Sunday, October 23, 2011

The end of an era

The era of me sleeping in, that is.

Friday was my last day of afternoon labs. Starting tomorrow, I'll in labs from 6am - 1pm. Though I think of myself as a morning person, hiking down a mountain and up a mountain at five in the morning might be pushing it. I sprung for a very large thermos.  I'm not as sad about waking up early as I am about leaving my current teacher. I will miss his obsession with America and all of the weird quirks that go along with it (a love for peanut butter and ramen noodles, blue and orange Denver Broncos crocs that he wears to and from school).

Here's a picture of my midterm. We made St. Honore cakes, which is a traditional French cake named after the patron saint of baking (and candle-making, as coincidence would have it.  I don't know what this guy has against butchers, though). It's a tart base with a pate a choux ring piped around it and cream puffs glued to the ring with caramelized sugar.  Then you pipe creme chiboust, also known as gelatin-laden-pain-in-the-butt-cream-from-hell, into the base with a special tip.  Et Voila!  It's not my finest work, but it didn't totally suck. The base of my St. Honore folded in half in the oven - we have an insanely powerful convection fan in there, apparently. The base wasn't perfectly round so the whole shape of the cake was kind of janky.


You can probably see that I tried to compensate for my weird cake base by putting the cream puffs at an absurd angle. Not my finest decision, but it seemed to do the trick. I'm just a little annoyed because my St. Honore came out perfectly when we made it in class, but it didn't look so hot for the exam -- but I guess you win some and you lose some.  In addition to the St Honore, we also made raspberry ganache pralines, which were super easy.

In addition to the practical, we also finished some more tarts and entremets for our Friday buffet.  We didn't have time to taste any of them, so I now have seven tarts in my fridge. Correction: I have seven tarts in my mini fridge. Oy.  Here are some pictures of stuff that I made.

Almond and Strawberry Entremets. There is a small ring of cake around the outside, which is holding in a ton of almond flavored mousse.  The filling is strawberries and cointreau compote… it was so delicious that I stood in class all day long dipping cookies into the compote. Fortunately, we don't have to take a breathalyzer to work the ovens, because I was probably over the legal cointreau limit.


The little red half moon was achieved by airbrushing.  Somehow I sprayed red paint all over my hands and momentarily panicked because I thought I cut myself on something. This was clearly the cointreau talking.


Next, we have the Pistachio Apricot Tart. This tart is SO unlike anything we'd ever make in America. Here's a list of the components, from the top to the bottom:

Garnish (pulled sugar flower, nuts, and apricots)
Airbrushed Cocoa Spray
A disc of pistachio creme brûlée
Pistachio streusel
Halved Apricots pushed into…
Pistachio Almond Cream
Tart Shell


I haven't tried it yet but I brought one home to test. It seems like a whole lot of stuff going on. Also, pistachio and apricot? Do these things go together? I will keep you posted.


I showed you a picture of the mega macaron in my last post, but I wanted to zoom in on the chocolate garnish since I did the finishing today. The I used a paintbrush to make the magenta swirls on the white chocolate curls. Pretty fancy.  This entremets tastes terrible though. And I sort of think it looks like a leprechaun vomited all over it.


Next is the passion fruit and almond tart.  (It's a deconstructed tart, which is why it's an incredibly bizarre shape).  It's garnished with a spoon full of currents and a pulled sugar straw that has little passion fruit seeds on it.  FYI: Passion fruit seeds look like fish eggs, so if you ever think there are fish eggs on your dessert, just tell yourself that they are passion fruit seeds and hope you are right.

The passion fruit cremeux in this tart was uh-maz-ing. I need more cremeux in my life.



That's all! I think we are focusing on cookies and petit fours next week. I have a new teacher, though, so who knows!


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