Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Final Projects/Burns

I finished my class last friday. We had a big final presentation that we had to create. I know I mentioned it before. My theme was "Spices." I was actually quite pleased with how everything turned out and, aside from the 2nd degree burn from 300 degree sugar, the day of the project went on quite well. The Gateau Opera cake was a pain to lace with red chili pepper, but I was told that the few people who had a bit of it were able to taste the slight twinge in the back if your throat from the chocolate laced with pepper. My job is done. Ha ha!

I also made Cardamom cookies that were addictive, Curry Truffles, a spiced angel food cake (which everyone should have this recipe, it is surprisingly awesome), a 5 Chinese spice apple pie, Pear Ginger Tart, and Meringue shells filled with a fruit mixture of pineapple+cantaloupe+basil+mint+ Orange Liqueur. OH MAN! I'm so proud. I got a 97% for the whole thing.

Unfortunately, I was not exaggerating when I said I got a 2nd degree burn. Toward the end of my set up, while I was spinning sugar, I lost my grip on the whip it went flying into the pot of boiling sugar. Thankfully, all I got was an inch splash on my middle finger. It could have been much worse. So, I bit my lip until I got everything set up, shaking all the while. Once I was finished (as much as I could be anyway) I excused myself and went off to the urgent care clinic. I impressed the nurses. I seem to be good at that!
Enjoy the pictures! I gotta get some beauty sleep!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Oh man. I'm so sorry people.
Between trying to stay on top of school, job, and wedding demands, I hardly have time to eat, let alone have a hobby!
The past two weeks have been nothing but petit fours. We're getting into more complicated cakes that are an all day process. That's actually okay with me, because then I get more time to make things look pretty. Some people in class have told me that I always do the prettiest decorations, which makes me go "teehee."
Some of the cakes we've made this week were:

Gateau Opera. This was my favorite of the week. Mostly due to the fact that the cake is covered in ganache at the end. I was talking with a friend of mine a while back and we decided pouring ganache over a cake is, quite possibly, one of the most satisfying feelings one can have in their existence. So, if you're looking for a good feeling. Bake a chocolate or strawberry, or whatever cake, and give it one or two baths in ganache. If that doesn't put a smile on your face, then ....God. I don't know what to say to you if that's the case.
I actually made this cake twice and sent the second one home to the family for birthday weekend. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADA!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIA!!

The other cake that was really of note this week was the Battenburg. Made in honor of Princess Victoria's wedding, this cake is a pain in the butt with not much pay off! I was not fond of the flavoring! It's just spongecake with marzipan. Unless you are a big fan of marzipan, this cake will not interest you. And it took FOREVER. Lots of measurements. It looks kinda cool....but I was not excited, by any means.
Unfortunately, I believe school is going to take a much more technical and way less fun turn next "quarter." We are going to be in a classroom doing nutrition and kitchen management and such. So no major baking for me for 3-6 weeks! Ppthhhhh. I may go crazy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Oh Man.
Macaroons. Macaroons. Macaroons. Guess what I've been doing!
There is a visiting Chef from French Canada in the school for a couple weeks and he was nice enough to do a demo for our class this morning. Aside from the near impossible, thick French accent the man speaks with, talking with him as been very informative. He demoed 3 different flavors of bite size macaroons today. His technique is totally different from our teacher, which is weird. For example, Macaroons have a body relatively reliant on fluffed egg whites, and chef stressed the need to keep as much body from the egg whites as possible. Not Monsieur Chef! He just beat that stuff together like nothing I've ever seen! It was pretty funny.
The other hilarity about Monsieur Chef is that he stresses, constantly, the the way to make the money. He doesn't some much talk about "This is how to make yourself a good pastry chef" he talks about "This is how to make the bucks." Which, isn't all bad. It's good to know what people are looking for, which (by the way) is experience across the world. You name a country, this guy has been to it. It's impressive.

Anyway! So, Macaroons. Very light and fluffy. Mostly egg white with sugar. Awesome, as most things are, when chocolate is involved. We have to make an almond macaroon for our final this Friday. I seem to suck at getting them to the correct size. I try so hard to make them circular, that I completely missed the whole, Petit Four size idea (2 bites). They are way to small. Sigh. Anyway. These things are cheap and easy, good thing to remember, cause people still charge a bundle for them!