You don't have to be scared of cheesecake, Jamie Heckman explained to a group of dessert-lovers at Cork bar and restaurant in Wilkes-Barre last week.
A lot of people find them intimidating and won't try to make one, but it's really not as hard as people think.
It's not hard, that is, as long as you're armed with knowledge, such as the tip that baking your cake in a water bath – with the pan set inside a larger pan of water – adds humidity to the baking process and prevents the cheesecake from cracking.
After she demonstrated the preparation of cheesecake infused with orange zest and honey, Heckman, whose Pie Bird Bakery in Nesquehoning regularly supplies pastries to Cork, unmolded a previously baked dessert and served it to her appreciative audience.
That particular holiday-baking class is over, but other cooking lessons have been planned to help you expand your culinary repertoire.
• Holiday Appetizers and Cocktails, 7 p.m. Dec. 12, Cork bar and restaurant, 463 Madison St., Wilkes-Barre. $15. 570-270-3818.
• Cooking with Kate live dinner shows, 7 p.m. every Friday and every first Saturday, Rustic Kitchen, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Highway 315, Plains Township.
Guests should arrive at 6:30 p.m. They will watch Chef Kate prepare spinach-and-artichoke dip, an herb-encrusted prime rib and a fruit tart for dessert. $55-$65. Note: December dinners are sold out, but there are openings in January. 570-824-6600
• Tao cooking classes will be taught from 6 to 9 p.m. every other Thursday beginning Jan. 10 at the Waverly Community House, 1115 N. Abington Road, Waverly to show the way to healthful eating.
. It's vegetarian with a twist, Joanna Bach said. We use spices in creative ways.
We'll focus on bringing more awareness to what we eat, getting away from processed foods, learning about foods as medicine, said Janet Dunn-Davenport, who is co-instructor with Bach.
At each class, participants will help prepare and then eat soup, salad and entrée and dessert. Classes are $50 per person, and there's a 10 percent discount if you take all six classes in the series. Call 570-445-0124 or 570-242-7232 to enroll.
• At Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke, enrichment classes for the spring semester include Cake Decorating, 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 2 and 9 and 9 a.m. to noon April 6 and 13; Cooking Light, 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 2 and 9; Home Entertaining 1 to 4 p.m. March 2 and 9; Mediterranean Cuisine 1 to 4 p.m. April 6 and 13 and Outdoor Grilling, 9 a.m. to noon May 11 and 18. Cost is $89 for each two-session class. 570-740-0477.