"...if it turns out the way it should." - Julia Child
Ain't that the truth? Appropriate for so many of life's situations, but especially in the kitchen! :)
Here's a recap from last Wednesday to today (Monday).
Babas and savarins
We made these before (so I won't explain), but I guess it might be on the exam, so we needed to practice. There was no fruit left, tho, so we just used Chantilly cream and sprinkled with chocolate shavings. I don't think I tried the ones we made before, but I tried them this time, and it's really good - especially when they syrup is still warm!
We used a new cake recipe for this one, called a génoise mousseline, which is like the other génoise recipes we have, but with butter and an emulsifier added. So we made a white cake, divided in two. We layered the dessert as follows: cake (soaked with syrup); mousseline cream (pastry cream with butter added to it); fresh strawberries, halved (with open sides facing out); a bit more cream and the second cake; more mousseline, evened out across the top of the mold. We chilled it, removed the mold, then rolled out a circle of pink almond paste for the top and decorated with leaves (green buttercream with red piping gel for berries) and one half strawberry. We also made little cups with the leftovers. Oh, and we used the airbrush with red food colouring to make the edges of the almond paste slightly darker.
I thought I might like this one, but I don't really like pastry cream or mousseline, and I found that to be the most significant flavour.
|Little cups... the handiwork of me and my friend Kelly :)|
This is a kind of mousse cake. There is a layer of cake on the bottom, then a thick layer of mousse, and topped with a jelly of the same flavour. In this particular case, the flavour is mango (Mayela is the name of a person... Our teacher got the recipe from someone who named his cakes after his employees...). So we made a chocolate génoise mousseline, but only used half a cake each. So in a 20cm circle mold, you start layering your chocolate cake, soaked with mango syrup, and a mango mousse. After it set up in the freezer, we spread mango jelly on top, removed the mold, and decorated. To finish the sides, we made little chocolate squares which we "glued" to the chocolate cake with either buttercream or piping gel. Then we took a mango side, cut a grill in it, turned it "inside out," added 3 pineapple leaves, and 2 squares of chocolate. Voilà!
I am not a big fan of mango, nor do I particularly like mixing tropical fruits with chocolate... so this one, tho very pretty, did not appeal to my taste-buds. The mousse also had a strange consistency (too much gelatine?) that I didn't care for.
|Close up on the decoration :)|
I don't think I've ever actually had a palmier before. I have seen them often, at restaurants, in the grocery store, etc, but never tried one. I like puff pastry, but it's not my favourite thing in the world, so I don't go out of my way to eat desserts made with it. However, these are very tasty (well, ours are, anyway!). Instead of rolling the pastry out with flour, you roll it out in white sugar, making sure to get the sugar really packed in. You roll it into a long rectangle, then fold in twice from both ends, meeting in the middle, then fold in half at the middle. Then you slice it, and when you lay your slices on the baking sheet, spread the 2 ends slightly. To bake, you let it caramelize in the oven, then flip over and brown/caramelize the other side. So it's a sweet, crispy treat, reminiscent of a cookie (maybe that's why I like it!).
|Packed up for the store|
Vols au vent
Super easy! The hardest part is rolling out the pastry. You just cut circles, and cut a hole out of half of them. You cover the circles with egg wash, attach the rings to the circles, more egg wash, and then you make 4 knife points in each ring. This helps them stay even as they rise in the oven. And that's it! I made a few booboos with this one... We were supposed to make 6, but I only made 4 because I rolled my dough out too thick and didn't realize it until I had already started cutting out my circles (and you can't cut vol au vent out of scraps). Then I forgot to make the knife holes, and we had frozen them last week. So when I got them out today to stick in the oven I couldn't make the holes in the frozen dough, so they were toppling over in the oven, but I just gently squished them back and it all worked out. They are tonight's supper, so I'll give a report in the next post.