Baking Basics: Make Perfect Pastries Every Time | Umber Ahmad | Skillshare

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Baking Basics: Make Perfect Pastries Every Time

teacher avatar Umber Ahmad, Baker

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (1h 10m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Getting Started

    • 3. Intro to Focaccia Dough

    • 4. Focaccia: Mediterranean

    • 5. Focaccia: Strawberry with Balsamic Glaze

    • 6. Intro to Rough Puff

    • 7. Apricot and Poppy Seed Tart

    • 8. Raspberry Napoleon

    • 9. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Grab your sheet pan and discover the secret to creating (and customizing) perfect breads and pastries with Umber Ahmad!  

Join scientist turned banker turned baker, Umber Ahmad, as she breaks down how to create two transformative doughs that make perfect culinary canvases for any baked creation. The secret? Baking with “mother doughs,” or doughs that can be transformed into several different bakes. You’ll learn every fundamental skill you need to take her recipes and run, leaving class with the confidence to build beautiful doughs and create brand new recipes of your own! 

Sharing techniques and tips that she uses in her own bakeries, Umber will:

  • Demystify the science behind your baking
  • Show you how to cheat lamination with a rough puff recipe
  • Teach you how to bake a simple beautiful tart with gorgeous fruit on top
  • Share her favorite ways to top focaccia and how to create your own

Plus, you’ll journey through Umber’s travels throughout the class as every recipe that Umber shares are inspired by her favorite destinations around the world. 

Whether you identify as a corner or center slice person, get ready to spark inspiration for your next great bake. After taking this class, you’ll have every tool you need to create delicious breads and pastries with flavors that will turn heads and warm the heart!

While any student can enjoy and learn from Umber, this class was developed for the beginner baker looking to solidify their fundamentals, begin leveling up their baking and challenge their creativity.

Meet Your Teacher

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Umber Ahmad



Umber Ahmad grew up traveling around the world, belonging simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. Her family is from Pakistan and she grew up in a town in northern Michigan filled with first-generation Finns and Swedes. The magic of spices was first taught to her in Pakistan, where as a very young girl she learned that food had a language all its own. After studying genetics and business, Umber spent much of her career in finance. During her tenure as an investment banker, she was the subject of “Risk|Reward”, a critically acclaimed 2002 TriBeCa Film Festival-premiered documentary film about women on Wall Street. Umber is a founding Managing Director of a boutique investment advisory firm that specializes in business development throughout MENA, Europe, and Asia. In this capa... See full profile

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1. Introduction : Baking is a joyous event, just knowing that you're creating something that someone else is going to enjoy. There's nothing greater than that in life. My name is Umber Ahmad. I'm the founder of Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery. I think food is one of the most intimate, incredible honors that you can do for another human being. Something that you make with your own hands goes into another person and it changes who they are. I decided at a very early age that food was a way that I was going to be able to express who I was as a person. As I grew up and as I got older and I started to become a professional, everything that I learned along the way allowed me to carry all of what I knew how to do with what I love to do and now I own bakeries. Today's class is about making mother doughs. A mother dough is a recipe that can be used in a lot of different ways. Think about it as almost a blank canvas that you're going to decorate and make your own with your own personality and the ingredients that you have. The first mother dough we're going to learn is Focaccia. It is one of my favorite things to eat and it's also ironically one of the simplest things to make. We're also going to make rough puff. A rough puff is a type of puff pastry that again has many different applications. I hope at the end of our class together that you walk away feeling empowered, feeling excited, and feeling a little hungry because you really want to make the doughs that we've done together. The best part of this class is what comes out of your oven. We're ready to get started, gather your ingredients, and I'll meet you in the kitchen. 2. Getting Started: Welcome to the kitchen. I'm really excited to teach this class. Today we're going to make mother dough, things that you can use in so many different ways. My family is from Pakistan, and we grew up in Northern Michigan surrounded by Norwegian, and Swedish, and Finnish immigrants. I learned a lot about food from those people that we lived around and also our family at home. We spent much of our childhood traveling around the world. We've got to go to different countries and try different foods and figure out how all of those things came together, how they're connected with one another. I very quickly learned that they're connected through ingredients and through flavors. Someone in Spain is cooking with the same thing that someone in Sweden is cooking with, and my grandmother in Pakistan drinks her tea with the same spice that our nanny Graham who raised us in Michigan put in her bread. All of a sudden everything came together. You've figured out what people taste like and how you're connected to them, and that's what I love about food. It's a love language, and is a way for you to express who you are and what it is that you hope to do. My favorite thing about cooking is taking old memories and bringing them into the present and connecting someone else's memories with yours. That's what I love about the food that we're going to make today. The mother dough; the focaccia and the rough path are essentially canvases or blank pieces of paper that we're going to create wonderful new memories on together. One of the beautiful things about those is that we can jump all over the world. Just like I traveled as a child, we're going to travel together today and go from country to country and create beautiful memories with our mother dough. My approach on baking is a very simple one. I want to have fun. So much of life is serious and this need not to be. This is a beautiful opportunity for you to express yourself, and share what you do with other people. There's just a sense of love around what we do, something that's relatively low risk. It should just be whimsical and happy. The two recipes that we're going to tackle today are very easy. The reason why they're easy is because it doesn't require a lot of equipment, it doesn't require a lot of special skill. It just really requires you to pay attention, think about what you're doing and end with a very happy eating result. You're going to acquire a lot of great core baking skills including how to mix those, and how to think about letting things rise, and why it's important to give things time. Also learning about lamination. It sounds super technical and very advanced, but it's actually not. We're going to do a little bit of a cheating shortcut that it's going to end in a beautiful result. My hope is that you'll walk away from here feeling empowered with an opportunity to create great, wonderful food both for yourself and for those people that you love. I'm going to challenge you a little bit today. I'm going to have you think through how to put sweet with salty, crunchy with chewy. Everything that you've ever thought about, turn it a little bit on its side. You don't need a lot of things in order to learn about the mother dough. In terms of experience you could have never stepped foot in a kitchen before, and that's absolutely fine. If you have a lot of experience, that's wonderful too. I find that you're going to learn something new every time you have an opportunity to bake. One of the best things about these mother dough is that you don't need a lot of fancy equipment. All you need are some bowls, some measuring cups, some measuring spoons. If you have it; and I recommend that you have it, as a scale. While you're following along today, just a quick reminder that you can download the recipes and find them in the Resources Tab. Follow along, make these recipes, take gorgeous photos of them, and share them with me in the rest of the Skillshare community by uploading them to the Gallery. I can't wait. Let's get started. Next up, we're going to do our first mother dough; the focaccia. 3. Intro to Focaccia Dough: There are so many different uses for focaccia dough. I can't wait for you to learn this and try a million of them. The first thing to learn about focaccia dough is that it starts with leavening. Leavening is anything that makes something rise. The leavening that we're using in the focaccia is instant yeast. Instant yeast is something you can find in any grocery store. Looks like this. It's little granules. The one thing you have to remember about instant yeast is you have to make sure that it's active or alive, otherwise, your dough is not going to rise. The way to do that is we test it and to test it is you take your yeast and then you want to add something a little bit sweet. I like using honey instead of sugar. One thing is because it's a little bit more in its natural form and it also gives just a tiny bit of additional personality which I always love in our food. Put the honey in with the yeast and then once you've done that, you want to add water. As a baker, one of the things that's really important is to have precision in your measurements. Don't be afraid of that, the easiest way to do that is to have a scale, get a scale, keep it in your kitchen. You're going to use it for everything. Go ahead and tear it out, which means make it back to zero once you've put your bowl on top of the scale, and then go ahead and put in 575 grams of water. It's about two and a half cups and the water, you want it to be warm, warm enough that it's almost to the temperature of bathwater, but you don't want it to be so hot otherwise again, you're going to kill the yeast. I'm putting in 575 grams of water and as soon as I get to that stage, I want to mix everything together. Give it a light little whisk just to make sure that all of the yeast gets into the water. The honey mixes through and now you have to wait about five or seven minutes. While you're waiting, what you're going to see is that the yeast is going to start to foam up a little bit. It's going to get foamy. It's going to come to the surface. That's how you know that the yeast is alive. If nothing happens, and after seven minutes, your bowl looks exactly the same, then you're going to know the yeast is dead, and instead of wasting all the rest of your ingredients, start over, get new yeast, try it again. While the yeast is rising, prepare your dry ingredients. Focaccia is so simple, it only has two dry ingredients, all-purpose flour, and kosher salt. I prefer kosher salt to regular table salt because it's a little bit thicker in its grain and it has a little bit more personality to it. If you have just the iodized table salt, that's absolutely fine, use half as much. I'm taking a tablespoon. I'm going to go ahead and put it into the flour, I'm going to whisk it together. That's the easiest way to make sure that things are incorporated. Give it a nice little whisk and once the whisk is done, you're ready to wait for the yeast to rise. One of the things I love about focaccia is it's so versatile, you can do so many different things with it. I know that a little bit because I always love to know where my food comes from, I like to know where my ingredients come from, and I also really like to understand why something is what it is. Focaccia comes from an old Italian word [inaudible] [inaudible] means hearth or fire, and so really what this is about is putting dough into a fire. Focaccia bakes at a much higher temperature than most breads and the reason why that is is because you want to create steam inside of the bread, so it'll puff up and create those little pockets when you open it up. That steam comes from all the water that we have in the dough. That's why we have a lot more water than you would normally see in a regular bread dough. In ancient Roman and Greek times, that's how they used to test an oven. They tear off a piece of the dough, cover it with some oil and a little bit of salt, and throw it into the hearth. If it puffed up in the right amount of time, you knew you had the correct temperature. We're a little bit luckier these days. We can actually just set it on the oven. Now that you are seeing that the yeast is rising, you can actually see it's really beautiful. It's just puffing up and coming to the surface of the water, you know that you have active yeast. As soon as you know that you have active yeast, the mixing starts, all you'd have to do is take all of your dry ingredients and dump them into the bowl, a width of water, the yeast in the honey, and then mix it up. Again, no special tools are required. Just take a spatula or something that you're going to be able to scrape the sides of the bowl down and just give it a good mix. The thing that's really fun about bread is you don't have to be that gentle with it. Because what bread actually benefits from is working it a little bit. You'll hear people talking about needing doughs or working doughs. The main reason why you do that is because you want to release the gluten inside of the flour. Gluten is a protein and the gluten is actually what creates to. The more that you work gluten, the more that you are aggressive with it, the chewy or something becomes. The less you work it, the less chewy it is. Imagine you're making a cake. You don't want it to be chewy, you're not going to work your butter very much. But when you're making something like a bread, you want a little bit chewy, you want to try to fight with it just a tiny bit with your teeth, and so that's why you're going to go ahead and feel pretty happy with making it as mixed together as you'd like. Once everything is incorporated and you can see you have pretty much a very incorporated dough, everything looks pretty smooth, you don't see any streaks of flour, you don't see any wet spots, the next step is to let it rest. I talk about patience a lot in baking. It's something I don't have, but I'm learning because I am a baker is you have to give your ingredients time to get to know each other, time to relax a little bit and time to allow the yeast to incorporate in with the gluten and the rest of the ingredients. The first rise, because this process has two rises, the first rise of the first rest happens in one of two ways. If you're in a hurry, which I usually am, you can put it into the second bowl with olive oil and let it sit for about four hours so that it can rise on its own. If you have more patience and you want to allow the flavor to develop a little bit more, which is really what we recommend, is you're going to put it into the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator overnight. That's what we did and that's what we're going to talk through on the process. The best way to make sure that your dough doesn't stick once it has risen, you take a little bit of olive oil, go ahead and put it into the bowl. Rotate the bowl around a little bit so that it covers the bottom, and then take your dough and put it into the bowl that has the olive oil in it. Again, you can see you don't have to be that gentle with this, which is what's so nice about it. Sometimes you're making things like a sufree or [inaudible] or something, and if you sneeze twice, your whole dish is ruined, this is not that at all. Once you have it in the bowl, just turn it over a little bit just to make sure that everything gets covered with the olive oil. Cover it with plastic wrap, put it in the fridge and we'll see you tomorrow. What you can see with this dough is that it's risen a little bit and it's definitely got more of a uniform field to it, which is what you're looking for. You can see that there's a lot of bubbles in it, and if I touch it, it's going to start to fall a little bit. In order to put it into the pan, you have a couple of different options. You can use a cookie sheet that's about this size. You could also use something like a 9 by 13 cake pan that will give you a little bit of a thicker focaccia. Let's say you wanted to use it for sandwiches, make it just slightly smaller pants, what's taller? Or if you want it to be a little bit more spread out, you can put it into a cookie sheet. In order to prepare the cookie sheet, you want to make sure that it doesn't stick, so what we do is we take a little bit of butter, would say probably about a teaspoon of butter, and spread it all over the pan. Regardless of what kind of pan you have, regardless of what shape, you want to make sure that both the bottom and the sides of the pan are completely covered in butter. This is a moment not to be stingy with the butter. This isn't something that you're trying to make low-calorie, you want this to be lovely and delicious. Because focaccia is so simple, each one of the ingredients really plays a major role in the flavor, in the texture, and in the upbringing of it. Butter and oil, olive oil specifically, are things that you want to really think about be careful for. When I make something as simple as focaccia, I think about each ingredient because I know it's really going to matter and each one's going to be a star. Splurge in some good olive oil, think about getting some grass-fed butter. I'm a firm believer in buying local and trying to get to know the farmers or the people that actually create your food. I think there's something really special about contributing to their well-being as you're contributing to your own. Once the butter goes in, take a little more olive oil. I told you this wasn't a light dish. Go ahead and spread it on. Again, this is something that you don't have to be that precise about. Move it around a little bit, so it's on the bottom of the tray. Now take the dough, release it a little bit from the sides of the bowl. Once you've released the dough from the sides of the bowl, because we don't need this dough and because we don't have to work it too much, one of the things we'd like to do is just fold it on itself. Take two forks and almost like you're about to toss the salad, takes from the outside and just folded in on itself. Rotate the ball 90 degrees, do it a second time, rotate the bowl another 90 degrees, a third time, and then get to the final rotation. Now it's just essentially folded on top of itself. Once you've done that, pop it into the prepared pan and see it just falls right out. If you can, try to get all of that deliciousness that stuck to the pan, a little bit of olive oil, little bits of bread. Perfect. Now what you're going to do is you're just going to spread it out, take your fingers, and just dip them lightly into some olive oil so that you have a little bit of viscosity on them, and then you're going to very lightly spread this dough out. You don't need it to go all the way to all four edges because remember, you're going to let this rise and rest again. When you do that, what happens is the gluten starts to relax and it chills out a little bit and it just spreads through, and it's so beautiful at that stage when you see all of it completely risen. After you've put the dough into the pan, we're just going to go ahead and let it rise. Anywhere from 1.5-3 hours depending on how warm your room is, depending on whether it's raining or not, everything affects paste rates, very sensitive girl. We're going to keep it in a warm draft-free space, and when we come back next up Mediterranean focaccia. 4. Focaccia: Mediterranean: The dough is ready to dress and bake. This has taken about an hour and a half to three hours in a warm, draft-free space. In that time the dough has relaxed, it found its own rhythm. The gluten has really become a little bit more slack. As you can see, it's also risen again. It looks beautiful and pillowy and just so delicious. The first thing that you need to do with the dough is to make sure that it's gotten to all corners evenly in the container that you've chosen to bake in. Here, you're doing it in a sheet tray. You can also do it in a nine by 13 pan, at which point you may not need to get into all corners, but you're still going to want to massage it a little bit. In order to massage, you want to make sure that your hands have a little bit of oil on them. Dip your fingers into a little bit of olive oil and lightly and gently press the dough so that it gets to all corners of the container. You don't have to be completely precise here, again remember as this bakes, it's going to rise and fill up every little pocket and corner. Once you spread your dough all the way to the corners, what you want to do is essentially start playing piano on it. Like you've got a big rock [inaudible] piece. Take your fingers and go up and down into the dough, making sure that you get all the way to the bottom of the pan. This is what's going to give you all of those little dimples in focaccia that everyone's accustomed to seeing. If it looks like you need a little bit more olive oil, feel free to spread a little bit on top. You can never have too much olive oil. I see that there's a couple of dry spots here, so I'm just going to lightly drizzle just a little bit more olive oil and spread it out just a bit. Now comes the fun part. We get to decorate and dress the focaccia before we bake it. This is where all of my travels and my experiences living in other countries comes to play. Sometimes I decide that I want to pick a region and I want to make the focaccia from that region with those flavors. When I think about the Mediterranean, I think about luscious sun vegetables. I think about olives and crunchy almonds. That's what I want to do with this Mediterranean focaccia. The thing to remember about eating is you eat with your eyes first. You want something to be really colorful and really appetizing and appealing. That's what I love about using a couple of different colors and types of tomatoes, different types of olives, maybe some different herbs, almonds, nuts, and things all lend itself to be a beautiful presentation. It's going to sound lovely. It's going to feel really good. It's going to smell incredible and it's going to taste out of this world. When I like to dress or decorate a focaccia, I would say dress and decorate because it just feels like you're celebrating something and you're painting or creating a masterpiece. When you're decorating your masterpiece, start with a larger pieces of vegetables or fruits first, and then work your way down in terms of size. With tomatoes, you want to cut them in half. A little trick about cutting them in half is if you use a serrated knife, you're not going to crush the tomato. It slices right through the skin and gives you a really beautiful little pieces. When dressing with tomatoes, put some of them upright and some of them upside down so you get the roasted tomato on the top, and then the ones that have their skins facing upward will melt really beautifully into the focaccia itself. Use both colors or three colors or four colors or how many ever colors that you want. Smother it around generously. I like to put a lot of toppings on my focaccia because I think about what if I'm that person who gets that one piece of focaccia that doesn't have enough toppings, I'll be pretty salty about that. Once you have your tomatoes on, start with the next thing. I love to do a combination of two different or three different types of olives. One olive that is a big player in my kitchen is the kalamata olive. I like it because it has a little bit of a salty, briny taste to it. Then I mix it with something that's a little bit smoother, a little bit more elegant. Here I'm using Castelvetrano olives. Those are my sister's favorite olives. She will literally pick through an assortment of olives and take all of those out. That makes me salty. I am pretty generous here and you don't have to be precise. It doesn't have to sort that everything has to be in a line. Unless you're one of those people that likes everything in a line, which in that case go for it. Once you have your softer, larger ingredients on, move into something a little bit smaller. I love nuts on focaccia, I love nuts in bread. I love pecans in bread, hazelnuts, almonds. I think it just adds such a lovely texture. I don't want anything that I do to be monochromatic. I don't want it to be one note. I don't want one flavor or one texture. You want to mix things up a little bit. Take your almonds. These ones in particular are Marcona almonds from Spain, I'm sticking with the Mediterranean trend, also really loved them. If you've never had them, you have to try them. The only problem with having almonds in my kitchen is they never end up on the food. They always end up in my mouth. There's a little bit of a danger with that. Now I'm going to look for some bald spots just to make sure again, remembering, everybody wants to get everything in their piece. Once I've done that, I'm going to go ahead and actually add a little bit of more flavoring. The thing to also remember about when you're baking is you want to season every single layer. If you're making a crust, if you're making a focaccia or a pie dough, that should be seasoned perfectly, then you're putting in fruit or vegetables, those should be seasoned. You're putting in a custard, you're putting in a filling, that should be seasoned. Because imagine if you only get two of the three components, or one of the three components, or two of the five components, it should still feel like a total bite. Having done that, I look and I see that it might need a little bit more olive oil. I'm going to drizzle in a couple of places. Remember, don't be afraid of this olive oil. Because there's so few ingredients, every one of those ingredients is going to come through and flavor, and olive oil is one those one of those players that is going to make you happy every time. Then because we want to season on every layer, take a little bit of salt. Now the thing about salt, which is I love is it can be a seasoning, it can be a topping, it can be an ingredient to anything that you do, depending on the size of the flake. If you look at this salt, you'll see that the flakes are almost like snowflakes. They have a really beautiful crystalline shape to them and they're larger in size and they're not all uniform. That's something that I really love about this salt. Florida cell is lovely because it's a sea salt. What's really nice about it, it actually doesn't melt. It's not going to go into the food, it's going to stay on top, become somewhat crystalline, and so when you bite into it, every once in a while you get that little bit sharpness of salt. It's my favorite bite. Once you've got a salt on there, you can add any other type of seasoning that you want. I particularly like to use fresh spices and we happen to have some wonderful fresh parsley. It also adds a really lovely pop of color. I'm going to sprinkle some fresh parsley on there. Imagine this coming out looking like a summer garden. All you want to do is dig into it. Once your focaccia is all dressed and decorated, it's ready to go into the oven. The oven should be preheated to 450 degrees. If you have a convection oven, which is always my preference to bake, you want to reduce the heat by 25 degrees. It's just a little trick. Whenever anybody gives you a temperature, if it doesn't specifically say convection and you have a convection oven, lower the temperature by 25 degrees. About two-thirds of the way through the baking, you want to rotate your pan because you just want to make sure that everything gets even heat. We're going to put this into the oven. We have a convection oven here, so it's 425 degrees convection. It's going to go into as middle as possible of the oven. Again, you want to try to get everything as even as possible, give yourself the best fighting chance to get this perfect focaccia. Put in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, we're going to rotate it for ten minutes and we're going to check on it again. My gosh, everything that we did to it just melted and melded into the focaccia because you see how the tomatoes got roasted. The almonds are a little bit toasty. Everything just looks so lovely. Some of the olives have pruned and dried themselves a little bit, which means you're going to get more olive flavor exactly underneath where those olives sit. Your focaccia is going to be fantastic and delicious at any temperature. My preference is to eat it straight out of the oven. In order to preserve your baking pans, you want to try to avoid cutting anything on the baking pan itself. As soon as it comes out, transfer it onto a surface that you can actually cut. It's also not a great thing for your knives themselves. Get a cutting board or get some other surface that you're not afraid to get cut a little bit. As you can see here, we talked a little bit about all of the water in the dough, making steam and creating bubbles. You can see there's little pockets and bubbles. It's what makes focaccia, the lighter fluffier cousin of the pizza. I'm going in. Those tomatoes got sweet. I can taste the olive oil. I can taste the olives. It's a little salty. It's just fantastic. I love it when it's warm. I'm also going to love it in about an hour when it's at room temperature. If you don't eat the whole thing, we probably will, but if you don't eat the whole thing, I recommend wrapping it in some foil or some plastic wrap, keeping it at room temperature and you can finish it tomorrow. I could make savory focaccia all day long. Roasted vegetables, different kinds of spices, million different types of cheeses. But I'm going to throw a curveball at you and do something that I love to do all summer long, sweet focaccia. 5. Focaccia: Strawberry with Balsamic Glaze: Remember in the beginning when I said focaccia can be used for practically anything, I meant it. Focaccia is fantastic as a savory dish, but I'm going to surprise you with a sweet version. I love sweet bread. I think there's something really lovely about balancing something that's hearty like bread with something that's sweet and delicate like fruit. I'm going to cover the focaccia with strawberries, bake it through, and add a little bit of balsamic glaze. I know. Amazing. Starting with exactly as we had before, wetting the fingers a little bit with olive oil and spreading the focaccia dough out to make sure that it fills the pan that you're using. Once you have it spread, a little bit of piano playing, want to get the dimples in there, and now you're ready to top the focaccia. This focaccia requires a little bit of advanced timing and work to get the various elements prepared. The three main components of this focaccia are strawberries, balsamic, and mint. So starting with the strawberries, try to get the thing that's freshest in the market. I love the strawberries right now because they're fresh. Cut your strawberries, for a focaccia about the size, I would say that half a pint of strawberries is usually enough. You can go a little bit heavier if you wish. You're going to take your strawberries and put them into a saucepan. All the cut strawberries, a little bit of water at less than a quarter of a cup, it's probably two or three tablespoons and you want to sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top of the strawberries. Again, probably about a tablespoon of sugar. You're going to cook them over low heat until they start to bubble and caramelize and almost create a sauce. So imagine when you're young and you used to have ice cream and then with that strawberry sauce you put on top, kind of that consistency. A little bit thicker than syrup, but you don't need to boil them down too much. Once you do that you're going to get strawberries that look like this. They definitely have been cooked, a little bit deeper in color, and they've released a lot of their sugar into the sauce. So letting them sit in the sauce while they cool is really important because they'll absorb a little bit more of that sugary sweetness back in. It's important also to do this in advance of dressing your focaccia because you want this to be at room temperature. Remember, heat is what activates your bread. So you don't want to pre-activate the bread by putting warm ingredients on top. You want everything to be at the same room temperature. It's like starting everybody at the same starting line in a race. You put somebody a little bit farther ahead, something bad is going to happen. Remember, every one of these steps, I've written it out for you in class resources. So in case you didn't catch every moment, don't worry about it. You can go back and look at it later. The second of the three ingredients is mint. What we'd like to do is it's called chiffonade. So if you've ever heard that term, it's a way to cut leaves to make them in these little small strings and pieces. It allows you to more evenly put things on top of something like a focaccia. What you want to do in order to chiffonade is, I would say five or six leaves of mint, and stack them on top of each other. Roll them up in a nice little tight bundle. Now you see that we had them all rolled together. You take a knife and you make very small pieces. You're going to come through and cut it, and this is what's called chiffonade. Be careful with your fingers, you don't want to chiffonade those. Now you have small little pieces of mint, which is perfect because you can sprinkle them all over the focaccia and they're going to balance the strawberries really beautifully. Take focaccia back and now let's dress it. You don't want to have too much liquid on the focaccia because you don't want it to be weighed down, you don't want to be soggy, I like to take a fork and pick up the strawberries. As I pick up the strawberries, very gently place them throughout the focaccia. Again, depending on the size of the strawberries, you can have some of them facing up, you can have some of them facing down. It's really a matter of preference. If you'd like to make it more generous, you absolutely can. I'm going to stop here for now. The next thing is the fresh mint. Take a little bit of the fresh mint. Fresh herbs, remember, are quite strong and they really have a lot of presence and personality. So you don't need to put too much on there. Visually, I love the green and the red together. It looks so inviting. A little Christmassy, I'm not mad at that. Who's mad at Christmas? Okay. There we are. In a situation like this, if I see again little holes that I think need some olive oil, I might put them on there. But in this instance, I like to take a spoon and do that because I don't really want olive oil on top of my strawberries. So I see a couple of places I'm going to lightly put it on there. But because I want a little bit more control with my olive oil, I'm not going to use the bowl itself. Okay. All set. 425-degree convection or 450-degree oven, 20 minutes rotate, ten minutes more, and then we got one more step with this one. Look at the strawberries how beautifully they married themselves into the focaccia. Couldn't think it was going to happen, right? Because they were staying on top and they're swimming around in their own little pools, but they melted right in and made themselves at home. This is fantastic. We're going to do what we always do. Take it off the cookie sheet. But once I do this, there's one more step. Because I really believe that every food deserves a partner. It deserves to dance with someone or something else. I really want the sweet to be balanced by something. In the European tradition, balsamic vinegar is used in many different ways. One of the ways that it's used which I have come to really appreciate is as a glaze. The way that you make a balsamic glaze, as you take balsamic vinegar, you pour it into a sauce and you put it on very low heat and you just let it cook. What happens is it starts to glaze, which means the sugars come out of it. That's one of the beautiful things about baking is you bring up the natural sugars and anything that you're making. Natural sugar comes out of fruit, it comes out of vegetables, natural sugar comes out of balsamic vinegar. So in doing that what you end up creating is something that has multi-layered experience. When you smell a balsamic glaze it smells a little bit sweet, it's a little bit spicy, it's a little racy, and something that will go against a focaccia, which is a much calmer flavor really, really well. But because you've made it a glaze, you can see is so thick. Look how luxurious that is. You don't need very much because by making it a glaze, you're going to take anywhere from half a cup to three-quarters or one cup of balsamic vinegar and boil it down and you're going to get something that is probably about one-quarter of the volume. So again, remember it because it's so concentrated, you don't need very much. So rather than pour it directly from the bowl, I'm going to take a spoon and I'm going to literally drizzle it all over. It doesn't have to be beautiful. It can be sort of sort Pollock. It can have its own personality and cover every third or fourth bite. So now that I've done that, it's ready to serve. If you could smell the way that this bread and the strawberries and the balsamic come together, it's magic. Oh my gosh, this tastes so different than the other ones because now the bread is a little sweet. So good. Before I literally stick my face inside the strawberry focaccia, we're going to go onto the next thing. But before we do, I can't wait to see what you create with this focaccia recipe. Upload your photos to the gallery. I'm super excited to see what you do. Up next, rough puff. 6. Intro to Rough Puff: One of my absolute favorite things that we make at the bakeries are croissant. Anything with flaky, buttery layers, it's my dream. But then I get home, and I think, I don't have all that machinery. I don't have that equipment. I don't have that time. What can I do that's going to mimic a croissant with those flaky layers as closely as possible? And the answer is rough puff. If you've ever had puff pastry, you'll enjoy this flakiness, it's buttery, a little bit salty. It shatters in your mouth and is a beautiful base for so many different things. The only thing that you need to make a rough puff is butter, flour, sugar, salt, milk, and water and time. The thing about pastry is it needs to come to its own conclusion and figure itself out. Things need to relax, things need to blend together, and because puff pastry depends so much on butter and water puffing out, taking all of the water that's in your butter and in your dough, turning it into steam, and creating layers, it needs some time to continuously find its own path. For better or worse, it's a simple process, it's simple ingredients, it just takes a lot of time, so let's get started. The first thing you have to do is take three sticks of butter and put them in the freezer, and as soon as you have frozen it, that shouldn't take too long, you have to grate all three of them. In baking, I always suggest to use unsalted butter. In the house, we put it on bread and different things like that, it's almost always salted. What's nice about unsalted butter is you get to control how much salt actually goes into your pastry. If you get salted butter, you don't really have any control over that, that decision made made at the dairy. Take a box grater like this and you're going to use the side that has the little holes in it. The kind that you would do if you're making shredded cheese for pizza or something, and you're going to go ahead and grate right away. I've got one stick down. I've got two to go. Once you've grated all the butter, the next step is to get it back into the freezer as quickly as possible. Before you do that, take a little bit of all-purpose flour and sprinkle it onto the butter. The reason why you want to do this is you're trying to keep the butter pieces as separated as possible. Otherwise, you're going to end up with one big frozen mass. Use a fork to mix the flour in, just a little bit. You don't have to do it too much. You don't want to crush the little pieces of butter, but just enough to get it mixed through. Once you have that done, put your butter back in the freezer. The next step is to prepare the dry ingredients. In a bowl that's big enough that you can get both of your hands in, put two-and-a-half cups of all-purpose flour, mix in one tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon-and-a-half of kosher salt. If you don't have kosher salt, you can use regular table salt, like iodized salt. But just make sure you use half as much. Once you have all the dry ingredients in a bowl, use a whisk to go ahead and mix everything together. Now that you have all the dry ingredients mixed together, take half of your frozen butter and mix it in. When I say take half the butter, I don't mean that you have to measure it or weigh it or anything like that, just add the butter. Because at the end of the day, when we're done with this whole process, all the butter is going to end up in the dough together. This is where something like this comes into very big handy. I'm just going to take half of the butter, and push it inside. Before I mix the butter into the dry ingredients, this is going to go back into the freezer, to keep your butter cold. Because we want to keep the butter as individual pieces as possible use a fork to mix it into the dry ingredients. If you have big chunks of butter, don't worry, you can just like stab them a little and move them around. Once you have this pretty well evenly incorporated, you're still going to have big chunks of butter. No one's ever mad about that. You want to put your wet ingredients in, and the wet ingredients are very simple. It's equal parts, ice-cold water, and whole milk, so it's 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup milk. I keep all of these items in the refrigerator because again, the cold temperature is going to help this butter stay as cold as possible. Take your milk, drizzle it on top of your dry ingredients, and then take your water and do exactly the same thing. Oftentimes I put slightly less water in that that is asked for in the recipe, because you may not need it, but if you need it, you can always add it in later. Now that you have both of your dry ingredients, using your same fork, just mix it up. You want to get something that's shaggy and scraggly. You're not looking for something to be super smooth or incorporated. All of these pieces of chunks, they're going to mold together in the end, and they're going to make the fluffiest, crunchiest, flakiest pastry you'll ever have. Once you've got all of the water and milk mixed in, as well as you think you can do it. Remove your fork, and use your hands. This is the one time that the warmth of your hands is actually going to come in handy. You're just going to mix it together, kneading it, just gently, trying to get it into one piece. Just continue to knead it and work it a little bit. As you see, over time, the piece of dough becomes bigger and bigger and pieces are sticking to it. Once you think you have almost all of the pieces that are going to stick initially to the dough, go ahead and take it and put it on the counter. What you see that you have left is a lot of this flour and pieces of butter that didn't quite make it into the original mound, that's what the rest of the water is for. You're going to add probably a teaspoon or two, drizzle it very carefully over the top. Take your fork again and mix it up, and you'll see that it's starting to come together. You might have to do this once or twice more, just to make sure that all of the pieces actually come together into the dough. Once you have the pieces and they're stuck together like this, put it on top of the rest of the dough. Now I have all of my dough, all the pieces coming together, and I have them on the counter. Before you start working, you want to make sure obviously that your counter is clean and you want to put a little bit of flour onto the counter. You don't need that much, because remember any flour that's on the counter is going to get into your dough and you've already measured out the dough, you don't really need to add that much more flour. Once you have the dough incorporated, just move it around a little bit. Have it be about an inch thick into a rectangle. That's really all you have to do. You don't have to do anything more. Take the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, and the reason we do this is because remember, we want the butter to stay cold. That's actually really important in something like this, and the reason why is, the colder the butter is, the more likely you put it into the oven and you have it meet heat, that the water in the butter will evaporate, it'll create steam and that's how you're going to get your flaky layers. Now that the dough has been resting for 30 minutes in the refrigerator, we get to do the really fun stuff, which is incorporate all the butter. Want to put a tiny bit of flour on the table. Now we're going to roll out the dough. Now what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to roll this out into about six-inch by 18-inch band, so really what you want to do is you want it to be a three times as long as it is wide, so six by 18 is a good number. If it turns out to be a little bit thinner, maybe you're going to do a four by 12, but this is nice, just given how much butter you're going to have to incorporate. The hallmark of puff pastry, of anything laminated, are the layers, and the way that you get the layers is by doing exactly what we're doing now, is by rolling it out, putting butter between the layers, rolling it out, putting butter between the layers, and then continuing to fold it and roll it out. That's how you're going to get all those fluffy layers in between. This butter is going to be divided into four, as equal as you can make it pieces. I'm going to take my first quarter and I'm going to put it right in the middle of the dough. Trying to break up the pieces as small as possible, break it up, and fill up the middle third of the puff pastry. Then I'm going to take this layer and I'm going to fold it over like you're folding a book. I take another quarter and put it on top of the folded piece. Again, you want to try to spread it out as much as you can. You're going to roll it out again and again, but it's always nice to have it spread out as much as you can at least at the start. Once you've done that, take this top piece and fold it over. Now you've essentially got a book. You're going to press the sides down to close it a little bit, and I'm going to rotate it 90 degrees. Now the book opening is to my right and the edges are up front and back and now I'm going to go through that process one more time. I'm going to roll it out. Try to do about the same length if you can. We're going to use these other two parts of butter. Already you're seeing the way that these layers are going to manifest. All this flakiness of this butter all of us love, so good. I'm taking the third quarter of the butter and putting it in the center, and then take the bottom, fold it up so you have a third, and I'm taking the last bits of butter, going to put it on top of the fold. I'm a big fan of getting as much butter off as possible. Now, I take the top piece and I fold it over again. I'm going to press the edges a little bit. Because we've manipulated this dough so much, and it's been out in the fridge for so long and we've gotten all of this done. We're going to put it back into the refrigerator, 30 minutes or even overnight at this point, and then we're going to start the other folding process. Wrapping things well in plastic wraps is really important for two reasons. One is you want to make sure that you keep the dough intact. You don't want to lose any moisture, you don't want it to dry out or anything like that, and the other is, refrigerators have a lot of smells in it and you want to make sure that a dough like this doesn't take on the smells of the refrigerator. You don't want this to smell like leftover Thai food. Now that the dough has rested for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight depending on what your schedule is. Take the dough out, do exactly what we did before, except this time there's no butter, just to the folding. Again, a tiny bit of flour, and a tiny bit of flour on top, and get to work. You'll notice every time you have the dough to roll out with each subsequent fold, it gets a little bit harder and harder, but that's okay. It's like a workout. I would say I'm earning my pastry by making it and if I didn't earn it, we eat so much. This part is actually pretty simple. All you have to do is roll it out and then do the folds, except this time we won't have any butter in between. I take one piece and fold it, take the other piece and fold it, press this edge down and wrap it up. Once I wrap it up, it goes back into the refrigerator, 30 more minutes, and we'll do our final folds. We'll be all set. We are in the home stretch. We've got one more set of folds and then we're ready to bake. I can't stress enough how important it is that your dough is cold. I know I keep saying it, I sound like a broken record. But cold dough is going to give you a beautiful, beautiful result. That's what we have to keep waiting in between folds. Listen, if this were easy, everybody would do it. I've got my little packet, I'm going to roll it out, I'm going to do the folds, and then we're ready to go. Remember how I said every roll makes it gets a little bit harder. Telling you right now, I'm using some muscle. But it looks so beautiful. Look at all of this butter. Each one of these little flakes of butter are going to evaporate the water that's in it and it's going to turn into a flaky, puffy, little pocket of deliciousness. What I love about this dough is it takes a little bit of time to make, but once you've made it, there's really no stopping you. I have it rolled out and do the same thing we did before. Fold it in 1/3, fold it in a second third, press the edges, and now it's ready. Now that we have this dough, the sky is the limit. The first thing that we're going to do with it is to make a sweet pastry with apricots and poppy seeds. 7. Apricot and Poppy Seed Tart: I love baking with fresh fruit. There's nothing more beautiful and colorful and varied than figuring out what's in the market today. My favorite stone fruits are apricots and nectarines. These apricots are so fragrant, they're floral and when you break them open, they're really juicy and they create beautiful sugars when you bake them into pastry. If you don't love apricots, no judgment. You can use another fruit, maybe a peach or nectarine, or even cherries could really work in this particular dish that we're going to do now. I'm going to do today is roll out the puff with you, we're going to cut them into squares, we're going to egg wash them, put some fruit on top of them, and finish with a little bit of one of my favorite seasonings for baked goods, which is poppy seeds. It's really simple because you've done all the work already, all of the folds, all of the butter, everything is done and now it's just this little packet of perfection. I'm going to go ahead and roll it out. Remember when you're rolling it out, do you want to start with the sections that when you see the lines and the folds, they should be in front of you and behind you and you're rolling it essentially in a different direction. Every time you roll, you wanted to go into a different direction, so just spreading out the butter and creating those layers again and again. When you take your dough out of the refrigerator, it's going to be a little bit cold, so a little bit hard, but that's okay. You want to move fairly quickly to roll it out. Because remember, I can't say this enough. Temperature is one of the most important ingredients in baking, not just in your oven, but also just in how you're working with your doughs. If a dough gets too warm, the butter starts to break out of the dough, you don't want that to happen. You notice when I'm rolling things out, I'll roll it in one direction a little bit, and then I'm going to rotate it and roll it in the other direction. That just gives your dough an opportunity to relax in both sides, also gives you a break, allows your arms to rest for a second. The thickness of how you're going to roll it out is really a matter of preference, I like to roll it out relatively thin because remember this is going to puff up and when you're putting things like fruit and different toppings on, you don't need it to puff up that much, but you just want it to have enough of a personality that can hold up against the fruit. I'm almost to the thickness that I want and if you're really precise and it's helpful to you, we can measure it out and give you a thickness that makes sense. But honestly, trust your eyes. They're going to tell you really what you are looking for. I'm going to give it one more roll, and everyone, if you feel like it's getting a little sticky, put a tiny bit of flour so that it just smoothly rolls underneath your pin. To the best of your ability, try to get an initial rectangle just so we have maximum square footage. Once you get it into the thickness that you're looking for, and I can measure this to tell you. This is about a quarter of an inch thick, and go a little thinner if you like. I like it to be a little bit of heftier. Now we're going to cut this into squares. The size of the square is honestly a matter of preference. You can do it as big or as small as you like. I like to do it based on the size of the fruit. When you look at an apricot, one of the things you can think about is how much fruit do you want? Do you want to put both pieces of the apricot on? Do you want to put one piece? Do you want to cut it into sections? It's really a matter of preference. The first thing you want to do is take a ruler or any straight surface and just cut off the edges so that it will make it easier when you're trying to make the squares. Now I have a rectangle. One of the things that I like to do is try to be as efficient as possible, so I look at the total size and divide it into as many as I would like, so I have about 14 inches. I think what I'm going to do is I'm going to probably try to cut this into four sections and three sections. If I do that and then I'm at 14, so then I'm going to go in at seven inches and then 3.5 inches. Again, this is really a matter of preference. If you want something to be a little bit bigger, you can, if you want things to be smaller, you can do that as well. Then I'm here and I have 10 inches, figures I have 10 inches and now I have to do the math, so let's see. Wanted to do it at just over three and then just over three. It doesn't have to be precise. Remember this is baking and the precision comes in the measurements and sometimes in the cutting it doesn't have to be exactly right. They're going to be delicious no matter how big they are. Take the squares and put them onto a baking sheet. When you take a baking sheet, I always recommend putting a piece of parchment paper or a Silpat, which is the silicone pad that you can buy, that you can reuse again and again. And you want to put them about an inch and a half or so apart. Once you have your squares or slightly off-centered squares as I do, the next thing you want to make sure is when you bake puff pastry, it does exactly that, it puffs up. You want to avoid it from becoming too puffy so that the fruit doesn't fall off and what we're going to do is a process called docking. All docking is, is taking a fork and putting some marks into it, just to create some air some that allows it to release as it bakes. Once I've done that, I want to do a process which is a little bit like what we talked about before about creating a glue. Something like the surface that things going adhere to, and then in a pastry like this where you're not going to put the cheese or a creme fraiche or something down. The best glue that you can find is an egg wash. All an egg wash is, is you take an egg and you beat it with either a tiny little bit of cream, like maybe a teaspoon or so of cream or a teaspoon or so of water. It's really a matter of preference. Color is a little bit different depending on whether you put cream or water in. We usually just put water because it just also allows the egg to be a little bit thinner. Make sure you cover the entire surface with the egg wash. You don't need that much, you can see I'm only dipping the brush in one time per square. It's just really enough A, to give it color and B, to give it a little bit of that glue. The next thing that you want to do is cut your fruit and that I tried to save it right before I put it on top of the puff pastry, the reason is you don't want your food to oxidize too much because the second the inside of a fruit hits the air, it starts to turn brown so you want to avoid that. As soon as all of this is done, it's not going to take you that long so cut your fruit at the very end. Take the apricots, just follow the line right here. Nature's pretty incredible, it always gives you guidelines. It tells you where to cut, it tells you where to peel, it's pretty good that way. Depending on the size of the square, you can put one apricot half down or you can put multiple down. You can also slice them into different pieces and make different designs. Before we start putting the apricots onto the puff pastry, I recommend putting whatever spices or whatever a [inaudible] you want to put on top. One of the things that I love to do is put some raw sugar, and so raw sugar is just the cane sugar that gets ground before it gets purified and whitened and things like that, and I really love it. If you smell it, it smells almost like a campfire, if that makes sense, it has a little bit of a toastiness to it and it just has such a gorgeous color and what's lovely about it is it'll caramelize, but it won't always melt all the way through, so you're going to get just a really beautiful experience with your pastry and this brown sugar. I call it brown sugar, but it's raw sugar. Remember, each one of your components should be seasoned and flavored, so now we're flavoring and seasoning the puff pastry. The other thing that I love with apricots are poppy seeds, so try them. Trust me. Do them half, you don't have to do them all, but do them and see what experience you get with that. It gives you a little bit of a pop. It's also really beautiful because they're really small and dark in color, so it's in lovely contrast against the light color of the pastry and the beautiful gorgeous, what would you call this orange, pinky-orange, so lovely. Slightly different sizes of puff, all of them have egg wash, all of them have raw sugar, all of them have poppy seeds. Now we're going to go ahead and decorate them with the apricots. Now that all of these have been decorated with our apricots, the next thing to do is put a little bit more of the raw sugar. Again remember, we're seasoning and flavoring every single layer, and you want to make sure that regardless of what bites someone gets, it has all of the different components together in it. Now that everything is ready, let's put it in the oven, 375 degrees convection or 400 degrees in a regular oven for about 15 or 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them. No one really knows how hot the ovens are. We don't even know, we always have to keep checking them. If they're cooking a little bit quickly, you want to take them out sooner. You want to get just my light brown on the puff pastry, give the pastry an opportunity to grow and then puff up, and also make sure that it's just enough time that the apricots can release some of their sugars and get a little bit brown. The raw sugar that we put on top of the apricots is also going to give it some caramelization. It doesn't need to be cooked that long, but you want to make sure that it's long enough that you get the puff going. Is there anything better than opening a warm oven and having that whole waft of smell? Oh my gosh, that's so incredible. Just being careful because the tray is still really hot. While the pastries are fresh out of the oven, we're going to apply the nappage or what we in less fancy terms called warm jam. The traditional nappage that's usually used in pastry is an apricot jam. Part of the reason is it's just a very clear color, it goes on really beautifully and I think French decided they wanted to use apricots. Take your nappage, all you do is put some jam into a sauce, heat it up to probably like low, medium heat. I'm always reluctant to do anything too much higher than that, mostly because you don't want anything to burn, as it gets to a liquid consistency, you can take it off of the heat and keep it warm in the pot until you're ready to use it. Take a new or perfectly cleaned brush, put a little nappage on it, and go ahead and just brush each one of the pastries. You want to do just lightly. You don't really want to jam the pastry down too much and you don't really need that much. Remember, this is just an accent. Just a little bit of a setting spray on the makeup. That's it, you're all done. These can be enjoyed at any temperature. They're really good at room temperature, but you know me by now, I'm going to bite into a hot pastry because that's just what I do. I'm going to take one of them and you can see how beautiful they are. The color is gorgeous. It's lightly browned on the outsides. The pastry itself has just puffed up. You can see the layers, look at that. You guys did that, that's amazing. It's layer after layer after layer. Everyone's going to think it's true puff pastry, this rough puff is the perfect cheat. I'm going in. Oh my gosh. That's actually fantastic. I want to eat this, I'm going to eat this. But before I do that, we're going to go unto the next thing. Up next, Napoleons. 8. Raspberry Napoleon: I love layers, I love layers of all kinds. To put one texture, one flavor on top of another and another and another. I especially love it in desserts. What I love about a Napoleon or a Mille-feuille, is that you get to play around with those layers in a lot of different ways. A Napoleon is a more traditional Italian pastry, that takes puff pastry, puts almond creme, sometimes a different type of pastry cream or pudding, and puts more puff pastry on top. Once you've rolled out your rough puff to about a quarter of an inch thick, you have two options. One is to take some slightly smaller pan. Another option is to take a larger pan, and essentially make it fit just inside the borders. The reason why you want to do that is because you're going to bake off all of the rough puff layers, cool them, cut them, and then use them as layers in the Napoleon or Mille-feuille. In order to do that and to do it efficiently, take a piece of parchment paper, lay it inside of whatever tray you're using, and make sure that it cuts and it fits perfectly. Once you've cut that, I would recommend having probably two or three more of these just in case you should have messed something up and you want to put something also on top. Go ahead and put one piece of that paper on top of your puff pastry. Take a knife and just cut right around the paper. That way you're going to guarantee that's exactly the size that you want, and you don't have to fuss with it later. Now that you have it fit in exactly to the parchment paper, put the parchment paper down onto the tray and then take a little bit of granulated sugar and sprinkle it lightly onto the puff pastry. Smooth it out a little bit to make sure that every single bite gets a little sugar, take it and turn it upside down, and lay it into the tray. You can see because I cut it to fit, you have nothing to worry about. Then take a little bit more sugar. Do exactly the same thing on the other side. Take one more piece of parchment paper and lay it on top. The next thing that we're going to do is we're actually going to bake this off with a weight on top. The reason why we want to weight this is because we don't really want a lot of puffing. We want the puff pastry to bake. We want the layers to stay really close together and bake through evenly. In order to bake something weighted, you need to put another tray of the exact same size on top of it. Before you weight your pastry, you want to create a little bit of a heat guard between one tray and the puff pastry itself. On top of the parchment paper that you've laid down, take some foil, and put three sheets of foil on top of the parchment paper. Once you have those three sheets of foil, press them down just a little bit and take another sheet tray of the exact same size and put it down on top, and then you're going to put it into the oven, 375 degrees convection or 400 degrees regular oven for about 20 or 25 minutes. After the rough puff has been in the oven for about 20 or 25 minutes, take it out. Be very careful because this is very warm. Take the top sheet tray off, as well as the three layers of foil. Then remove the top parchment, and you can see that this is baking part of the way already. It's already getting a good shape. It's already starting to cook through. Now that we've taken the weight off, we're going to let it get a little bit brown, put this back into the oven, the same temperature 375 convection or 400 regular oven for another 15 minutes, and then it'll get nice and golden brown. Once the sheets of puff pastry have baked completely, take them out of the oven and let them cool completely. You don't want any warmth or heat in your puff pastry at this stage, you want it to be as cold as possible. You can even wait a couple of hours, but just make sure that they're not warm at all. What's nice about it at that stage also is it's easy to handle. Take it off of the tray, put it onto a cutting surface. Now what we're going to do is actually create the little pieces that we're going to stack up on one another. The importance of that is you need them to be the same size. We're going to do the same thing that we always do, which is try to square it off. Now that you have a complete square, start to make a decision. How big you think you want these Napoleons to be? I really like them to be no bigger than this deck of cards. I think that that's a nice size because remember, you're going to layer them. It's not that they're small here, they're going to be pretty tall. This is somewhat of a decadent dessert. It doesn't need to be overwhelming. Specifically here, I think what I'm going to do is divide this into three sections. What I'll do is cut my first section, and once I've done that because I'm really want to be careful about them all being the same size. I'm going to take it and put it right on top of the layer next to it. Now I know for sure that I'm getting the same size. I'm going to do that one more time. All right. There we go. Snacks for later. Now we have our dough. You can see all of the layers. Everything is baked through beautifully. All of these pieces are like this. Because I want about the size of a deck of cards. It's going to look like that. I'm going to do the same thing that I did before is line it up and just make sure that all the pieces are going to be the same size. Otherwise, they're not going to stack very well. Now I have six pieces that I can work with. That's going to give me three different Napoleons. A Napoleon is really fun because you can add and do pretty much anything that you want to do. What's nice about them also is they are really easy. You already know how to make the dough. You're experts at it by now, it's really easy to put into the oven, bake, cool, and cut. Now the fun begins. One of the things that's most fun about this, it is actually really simple. There's a lot of ease to it. I mean, you can go really technical and make your own pastry creams and do all this other really good stuff. You can also do what I actually do and I love doing is instant pudding. Instant pudding is so simple, I don't even get the cooked kind. I get the one that's in the box. Add some milk, mix it up, put it in the refrigerator, and you're done. The first thing that you want to do is set yourself up with all of the ingredients that you want to go inside the Napoleon. I'm a really big fan of taking something crunchy, something creamy, and something fruity and putting that together. I've got my crunchy, I've got my creamy, and now I have my fruity. We're going to take raspberries, vanilla pudding, and our baked rough puff together. It's going to be gorgeous. The easiest way to put any type of pastry cream in between layers is to put it into a pastry bag. Pastry bags generally look like this. They're made out of some type of a plastic. It gives you more control. It allows you to have more designs. For me, it just makes it a lot cleaner. You can get them in any baking store. You can probably get them online as well, if you don't have these, don't worry. I actually don't use these at home. Normally what I'll do, is if you have a gallon Ziploc plastic container, use that, fill it and you're going to cut the tip of it off. It works just as well. In order to maximize the efficiency of the fact that you only have two hands, I like to create a little bit of a holder for the pastry bag. Stick your hand in there, drop it in, and make it smaller. Now this is ready to be filled and you actually don't have to worry about trying to balance things and everything. Vanilla pudding, It's been made, it's been chilled. Just give it a quick little stir to wake it up a little bit and pop it into the pastry bag. You don't have to put a lot in there. It's interesting to think about the size of these. You want them to be relatively thin. You want to be generous, but you have an opportunity to fill the second layer as well. You don't need that much. You don't want it oozing out too much. Take your pastry bag out, shake it a little bit to get it to the bottom. Twist it, so that stuff doesn't come out at the top. Then you're going to cut a hole in the bottom. Take some scissors or a knife and just make a nice little snip. One of the first things I learned working in kitchens that weren't my own, is make sure you throw the tip away because you'd be shocked at how often it ends up in your dessert. All right. Now I have the vanilla pudding in a pastry bag. I'm going to do is just create a layer. The thing to remember here, is you're going to press down a little bit. If you're pressing down, you want to make sure that you leave a little bit on the edge because you pushed down, it's going to go out to the edge. Then what I really love with vanilla are raspberries. Take these raspberries, line them up like little good soldiers. Once you have your first layer ready to go, find one of the lighter colored thinner sections and go ahead and put it down, give it a light little press, just get it to stick a little, and then go ahead and repeat the process. I am a little more generous on this one because I realized that I probably could have done that on the other. Then my raspberries. All right. Now, we've got this and we're going to press it down again.There we are. The last thing that you have to do with any Napoleon is to decorate the top. Just take a tiny bit of powdered sugar and you'll often hear it called confectioners' sugar, it's the same thing, or 10X, which is how it's referred to in kitchens and restaurants. The reason why it's called 10X is that its regular sugar that's been ground ten times, so 10X. If you're ever going to put powdered sugar on top of anything. I very highly recommend just tapping it against your hand in sort even motion. That'll give you an even distribution of the powdered sugar. I always start that process before I get on top of the pastry itself, just get it started a little bit and make sure that I like how quickly it's coming out. I'm just going to very lightly, I like to also do it from high up because if you just think about snow if it's snowing really low, it's going to be really big and patchy, that was lower. If I go higher up, you can see that it's going to be a little more like that lifetime movie snowfall. All right, and there we have it. A beautiful Napoleon with vanilla pudding and raspberries. 9. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you did it. You made it all the way through the classes with me and now you too can make these beautiful pastries: sweet pastries, savory pastries, warm pastries, room temperature pastries, just full of love. I can't wait to see what you do. Make your food, upload photos to the gallery, share it with the world. I want to thank you for taking this culinary journey with me. I want you to remember a couple of things, food is not intimidating, take it step-by-step. If something doesn't go right, it's no problem. You can improvise, you can keep going, you can start over. At the end of the day, this is about you and the love that you put into these pastries. These recipes are called mother dose for a reason. They're the base, the beginning, the canvas for so many different opportunities. I encourage you, I challenge you to take these recipes and riff on them. Come up with your own creations. Think about how you can personalize all of these recipes. Take photos of them, share them with all of us by uploading them to the project's gallery. I can't wait to see them. The best part of any baking is now I have all of this food to go and share with my friends. I'm telling you, they have been texting me all day, "When are you going to be done? What are you bringing us?" This.