1. The Internet is so your friend. After offering to show my love for a niece by baking all the desserts for her wedding, I learned how to really bake. It became my mission to up the ante enough to feel proud of my gift to her. I took an intensive online course given by noted Vancouver Pastry Chef Marco Ropke. I made almost all the pastries, European cakes and cookies in the course over the course of six months. The instruction, more than 10 hours of video and clear recipes were amazing. I also communicated with the Chef and got answers to my questions…mainly about sourcing ingredients.
2. I’m always asked to bring dessert to dinner parties. That’s OK by me. I get to try something new and fancy and we don’t have to eat all of it.
3. If you are serious about learning to bake you have to get right back on that horse when you fall off and you will fall off a lot. Even experienced chefs and bakers have failures. I try to analyze why the cake didn’t rise and have another go. In the case of macarons, there were multiple attempts and I’m getting close.
4. Don’t mess about trying to make your baking less fattening. Use real butter, good chocolates and rich cream. It is all about the ingredients. I don’t see the point in indulging in a treat if it is only so-so. Let them eat great cake or have a carrot. There is no in-between.
5. Five Paris Brest pastries (a cream puff type affair) is too many to eat in one session, the Handyman says.