Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Sweet Sampling

Welcome 2010!!! Yes, I'm a little late. I've been a busy gal. My holidays and travels were amazing!!! I had a great time with my family, and it was so nice to see my fiance after 5 1/2 months of being apart! We only have a little bit more to go until we're together again. So worth it!

I'm looking forward to 2010 for many good things to come:

  1. Graduation - March 5th! This also means leaving NY!
  2. Roadtrip across America with my mom - something that's been on my list for a long time!
  3. A good chunk of time with family and friends, and time to purge and consolidate all of my belongings.
  4. Moving back to Hawai'i!
  5. Planning, celebrating, and getting married!
  6. A new, amazing job???!!
As of now, I have less than 3 classes to go until graduation. It is going to be like the last sprint before the finish line of a 2-year marathon. Ugh! The next class is going to be killer because I'll be in class, working for free, from 12am-8am. Yes, I will be messed up.

Right now, I'm enjoying my regular schedule and routine. The class is called Restaurant Production Desserts, which is what any pastry chef does at a restaurant. This is old news to me as I have had experience in this area several times now! Chef D is funny yet serious, yet kooky at the same time. He was born to Mexican and French parents, and he's trilingual, which means he has a crazy crazy accent.

Every day in class, we prep one dessert for the next day, and finish another at the same time. There are a LOT of components. On Monday, we did an open invitation service time for anyone at school to drop by for a free dessert. We were "open" for a half hour, each team had a station and their one dessert to do. Chef D would call out the order and we'd have to assemble it and give it to the customer. Somehow, this is supposed to simulate what happens out in the industry, but we veterans know this is not realistic at all! Reality is that one person would be doing all ten desserts on their own.

Here is a sampling of what my partner and I have done. We prepare ten desserts each day, plating nine the way Chef D shows us, leaving us one to do our own style.

Our first dessert was a strawberry tart, composed of fresh strawberries on top of mascarpone mousse and a cookie base along with strawberry sauce, a white sauce, and strawberry gelee. This was Chef D's design:

Followed by our own interpretation:

This is the chocolate pistachio bomb. On top is a tuile spoon with pistachios. The bomb was sprayed with chocolate and glazed with chocolate sauce. The bomb was made of milk chocolate mousse with a frozen pistachio mousse insert and chocolate chiffon cake with a crispy base on the bottom. The sauce was raspberry. Pretty tasty! This was our interpretation:

This one is called Zucotto - sooo delicious!! Inside this italian-style bomb is milk chocolate mousse, chocolate shortbread and a gianduja crispy base. The decor on top is chocolate tuile and bubble sugar.
I'm not a huge fan of cheesecake, but this one was super good! Goat cheese cake - A mixture of goat cheese and cream cheese. We made a grape compote and grape sauce with red wine and black grape juice. The pasta-looking thing on top of the cake is actually baked pastry cream!!! The process was so amazing, I had no idea you could bake pastry cream! While it was hot, I peeled it off the pan and wrapped it around a tube to give it the nest shape. We also made a white grape sorbet which was really really refreshing.

The next dessert was also one of my favorites so far - Chocolate caramel apple. It was a little time-consuming but very rewarding. The mousse was a chocolate caramel mousse. The base was chocolate chiffon with a caramel chocolate crispy base (yummmm!!) and the insert and garnish was spiced apple! It took me a long time to cut them in tiny perfect cubes. They were then stewed in a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, orange juice, vanilla, apricot jam, white wine, and Calvados. We also made an apple cider sauce, which was the best part of the dessert - apple cider, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Calvados, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. The tissue-looking decor is called apple paper, and was made using only apple puree, cake flour and powdered sugar! It looks delicate but is pretty sturdy and tastes delicious! There were also a few Calvados-soaked raisins. This was our design:
Lastly, today we finished off this dessert: Pain Perdue 2! This is an interpretation of the French's French Toast. The bread was brioche which we soaked in a creme caramel base and then pan seared on both sides. The citrus sauce was made with orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon, orange segments (used for garnish), sugar, and then monte au buerre finished with butter. It smelled amazing! We also put candied orange peel on top and served it with a refreshing lemon verbena ice cream.

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