Saturday afternoon
21 June 2008 at Sur La Table in Los Gatos.

This is totally new experiences for me to attend cooking class. I choose area that I never explore before, summer pies and tarts. Los Gatos been regarded as hilly neighborhood, old houses and villages atmosphere. Only took 25minutes from Sunnyvale through Hwy 85. The themes quite fit with hot summer time in California. Abundant fruits should be celebrated.

I arrived early, it turned out I had a chance to take pictures of kitchen assistant preparing the class. The goal was quite ambitious. Four different type of pies using different techniques. I admired the kitchen. With 6x7meter could conducted 16 students. The tools and appliances just there, including the ingredients.


The Chef today, Melissa Maxinoski explained how to make pie panstry using two ways : by hands or food processor. All the pie dough been prepared before, so we've only learn how to get the consistency and several tips about hot temperature. Melissa said, keep the butter cold on fridge and try to not touch the dough too much as you hand transferred heat to the dough.

We've using all sort of summer fruits from : apricots, plums,strawberries, blueberries, sour cherries, raspberries, and peaches. American called pastry cream to custard for filling, so the two are identical.

The first recipe is Summer Fruit Crostata which not using pies based. Then the Classic Berry Tart with custard. Cooking only related with the shell, but this recipe mainly fresh fruits.

No 3 recipe was Apricot Tarte Tatin. The story about this type of tart because someone forgot to put panstry for the base so she decided to put on top. The last one would be Cherry Pie. Indeed this is the star!


I managed to take photos while wandering making pies. The only difficulties I've got is compensate with limited light. It was indoor, no natural light at all. I used two lenses (18-200mm and 50mm f/1.4D). Still some not fast enough to capture the movement. I ended up have to get rid of noise. And also changing the tones can be quite tricky as I want to keep the color as many as possible.


There were four kitchen assistant on that day : Melanie, Kelly, Holly and Cheryl. We were shared knowledge about specifics ingredients and useful tips to produce best result. I did enjoy the class (and the pies!), mostly because I learned different aspects of cooking desert. It also ruined boundary about baking that sometimes stop me to cook. I am not an expert, but I am willing to try.