Starting into our second month of pastry school we’re all finally settling into our rhythm. Albiet some days a better rhythm than others. And some days a completely different rhythm all together when we’re jamming out in the chocolate lab; this week was a medley of John Williams movie scores which involved a bit of rolling pin light saber action and velociraptor moves. Naturally. I’m very lucky to be with such a great group who are mostly just a goofy as me. 🙂
Tuesday: Egg custard tart & puff pastry dough
Tuesday we made an egg custard tart and puff pastry dough. For the egg custard tart, we used the pate sucre, or sweet paste, from week two’s fresh fruit tart. We’ll also be making a sweet paste this coming week for our first test (a second fruit tart). We again used the blind baking technique to cook our pastry before filling the shell (in order to avoid soggy bottoms!).
We practiced our first attempt at lamination to make the puff pastry dough. Lamination is a technique in which you envelope butter into your dough and evenly incorporate the fat. Once you envelope your butter in your dough, you fold one side in half, and then the other side over that half, which resembles a book shape. After each turn (folding process), the dough must rest to allow the gluten to strengthen. Puff pastry requires six turns, so it takes quite a while to make. We made up our dough to freeze and will use the week following our exams.
I found a fun formula online for calculating the number of layers in laminated dough (which promptly had me googling how to multiply to the n-th power…sheesh it’s been a while for that kind of higher math, ha!): L = (f + 1)ⁿ; where L is the number of finished layers, f is the number of folds and n is the number of times the dough has been folded. Our puff pastry was (2+1)^6 for a total of 729 layers.
Wednesday: Danish pastries
On Wednesday, we continued with our lamination work with Danish pastries, and made a fermented laminated good. Fermented meaning it involves yeast. The most important part of a good Danish pastry is the lamination. Our Danish pastry only required four turns, so it didn’t take quite as long to make. According to the aforementioned formula, our Danish pastries had 81 layers. I really enjoy the lamination work, so looking forward to doing more.
For our Danish pastries, we brush on a light layer of frangipane (an almond based paste) and then folded them into their various shapes. After adding a bit of creme patisserie and fruit. The bear claws got cinnamon and a bit of dark chocolate.
Thursday: Food Science & Chocolate Lab
Thursday we had food science again for the first half of the day and we spent half the class going over the theory, mainly discussing emulsions. Emulsions are a stable mix of fat and water; and is a great vehicle to for flavor because it delivers aromas (fat soluble) and taste (water soluble). To make an emulsion, you need a source of water, a source of fat and an emulsifier. I made my first mayonnaise from scratch, which contains oil (fat) and egg yolk (both the water and the emulsifier in this case). An emulsifier is a molecule that contains both a fat loving and water loving part (a translator of sorts).
Thursday afternoon in the chocolate lab, we started our pastillage (sugar) work. In a few weeks time, we’re going to have a decorative sugar box to incase petit fours. Exciting!
Friday: Theory & Tuiles (and deep fried deliciousness!!)
Friday afternoon in the bakery was spent learning how to make tuiles, which are thin wafer-like garnishes you can use on a number of desserts. We made two different types of tuiles; a more classic tuile with almonds and pistachios, and a lemon tuile. Our tuile work will be continuing in the future, which is good because I was a lot more into our other afternoon activity – deep fried treats!
Inspired by the Scotland novelty deep fried Mars bar, we decided to all bring in our favorite chocolate treat to deep fry. It was Friday after all. I brought in a Snickers, Oreos, Twix, and, because I was over near the American store in West London picking up a care package from my mom via a friend traveling back from the States that morning…YAY!, I got some Twinkies!! I tried them all, plus more that others brought in. I think what really put me over the edge was the deep fried butter. Ever since hearing about it at fairs in the US, I’ve wanted to try it. Perfect time. We fried up a cube of salted butter and sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on it. It was gross. I’m not sure what they do at the fairs that’s different, but it wasn’t good. By the end of class I was sitting on the floor I felt so bad from eating all the fried treats. The fried Twinkie or Snickers were my favorites, with Mars Bar and Twix coming in a close second. No better way to end the week!