Week 16 of pastry school was busy. We packed a lot in but it was a great week overall.
Tuesday: Gâteau St. Honoré, Choux a la Crème, Brioche Polonaise, Poolish & Biga
Tuesday was a full day from start to finish. We are re-making baguettes and ciabatta on Wednesday in the bakery and started out by making the poolish (baguette) and biga (ciabatta) ferments for each. After the ferments, we had to finish the turns for our puff pastry from week 15 and so it could properly rest in the fridge. Following that, we made up our choux a la crème/craquelin doughs; we did a chocolate and vanilla.
Next came the elements for the Gâteau St. Honoré. The St. Honoré cake is named for the French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs, Saint Honoré. The Gâteau St. Honoré was invented around 1846 by a Patissier named Chiboust who ran a shop on the Rue Saint Honoré in Paris. Chiboust paid homage to both the saint and street, but gave his own filling by folding beaten eggs whites into crème pâtissière.
The Gâteau St. Honoré includes a puff pastry base, choux paste lining around the base, profiteroles/creme puffs dipped in caramel and filled with crème chioboust (Italian meringue and crème pat). First step was getting making up the crème pâtissière and leaving it at room temperature to set. We used a bit of gelatin in our recipe to help it set a bit firmer for piping. Next step was getting the puff pastry rolled out, docked and cut for the base. That was left in the fridge to rest and then we began our choux paste, which we made for the first time back in week four. After the choux paste was ready, we made up our Italian meringue.
Meanwhile, we separated out some remaining brioche dough from week 15 and used it for our brioche polonaise. The dough is rolled in two balls to create an easy center to remove after baked so we can add in the filling, apricot jam, crème pâtissière and then the whole thing was piped with Italian meringue. Prior to adding in the filling, we soaked the brioche in a Grand Marnier stock syrup. Finally, we got to blow torch the meringue.
The end of the class was a bit hectic, as the caramel took forever to caramelize and I still didn’t get it quite as dark as I needed. I didn’t have time to use the correct piping tip to pipe the crème chioboust in the Honoré, but it was a great class that really pushed us to move quickly and get a bunch of stuff done. Next time, we’re going to do a bit less so we can finish things off more smoothly and get some nice finished shots.
Wednesday: Baguettes, Ciabatta, Multiseed Bread and Cabernet Grape Flour Bread
On Wednesday we had some winners and some losers. After our initial attempts at okay baguettes and ciabatta, we wanted to give it another try to perfect the method. We used a different recipe and slightly different method for both and both breads turned out really nicely this time around! The cabernet grape flour bread was the real loser. It was gross. Grape flour is kind of expensive, so really not one worth trying. The multiseed brown bread was okay, not my favorite, but edible. The excitement of the day was having nice ciabatta loaves to take home for sandwiches and enjoying a hot baguette at the end of class that was *almost* like buying one from a boulangerie in Paris. Almost. 🙂
Thursday: Food Science and Fudge
Thursday started out in food science finishing up our chocolate wine from Heston’s The Big Fat Duck Cookbook. It turned out really well. We’re thinking about using this for our final project and bringing out the nice wine that the recipe calls for! 🙂
After science, we met with the culinary students for more work on our pop up restaurant. Tom and my theme is coming along pretty nicely and now we need to finalize our menu, identify the providence for our ingredients and begin identifying suppliers.
In the afternoon in the chocolate lab, we finished our fudge; cut them up and drizzled with tempered chocolate.
Friday: Theory and Macarons
On Friday during theory, I presented my SMART target research on macarons since we were doing macarons part deux in the afternoon. Our first macarons weren’t bad, but they definitely weren’t the best either and we all felt like we wanted another session to perfect them. Afterwards, we spent the time researching design options for our upcoming modern croquembouche designs.
Our macarons in the bakery got the better part of us that day. I fully think the ovens were against us. For our first macaron, we made them using a Swiss meringue which is done over a bain marie. Our second was a more chewy macaron cookie, which turned out looking more regular macaron-like. For the third attempt, Jennie and I went with a recipe I’d learned from a course I took in 2013 at La Cuisine Paris and one I’d made numerous times at home. This one had another set of problems. I’ve never seen a macaron not cook in the center before, especially when it passes the cooked test and doesn’t jiggle. We’re giving macarons another try as a side item in an upcoming lesson and going to use a convection oven.