It is very nice to meet you, the students from our Pastronomy course!
Let’s start with the equipment and tools you will need. In the introductory lesson I will describe what we are using during the course. And we use a lot, but don’t be scared! It doesn’t mean that you will have to buy all of them at once! We tried so hard to cover as many techniques and methods you could use as possible. I will show you how to use various confectionery equipment.
You can replace some tools or find inexpensive alternatives in comparison to professional ones. If you plan to work with confectioneries on a professional level, it will be better to use and buy professional equipment and materials from the very beginning. You will realize it sooner or later but you can save some money on buying cheap alternatives which will get out of order quickly or won’t be useful at all.
The list of tools and equipment for each lesson separately is as follows: If we use some tools in a couple of lessons I will mention them in the first lesson only.
- Silicone and non-stick mats: you can have a couple of them for each recipe. In the course we use 2 non-stick mats like these, 2 non-stick mats like these and 1 silicone mat with glossy finish (40х30 or 60х40), example.
- Large (40 cm) and small (20 cm) piping bags, example.
- Decorating tips: round tip 5 mm and 1 cm, example.
- Infrared and probe thermometer, infrared example and probe example.
- Stand mixer or hand mixer with a whisk attachment. Stand mixer, or in other words, planetary mixer. I use a KitchenAid planetary mixer in the course. You can also check out the mixers manufactured by Kenwood and Bosch which are well-known in the market and among professional pastry chefs. If you don’t have such a mixer and you don’t know whether you will use it in future, we recommend you to invite another pair of hands to help you do the tasks. Sometimes you have to beat something and boil a syrup, for example, at the same time. In this case your helping hand will play the role of a stand mixer 😄.
- Oven. We are currently living in a rented apartment with an old Ikea oven. I can’t set an exact temperature, but I’ve got a convection function (can be used for one of the methods for macaron baking). My point is that you can handle any oven. You just need to do your best and be patient!
- 3–4 silicone spatulas, big and small ones. Big spatula example and small spatula example.
- Brown parchment paper.
- Digital scales for light and heavy weights, example, example.
- 2 saucepans (minimum), 1–1.5 l. When you watch the video tutorials, you will understand which saucepans are missing in your kitchen. To make a small cake you will need to boil 100 g of caramel or syrups so there is no sense in using large soup pots in such cases. You will need small saucepans.
- Wooden skewers or toothpicks.
- Eclipse silicone mould (2 pcs. ideally, but you can start with one), example.
- Silicone mould: 2 round moulds for a filling and baking sponge cakes (D 16 cm, height 5 cm), example.
- Flat baking tray.
- Blender for glazes It is extremely important to use an open multi-purpose blade with a hook attachment (see an example).
- 3–4 measuring cup for glazes 1–1.5 l, example.
- Angled palette knives, small (working part length — 8–10 cm), medium (12–15 cm) and big (20–25 cm), example.
- Microwave oven (any)
- Cake bases, D 17 cm (1–2 pcs.), D 20 cm (3 pcs.), D 22–23 cm (1 pcs.), D 26–28 cm (3–4 pcs.).
- Cling film.
- Coffee grinder or blender.
- Metal ring, D 20 cm, H 7 cm. Example.
- Mould for the filling to place in the ring, D 18 cm, H 5 cm example.
- Acetate cake collar for the cake in the ring (for the height of the cake). It is a special film used for lining the walls of metal rings so that it will be easier to remove a frozen cake from them without damaging the surface of the cake. Acetate film is usually sold under the name of acetate cake collar. Example.
- Cake leveller, example.
- Rolling pin.
- Gas burner (any size), example.
- Disposable rubber gloves.
- Freeze spray, example.
- Wire rack It’s necessary for cooling sponge cakes.
- Turntable (example). You can buy a plastic one to begin with. If you want a better option than you can look for a stable metal table.
- Stand mixer or a hand mixer with a whisk attachment and, preferably, a flat beater.
- Frosting scraper, the length of the working surface 25 cm, example.
- 4–6 pegs.
- Mould (any shape), in the course we use this mould (Silikomart Pillow 80).
- Paintbrushes (broad 5 cm, thin, small, synthetic ones). Having several brushes of different sizes and for various purposes never hurt anyone :)!
- 1 cube silicone mould, 50×50, H 50 mm (ex. Silikomart SF104) example.
- 1 cube silicone mould (for a filling), 35×35, H 35 mm (ex. Silikomart SF105) example.
- Marble slab for tempering chocolate 60×30 cm or bigger, example. We temper chocolate using a classical method but you can do it in other way. Check out our free lesson about tempering chocolate about it.
- Scrapers for tempering, in the course we use scrapers with a working surface of 18 cm, example.
- Small baking tray, 33×23 cm, H 1,5 cm.
- Plastic bowl (2–3 l) for tempering chocolate The most convenient bowls for tempering are plastic ones. It doesn’t get hot and retains temperature of chocolate pretty well. Bowl size depends on the amount of chocolate you want to temper.
- Metal or glass bowl for tempering cocoa butter.
- See the Gaga Cake. Also we will need baking pan D 12 cm (example).
- And thick cocktail straws.
It is not obligatory to make cakes in silicone moulds. You can use metal rings of big and small diameter. And this is obligatory because the cake consists of two parts: an outer mousse and a filling. The filling is always inside (smaller in diameter than the cake itself) that is why you need to find a couple of rings. Or do it in silicone moulds, without rings. We will show you both methods in the course so that you could decide which option is more suitable for you. You can even combine these methods: a ring and an inner silicone mould, or vice versa 🙂 Well, it depends on your budget. If can afford both methods, I would recommend buying silicone moulds. And here is the reason why: nothing leaks, it’s easy to remove a frozen filling from it, you can use it for baking sponge cakes, it’s easy to wash, and store.
For making one cake only you won’t have to buy separate moulds for a filling and a sponge cake. One will be just fine. First, you bake a sponge cake in it, then freeze a filling.
It’s not necessary to buy silicone mould for baking sponge cakes. You can use your own (pay attention to the sizes!) or buy aluminum/non-stick moulds in hypermarkets (choose the size the same way as for a cake filling). I.e. if you haven’t bought the Eclips mould but have bought a ring of 20 cm in diameter, you will need a ring/mould of 18 cm in diameter for a filling or a sponge cake. But we will need 2 moulds of about 15-16 cm in diameter for Gaga and Maya Plisetskaya sponge cakes.
We often blend various mixtures until smooth, puree berries and make glazes in the course. Any mixer will be fine for these purposes except for glazes. There are a couple of things you need to know about it. A blender should only mix a glaze, not beat it. That is why it would be great if you used an attachment without a lot of holes in it. The attachment should be, so to speak, naked. They are produced by such a manufacturer as Bamix, for example, and used by almost all professional pastry chefs. I highly recommend buying such a blender because it will make your life 200% easier and you will love mirror glazes for sure. I have been blending mirror glazes with an ordinary blender for 3 years and literally hated them :))). My life has totally changed with this attachment, I swear! I know that not only Bamix manufactures such attachments, there are more affordable options. But I cannot guarantee their quality as you can understand. This is probably the only tool I really insist on because a glaze of bad quality can ruin your three-day work. No jokes 😬.
See the Flamme Cake.
Plated Dessert (Untitled)
A marble one or a granite one – doesn’t matter. It must be perfectly smooth and without cracks. Its minimal size is 60×30 cm. The bigger, the more convenient it will be for you to temper a large amount of chocolate (but it will be more difficult to transfer it because of its weight). It’s better to buy a light-coloured slab because it’s easier to see where chocolate is. A slab colour doesn’t affect the temperature :). A small size of a slab can be found in ceramic tile shops where you can also buy both marble and granite slabs. Or you can order it from someone who makes table tops of these materials.
Will an artificial stone slab be okay?
No, it won’t.
You can use scrapers for plastering. Don’t buy scrapers in professional confectionery shops (their price will be 10 times higher). Don’t use plastic scrapers too. Apart from the fact they are inconvenient to use, they wear out quickly and easily get bent. Scraper size is absolutely up to you. If you have a small marble slab it would be reasonable to buy small scrapers. If you have a big marble slab it would be reasonable to buy big scrapers.
Maya Plisetskaya Cake
That is basically everything we need for the course. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in comments.