I can’t believe I just finished week 17 of pastry school. It really seems like the month of January flew by. The week was filled with tarts, ice cream experiments, cookies, chocolate motifs and an exam.
Tuesday: Dark Chocolate Coffee Caramel & Walnut Tart, French Apple Tart and Lime & Raspberry Tart
On Tuesday we had a day filled with tarts. And not just the ladies in my class. Ha, kidding! 😉 For our tarts, we made them with a pâte sablée (sandy) and la pâte sucrée (sweet). Our pâte sablée is made using the creaming method and is more cookie like and fragile and our pâte sucrée was made using the rubbing in method. We made a French apple tart using our pâte sablée and with the pâte sucrée, we made a dark chocolate coffee caramel and walnut tart and a lime and raspberry tart.
Three tarts was slightly ambitious for our time in the kitchen and we weren’t able to really finish them all off. The lime and raspberry really took the hit as the lime cream was rushed and ours didn’t have time to fully set. The photo below is of Chef’s tart where he demonstrated the addition of puff pastry as a topper. It still tasted nice when I ate it at home. The French apple tart wasn’t my favorite apple dessert I’ve ever had. The really good one was the dark chocolate coffee caramel and walnut tart, and I’m not even that big of a coffee flavoring person.
Wednesday: Bakery Practical Exam 3: Bagels & Pretzels
On Wednesday, we had our third practical exam in bakery making bagels and pretzels. This will conclude most of our bread work for the course, as we’ve covered most everything and have the foundation of breads down pat.
The bagel and pretzels doughs both require a ferment which was made at the beginning of the class. After that, we had to divide the ferment into the right amounts for each. I started with the pretzels first and accidentally weighed mine out divisible by eight instead of doing seven at 80 grams each (which I apparently missed, or overlooked and I like even numbers, oops) so my pretzels turned out a bit smaller, which made them close up slightly during the proving process. I might also next time not go with the second twist, to give them more of a solid pretzel-like shape. For the flavors, I decided to follow in the footsteps of Mellow Mushroom and go with three sea salt pretzels and three cinnamon and sugar pretzels (for dipping in honey, obvs).
The bagels were next and those went fairly smoothly. I made plain, cinnamon and sugar, poppy and sesame seed bagels. Since this was our third time on bagels, the poaching process is much smoother and this is probably a recipe I’ll do at home in the future!
I received a merit overall (we now have a slightly different grading scale so I got an 86/100). Chef said both tasted nicely and he’d buy them both in the store, but that my pretzel needed to ‘look’ more like the pretzel shape (probably easily fixed by adjusting the dough per pretzel) and that my bagels were slightly under proven on the first go round. Overall, a good exam day, although lots of waiting around with: dough, prove; dough, prove; dough, prove; shape, prove, bake; shape, prove, poach, bake; EAT. 🙂
Thursday: Food Science & Centerpiece Design
Thursday started in food science with mine and Jennie’s continued experiments. This week we decided to use the centrifuge again to extract the oils from pecans to make a butter pecan ice cream. Comparing the flavors of using the toasted pecans to flavor the ice cream and infusing the ice cream with the flavors extracted from the pecans in the centrifuge.
Last week after we finished our chocolate wine, we dabbled in nut oil extraction with hazelnuts, but found that the centrifuge extracted only a teaspoon of oil per approximately 80grams of hazelnuts (blended up with a stock syrup in the food processor) and if left in the bottles (which we did because class ended before the centrifuge was done), the oils mixed back in with the solids.
This week with the pecans, we added slightly more stock syrup (600g of pecans with 150g/150g water/sugar mix) and just blending it up in the food processor already yielded more oils than the hazelnuts. We were able to extra a nice amount of oils from the centrifuge which we added in the second ice cream using this William-Sonoma butter pecan ice cream recipe.
Both ice creams were delicious, but our class voted for the regular butter pecan. However, when you add the extra toasted pecans to the pecan oil infused ice cream, it gave the flavor the slight extra boost it needed. I think we could re-do the oil one and add a bit more and it’d turn out beautifully.
In the afternoon, we spent the time researching designs for our modern nougatine croquembouche centerpiece we have to make in a few weeks time. I’m still undecided on my design, but hoping Paul (my bro) can lend me some architectural advice on my base structure. 😉
Friday: SMART target & Cookies (Biscuits) part one:
We finished off the week in our theory lesson presenting our SMART targets. I presented mine on macarons last week, but I did an extra one on jelly, jam and preserves. Others presented on sweet pastes, meringues, chocolate, choux paste and sponges. Everyone did a great job and it was really interesting.
After our SMART target presentations, we practiced our chocolate motifs for Tuesdays practical exam on Gâteau Mocha. In the afternoon, we made two types of cookies (biscuits) in the bakery, sablé à la poche and langurs de chat (sometimes referred to as cat’s tongue). At the end of baking, we headed to the chocolate lab to finish off the cookies and dip them in chocolate.