The Pastry School Diaries: Starting with the Basics - Rachael Ray Every Day

The Pastry School Diaries: Starting with the Basics

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Editorial Assistant, Lauren Katz, has enrolled in the part time Baking & Pastry Arts program at New York City's Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experience!

The last few classes have focused on different ways to work with eggs and sugar. It's amazing how far knowing and mastering a few simple recipes can get you in the kitchen. Take meringue, for example, you start by simply whipping egg whites and sugar. Once baked, the mixture turns into an airy cookie.

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Meringues piped by myself and my class members, flavored and colored similarly to our marshmallows.


Adding just a bit of almond flour transforms the same mixture into French macarons. OR, you can gently fold in melted chocolate, butter and egg yolks and create a flourless chocolate souffle!

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I'm going to have to recreate these flawless souffles as part of our final exam

Another must-know recipe is custard. To make a basic custard, you boil milk and sugar, gradually add it to a mixture of eggs and vanilla, strain it and cool. Easy as-- well, easier than-- pie! With this custard base, you can bake it to make creme brulee or flan, or you can add chunks of baguette and raisins to make bread pudding. Other desserts that start with a similar base are creme anglaise and ice cream.

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Flan is made by cooking sugar down to a caramel, letting it harden in a tin cup, pouring custard base on top and then baking it in a water bath.

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Coffee creme brulee flavored with my new favorite ingredient, Trablit

Be sure to check back next Friday for more delicious fun!