The instructor for the baking bootcamp is quite accomplished. Here is Brad Spates' bio according to the Cookology website:
"Brad studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and the James Rumsey School of Culinary Arts. He learned his baking skills under some of the best pastry chef's in the world such as Master Chef Judeth Stains, CIA Award Winning Chef Steve Brown, and Steve Weiss, who was part of the 2000 National Gold Winning Pastry Arts Team and the Executive Pastry Chef of the Trump Taj Mahal and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He has travelled and studied pastries worldwide, including an in-depth study of French, Italian, and classical American Pastry. Bread specializes in unique forms of design, while using classical techniques that are practiced by very few modern chef's, such as pastillage, formed marzipan, pulled and blown sugar, and casting chocolates. He has a passion for baking and creating, and can't wait to share his talents with the students at Cookology!"
Impressive right!? I knew our first class was going to be about Pate Choux (pronouced like pat a shoe), which I had tried to make YEARS ago and had mild success. They promised a sweet and savory version.
The class started and we were put into pairs. I teamed up with a gal named Karen who seemed sweet and approached things in a similar fashion as I did (good match! *phew!*). I unintentionally stood next to Brad...which turned out to be good for my tendancy to get distracted...he kept my attention for sure!
The instruction was paced well, we were able to ask all the questions we wanted and had a great time. The recipes will follow later (he sends them out about a week after the class), but I can tell you that the end results were WONDERFUL! Yumm!! Just look at these photos:
My Savory Chees Puffs
My Sweet Cream Filled Eclairs
Inside of the Yummy Eclairs (Held by Brad)
I certainly am looking forward to next week's class on pies and tartlets!
**Editted to add recipes:
1 cup water
3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon salt (for sweet)
1 teaspoon salt (for savory)
5 3/4 ounces flour
1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Boil water, butter, and salt or sugar. Add flour and remove from heat. Work mixture together and return to heat. Continue working the mixture until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture into bowl of a standing mixer and let cool for 3 or 4 minutes. With mixer on stir or lowest speed add eggs, 1 at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before continuing. Once all eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth put dough into piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe immediately into golfball-size shapes, 2 inches apart onto parchment lined sheet pans. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Once they are removed from the oven pierce with a paring knife immediately to release steam. Fill with pastry cream, whip cream, or pastry cream.
2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don' t curdle or scorch on the bottom.
When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled before using.
Cheese Mixture (to use instead of Cream Mixure)
Mix all ingredients in equal proportions.
(Note: We used Bleu Cheese, Parmesean Cheese and Ricotta Cheese along with the cream for our "testers.")
Enjoy with Love,