Thursday, March 6, 2014

"You can say this for ready-mixes..."

"...the next generation isn't going to have any trouble making pies exactly like mother used to make." - Earl Wilson
The last week of school before March Break was a short one, but a good one. Monday I didn't have school because it was a make up day and I didn't have anything to make up. Tuesday we worked on our puff pastry module. Oh, by the way, I never know the proper term to use when translating feuilletage, so I've been interchanging "flaky pastry" and "puff pastry." In my world, they are the same thing, and essentially, they are. I just looked it up and the difference is so minuscule and technical that it's not even worth mentioning, and so I'm going to keep using the two terms interchangeably to describe this delicate pastry! :) Moving along... We made jalousie, which we have made before. I guess it was a good thing we did it again because I completely forgot how long it takes to bake! I took mine out too early and then ended up having to put it back in the oven. :/ We also practiced for the exam - vol-au-vent, palmier or turnovers - but since I have been doing really well so far, I only had to do palmiers. They turned out monstrous. At first I couldn't figure out why, but then I remembered that I had used half of the dough instead of one third, to make the same number of palmiers. So they were huge, but beautiful. Hope they turn out that great for the exam!!

Jalousie

Palmier

Wednesday (and part of Thursday) we mostly finished off desserts we'd been working on previously. Thursday we had a pizza party! The teacher had mixed up the dough for us before we got in, and a few people had worked earlier in the week to make the sauce. We could bring in our own toppings or use what was provided, and we each made our own pizzas for lunch! Yum! Because it was our last day before the break, we could only make little things that can be frozen. I made two batches of muffins (which all got sold) and then just whipped up a small batch of cookie dough which I bought to bring home (and which turned out to be way yummier than I had expected!!). Here are the desserts I finished up this week...

Citroneige

Citroneige is definitely a dessert I could get on board with. It's primarily lime flavoured, which reminded me of summertime... *sigh*. It was also simple to make - a white génoise for the bottom layer, joconde layers "glued" together with an apricot-lime glaze which went around the outside of the mold, and a delicious lime mousse, with the same apricot-lime glaze on the top. I finished mine with chocolate squares and lime zest. (The weird kind of edge that you see around the top is the acetate that we use inside the molds - the mousse should have been enough to fill to the top of the acetate, but it wasn't so it looks a little messy).

Soleil d'hiver

Soleil d'hiver did not interest me in the least. It starts with a brownie base (made with almond paste), then a praline layer with pieces of bitter chocolate in it, then a mandarin crème brûlée layer, another layer of brownie, and then topped off with a generous layer of white chocolate mousse. We then made a white chocolate glaze marbled with orange to cover the whole cake, and decorated with chocolate squares.

Alliance

Alliance was interesting, but again not really something I would go out and buy (it`s because of the orange flavours, and all of the nuts...). The coolest part was the decorations! But first... we started with a biscuit calisson (another cake made with almond paste, but this one has the added pleasure of orange zests...). We then made a dark chocolate ganache which we allowed to cool and thicken, before applying to the cake base in a spiral pattern using a piping bag and tip. Next we prepared caramelized hazelnuts, which were sprinkled over the ganache. We then whipped up two mousses: a praline-hazelnut and a mandarin one. We then covered the top with clear gel marbled with orange. To make the decorations we made a gel using agar-agar (derived from algae) that we dripped into cold oil to make little beads, which look kind of like roe, only they can be any colour you like. I also used caramelized hazelnuts (prepared by my friends Jennifer and Imane) to decorate. I didn't get a close up of the gel beads, but you can kind of see them...


This was just leftovers from the Alliance that we put into a cup... one beautiful, artistically photographed cup... which someone then took apart because they needed a bit more mousse...

I decided that I wanted to make muffins on Thursday, so the teacher handed me his file of muffin recipes and basically told me to take whatever I wanted. So I found these two recipes that looked interesting, and we just happened to have both cream cheese and maple syrup in the kitchen, so it worked out really well! :) Before reading the following comments, it should be noted that the recipes were written with imperial measurements, but at school we don't have cups and teaspoons, we do everything metric. So I had to guesstimate some of the amounts, which probably weren't too accurate. So probably following the recipe with cups and spoons would have produced better results... I have now found a conversion chart for future reference, which I will be adding to my school recipe binder.

Actually, I'm going to include these muffin recipes, just to be different, and because I'd like to know if following the instructions to a T does produce better results... ;P Let me know if you try them!

Chocolate cheesecake muffins

Chocolate cheese muffins
This was a simple chocolate muffin batter, you just add a spoonful of the cream cheese & sugar mixture to each cup before topping off with more batter. They were pretty good, but not enough cream cheese filling! I also found them a bit salty. If I were going to do it again, I would put just a pinch of salt or cut it completely, and possibly double the cream cheese filling. This would probably leave me with extra muffin batter, but that's what mini muffin tins are for, right?!

1 3-oz package cream cheese
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
powdered sugar

Beat together the cream cheese and (2 tablespoons) sugar until light and fluffy, set aside. Mix together the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients (well in the center), stirring just until moist. Put approx. two spoonfuls of batter in each cup. Add 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture to the top, and fill with the rest of the batter. Bake 20 minutes at 375*F. Sprinkle with powdered sugar after they have cooled.

Maple syrup muffins

Maple syrup muffins
The recipe called these a treat, and they are sweet, but they were so dense and filling (there's almost a cup of rolled oats in it...) that I'd have to consider it a breakfast muffin. The batter was more like cookie dough, I actually had to add milk to it so it would stick to itself and not be just crumbs. They ended up taking a lot longer than the recipe said to bake through. But with the maple glaze on top (which I also added milk to)... delish! :)

1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup maple syrup

glaze
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Soften the margarine, cream together with sugar and salt. Add the dry ingredients (will be crumbly) and the oats. Mix together the syrup and milk and add to the dry ingredients, stirring until moist. Bake 20 minutes at 350*F. Once cooled, cover with glaze.

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