Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bad days, good days, and lots of sugar...

This week didn't start off so well. To begin with, I had a cold over the weekend and wasn't quite over it Monday morning. I probably would have done well to have stayed home and rested, but I really didn't want to miss school and I wasn't coughing or sneezing or anything. But it wasn't a good day. To start with, we had a substitute teacher. Blah. I mean, he was nice enough, but he had a completely different method of teaching and he was very soft-spoken and kind of mumbled at times. It just wasn't the same. I felt much more stressed about getting things done on time than I usually do. But was that because of the teacher, or because I wasn't feeling well? Guess we'll never know...

In any case, Monday we were to make pâte sâblée aux amandes (a pie dough with powdered almonds in it), crème pâtissière (custard), lemon cream, and Italian meringue. We were to use our sugar dough from last week to make a shell for a fresh fruit tart, and the almond dough to make a shell for a lemon cream tart. I had the worst time trying to get my different doughs into the pans. We've been using the fluted tart pans again, and they are miserable things to work with! But they do make pretty desserts... We had to blind bake the tart shells, and both of mine cracked. This was absolutely disheartening. I showed the sub-teacher my cracked sugar dough and he told me it was too late to make a new one so if I wasn't planning on buying it myself, I'd just have to continue making it to be the demo for the class (to taste test). So I did, but it didn't go well. I was one of the last ones to finish it, so I got left with all the mushy fruit that nobody else wanted. It didn't look awful, but it wasn't spectacular either. I still wish I'd gotten a picture of it, but no camera. Then it came time to do the lemon tart and I found that that one had cracked even worse. So I made the lemon cream, and was done for the day. There was only half an hour left at that point, and I was too discouraged to try to do anything else.

Tuesday our teacher was back, and my cold was a bit better, so it was a slightly better day. I immediately started rolling out a new almond dough in case I had to redo my lemon tart shell. But when I showed it to the teacher, he said it shouldn't be a problem, and I said I would buy it anyway. So that was encouraging. I was able to keep up with the rest of the class more or less. The tart for yesterday was Choco-banana. There was a lot of fire-handling going on that day! First I had to use a torch to brown the meringue on my lemon tart - scary! Then we had to flambée our bananas - AH! Anyway, the first problem was when there were no bananas left for me, so I had to beg pieces of banana off other people and only ended up with half as much as the recipe asked for. I was able to flambée them quite well, tho. Then we had 2 other steps to do - make a chocolate mousse, and make a chocolate decoration (white stripes on brown) for the top of the tart. I didn't know which to do first and got really confused and discouraged. But I eventually got it all done and it didn't really matter the order. My mousse wasn't quite as thick as it should have been so I almost didn't have enough, and my chocolate decoration smudged a bit, but it didn't look half bad. I didn't get a picture of that one either. I was going to buy it today, but I hadn't put my name on it so it was already sold. Boo! Lesson learned: put your name on everything! lol You can decide later if you don't want to buy it.

My meringue could have been browned a bit more, but I was scared of the torch :/

Yum, yum!

Today I felt quite a bit better. I slept well last night, my cold is mostly gone, and I was just in better spirits. And today was a fun day, we had a sugar pie bake off! So we all brought in our own recipes for sugar pie, and any special ingredients, and made them to be tested by staff members and peers. Not sure who won in the end... I used my grandmother's Maple Cream Pie recipe, my uncle's light maple syrup, and made my pie dough the way I normally do at home. My pie was completely different from everyone else's, but it's super yummy and I don't care if it won a contest or not, it's still a family favourite! :) We also made a pecan tart - mine turned out perfect! - and chocolate pie with Chantilly cream on top. Chantilly cream is just whipped cream with sugar and vanilla. We had to pipe the cream on all fancy and then put little decorated pieces of chocolate in it. I'll try to get a picture later, it's quite pretty.

Pecan tart
Sadly, the chocolate pie didn't quite make it home in one piece. It was much more impressive a few hours ago... *sad face*

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