I had the pleasure of taking two classes recently with my friend. I signed us up for the first one on a whim when I was shopping one day. We enjoyed the first one so much, we signed up for the next weekend’s class before we left! These were at the Williams-Sonoma in Lexington, KY.
The two classes were very different. One was an Instant Pot class, which as you know, I’m already quite an instant pot user and fan! I wasn’t sure if I would learn anything new, but wanted the experience of the class! The second class was a tart making class, which was something I have NO knowledge of! I’ve never made my own puff pastry and I’ve never made a tart!
The great thing I can tell you is that I enjoyed BOTH classes – the one I had some knowledge about, as well as the topic that was completely foreign to me!
Williams Sonoma Class Set-Up
For my Williams Sonoma store, the class had a limit of 8 people and we sat around the countertop bar. When we arrived, the recipes we were going to use were sitting at each place, along with an ink pen in case we wanted to take notes.
For the tart class, we all also had boards and rolling pins to work dough on at each seat.
The feature I like the most is the mirror they have above the stovetop, so you can actually see down into the pots as they cook!
Both instructors were excellent – so knowledgable and friendly. They make you feel like you can actually go home and apply this! Their personalities were perfect for this type of class. Bonus – the one who taught the tart class actually has classical training that she received when she lived in France. A REAL pastry chef!
Instant Pot Class
This class came with a cookbook, and the main food was a Chicken and Apples dish from the book as well as mashed potatoes. Our teachers mentioned they like to expand the menu a bit – so we also made deviled eggs and a pumpkin cheesecake.
I already know how to make hard boiled eggs in my instant pot, but it was neat to see their spin on the eggs. They added avocado and decorated it a small piece of bacon.
The pumpkin cheesecake was already made, but they took some time to show us how to put the crust in the pan and we made some amazing whipped cream that had a bourbon maple syrup infused in it.
I made BOTH the chicken and apples and the pumpkin cheesecake later in the week for my family. I’m happy to say mine was just as successful as the class demos.
While I felt very well-versed in the instant pot, I still felt like I took away a few tips and tricks as well as the new recipes.
A few of the instant pot tips and tricks they covered:
- how to make an aluminum foil sling
- how to sauté in your pot
- how to make your own whip cream
- how to make a cheesecake crust
- quick release versus natural release
- how to clean your instant pot or get the smell out of your ring
A few of the tips I came away with (that were new to me):
- You can actually put dry beans in your instant pot without soaking them for hours. (Random off topic tip, but great tip.)
- A ricer works fantastic for mashed potatoes.
This class came with a tart pan, which I’m super excited to put into use soon! We did both a savory and sweet tart. For the savory, it was a bacon, potato, and cheese hot pocket. For the sweet, we made applesauce apple tarts.
She had the savory mixture made for us – and the cream cheese dough. (Yes, I said cream cheese pastry dough, and yes, it was my favorite.) However, she handed out the dough squares that we were able to roll out a bit more, put in the filling, and seal up. Once we did that, they popped into the oven to bake and on to some basic pastry dough facts and techniques.
We discussed a few French pastry terms, how to roll the dough, how to incorporate the butter, and more.
Once we reviewed that, she demonstrated a blitz puff pastry, which is supposed to be a bit easier than the traditional recipe. We were given a square of pastry dough to make our own applesauce apple tarts.
While I have never tried pastry-making in the past, I feel like I could make my own pastry dough at home. I definitely want to recreate the cream cheese dough!
A few tips I came away with from the tart class:
- It’s key to have a cool board and working surface.
- If you have hot hands, dip them in ice water to cool them down before continuing to work your dough.
- Hot kitchen or board? Take the bowl of ice water and rub it over your working surface.
- Pie dough is the easiest of all the pastry doughs!
- You can keep your dough in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months! So, your dough scraps are gold.
- Don’t roll your scraps into a ball when saving them, it’s easier to layer them flat. (For rolling purposes).
Williams Sonoma Cooking Class Thoughts
If you are considering taking a class, I’d highly recommend looking into one at Williams Sonoma. They have a nice array of classes every month, and I think there is a topic for everyone. They even have junior chef classes that I’m considering for my son! I can’t wait to go back to another one myself!
The only downfall of the class is the 10% discount because that just meant I spent more money! I found a lot of new kitchen equipment and gadgets that I had to bring home! And more I plan to get in the future, too.