I won’t wax nostalgic or make some trite comment about how quickly time goes by. Yet, twenty weeks ago, the day I hoped I would make it to, and now the day I was regretting, was upon me. The last class of Pastry Techniques 101. No more fighting traffic on Tuesday evenings to meet up with my new friends to explore the world of pastry. No more doggie bags of pastry treats to bring home to Todd. The end was here.
Instead of letting us feel blue about the course being over (although maybe some people were glad, but I don’t think so), Chef made sure the last class would be one of celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with an hors d’oeuvres buffet? He put us to work one last time, and then we savored the tartlettes of our labor. We made salambos filled with egg salad, croissant jambon (which means ham croissant in French), miniature quiches, sausage en croute (basically brioche wrapped around sausage), sliders with brioche buns, blue cheese tartlettes, pissaladière (a tart with caramelized onions, olives and anchovies), cheese straws and more.
While the buffet focused mostly on using doughs to create hors d’oeuvres, how to properly plate hors d’oeuvres (stacking, for most hors d’oeuvres, is a big no-no, by the way) and stage an hors d’oeuvres table (variety is key – we eat with our eyes, remember?), it was also an opportunity to reflect on what we had learned and all we had accomplished, the new friendships made and what the future might bring. It was the culmination of twenty weeks of learning, practicing, and remaining dedicated to one subject.
When I signed up for Pastry Techniques 101, I had only one goal: to get over my fear of baking, particularly baking pastry. The course helped me accomplish that goal, yet provided much more. I met delightful people, some of whom I now consider good friends, I learned from a remarkable master pastry chef, and I gained a renewed appreciation for pastry chefs’ hard work and creativity. Most of all, though, PT101 has opened my mind to the idea that I could have a new career or business in this field. I don’t know what that means right now or how this idea might develop, but I’m excited to see what the future brings. And even though Pastry Techniques 101 is over, Sugar Talk will live on. So, if nothing else, look for future posts about my continued exploration of all things pastry and baking.
Of course, the final PT101 class post would be incomplete if I didn’t thank Nina, class assistant extraordinaire, and all the other assistants – Lauren, Erin, Jackie and Cynthia – for their knowledge, patience and hand holding.