Meredith circa 1982

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Report Card

On Friday I got an email from ICE with my grade for Module I - Course 1 and I'm happy to report that I made an A! YAY!

We are well into Mod I - Course 2 and this past weekend was all about Custards! Just when I thought my days of separating eggs for egg whites was over, we make recipes with Yolks as the foundation! More separating....

We started out making Creme Brulee - "burnt cream" - which was fun. It's a rather simple preparation but it's all about getting the right texture and baking them properly. We made a traditional vanilla Creme Brulee but there are tons of flavor options for this dessert.

After the custards cooled, we covered them with granulated sugar

And then torched them to make the "burnt" portion. Here I am in my uniform - taking my torching very seriously!

We had tons of Creme Brulee's to share with our fellow Pastry & Culinary students because we made them in ceramic ramekins and couldn't take them home. We were puzzled because no one really seemed to want them, and then we realized it was because if they took them and ate them, they would have to wash the ramekins! The last thing you want to pile up in your kitchen is extra dishes to wash - so I think Chef was going to give our extras to a recreational class that evening.

Next on the agenda was Bread Pudding - our class made Traditional (vanilla with raisins) and Chocolate.

Not much to report on Bread Pudding - pretty basic. We did line our cups with thin slices of bread and filled the inside with the custard instead of using cubed bread which is how I'm used to seeing it.

Our next custard was Creme Renverse which is basically the French version of Flan. Very tasty!

We made a Caramel to pour into our cups and then poured the custard on top of the caramel. After they chilled we quickly submerged the bottoms into boiling water to melt the caramel and help release it from the mold.

Now that I'm writing this post, I'm realizing how much we did on Saturday! Because after those three desserts, we made Pate Sable which is a sweet crust that can be used as a base for Cheesecake! While those baked and cooled, we made our Cheesecake fillings. The class made a Traditional Cheesecake, Sour Cream Cheesecake and Mascarpone Cheesecake.

We baked our Cheesecakes Saturday so that they could cool in the refrigerator overnight and we could unmold and taste them on Sunday. Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead when we got to class on Sunday so I don't have any pictures of the rest of the things we made on Sunday. My partner took some pictures with her camera, so if she emails them to me, I'll post those pictures.

But just so you know, our Cheesecake turned out perfectly! No cracks, perfectly flat and a nice golden color around the edges. I sent the entire cheesecake with Roger to his office on Monday and it seemed to be well received!

Saturday afternoon we also made Ice Cream bases - which are a custard as well. Thea and I made Chocolate and then churned it on Sunday when we got to use the professional icecream machine! That was a really fun experience - and it is amazing how quickly the ice cream churned - I think our chocolate took about 8 minutes and it made 1/2 a gallon. It was absolutely delish! Tasted like Haagen-Dazs - very chocolately!!!

Interesting fact - ever wonder why a small container of Haagen-Dazs cost the same (sometimes more) than a 1/2 gallon of Turkey Hill / Breyers? It's because the Ice Cream industry has different types of machines to churn their products and the amount of air incorporated varies. So Haagen-Dazs may use a machine that aerates 20%, while Turkey Hill might aerate 50% - so you end up with less of the custard mixture and more air. This is also why these products have a very different "mouth feel" to them and why Haagen-Dazs and other premium ice creams seem much richer. I thought that was a neat fact to learn!

Other flavors the class made were vanilla, cinnamon, coffee, ginger and coconut. Chocolate seemed to be a class favorite! Sunday morning we made things that could be served with Ice Cream in a dessert presentation - pizelle's (like a waffle cone), tulipes (thin wafer cookie), and sauces - raspberry, hot fudge, caramel, chocolate sauce, etc.

While we worked on those recipes, we also made Sorbet. Thea and I made Sour Cherry Sorbet and it was nice to have something with a tart flavor to contrast all of the super sweet cheesecake & Ice Creams we had been sampling. It's a little hard to enjoy Ice Creams and Sorbets to their full extent in February - in NYC - but maybe we will have a chance to make some more frozen desserts once warm weather gets here!

In the afternoon we were able to showcase our creativity by using our Ice Creams, Sorbets, Sauces, Pizelles and Tulipes to plate our own original desserts. Hopefully I'll get pictures of that to post too - it was neat to see everyone's style come out!

This weekend we don't have class due to President's Day so I will have a little bit of a break! If anything fun happens or school related comes up, I'll do a post - otherwise I'll write again in a few weeks!

1 comment:

  1. LOVE your blog - it is awesome!!!! You look super cute in your chef uniform and the deserts - yummy!!!!!!!!! My mouth is watering. You are going to be such a success - I just know it. Can't wait to come have my tea and pastry at your own cafe soon :)!!-Jyoti