CKCA, The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, (1407 Coney Island Avenue,, Brooklyn, NY 11230; 718.758.1339) is right in the heart of the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn’s Flatbush community. It is the only kosher cooking school in the US to offer professional level training in both Culinary and Baking and Pastry Arts.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a session of their Baking and Pastry Arts course, taught by Pastry Chef Mark Hellermann. Though I’m not part of the student body, I was enthralled by the instructors explanation and his easy, friendly style of teaching. His 20 years of experience as a Pastry Chef and teacher served him well.
Without exception the students seemed passionate about their interest in the subject matter. Without exception, each one strove to produce the best, visually enticing, delicious Bavarian pastries.
As soon as the pastries were ready, I could hear them calling out my name and my notorious sweet tooth knew just what to do about the situation. I started with the Pyramid Bavarian, a two toned combination of pureed fruits consisting, in this case, of mango and strawberry. It had just the right combination of tartness and sweetness, its texture was very smooth. Loved it! Actually… I had no choice but to devour the three that distinctly and pleadingly, called out to me. I segued with a Crème Caramel, very sweet but not overbearing, smooth… It too was delicious.
I followed with a rounded Strawberry Bavarian and a rounded Mango Bavarian. These Bavarians consist of three parts each, a thin sponge cake bottom, pureed fruit and the glaçage or mirroir top. This a jellied mirror like covering in the color of the particular fruit used in the puree.
The garnished Bavarians showed creativity, the very thin twill cookies adorning many of these came in all shapes and the cookie’s crispness and pureed fruit combined to give each Bavarian a pleasant, inviting appearance.
This course is given four times a week, in four hour sessions for 10 weeks. Having obverved the students during the preparation, their passion and dedication to their tasks were palpable, I have no doubt they all have a bright future ahead!
The next course will start shortly after Pessach and run through June, don’t forget to sign up by calling Jesse Blonder at:718.758.1339.