For the past four weeks, every Wednesday I kiss the dogs goodbye, throw my overnight bag in the car and make the gorgeous two and a half hour drive from Dillon to Missoula. I love having that time to myself. I listen to our local NPR station, I daydream, I watch the drop-dead scenery roll by. Sometimes I turn off the radio, roll down the windows and just breathe in that cold, clear mountain air. Heaven. And it's about this time of day I've been rolling into Missoula heading for the fun, camaraderie and carb-loading of my new favorite past-time...the Posh Chocolat Pastry Class.
Sadly, this Wednesday's class was canceled so I figured I'd better get my behind in gear, go through the pictures and get that long over-due pastry class post done. Let's face it, I'd much rather be basking in the glory of rising pastry and whirling buttercream but, hey, looking at the pictures just reminds me of how much fun we're having and, oh!, the things we're learning.
We've gone through yeast breads, enriched breads, biscuits, muffins and cakes. I've learned how to make a Swiss Meringue Buttercream (something I've always been intimidated by) and how to fill a cream puff (always a good skill to have). My favorite lesson so far was making croissants and, especially, making Pain au Chocolat. Time consuming, yes, but so much fun. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Another aspect I'm thoroughly enjoying? Working in a warm, well-organized kitchen and baking with other women who don't think it's crazy to wax poetic over rising bread dough. We swap tips, share stories and laugh together over awkward attempts at new techniques. I look forward to their smiling faces as much as I look forward to the goody bags we get to take home at the end of a successful evening of baking. Who knew baking with friends could be so satisfying? Instead of book clubs, why aren't baking clubs taking off? Hmm, maybe I'll be the first to get the trend going.
So, Natalie, Jo, Marietta, Maggie and Chef Ana, since I can't be with you all tonight, I've put up a web album of our Wednesday fun for you to peruse and I will happily drink a toast in your honor. Here's to new friends and unrestrained baking! Cheers!