When it comes to dessert, it’s usually all or nothing. You’re either a dessert person or you’re not. The Two Girls are definitely in the pro-dessert camp. So it was with great pleasure we accepted an invitation from TasTAFE to attend one of their new master classes, Divine Desserts.
This Girl is not afraid of a dessert recipe, Zumbo notwithstanding. But instruction and experiential learning beats reading books hands down.
Classified as beginners, the success of Divine Desserts is that it demystifies the restaurant-quality dessert. An impressive dessert can be created from three or so, easy to make, component parts, most of which can be made ahead of time and assembled when needed.
Instructor David Hobba had us in as soon as we arrived. He’s not a patch on the angry Swiss pastry chef he was taught by. David is easy going, calm, knowledgeable and flexible, adapting as he goes to the skill of the class. He recommends that you find some dessert cookbooks you like and experiment with constructing a dessert by using different components from various recipes. Combine colours and textures, but complement flavours. Adding raspberry coulis can be a big kick in the pants to more delicate desserts that benefit from something more subtle.
Marketed as a demonstration class we were fortunate enough to have an instructor passionate about the lived experience. In this class you will cook, you will watch and you will construct desserts made with components you’ve made, and others that have been made ahead to save time.
We made salted caramel crème anglaise ice cream; white chocolate mousse; banana pudding, and we baked and curled tuille. We watched as David poached pears, turned crème anglaise into icecream in a commercial icecream maker and fast chill freezer and whipped up a dacquoise. He gave us guidance over brulee topping, making glaze and provided good advice on plating up.
We came away with recipes for:
- rosewater crème brulee with rhubarb done three ways and pine nut wafers
- white chocolate mousse with poached pear, honey tuiles, white chocolate filigree and hazelnut dacquoise and
- banana pudding with salted caramel icecream, macadamia shortbread, mirror glaze and cinnamon cream.
And as he talked through these recipes, he encouraged the class to think about how else the components could be constructed, mix and match, and the use of moulds and shapes to make a unique dessert.
Here are some of the things we learnt:
- Turning sugar into caramel isn’t something to be scared of, it just takes patience and concentration and a super clean pan so you won’t get sticking and burnt bits.
- Add a little water to your egg yolks if you find them drying out.
- The signs that an anglaise is ready include: there will be less foam, the mixture will be glossier and of course, it sticks to the back of your spoon.
- You don’t need overripe bananas to bake with. Instead, bake ripe bananas in their skin then mash them up, it really intensifies the banana flavour.
- Don’t over-sugar your brulee -there needs to be enough sugar to form a crust but not too much that you can’t melt it without melting the brulee.
The Two Girls enjoyed the chance to cook in a commercial kitchen with oodles of bench tops, ovens and cooktops, fridge and freezer space and heavy bottomed saucepans of all sizes.
The class ran from 5:30 – 9:30pm and cost $140. It includes a sit down dessert eating experience and you’ll take home as many leftovers as you can carry. Bring a bag.
As we noted earlier, The Two Girls got Devine Desserts as a freebie but the approach of the class, coverage and experience is worth doing again. We recommend this class and are keen to go back.
For more information on the TasTAFE master classes visit their website.
Here’s when we went to fermenting class, Not so alterno cooking class.
A post about eating desserts, Honey Badger.
Find David Hobba on Facebook here.
For another perspective on the class here’s ‘A Tasty Dessert Lesson’, The Mercury, 15 September 2015