As I mentioned, three of my sisters and I spent this past weekend in Healdsburg to surprise my Dad for his b’day. As part of our plan, each us chose part of the day Saturday or Sunday to do something one on one with him. For my time, I took Dad to Relish Culinary Adventures to learn from a pro how to make pumpkin pies and apple galettes from scratch.
The class was tought by Kathleen Stewart of Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg. Kathleen is an alumnus of Chez Panisse and was part of the original Bakers Dozen organization lead by Marion Cunningham. Kathleen’s demonstrations and the information she imparted throughout the three-hour class were really valuable. Even my Dad, who learned how to bake over 50 years ago and is a great cook, learned a lot from Kathleen. Plus, we received her recipes for pie dough and pastry dough.
The hands-on portion of the class was pretty basic. The class was larger than I expected for a hands-on class, 22 people to three tables. What this meant was that for the pumpkin pies, 8 of us collectively mixed up one batch of pumpkin pie filling (the pumpkin puree had already been made, which was too bad because I’ve never done that part before) and poured it into premade parbaked pie crusts. While the ingredients were of organic quality, baking wise it was the equivalent of mixing up the Libby’s pumpkin pie mix and pouring it into a Pillsbury crust.
We each then rolled out one mini pie crust from pre-made dough to make our own mini-crust. Kathleen demonstrated the pinch and push method for making the crust edges – my Dad’s turned out perfectly. Mine? Not so much. It was pretty pointy.
Next up, apple galettes. We rolled out our premade pastry dough (super-elasticky) placed 1 tsp of flour, 1 tsp of sugar in the middle of the dough, covered with sliced and peeled apples, added 1 TBSP sugar and a pinch of cinnamon and wrapped it up – attempting to “pleat it” like Kathleen showed us. Once wrapped, brush with melted butter and apply a bit more sugar. Easy, simple and delicious. Even though my “pleating’ job was poor the end product looked professional and tasted wonderful. So wonderful, that it was long gone before I thought of taking a picture.
Overall, it was nice hanging out with Dad doing something we both enjoyed. Even though the class wasn’t as hands-on as I had expected, we still learned a lot (the freezing and resting info alone!), and I’m now excited to make my own pie and pastry dough instead of resorting to crust in a box.