It has always been fun to be in the company of Nigel Skelchy. His laughter is rather infectious teehee. If you don't already know, Nigel is the other partner apart from the talented Allan Yap of Just Heavenly, nehhh the cake shop that sells sinfully delicious cakes and desserts! A quick note here - they have recently started taking orders online and yes you can even make the payment online via their website. Start browsing the website and put in your order. (Disclaimer: I do not wish to be blamed if you wet your keyboard with your drool nor behaving indecently by licking your screen :p whilst you browse the website.)
At about the same time, Just Heavenly started their baking school - The Baking Barn, helmed by Nigel himself. Be sure of a good 3 - 4 hours of fun with him. Classes are held on Thursdays (9.30am - 11.30am) and Saturdays (2.00pm - 4.00pm) but do add in another hour to savour your creations together with coffee and tea. Classes are held in the HQ at Bangsar, just up the road from Bangsar Village.
The classes are semi-hands on with everyone getting a turn at things. No doubt one can search for recipes online but nothing beat having to attend a class as there are a lot of "unwritten" knowledge that will be imparted by the gurus.
I've attended Make Your Own Cheese - Ricotta which is actually Part 2 of the cheese making classes. How to make mascarpone was taught in Part 1. At The Baking Barn, one mother recipe will be taught and from there 2 - 3 cakes or desserts will be created. So at this class we were taught how to make ricotta cheese and from there it spins off to a Berry Ricotta Cheesecake, Ricotta Kisses, Ricotta Pancakes and a Cinnamon Honey Ricotta Spread.
We were first shown how to make the ricotta and we were spilled with the economics and sciences of making your own ricotta. Did you know you can make your own ricotta with just half the price of a tub of ricotta??? I like it when I'm supplied with lots of tips and substitutes if so happen you do not have the equipments in use ie. candy thermometer, food processor, cheesecloth etc.
Next Nigel showed us how to make the cheesecake. Looks easy peasy hehe cos we're not making it on our own but with the help of a few lovely ladies. This cheesecake is baked in a hot water bath. We were also taught how to dress up the cake by making strawberry coulis and balsamic drizzle. Due to time constraint, whilst the cake is baking in the oven, Nigel has a cooled down cake to continue the class. He plonked a bunch of hulled strawberries in the middle of the cake before pouring the coulis on top. He even showed us the trick to make the coulis flow down sexily on the side of the cake. Next up, the cake was sliced before drizzling some reduced balsamic over.
As we dig in, Nigel explained to us that this is not the creamy style cheesecake but more like Italian. I can say it's not smooth and creamy but I really like the slight crumbly texture and it doesn't taste heavy at all! Kind of a light cheesecake I would say, nice :D
Ricotta Pancakes were next. As Nigel was explaining to us how to fry up pancakes that are crispy on the outside using lots of oil and butter, we urged him to do just that since I guess most of us would never do that at home hahaha. The pancake batter is somehow like being shallowed fried and I got to finish up frying the pancakes.
Some honey is drizzled over after a dust of icing sugar. Nigel shared with us some marmalade that Allan had made up. The marmalade is so yummy, not the thick bitter rind kind that we made him to turn that into a jam making class.
Next up was the Ricotta Kisses, like Mangolisa had commented on my pics she was explaining to me this dish being deepfried like cekodok and so we have a cheesy Ricotta Kisses/cekodok haha. All ingredients were mixed in together to form a thick batter which is dropped into hot oil by the teaspoonfuls. We noticed that the kisses actually turned itself over when done frying on one side. How brilliant!
Later that night, I caught up with an episode of Axian's Food Adventure on telly. A man was showing Jason Yeoh on how to make taufu pok (tofu puffs). After slicing tofu into cubes, he dropped them into a huge wok of hot oil. The tofu behaved the same was as the kisses. It actually turn itself over when done frying. The man explained that as the bottom part of the tofu is cooked through, it became lighter hence the heavier uncooked top will roll downwards. Ooooo so that is the reason! Very educational for me indeed.
Anyhow, the kisses were served with a dusting of icing sugar. Crispy on the outside, cheesy and fluffy inside... very yummy. Not sure about you but I noticed that deep fried stuff tend to be extraordinary delicious even though I'm not a big fan of deep fried goods :p
Lastly, we were shown how to assemble the Cinnamon Honey Ricotta Spread. It was a very easy 5 minutes job to impress the family or guests which can be served as a bread or French toast spread or as part of a cheese/dessert course. Loved the slight creamy ricotta texture with the sweet honey and a hint of cinnamon taste.
The class ended with all of us sitting down to enjoy all the yummy goodies that we have made up with a cup of tea or coffee. Nigel also took this hour as the opportunity to address any more questions from the bunch of eager beaver ladies.
You can find the class schedule plus book your baking class(es) here. Do note that you can buy a single (RM180) class or even 2 (RM320) or 4 (RM610) classes package. The schedule for July is not up yet but I can type them out.
5 July - A Passel of Triffles (Part 1)
Hot Milk Vanilla Cake, Traditional Triffle, Victoria Sandwich, Creme Chantilly, enriched custard & Lemon Thyme Drizzle Cake.
12 July - A Passel of Triffles (Part 2)
Devil's Food Cake, Chocolate Trifle, Chocolate Custard, Salted Toffee Chocolate Topping.
19 July - Clouds of White (Part 1)
French Meringue, Berry Pavlova, Iles Flottane, Creme Angliase, Elton Mess, Creme Chantilly and Creme Fraiche.
26 July - Clouds of White (Part 2)
Individual Bombe Alaskas, Real Lemon Curd, Lemon Meringue Cake.
7 July - Cookies
Rolled Cookies, Dropped Cookies, Sandwich Cookies.
14 July - Cheesecakes (Chilled) (Part 1)
White Choc Wasabi Cheese Tart, Chilled Strawberry Cheesecake and the perfect biscuit base.
21 July - Cheesecakes (Baked - No Cracks) (Part 2)
Baked NY Cheesecake, fruit variations, how to make it denser, lighter and various toppings and swirls.
28 July - Local Chiffon Flavours
Basic stable chiffon in a ring mold and in a 9" round mold, Buttercream, Cempedak Buttercream Chiffon and Durian Pandan Chiffon.
I would like to thank Nigel for the invitation to join in the class. I've learnt a lot that Saturday afternoon and enjoyed the banters with the rest of the ladies I've met in the class. There will be a repeat of this class on 9 August (Thu) is you're interested to learn the same items ;-)
The Baking Barn
By Just Heavenly
47 Jalan Terasek
Tel: +603 2287 9866 or +603 2284 9866