Prue Leith Chefs Academy’s Pastry Short Courses
Prue Leith Chefs’ Academy is well known throughout South Africa for being a leader amongst this country’s culinary training institutes and Prue herself is virtually a household name across the English-speaking world. She is acclaimed for her talents as a chef in her own right, for having cooked in (and owned) a Michelin-starred restaurant abroad, as a TV personality and guest judge on numerous widely broadcast professional cooking competitions and as an author of cookery books and more recently, works of fiction.
With our patron Prue’s stellar background and exhaustive knowledge of the standards demanded of modern culinary schools, Prue Leith Chefs’ Academy in Centurion is now also meeting the needs of ordinary home cooks for short, professionally conducted courses; in this instance, pastry making. We are immensely proud to introduce a variety of short courses for total beginners – but with a difference. A number of these programmes, including pastry making, are designed to afford professional chefs opportunities to brush up on their skills in their particular speciality fields.
Pastries may be sweet or savoury, depending on the ingredients used in the dough and the filling within. Pastry dough actually serves as a container for its filling, as the origin and purpose of meat pies illustrate so well. Centuries ago, travelling from one place to another was a slow process. Travellers could not be certain of finding accommodation and meals in inns or homes along the way, so they had to ensure that they had packed cooked food that they could eat along the way.
Meats were generally either roasted or incorporated in stews. However, a pot of stew was not easily transported due to its size and weight being awkward to handle and the likelihood of spilling. It is said that this is how the once-humble meat pie was born. The meat was encased in shortcrust pastry – its container, as it were. Furthermore, it is also claimed that affluent pie eaters were only interested in the meaty contents, discarding the pastry containers, which were eagerly gathered and eaten by servants and peasants.
Popular Types of Pastry
There are numerous types and permutations of pastry and some of the most popular ones include:
• Short crust – used for pies, and variations of short pastry, such as Pate Brisee and Pate Sucree (quiches and tarts);
• Puff pastry – multi-layered, rich and full of flavour;
• Flaky – also known as rough puff;
• Choux – cream puffs, eclairs and dumplings.
Our Academy’s Short Course Content
• Pate Brisee;
• Pate Sucree;
• Creatively flavoured quiche custards;
• Béchamel-enriched savoury tarts;
• Tart Bordaloue;
• Chocolate tart;
• Crème patisserie and fruit tarts.
Beginners and Brush-ups
This one-day course, held four times annually, will teach you the theory behind tarts, pastries and their fillings as well as the production of those listed above. It is suitable for small groups of friends who share a passion for cooking and chefs who wish to refresh their skills.
Optional Patisserie Specialisation
Although not a short course, our culinary college also offers a part-time, 12-month diploma course in patisserie to students who wish to make a career for themselves in this sought after specialisation. This professional programme develops your basic skills to an advanced level, and concludes with one theoretical and two practical examinations.