I had the most wonderful day at Sugar Therapy yesterday. 8 hours of patisserie baking using high quality ingredients to make the most wonderful of desserts.
Sugar Therapy is the perfect name for this relatively new Patisserie experience on Station Parade in Harrogate. The gent and I popped in a few weeks ago for coffee after receiving an email from a past guest of mine. We met Charlotte the owner and discovered that “She is also the face behind the taste of Waitrose, Sainsburys and M&S premium desserts” I just had to have a master-class from Charlotte.
This was a one-one tuition with Charlotte herself and in my eagerness I arrived early. This gave us a few minutes to get to know each other a little more and straight away I knew I was in for a baking experience I would never forget and that we would get on well.
I learnt that baking is really a science, that sugar breaks down eggs and when mixing ingredients like sugar and butter when making sponge cakes, you really do need to have the butter nice and soft before you start mixing as this incorporates and traps lots of air into the mixture. And yet the butter needs to be really cold when making pastry and water needs to be ice cold if you need to add any.
You can learn how to bake from many recipe books, but seeing, tasting and experiencing each stage of all the techniques I learnt was something I’ve benefited from. Such as the smoothness of chopped biscuit crumbs needed for the Vanilla Cheesecake base. Knowing when enough butter has been added to create that firmed base needed to avoid any crumbled mess I so often get when making things like Millionaire shortbread.
I smelt and tasted the different quality Vanilla pods (Tahitian) that Charlotte uses in her baking and the quality of her Milk and Dark chocolate where Charlotte knows and has met the grower personally.
We had coffee breaks, tea breaks and a most delicious lunch, all prepared by Charlotte herself. I was well looked after.
You may wonder exactly where all the baking took place, it was behind the counter where Charlotte bakes all her desserts fresh each morning. All visible for customers to see.
I travelled on the train with an empty bag but went home with 6 sets of desserts, most of which were placed very carefully by Charlotte in a cool bag. I can tell you they all arrived home safely. And as I write this we have already sampled each product and I am amazed at the flavours and taste.
We went through a gazillion eggs, pints of cream, several Vanilla pods, the best of Butters and we had to restock the sugar tub because of the amount we used. I learnt how to identify the correct baking wobble on a cooked Cheesecake, how to create bubbles and chocolate rain in a Champagne Jelly along with lots of other techniques that will carry me through my baking for Afternoon Teas.
If you fancy a Masterclass, tailored for your needs as mine was, then get in touch with Charlotte. They are held once a month on Monday’s.
Here’s what I made
Double Chocolate Gateau
Vanilla Strawberry Cheesecake
Champagne Jelly with Chocolate Rain
Plum and Almond Tart
Individual Key Lime Pies