Thursday, February 6, 2014

"Anything is good..."

"...if it's made of chocolate." - Jo Brand

Such a short week, and yet still rough. It's more than just the physical aspect, of course. There's the psychological aspect of being in a school environment. There's the emotional aspect of relationships (or lack thereof) between students. There's the stress of meeting expectations and deadlines, etc. You can only brush things off and smile so many times before you break, you know? And emotions always accumulate from one week to the next... This is one of the most emotionally draining life experiences I've ever had. But when everyone is happy; when everything goes the way it's supposed to; when a dessert turns out just like the model and you get praise from the teacher; when regardless of how it looks, it tastes divine... it's so very rewarding. :)

This week... Tuesday was pretty laid back. None of the teachers were there when we arrived, and as it turned out, the school had no phone or internet so they hadn't received messages from the teachers and weren't able to contact the replacement until after 8, so he didn't get there until around 8:20. And then he didn't give us a huge workload, just 2 little pastries, but I only took a photo of 1 style. It's called a trottoir (sidewalk) because there's a flat piece of pastry with a filling in the middle - like a road - with 2 thin strips along the edges - like the sidewalk. Cute, right? This one had a chocolate almond cream filling with sliced canned pear halves. Once out of the oven, we glazed the pears and filling with apricot, sprinkled slivered almonds along the sidewalks and some chocolate sprinkles on the pears, and then cut into portions with each pear half being one portion.
For the other, tartines, we cut small squares of pastry, put a circle of custard in the middle, and placed 4 canned apricot quarters with a cherry in the middle and baked. We also glazed these with apricot after baking.

Trottoir choco-poire

Wednesday afternoon we were subjected treated to a discussion on apples, presented by a representative from the FPPQ (Fédération des producteurs de pommes du Québec) and Pommes Qualité Québec, which was basically to raise a bit of awareness about the many different types of apples grown in Quebec. There is a lot of information in the folders they gave us including a small recipe book. We also were each given a lunch bag and 4 Quebec-grown apples - McIntosh, Red Delicious, Spartan, and Cortland. So that was a break from the usual grind. :)

And today we finished one of the most impressive desserts we've made so far - and possibly one of the most delicious - called Mona Lisa! It's basically a triple chocolate mousse cake. We made a chocolate sheet cake to go between the layers of mousse, and then in no particular order there was a dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate layer. We froze them (to make it easier to handle), then glazed with a thin ganache. That all by itself is lovely, but then to decorate... we made éventails (or frou frou as they are known technically ;) ) - frilly chocolate fans for around the outside. And we made roses and leaves out of modeling chocolate to decorate the top.  Chocolate work is so beautiful, but so not easy! Seems a bit over the top, but it's really cool. I'm pleased with how it turned out and quite proud of myself! :)

Mona Lisa
Close up :)

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