On the menu for week 12:  Chocolate Truffle Torte.

After 12 classes spread out over 16 weeks, my introductory baking course at George Brown College has come to an end. For the grand finale, our instructor unveiled the method for a show-stopping chocolate truffle torte that could grace your table during the most special of events.

To begin with, I must apologize for my picture. It is smoldering-hot here in Toronto and I knew that if I didn’t photograph my torte in class, it would never make it home. In fact, despite my best efforts to keep the car air-conditioned, by the time I arrived home my rosettes had melted and the torte was swimming in a puddle of chocolate ganache. While I wouldn’t mind swimming in a puddle of ganache one day, I didn’t want to inflict a photo of my sad melted torte on you.

The components of this torte are fairly standard and once you’ve mastered them, you can easily make this dessert. The torte consists of a chocolate sponge, a simply syrup (to moisten the sponge) and a luscious ganache made of heavy cream and the best dark chocolate you can afford. Assembling the cake was complicated by the heat. Despite your best intentions, if it’s too hot, your ganache isn’t going to set up properly. The best course of action, as our instructor explained, is to reserve a cake of this nature for cooler weather.

The torte itself was spectacular. The sponge was moist and not overly sweet and the ganache, which is hot heavy cream poured over chopped dark chocolate, struck the perfect balance between chocolate flavour and a creamy consistency.

When I first enrolled in this course I wasn’t sure what to expect. While I do have some experience baking at home, this was my first time baking in a structured environment. Overall, I’ve found the experience positive and rewarding.

Our instructor was first-class. Humorous and patient, he was there to help at all times and continuously provided me with perhaps the best advice: don’t rush! Take your time! His demonstrations were always organized and his instructions clear.

The subjects that we covered in our course represented a thorough cross-section of baking. We touched on everything from pies to cookies to cakes. For those members of the class that had no experience baking, it was an excellent way to get their feet wet. My only complaint is that we often used ingredients, like shortening, that I would not use at home when baking cakes or cookies.

Looking back at how I felt about my first class, I’m happy that I decided to take this step and enroll in this course. I’ve learned to be more organized when baking by preparing my ingredients ahead of time (not something I always did). I’ve learned to slow down and pay attention to the texture of whatever it is I’m making. And perhaps most enjoyably, I’ve learned to loosen the ties to the Kitchen Aid mixer (somewhat) and use the best tools I have … my hands!

I will most definitely be taking more courses beginning in the fall as I continue to work towards my certificate. In the meantime, I would like to thank all of you for taking this journey with me and providing so much support and advice. In particular I would like to thank Sam of Sweet Pleasure:  Plaisir Sucré and Anita of Dessert First. You’re both a real inspiration!

Well folks … school is out for the rest of the summer. See you in school in September!