Last weekend I had the privilege of attending a 2 day tarts class in The Academy of Pastry Arts. Thanks to Jade of Mustard Tree for inviting. It was too bad that I could only attend 1 day and not both of them. Having attended the patisserie course in Le Cordon Bleu many years ago, this session was more of a reminiscence and a refreshment for me especially when I’m not entirely working in a pastry kitchen. The Academy of Pastry Arts is an institute for you to learn more about baking and pastry. Nope we’re not talking about mediocre (sorry for the rough description but just sometimes I feel it is like that) baking classes from unknown and unqualified people, The Academy has a group of talented pastry chefs from France and locally as well. They also do have highly (and I meant, really HIGHLY) qualified and famous pastry chefs coming into the academy as guest lecturers for the more advance classes in their “Continuing Education for Professionals”.which I am really tempted to go to (oh chocolate truffles and bon bons I miss you so much!)
For the class, we were thought how to make quiche, choux puffs and eclairs. Chef Guillaume Lejeune was our chef lecturer that day. Firstly of course he would do a short demo on how he would make the shortcrust, then it would be our turn to make it. I was happy that each of us made our own products as I believe, working hands on in a class helps you understand better rather than just watching and trying to remember everything.
#1 Chef Lejeunne shows us how to roll the pastry and line it for the quiche. Chef Lejeunne is a graduate in Pastry Arts (BTM en Patissier) and CAP Pâtissier- Chocolatier- Glacier- Traiteur, is the Director of Pastry Arts for the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia. He has been trained under some of the great Pastry Chefs ( M.O.F) of France. He has also taught in Qatar for 4 years before coming to Malaysia.
#2 Sonia and Veron concentrating on their shortcrust dough.
#3 yours truly getting ’em hands dirty as well!
#4 Tarts lined, grated cheese spreaded, spincha leaves scattered and cherry tomatoes halved. Simple ingredients, vibrant flavour.
#5 Now filled with Royale, then sent to bake!
#6 Tadahh (sorry mate, flourescent light above, hence the reflection) Oh boy it smelt so good.. ~~
Next up would be Choux and Eclairs.
#7 Chef showing us how to prepare the craquelin, which is a dough of butter, brown sugar and flour before being put into the freezer then cut into shapes to be put on top of the choux puffs. I had wanted to learn this as during my time when I had my course, craquelin wasn’t that widely available yet.
#8 Chef piping the eclairs to be filled with Chocolate creme patisserie later!
#9 We then made the choux dough and pipped it too! I’m pretty happy that my eclairs and choux are piped consistently. The brown layers on top are the craquelin. What’s next? Baking time!
#10 The oven room. Just a tip, when baking choux, don’t open the oven till it’s all puffed up and browned. Otherwise it would sink and become flat.
#11 baked eclairs and choux. HUGE!!
#12 Chef fills the eclair with chocolate creme patisserie which we had made it earlier so it is chilled and ready to be piped.
#13 Chox puffs with Creme Chantilly. Yum… I love whipped cream
All in all, it was a fun and joyful session. I’m glad that there are more baking and pastry schools opening up in Malaysia, opening up our minds on the wide horizon of the world of pastry!
Here are my two cents. If you are intending to enroll in a pastry course, whether to be a professional, or just for leisure, it wouldn’t hurt to attend a day or two at the institute just to get a feel of how the place works before committing into a long term course. If you want to make it as a professional, be very sure to check what kind of certification or accreditation the institute offers.
Also, do ask around if there are any alumnis and/or ex-students and get their opinion.I have received alot of emails asking about Le Cordon Bleu the past few years but they have stopped since I shut down the other blog which contains alot of my work in LCB and the recipes. I may one day, import them all here (minus the recipes).. 🙂
Most importantly, ask yourself if you’re really passionate about it.
The Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia has some upcoming classes in July, such as;
Opera, Cream puffs and macaron on the 16th July for only RM 250
Sugar Art and cupcakes (which includes pastillage and airbrush technique) on the 16th and 17th July for RM 500
Chocolate Master Class with Chef Auboine (eekk!! I want!! anyone want to sponsor :P) for RM2000 from 18th to 23rd July
Croissant and danish on 30th July for only RM 250
… and many more. Check out their website http://www.academyofpastryartsmalaysia.com for more detailed information 🙂