Feb. 2022: I Made a Lotta Dough


In my constant quest to keep learning, I just finished a community college course – my first time on a college campus since I taught journalism as an adjunct in the 1980s.

“Basic Baking Techniques” is what I thought I signed up for – but certainly not how I would describe what I learned.

The professor, Chef Andre Adam, is exacting and expressive, a native of France and Master pastry chef.

A dozen of us filed into his kitchen/classroom two mornings a week to pick up our copies of what Chef referred to as “formulas” – recipes for what I’ve classified until now as “fancy French pastry.”

We then spent four hours wrangling ingredients into a variety of cakes, cookies, tarts, eclairs, meringues, glazes and more. It was exhausting and inspiring, and stretched everything I thought I knew about baking.

But I think the best part of the course was experiencing the energy, humor and work ethic of the 20-somethings who were my fellow students. We all encouraged each other, lavished praise on the finished products and/or helped fix any flops if we could.

The photo is of one of two cakes my team turned out for our “final exam.” It’s a genoise cake, layered with crème patisserie and fresh raspberries, and drizzled with chocolate ganache. It tasted as good as it looks, too!

Outside the classroom, I’ve made two tarts from scratch, just in the last week. They haven’t been perfect, but I’m as proud of them as I’ve been of anything that’s emerged from my humble kitchen.

And now I actually do need to make more “dough” – because I need to buy a stand mixer…and a food scale…and a bunch of kitchen tools I always assumed I could live without. C'est la vie!