The Cooking School
Time Out says
Learn the tricks behind your favourite sweet treats and more
“I am not a pastry chef,” warns Jessica, the boisterous woman leading a group of 16 – ranging from couples to one adorable nan/granddaughter duo – through a three-hour crash course on desserts one recent afternoon inside an industrial kitchen at Club Bondi. The good news is that what she lacks in self-proclaimed expertise, Jessica makes up for in care and encouragement. We’re here to make four dishes: apple galettes with vanilla ice cream, raspberry soufflé, pears poached in dessert wine and panna cotta with strawberry coulis. The class is, admittedly, spoiled with shortcuts: the coulis and dessert wine have been pre-made, the soufflé cups at our work benches already coated with butter and sugar. Jessica walks us through the preparation for each dish before letting us try ourselves. Along the way, she offers useful tips. Flecks of eggshell in the bowl? Scoop them out using… another eggshell, which acts like a magnet. She demonstrates a quick and easy way to make a cartouche using baking paper. And I now know how to properly store leftover puff pastry so it doesn’t end up a sad, frostbitten also-ran at the back of the freezer. (Hint: scissors and cling wrap.) There are no written instructions on hand, which actually forces us to pay closer attention to Jessica – and one another. And besides, all the recipes – as well as 14 more – will be e-mailed to us the following morning in a helpful booklet so we can try again at home. Most impressively, we all find success with our soufflés – Jessica’s helpful, hearty directions ensure nobody is left with proverbial egg on their face when we sit down to spoil our dinners with a big, sugary feast at the end of class.