So as we continue to build our foundation for Pastry and Baking, we covered Fruit, Leveners and Eggs!
First up was fruit - we learned just about every method for using fruits in desserts - we candied, we macerated, we roasted, we dried and we poached! It was great to learn each method, but unfortunately not alot of product to bring home and photograph - so this post will be text heavy I'm afraid.
The one thing that we did make that I could bring home was Pate de Fruits - basically a fancy name for fruit chews. You may have seen Pate de Fruits in a bakery or gourmet food shop. The most common form is the orange slices with granulated sugar on it.
We made Raspberry Pate de Fruits:
Tasty candy... very strong raspberry flavor, and a bit on the tart side if you don't coat it in granulated sugar.
My partner and I also made:
- Candied Orange Peel
- Roasted Pears & Figs
- Poached Pears in Caramel Sauce
- Pear Chips
- Strawberry & Mint Salad
This weeks tastings included: Jams, Jellies & Preserves, Cordials & Eau de Vie, and Extracts (orange, almond and vanilla).
The tastings were OK, not yummy, but far better than the Dairy tasting from Week 1!
Next on the agenda were Leveners - and yep, Chef made us taste Baking Soda and Baking Powder - by themselves! I'm sure this is an important aspect of learning, but we have all started to dread the times Chef says to gather around, and he gets out the little cups and spoons!
In an exercise to demonstrate what can go wrong if a levener is used incorrectly, we made Blueberry Muffins! (these photos are of muffins from the normal batch)
Each group was told to vary the recipe so that we could see what happens if you forget to put in the levener, or accidentally use Baking Soda instead of Baking Powder (they are not interchangable! : ) , or if you accidentally put 4 times as much Baking Powder as teh recipe calls for! (I'm not sure how you could ever accidentally do that, but I guess it could happen!)
We all expected to see muffins exploding, BUT - it turns out our Baking Powder had gone bad - Chef thinks moisture had gotten into it - so it didn't work! So we did our recipes all over again, this time using a freshly opened container of Baking Powder and voila - disasterous results!
Muffins exploded, then imploded and their colors changed too! The muffins actually took on a bluish/green color that became more noticable as the Baking Powder increased from 2x, 3x, 4x, and 5x's the normal amount. Needless to say, the taste was also severly altered!
Our last major topic was the Egg! Very important ingredient to a Baker - probably one of the most important ingredients! After we discussed teh functions of an egg, Chef apologized for what we were about to endure...
And this is how My Arm Got Sore... we had to make MAYONAISE by hand! Have you ever tried to beat egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, and canola oil silly until it magically turns into thickened mayonaise?!?!?!?! Well, if you have never been subjected to this torture - it takes a really long time! And a whole lot of strength and patience! Luckily this isn't something that many professional kitchens still do - and most likely if they are making fresh mayo, they use a food processor - but again, this was all in the name of learning!
And as if that wasn't enough - in our next exercise (and I guess I use that word in a literal sense) we had to beat egg whites BY HAND into stiff peaks!!! We had not time to rest, recover, stretch, ice our amrs - just jumped right into another whisking frenzy!
And then the class collapsed! I guess Chef felt a little sorry for us so he dismissed us at 4:20 on Sunday afternoon! Even though I was really tired when class ended, I left with a smile - because it was another great weekend!