I know I keep saying this, but ever since we came back from Christmas, pastry school has been flyyyyying by. This is our second to last week of the International Pastry Diploma portion. It included soufflés, tarts, an exam and lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Tuesday: Lemon Pudding Soufflé, Raspberry Soufflé and Pistachio Soufflé
On Tuesday we made three soufflés: a lemon pudding, raspberry and pistachio soufflé. It was our first try at the lemon pudding soufflé which would be on our exam the next day. I had some issues with my lemon sauce and custard; while re-heating my custard to plate the dessert, I accidentally overheated (and curdled) it. Oops. The raspberry soufflé turned out nicely, but the pistachio wasn’t my favorite.
Wednesday: Practical Exam – Lemon Pudding Soufflé and Raspberry Bavarois
Today is one of those days I wish I didn’t keep a weekly pastry school diary. Although, I guess to look on the bright side, making mistakes is part of the process and you can ALWAYS learn from them. It’s just unfortunate that it happened on an exam day and frustrating not understanding exactly why it happened in the first place.
For our exam, we had to make and plate two lemon pudding soufflés, which we had made the previous day and two raspberry bavarois, which we had made previously in week 22. I started with the raspberry bavarois as they take the longest to set in the fridge. Once those were made and setting, I started on the soufflés. The batter felt and looked the exact same to me as the previous day but when I went to take them out of the oven, it was cooked on the outside and the center was a still batter. I tried to put it back in the oven (doesn’t work) to see if anything could be done, but I was toast. We cook them in simmering water in a pot covered in tin foil, so it’s not cooked in an oven where you can watch them rise. I’m not sure if it was my mix, or if the water wasn’t hot enough when I put it in the water bath, or if it was a hot spot in the oven? I had screwed up my custard the day before when re-heating and forgetting about it, and my lemon sauce didn’t turn out well. Both of those turned out great on exam day, except there was no soufflé to put them on top of. 🙁
Going back to school as a ‘mature’ student, I wanted to be perfect. An all-A student with the best scores possible. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way. In the grand scheme of things, grades don’t matter all that much, but getting used to practical and subjective grading has been an adjustment.
Thankfully, my bavarois saved the day and I was able to get a pass, which considering I only plated one of two is fairly remarkable. If I could redo the bavarois plating, I’d have done quenelles (the restaurant style that makes ice cream/sorbet/cream look like an egg-ish shape) instead of piping the cream, made some jelly cubes and taken some extra sponge and sprinkled it along the plate. Next time. 🙂
Thursday: Pear Tarts en Cages & Banana Tarte Tatin
Thursday we made tartes aux poires en cage, or pear tarts in puff pastry cages and tarte tatin. Tarte Tatin is an upside-down tart in which the fruit is caramelized before the tart is baked. Traditionally, this is made with apples, but can be made using a variety of fruits. We used bananas and I discovered I’m not a huge fan of cooked bananas (outside mashed up and folded deliciously into things like banana bread). The pastry and caramel (and a scoop of the cream from the pear tarts) was really good together. For the pear tarts, we used a lattice cutter and created a cage for the tarts prior to cooking them. My pear got a bit discolored during the poaching process. We finished off the class making a Crêpe Suzette. Lots of tasting in class this week.
Friday: Costing Theory & The Clove Club Lunch
On Friday we met at a coffee shop in East London to go over more costing theory. We went through a work sheet to test our knowledge on selling prices, gross profits, incorporating wastage and working each formula backwards and forwards. I feel like I’m getting a better handle on this now.
To cap off the week, we treated ourselves to lunch at The Clove Club, a one Michelin Star restaurant located in Shoreditch Town Hall in the heart of East London. We dined on a delicious three-course meal, accompanied by lots of little snacks brought out throughout the courses and a cheese platter before our dessert. A fantastic meal celebrating our six month pastry course.
So excited I finally got some KitchenAid back in my life after I bought the KitchenAid 9-Speed Hand Mixer.