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Pastry and Baking Arts Diploma: Program Curriculum Outline
The diploma program contains nine courses. The first eight courses are composed of 100 four-hour lessons that are held at ICE. The ninth course is an off-site externship. The program is constructed as follows:
COURSE 1: INTRODUCTION TO BAKING TECHNIQUES AND INGREDIENTS: PART I –44 HOURS
The program begins by giving students an in-depth understanding of the ingredients, techniques, and procedures they will use throughout the program:
• Identification and discussion of the essential ingredient groups: sugar, dairy, fruit, flours, and chocolate.
• Weights and measures, culinary math, food safety, sanitation, and equipment identification.
• Introduction to basic decorating skills, the use of a pastry bag, and making and utilizing cornets.
• Techniques for preparing fruit-based desserts, including paring, poaching, roasting, macerating, drying, and candying.
• The theory and practice of sugar cookery including the preparation of sugar syrups, glazes, fudge, and caramel.
COURSE 2: INTRODUCTION TO BAKING TECHNIQUES AND INGREDIENTS: PART II –56 HOURS
All well-executed desserts rely on a mastery of fundamental techniques. In this course students begin the journey toward that goal by learning:
• The basics of egg theory as they prepare egg-based desserts like crème brûlée, bread pudding, soufflés, mousses, meringues, and éclairs made with pâte à choux.
• Preparation of additional egg-based desserts such as soufflés and meringues.
• How to prepare a variety of cheesecakes along with classic pastry cream.
• Production of frozen desserts such as ice creams and sorbets.
COURSE 3: BREADS AND OTHER YEASTRAISED DOUGHS –36 HOURS
Bread is at the crossroads of the culinary and baking arts. At the heart of this deceptively simple food is some of the program’s most challenging material:
• The technique and theory of working with yeasted doughs: fermentation, dough hydration, temperature control, kneading, and shaping.
• How to calculate and utilize bakers’ percentages, with application in sponge, sour, straight dough formulations, and more.
• Application of this theoretical knowledge by baking a variety of breads, including braided, rye, olive, and sourdough loaves along with brioche, bagels, baguettes, foccacia, and pizza.
COURSE 4: PASTRY DOUGHS –64 HOURS
Mixing, rolling, turning, and forming: these are the essential skills students master as they learn to prepare the wide variety of doughs that are the basis of so many pastry items. Included are:
• The trio of classic doughs: pâte brisée (flaky), pâte sucrée (sweet), and pâte sablée (cookie) to make individual tarts and pastries.
• Laminated or layered doughs, including puff pastry, croissant, and Danish doughs, both by hand and with a commercial sheeter.
• Proper rolling techniques for preparing tarts, galettes, pies (single-crust, two-crust, and lattice), palmiers, mille-feuille, fruit strips, pithiviers croissants, pains au chocolat, and a variety of Danish specialties.
• Specialty pastry shop items including phyllo, donuts, cannoli, sfogliatelle, and handstretched classic strudel.
COURSE 5: CAKES, FILLINGS, AND ICINGS: PART I –48 HOURS
From the humble pound cake to the classic génoise, students go beyond the recipes to explore the theory and technique of cake making and expand their abilities to create original cakes. Students will learn:
• Butter-based and egg-foam cakes including layered and rolled versions.
• The theory of batter balance as they prepare cakes using various mixing techniques including: one-stage, high-ratio, and creaming method. Cakes prepared include carrot, pound, white, yellow, crumb, and chocolate along with muffins. Egg-foam cakes such as angel food, chiffon, and génoise are also included.
• Icings and fillings such as curds and ganaches as well as both Swiss and Italian meringue-based buttercreams.
• A wide variety of piped, dropped, molded, bar, and sheet cookies including biscotti, brownies, madeleines, macarons, spritz, Florentines, and rainbow cookies.
COURSE 6: CAKES, FILLINGS, AND ICINGS: PART 2 –52 HOURS
Batters produce more than the familiar cakes we often see: more complex techniques give us an international assortment of cakes and plated deserts. Covered here are:
• Complex layered baked goods including plain and chocolate-nut sponges, génoise mousseline, biscuit joconde, and pain de gênes.
• A classic assortment of cakes, including opera, miroir, tiramisu, crepe, mousse, and charlotte royale.
• Our plated dessert section includes theory, preparation, and presentation of multi-element, contemporary plated desserts. Students recreate and prepare recipes by award-winning chef and ICE Creative Director, Michael Laiskonis.
COURSE 7: CHOCOLATE CONFECTIONS –44 HOURS
Of the various mediums used by pastry chefs to express their vision, none is more seductive than chocolate. This comprehensive course takes students beyond the basic techniques and allows them to experience the joy of creativity as they produce and assemble a chocolate showpiece. Students will learn:
• Chocolate production, theory, and tempering methods.
• Dipping and enrobing.
• Preparation of fondant, truffles, butter crunch, and nougatine; molded, dipped and filled chocolates; chocolate baskets, and the highlight of this section, showpieces.
• Advanced methods including piped and framed centers, chocolate plastique, pastillage, and isomalt casting.
COURSE 8: CAKE DECORATING –56 HOURS
Cake decorating represents the ultimate fusion of art and craft. The students’ effort and practice in prior classes is rewarded as they take their skills to a new level by preparing tiered cakes. Students learn:
• Buttercream flowers and borders, royal icing, and fondant (draping, crimping, and ruffling).
• Gum paste flowers, including azaleas, lilies, roses, and more.
• Floral arrangement and tiered cake assembly including splitting, filling, and crumb coating and the usage of marzipan for covering cakes and making flowers, fruits, vegetables, and figurines.
• Finishing techniques like petal dusting and tier assembly. This course culminates in the creation of an original two-tiered wedding cake.
Click here to learn more about ICE's Techniques and Art of Professional Cake Decorating program.
COURSE 9: EXTERNSHIP –210 HOURS
At the end of their in-class training, all students are assigned an externship. While the Institute of Culinary Education recommends that students extern in restaurant kitchens, they may request venues such as hotels, catering companies, pastry shops, or test kitchens in order to meet their professional goals.
ELECTIVES AND WINE EDUCATION At ICE's New York campus, Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, and Hospitality Management students are given theopportunity to take additional classes offered by the school’s recreational division. Regarded by many as America’s largest menu of hands-on specialty cooking classes, ICE offers more than 1,700 classes each year. Classes are taught by visiting guest chefs, cookbook authors, food scholars, and ICE’s own expert chef-instructors. Topics range from Korean barbecue and Tunisian cooking, to Argentine pastry and Viennese desserts. Classes are listed in The Main Course, our newsletter that is published three times each year.
Additionally, all career students have access to the school’s Wine Essentials course. This six-session course uses grape varietals as the introductory key to understanding the full wine spectrum.
Click here to download ICE's Career Training program book list (effective September 1, 2017).
"I have always admired ICE, and education is the perfect opportunity for me to give back, to inspire the next generation of chefs to enjoy and excel in a career in culinary or pastry arts." ICE Creative Director; Former Executive Pastry Chef, Le Bernardin, Past James Beard Foundation “Best Pastry Chef in America” Winner.