These past five weeks I immersed myself into a Baking Class, the idea being I wanted to learn more. But ultimately, face my fear of cooking school. Shamelessly, I have to admit I had this whole Julia Child Movie moment in my head, classrooms that are light and Airy with inspiration everywhere. This was far from the case.
The Culinary program at scottsdale community college, isn’t a “sparkly”setting. More lackluster, the room is small, filled with 6 working stations to host pairs of two, the equipment is scarce, and the kitchenaid mixers are run down. There is even a cockroach scurrying across the floor that has decided to flee the building because it would rather be somewhere else.
Enter my first day, I walk in I’m right on time 5pm sharp. It seems everyone has already arrived and set up, I baffled. I take note and realize on time actually means 15 min early. The teacher or CHEF, starts talking, telling us “we are diving right in First Mise en Place and then please DON’T start baking”. Everyone scurries to the shelves and I’m left standing there, dumbfounded. Already feeling behind, I tell myself to Focus! What is the girl next to me doing? DO the same, I tell myself to do the same. So, I go follow. With containers and digital scales in our hands we come back to the station, I turn to the girl next to me and ask “what the F is Mise en Place” ? “Everything in Place, she says”. Using her hands she waves them at her already weighed ingredients for the cream scones we were making. I hadn’t even started. I turn my scale on, it doesnt work. I go to get another one, they are all gone. Fuck. I take another breath, but somehow manage to calm myself. Savanah my teammate kindly offers hers when she is finished and we actually SCALE the rest of the items together. THANK GOD.
The rest of the class is smooth, but I realize It's been years since working in a bakery setting, or coffee shop and I can’t quite remember how to set up the 3 part sink but try hard to ignite the thought stored deep in my brain. Class consists of 4.5 hours of hands on baking, as well as rolling up your sleeves and doing mundane things like cleaning dishes, floors and equipment. Chef, makes the small unglamours room feel Big, Bright and full of life. Half way through class I’ve forgotten about the coacroah and found myself well on my way to scaling baking and having the time of my life! Once I realize that the fears of this class have subsided, I take a big deep breath and press on.
Below I have included the CIA ( Culinary institute of America’s Pie dough and apple pie we made in class!) Happy Baking friends,
APPLE PIE RECIPE FROM CIA :
3-2 -1 PIE DOUGH
- 3 lbs All purpose flour
- 1 oz Salt
- 2 lbs Butter, cut into pieces, chilled
- 1 lb Cold Water
NOTE: BUTTER MUST BE COLD
Combine the flour and salt in a electric mixer (like a kitchenaid). Add the butter and blend with the paddle attachment on medium speed until pea size nuggets form, about 3 min. For flaky dough, you are looking for ½ to ¾ inch pieces of butter. For mealy dough you are looking for almost a coarse cornmeal consistency. Add the water all at once and continue to mix until the dough just comes together.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling. ( the dough can be held under refrigeration for three days or frozen.
Apple Pie Makes one 9inch pie
6 to 8 apples, peeled and cut into 1/4inch slices
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt Egg wash (1 egg to 1 tablespoon milk, beaten)
Coarse sugar, as needed
Prepare crust using the All Butter Double-Crust, bottom crust fitted in pie pan and chilled, top crust rolled out into a 11-inch round.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and set the rack in the lowest position. Using a pastry wheel, cut twelve 1-inch-wide strips of dough from the top crust. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Toss to combine. Immediately layer the apples in the prepared bottom crust, arranging and pressing them to eliminate gaps and air pockets.
For the decorative top crust, watch THIS LINK https://www.kingarthurflour.com/videos/how-to-weave-lattice-pie-crust step-by-step techniques to prepare.
Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pie and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue baking until bubbly, 60 to 70 minutes more. Remove the pie from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Let cool for 2 to 3 hours. The filling will continue to thicken and set as the pie cools.