Sunday, March 30, 2014

So Long, March!

It feels like it's been a really long time since I made a post, but I guess that makes sense since the last one was two weeks ago... :)

The puff pastry exam went super well. I was finished before lunch, which is awesome! And everything turned out perfectly, but of course I forgot to take a picture. *sigh* But take my word for it... The turnovers didn't overflow, the vol-au-vents were the right size and had good height, the palmiers were uniform, and everything had the perfect golden colour. I was very pleased.

Friday was our theory exam for the raw materials module. I was one of the first ones to finish that exam as well, and did very well. I'd like to say I got 100%, but they can't actually tell us our marks - just pass or fail. But I'm pretty confident that I aced it.

Now, for the goodies we produced in the last two weeks...

To start, we rolled out a thin 8" disc of puff pastry and par-baked it in a cake mold. Then we spread a layer of almond cream and a layer of pastry cream on top. And then we made little brioches (brioche dough rolled out, spread with pastry cream, sprinkled with raisins, rolled up and sliced) and placed them on top of the pastry cream in the cake mold. We let the brioches rise for 30-40 minutes and then baked, sealed with apricot glaze, and decorated with melted fondant.


I was so, so, so excited to make croissants! And they were so delicious! So of course I had to try them at home! But that will be another post. There isn't really much to say about how they're made. We started with a sort of bread dough (basic dough with yeast), but rolled it out with butter as we do with puff pastry. We had to let them proof for quite a while to let the yeast work (we have special machines for this at school called étuves - don't know what it's called in English!).

Before baking...

After baking!

Perfection :)
 We also made chocolatines, which are croissants with chocolate sticks inside. They were good, but I actually liked the plain old croissants better. :)

Chocolatine, and the last vol-au-vents and palmiers that we made.

Opéra and Mousse aux fruits
These were practices for the exam coming up pretty soon.


Mousse aux fruits des champs

So this dessert was a bit different because we made it in a dome mold - fun! Because it was in a dome, we had to build it upside-down, so we started off by filling the bottom of the mold with chocolate mousse, then a round of chocolate-raspberry cake soaked with raspberry syrup, followed by more mousse. We sprinkled whole raspberries into the mousse before adding another layer of cake, and then repeating one more time. We let chill in the freezer. Once firm, we removed the dessert from the mold and filled in any imperfections left in the mousse by the plastic wrap lining the mold. Then we used the airbrush to coat the whole dome with chocolate. Then we wrapped a decorated cookie strip around the bottom, tucked chocolate triangles around the top of the cookie, topped it off with a raspberry and finished with a ribbon. :)


To make this dessert, we started with an almond cookie layer, followed by a chocolate feuilletine layer. Next was a chocolate mousse layer, which we also used to fill in the mold around the first two layers, then a chocolate cake disc went in, and then we filled in the rest of the mold with chocolate mousse. Once completely set, we removed the mold and covered with a chocolate glaze. To finish off, we made little "Breton" crackers which we placed around the outside. I also used them to decorate the top of mine.


Unnamed dessert
So remember before March Break I mentioned that we would be given the opportunity to design and put together our own desserts? Well, we finally did that on Tuesday! I don't have a name for mine. I started with a very moist chocolate cake layer, followed by a chocolate nougat made with malted milk powder, aka Ovaltine (which my teacher was fascinated by because he had never heard of it before), followed by a chocolate-praline-peanut butter feuilletine layer for crunchiness. Now my plan for the next part was to have a creamy caramel layer inside chocolate mousse. But I miscalculated my ingredients, so I had to make another batch of mousse. And the caramel didn't turn out the way I was expecting it to be, plus I was too hasty about putting it and the next layer of mousse in, so it ended up going right out to the edges. And the caramel didn't freeze, so when I unmolded the cake, the caramel layer oozed out all over the place while the rest of the dessert was frozen solid. My decoration worked out surprisingly well for a first attempt, tho. I found some videos on YouTube for how to make chocolate lace and doilies to decorate cakes and plates, and decided that would be a really interesting element for my dessert. It was pretty good. I put a little bit too much salt in the nougat, but it actually balanced out the sweetness in everything else. Everyone didn't try it, but the ones who did said it was really good. We actually made 2 desserts each, one for tasting and one to buy or put in the store. I decided to bring mine home, so we'll see what kind of reviews it gets from my biggest critics. ;)

Chocolate doily (I thought to take a picture before placing it on the cake, just in case it shattered into a million little pieces...)

The finished dessert, with caramel sauce oozing out...

(Really messy) inside view.

We are now full swing into the chocolate module, but that really needs it's own blog post. So I will wait until I have some more pictures (and stories?) to share.

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