because I had trouble controlling the piping bag. To be honest, it was a little bittersweet to think that while my dog has come so far in her behavior this year, and that while the obvious wounds have healed it, I still have trouble with it. Fortunately, when it came to piping buttercream I had no trouble with that! Guess I need to get one of those hand strengthener things or a stress ball! 

Not my best frosting job, seeing it in a photograph just amplifies how terrible that side looks, oh well, got to keep practicing! I'll just have to make and eat some more cakes for practicing purposes!

These extreme chocolate tarts were one of my favorites! We put a few in the refrigerator and kept some at room temperature to detect the difference when it came time for our tasting. The instructor recommended serving them at room temperature, however a few of us, myself included, liked them better cold. The only thing with serving them cold is that the flavor was duller, but when they were cold  it was like biting into a large and crunchy truffle!

Check out that fluff factor! After frosting these cakes, we went over them with a propane torch, see mine finished here! I also really enjoyed this cake, it was light citrus cake filled with a lemon curd like filling and topped off with torched meringue! Then we got to use some fancy sprinkles on it as well!

How beautiful is that? It is called a pithivier, and it's pronounced completely different than it is spelled. I watched in awe as he demonstrated making this, each one of those lines is carefully cut by hand! I really enjoy almonds so I really loved this dessert because it is filled with almond cream!

None of these photos are as crisp as I would like, but the lighting in the room was very bright and directly overhead, no option for natural light. Also, because of the pace of the class I decided to shoot on automatic.
I meant to post while I was away, but pulled a total Molly and forgot to bring the recipe that I intended to post with me! Oops!

Then I drove with my sister to Boston, to meet my parents to celebrate Father's day a day early! We traveled with some of the cakes buckled up, got to protect the goods! Also, we rode in a water taxi (above picture), the ride was all of five minutes, but still had my heart racing, boats kind of freak me out, I'll stick to paddle boards and kayaks.

NOT SPONSORED. I just really love King Arthur Flour and had a great experience at this class and wanted to share it with you!


  1. You have to be kidding me!! This sounds awesome!! So many things that I would love to learn to make. Can't wait to see these skills in action.

  2. This sounds like an awesome experience...and can I just say how jealous I am that you got to take a class from Jeffrey Hamelman!?! That guy is a baking wizard!

    1. HE TOTALLY IS! And he's quite funny, too, which made class really entertaining!

  3. What this is the coolest - I'd love to take a class like this to hone my skills. Amazing!

    1. You should! It's amazing all the tips and tricks you learn!