Pastry School – Week 1 and a Buttermilk Pudding Recipe

Its official. I have started pastry school. Bring on the sugar, butter, flour and chocolate… its going to get messy. My program is 30 weeks long and we cover everything from simple sauces such as coulis, ganache and caramel to master sugary and tiered cakes. Throughout the course of the program we are going to have guest instructors from different areas of Los Angeles come in and teach us their specific pastry craft. Needless to say its going to be amazing…

There is no doubt that I am going to be able to share with you numerous recipes from school, something that I wasn’t allowed to do during culinary school, so get ready for some fantastic tips. In the second week of class we are focusing on how to make the PERFECT cookie. We are going to experiment with internal temperature, different ratios and baking temps to see what makes that delicious moist cookie that we all love!

The first week in class was quite a bit of review from culinary school, lots of rules and procedures and generally getting to know my fellow classmates. 2 of my friends from culinary school are taking the course with me which is wonderful and makes the classroom feel like home. Its also going to be great when I have a complete brain fart and I can’t remember how to make something as simple as a caramel sauce and I can secretly ask them without having to embarress myself in front of the whole class. After the talking was over and we all gave a little speech about ourselves we dove right into making simple syrups, caramels, ganaches, tuiles and different coulis…

The one difference between pastry school and culinary school is that in pastry school we are doing a lot  by ratios. Which means… no full page recipe handouts for me at all times of the day. Total bummer! But once I get these ratio’s down, I will be able to make anything on a whim without having any notes in front of me! So here are a few for you to start playing around with:

Simple Syrup –>  1 : 1 for sugar and water.

Simple Syrup (For Coulis) –> 1 : 1 : .2 for sugar, water and corn syrup. The corn syrup makes all the difference in the world when you want to make a coulis. It gives it a little extra flexibility so you can work with it more easily and make designs etc.

Ganache –> 1 : 1 Chocolate to Cream

Coulis –> 1 : .5 for fruit puree to simple syrup. A coulis is a strained and pureed fruit sauce. You can make a mango, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, whatever you want coulis! They are delicious! You can even add a touch of flavor liquor… for example a Chambord for a Raspberry Coulis. To make a mango coulis you simply combine 1 lb of pureed mango with 1/2 lb of simple syrup (use the ratio for the coulis simple syrup), strain and then use!

So after school was over, I came right home and wanted to use all my new skills! I ended up making a buttermilk pudding with a blueberry coulis. Heaven.

Buttermilk Pudding Recipe



  • 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1ยพ cups heavy cream
  • ยผ cup superfine sugar


  • Soften the gelatine in 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk and set aside. Heat a separate small saucepan over low heat. Place the remaining buttermilk, cream and sugar in the saucepan and stir until dissolved. Stir through the gelatine mixture. Pour 1/2 cup servings into molds and refrigerate for 4 hours.

For the Blueberry Coulis, I simply used the ratio above:

1 lb fresh blueberries
1/2 lb simple syrup

Combine both in a food processor and puree. Strain mixture through a sieve and use the smooth sauce as a coulis.

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  1. Jessica @ How Sweet

    I’d probably have a tough time with the ratios, too! Pastry school sounds so exciting. I would really love to go. Don’t think we have anything that great in Pittsburgh??

  2. Michelle

    This looks great! I’m so glad you’re enjoying pastry school and sharing it with all of us!

  3. Jenny Flake

    Beautiful Gaby! I am so envious of your pastry school adventures!! Love your gorgeous photos too. Woo Hoo almost 1 week until Helen’s class! Wish I could squeeze into the mac class too ๐Ÿ™ Oh well, excited for her photography tips!

  4. Monika

    I always wondered how that coulis was done. I can tell I am going to love all this info! Keep it coming.

  5. megan

    I love hearing what you’re learning! I’ve never made a coulis, or a simple syrup, or ganache, etc. you get the picture. can’t wait to try it out! I really wish I could go to pastry school…

  6. anna

    Wow, that sounds so different from the way we did things in my pastry classes! We had recipes, no ratios!

  7. Megan

    I am going to LOVE following along while you’re in pastry school. I know I’m doing some of the same things at the bakery (ex. I make ganache almost every day), but I’m sure I’m going to learn some amazing things from you as well. I still haven’t put the idea of going to pastry school out of my head. I’m so excited you’re doing it and blogging about it!

  8. Wendy (The Local Cook)

    How fun! I totally wish I could quit my job and go to culinary school LOL. I can live vicariously through you though ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. marla {family fresh cooking}

    This is going to be such a fun journey to go on with you! I all ready learned something from this post. I have never made a coulis. I will live vicariously through your 30 weeks in pastry school. How exciting!!

  10. Fuji Mama

    I hope you plan on doing this for each week! What an awesome post. Can’t wait to go to pastry school vicariously through you! YUM.

  11. Sonja @ ActiveFoodie

    Love the tips! Can’t wait for more! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚ …and never heard of buttermilk pudding, sounds fantastic with blueberry coulis!

  12. heather

    Im responding to your email about me hosting a bake sale in OH. Im not sure yet if I’m going to be able to. I have a 14 year old son who plays AA U basketball and we travel alot, not sure if we’ll be out of town that weekend. I’ll keep in touch.
    Thank you for your quick response.