Even confident cooks sometimes feel like they need a little extra help when it comes to baking, a pursuit that is as much science as it is art.
Watching a professional pastry chef roll out pastry dough or ice a cake can be worth far more than a thousand printed words. Cooking schools all over Long Island offer classes in the pastry arts; here are four venues and a sampling of their courses:
CLASS: Spring cupcake workshop
WHEN: April 24
HOW MUCH: $70
During this hands-on class you'll learn to make both devil's food cake and yellow sponge cake as well as frostings and cupcake-decorating techniques.
CLASS: Artisan bread workshop
WHEN: 2 sessions: May 22 and 23
HOW MUCH: $150
This intense workshop, designed for those with some bread-baking experience, will enhance your skills. Breads include sourdough, baguette, pumpernickel, challah and focaccia.
CLASS: Retro desserts
WHEN: May 29
HOW MUCH: $70
Relish the memories - and recreations of whoopie pies, cream-filled chocolate cupcakes, strawberry-chiffon pie and homemade doughnuts.
WHEN: March 24
HOW MUCH: $49
Learn to bake, frost, and slice different types of cakes including chocolate layer cake, angel food cake and key-lime cheesecake.
CLASS: Pies and tarts
WHEN: April 6 and May 25
HOW MUCH: $99
Learn to make and roll out pie dough, line a pan, make lattice tops, fill and glaze pies and tarts. Recipes include sweet pastry dough, apple pie, fruit tart with lemon curd and caramel-walnut ice cream.
CLASS: Baking Classics
WHEN: Four sessions: April 17 and 24, May 1 and 8
HOW MUCH: $499
Each 5-hour session of this intensive four-part workshop series focuses on a different area of baking: cookies and custards, breads, pies and tarts, cakes and souffles.
CLASS: Sweet and savory souffles
WHEN: Two sessions: April 20 and 21
HOW MUCH: $115
The first class will cover dessert soufflés including chocolate and Grand Marnier; the second class, savory soufflés such as crab and cheese. Accompanying sauces will be introduced as well.
CLASS: Sweet and savory crepes
WHEN: April 6
HOW MUCH: $85
Arie Pavlou, formerly chef-co-owner of Coeur de Vignes restaurant in Southold, demonstrates both sweet and savory crepes.
CLASS: Cake decorating, Level 1
WHEN: Four sessions: April 12, 19, 26 and May 3 and May 10, 17, 24 and 31
HOW MUCH: $95
This four-session introductory course is, at $95, a great value. Learn to make frostings, fillings, borders (shell, fluted, rope and pearl), star tips, basket weave, flowers, buds and leaves.
CLASS: Cupcake creations
WHEN: April 29
HOW MUCH: $135
Cupcakes are the latest dessert trend. In this class you'll bake them, make fondant and buttercream frostings and learn professional decorating tips.
WHEN: April 25
HOW MUCH: $125
Learn how to bake and decorate cookies for a party for any occasion, including favors and holiday cookies. Decorating techniques will include color flow, rolled fondant and royal icing.