Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pastries, Practice, and a Priceless Adventure

We are still busy, busy, busy getting ready for Christmas! So busy that I haven't had time to take pictures of most of my work. I'm finding it hard to keep up the pace with the logs, I'm not sure why. We've done a few more flavours... lemon-raspberry, a real Framboisier, and a chocolate one. For the lemon-raspberry, we made a white sheet cake, covered with a mixture of buttercream & lemon curd, sprinkled with raspberries & rolled. We covered with the same lemon buttercream, and decorated as per the norm. For the raspberry one, again we made a white sheet cake, covered with crème légère and sprinkled with raspberries & rolled. But that one we covered with Chantilly, like the Black Forest log. I haven't quite finished mine yet, I still need to decorate it, so maybe I'll get a picture tomorrow. For the chocolate one, we made a chocolate sheet cake rolled with chocolate buttercream in the middle. Yum! I brought home a 12-inch one, to keep for the holidays. I am sure that somebody will help me eat it! I also brought home an 8-inch Black Forest one to use as a door prize at the Car Club's Christmas Banquet this weekend. My dad suggested it, and I thought that was a neat idea - why not? :)

This week we have also been doing practice exams, because we have 2 exams to do next week (AH!), for the petits fours module, and for the traditional desserts module. I didn't take pictures of my practice exam yesterday, but they all turned out pretty well. We did 12 mini mochas, 6 barquettes (we could choose which model, I did the boats), and 6 carolines (the teeny weeny eclairs). Today we did a Black Forest and a birthday cake. Both turned out very well, I was proud of myself so I made sure to take pictures. The only points lost for my Black Forest was because the chocolate shavings I used on the top weren't big enough, but those are major points for decoration, so I have to remember that next week!

For the birthday cake... It turned out well, everyone kept telling me how great it looked, and the teacher had nothing negative to say about it, but I feel there's still room for improvement. I need to figure out how to keep my buttercream from getting... bubbly. I don't know how else to describe it, but it's full of air bubbles, which makes it really hard to smooth out, or use the comb. Apparently this is a temperature problem (not warm enough), but it happens to me every time, with almost every buttercream recipe. Yes, I can still manage to make it look nice, but it takes longer. By the time I got around the making my roses I was having a hard time. My work table is too high, my pastry bag was too full and therefore too heavy, and the buttercream was getting soft. But I persevered and got some decent roses. I even managed not to scrap the whole thing with the gel piping. Still not perfect, but much better than my previous attempts! I don't like the writing. The teacher said I should have written Bonne Fête in a larger font, but it's nothing I would be docked marks for.

Black Forest practice exam

Birthday cake practice exam

So yeah! That's my most recent pastry school update. :) Might have some more pictures to share tomorrow, we'll see.

For those of you who have been wondering how the stick shift is working out, or what recent adventures I've been having while driving... Well, I've successfully made it to school and home every day since school started, without any major mishaps, so I guess that should be considered a pretty big success! I was trying to avoid all stop signs and lights at all costs, especially those in hills, but circumstances sometimes don't allow for that, and with lots of construction happening around these parts... I've been forced to make a lot of stops in hills - at lights, or otherwise. But it's been at least a few weeks since I've stalled it! Yay! And I've been getting braver and voluntarily taking routes with lots of lights and/or stops and/or hills (not hard in Sherbrooke). She's finally grown on me, I've become attached enough to give her a name, so she is now called Loretta. Loretta the Jetta. :)

And my most recent adventure was tonight, but I warn you, it's a much better story in person because there are sound effects & hand motions. It started when somebody cut me off in the middle of a hill (going up), which ticked off both me and Loretta. We carried on, but then I made a booboo further up the hill (somehow only put it in neutral when trying to change gears? Then put it into the high gear instead of the lower one...) so I was apologizing to Loretta, begging with her not to hate me, as I was coming to a stop at a light when suddenly Loretta screamed at me! Apparently Volkswagens beep loudly when any sort of dashboard symbol comes on, and my windshield washer fluid was empty. Thankfully, I was just pulling in to Walmart. But first I went to Dollarama to pick up some candies for our gingerbread houses we're making at school next week (SO EXCITED!). So then I'm going to Walmart with 2 dollar store bags, and I tell myself I can only get the washer fluid because I only have 2 hands. But they had 2 kinds and I couldn't decide so I got both. So then I'm waddling thru the parking lot with a bag on each wrist and a jug of washer fluid in each hand, trying to get keys out of my pocket and open doors... And then, because I obviously don't look under the hood often enough, I couldn't remember where the hood release was. *Sigh* But I got it, managed to get most of the fluid into the receptacle, and Loretta and I were on our way once again, with no further incident.

And before anyone comments with things like "Why didn't you use a cart?" I asked and wasn't allowed to take a cart outside thru the mall, because there are no cart stall thingies in that end of the parking lot. Hence juggling 2 shopping bags and 2 jugs of windshield washer fluid.

...The End. :)

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