I was really looking forward to the past couple of baking classes. Believe it or not, I have only made pie once in my life. The one time that I made pie, it actually turned out great but making a pie this time around in my baking class, was like watching a show when I was a child and then watching that same show, again, today. My perspective is completely different, today.
Pie is a classic, vintage dessert with very little evolution. The ingredients are ridiculously simple, the fillings options are plenty, and the experience of making an apple pie; getting your hands dirty with butter and flour, rolling out the dough, preparing the fruit filling and then let’s not forget the tantalizing smell of a freshly baked apple pie — is something that hasn’t changed at all.
It was a great experience to create an apple pie using a recipe that has been perfected over generations and with an explanation of each step and its purpose. It’s like visiting a foreign country and not getting a tour guide, it makes it really hard to get the real experience. Chef Yasmin is our tour guide into the wonderful world of baking. She shows us each step and gives a very insightful explanation of its purpose. She is also there to guide us during our baking, should we need the extra support.
In this post, I’m not going to get into the technicalities of pie dough. I believe this is something that everyone should experience on their own. Pie dough varieties are a sort of preference. They come in all sorts of consistencies so it is up to you to decide how you like your pie crust. I prefer a flaky crust, so the recipe we used in class was perfect for me!
I thought that you may want to see the visual process of making a pie. I have put a sequence of photos below. I hope this inspires you to try making pie for yourself, or better yet, take a baking course and get the full experience.
Pie dough is also used to make butter tarts – one of my favourite desserts! My mother loved butter tarts and it was pretty much the only treat we ever had in the house. I’ve never actually made a butter tart until now. I had such a strong feeling of nostalgia while making these tarts. The filling is something that always intrigued me. Making it for the first time answered old filed away questions that I had never quite got around to answering. I brought my batch home and froze them. I want to have an opportunity to indulge and reminisce on a day where I might need the positive vibes that these sweet and gooey tarts offer! They are just so perfect! And I enjoy raisins in my butter tarts (I know there are a lot of raisin haters out there–but seriously, get over it, they’re an awesome addition!)
The third classic dessert we made in our class was fruit flan. Another one of my mother’s favourite desserts. I remember we would bring one whenever we would go and visit a friend or relative’s house. Think of how simple a fruit flan is — sweet dough crust, basic pastry cream and chopped fruit, on top. Another classic dessert that I have never made before. I spend so much time making wacky and wickedly indulgent desserts, and little to no time learning about the simple, classic desserts that have defined baking and pastry. I am so grateful for the opportunity I’ve had with Centennial College’s Baking Arts Program because It really has inspired me in so many ways and has taught me baking foundations that will help me build my baking skills to new heights.
I was really happy with the way my fruit tart came out (above). Sliced fruit makes a gorgeous decoration all on its own. The key is to make sure none of the pastry cream is showing when layering on your fruit slices. I also discovered that I have the original fruit ninja in my class – check out my classmates beautiful tart below!!! Isn’t it stunning? This dude is seriously talented and does a great job of inspiring the other students with his awesome skills.
I’ve shown the visual sequence of the fruit flan process below, as well. The dough is essentially a cookie dough, so you can make it in your stand mixer. Every time I look at my picture sequences, I am inspired to bake it all over again.
Taking this course has also given me a confidence that I never had before – a confidence to teach. Teaching is something that I have always said I would never do. It’s absolutely amazing what some great experience can do for your confidence.
Spring is finally here which means I only have a few baking classes left. I will miss the classes, my teacher and classmates very much but I am really excited to continue my culinary education. I have always been good with change and moving on to something new – it keeps life interesting and reminds me of how much the culinary world has to offer.
In my next installment, I will be giving you an inside look at my experience with creating the e-cooking videos for Centennial College’s YouTube channel. I got to work with Director Mike Ward and I will also be posting them on my social media as they roll out, so stay tuned! Lastly, I have a big announcement coming up in a few weeks so be sure to check back!
If you missed my previous Installments, here they are:
January 14, 2016: Baking School Part 1 – New Beginnings
January 28, 2016: Baking School Part 2 – That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles
February 11, 2016: Baking School Part 3 – One Part Patience and One Part Confidence
February 25, 2016: Baking School Part 4 – Getting My Choux On
March 10, 2016: Baking School Part 5 – Alive to Dead, Dough to Bread
March 24, 2016: Baking School Part 6 – Croissant, Puff Pastry and So Much Butter!
Thanks for baking with me!
*This post was created as part of a paid partnership between Centennial College and myself. However, and as always, all opinions are my own.
Growing up in my Italian family, sandwiches were our go-to lunch on the weekends. They are quick and hearty and the options