Pastry Fundamentals (3 class series)
$415 per person
Our Fundamentals classes are designed to give home cooks a solid foundation of skills for everyday cooking and baking. They will build your confidence, equip you with techniques, and provide you with abundant inspiration in the kitchen.
What You'll Learn
By the end of the class you will:
- Know how to identify basic baking ingredients and understand their functions
- Practice piping, mixing, rolling doughs, assembling and decorating various pastries
- Have the ability to build a layered cake, make pastry cream and execute piping techniques
About This Class
The Pastry Fundamentals series will teach you a set of dessert-based recipes, each one with the ability to become many additional variations. Meeting once a week over three consecutive weeks, you will learn base recipes that will enable you to build an intuitive sense for how things work in the pastry kitchen and give you the freedom to create innovative desserts on your own.
You will leave Pasty Fundamentals with master recipes for pâte à choux, pastry cream, tart dough, pie dough, cupcakes, layer cake, buttercream frosting, and more. You’ll be amazed at how many creative desserts you can bake from these foundational techniques.
And yes, you’ll get to take home many of your desserts!
Please note: Pastry Fundamentals class starting on 11/18 will meet 11/18, 12/2 and 12/9. There will be no class meeting during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Session One: Pâte à Choux, Pastry Cream, Chocolate Glaze, and Intro to Pie Dough
Learn the base dough for éclairs, cream puffs, profiteroles, and gougères, as well as the traditional custard fillings, and foolproof chocolate glaze. You will also begin to explore the ins and outs of pie and tart dough.
Session Two: Pies, Tarts, Turnovers, and Galettes
Learn the art of a tender, flaky pie crust and how to marry it with a variety of fillings, from fruit to chocolate. You’ll also learn how to prep your pies and tarts in advance, how to use pie dough to create rustic tarts and turnovers, and even how to make your leftover scraps into delicious treats.
Session Three: Cakes and Cupcakes
Learn the secrets of mixing, baking, and frosting a complete layer cake, as well as tips on how to use cake syrup and decorate like a pro.
- Wine included
- Light meal served in class
- Work in teams
- Suitable for vegetarians
- Three-session series
- Ages 18+
The average duration of our cooking classes is 4 hours, and they are broken down into three segments: Introductory lecture or demo, hands-on cooking, and eating.
The class will begin with a short discussion or demo from your instructor. After, you can expect to work either on a team or individually to prepare the class menu. As a group, your class will prepare the selected menu in its entirety. In most classes, not every student will make every dish.
Learning happens throughout the class, and your instructor will often call out key techniques as they happen in each recipe.
Most classes conclude by sitting down as a group to eat what you’ve prepared, followed by a discussion of each recipe. You will leave with a copy of the recipe packet and a working knowledge of every dish that was made so you can recreate them at home.
Doors open 15 minutes before the class start time.
You do not need to bring anything with you to class, unless otherwise noted in the class description. The kitchens at SFCS are fully equipped and aprons, recipes, equipment, food and wine are all provided for you.
In most classes, you will be sitting down to eat a complete meal that you have prepared along with your classmates. Since this typically occurs towards the end of the class period, an appetizer or small plate is usually prepared early on in class. However, you’re welcome to additionally have a snack before you arrive or bring one with you.
Please note, for our Baking & Pastry classes, a light meal will be provided for you.
We suggest wearing casual clothing you can easily move around in, and highly recommend wearing comfortable closed-toe shoes. Long hair should be pulled back.
If you can’t make it to a class in a three, five or six-week series, you are welcome to send a friend in your place. Please notify us if a friend will be taking your spot.
Unfortunately, due to the small size of our classes, we do not offer make-up classes for missed sessions in a series.
Any cancellation up to two weeks prior to your class start date will be refunded 100%. Cancellations up to 5 days before your class start date will qualify for an online credit to be applied to another class. No refunds or credits will be issued for cancellations received less than 5 days before your class start date, however, you may always send a friend in your place if you’re unable to attend.
Jessica Sullivan got her start cooking professionally with Paul Kliste at his Restaurante Fratelli in Portland, Oregon. After relocating to San Francisco in 2004, she worked as executive pastry chef at Nancy Oakes’ Boulevard Restaurant, and later at Prospect. In 2012, she accepted the position of executive pastry chef for Craig Stoll’s Delfina Restaurant Group. Today, she is a full-time Pastry Arts instructor at San Francisco Cooking School and serves on the board of non-profit Sprouts Cooking Club.
Amy Machnak is a pastry chef and food writer who has worked at such notable restaurants as Boulevard, Farallon, Gitane, and Hawthorne Lane. She was the recipe editor at Sunset Magazine for several years and contributed to many of their cookbooks and cooking videos. Amy won a James Beard award for food writing and both a Telly and Henry Luce award for cooking videos. She currently works as a columnist for the SF Chronicle covering baking and pastries in the Bay Area. Her first cookbook, Make it Spicy was published May 2015 and she’s currently working on a second cookbook about wedding cakes.
Christine came to San Francisco with the dream of pursing a career in pastry after her previous life in tech. Since graduating from the Professional Pastry program at SF Cooking School, she has worked at Nopa and Black Jet Baking Co., does professional recipe development and bakery consulting, and loves teaching cooking to kids and teens.