DIY Pastry School

Practicing my handwriting

Even though I am a professional eater, I am an amateur baker, cake maker, and chocolatier.  Professional pastry school is just out of reach right now.  Time, financial responsibilities, and my own indecisiveness about what I want to do with my life stops me from signing up with the French Pastry School in Chicago.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t learn on my own and still pursue my enthusiasm of making yummy carby delights.   So, I’ve decided to home school for now and see where it goes.

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite resource to learning about pastry and bread is through Groupon.  The last month or so have been filled with super fun, ½ off, and hands-on classes at various businesses through out the area.  I tackled the art of making French Bread in the post here, and then I took a basic cake decorating class at Give Me Some Sugar.  That was followed up with a chocolate class at Canady Chocolates, which included a lengthy lecture and presentation on the origins of the cocoa. Next up in June is a French pastry class at Cook Au Vin, where we’ll be learning how to make the prefect French macaron cookie (my favorite) and other pastries like éclairs (YUM!).

Icing a Cake

Practicing Rosettes

Shapes with Icing

My Practice Cake

I’ve also tapped into the Internet with websites like:

The Fresh Loaf:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/

David Lebovitz:  http://www.davidlebovitz.com/

Cake Central:  http://cakecentral.com/

Another good source of course is the Foodnetwork and the reliable Martha Stewart.  I enjoy shows like Alton Brown’s Good Eats because I love to know “why” and he explains it so well.  Martha Bakes is also another one of my favorite.  She can be a little dry and egotistical, but that’s what makes the show fun.

Granted this method of learning is rather unstructured and I’m probably not learning the best / traditional methods, but at least it’s fun and I’m not forced to go to class and do homework when I’m not feeling up to it.  The funny thing is, I do want to go to class and afterwards, I want to start practicing and experimenting right away, even into late night and the early hours of the morning.  Maybe this is what school is like for nerds (not that I’m not a nerd myself).

What are your passions and how are you tapping into non-traditional methods to learn more about them?

Chocolate Mess

Filled and Painted Chocolate Molds Drying

Gourmet Chocolates Made By Me!

Since traditional school is ending for most, my home school final was a tiered baby shower cake for a co-worker using fondant for the first time.

Baby Shower Cake Final

Rhino

Elephant Topper

Zebra

Monkey and Tiger

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3 thoughts on “DIY Pastry School

  1. Jodi says:

    Patti – your cake looks amazing! It’s so adorable! I’m also a fan of your buddha chocolates – any leftovers? Just kidding 😉

    • Patti says:

      Thanks! Yeah, the Buddha molds are pretty cool! Our class asked to use those specifically. Sorry no leftovers this time, but I’ll make you a special batch soon!

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