Thirty days from today I will be closing the Pastry School chapter of my life. I'm feeling pretty bittersweet about this. On the one hand, I'm excited to see what the next chapter will bring, but on the other hand... I have no plans, so January is a blank, open page. Blank pages scare me a little.
At the end of September I finished a journal that I'd been writing in for about 4 years. Since then, I haven't been able to start writing in my new one, because of that first blank page... You don't want to write about just anything on the first page. Months, or years, from now when I look back, I'm always going to come back to that first entry. Maybe years down the road one of my relations will get their hands on my journals (tho I sincerely hope not) and they'll look at those first pages first. So the first pages of a blank book... they're pretty scary. Once started the rest flows fairly easily, it's just the initial leap to mar those pristine pages that requires a certain confidence and bravery.
The same can be said about chapters in our lives. The future is a pristine, blank new page. Anything could happen, it could change at any moment. Starting new chapters in life can be really scary. Sometimes changes are forced upon you, and sometimes you have to have a bit of confidence to take the leap. I know what I'd like to see happen in the far future - I've got some big dreams that have been brewing for a few years. But the near future... I don't know! But enough talk of the future, let's take a moment to reflect on the past week.
Monday was our ice cream and cookies exam. Technically they are each their own module, so it was actually two exams in one day. For the ice cream section, we had to prepare an ice cream and fill a dome mold, prepare a parfait center for the dome, and then unmold and decorate a finished dome. Obviously a few hours isn't enough to mix up an ice cream and be able to unmold it, so we had prepared domes ahead the week before. For the cookie section we had to present twelve each of three different types of cookies: Spritz, almond laceys, and maréchaux. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of my cookies...
|Vanilla-raspberry ice cream dome - exam|
Wednesday was our decorating exam - nougatine basket with five marzipan fuites (20g each). I decided to make a banana, pear, orange, apple, and bunch of grapes. The grapes are my least favourite, my favourite is a toss-up between the banana and pear. :) In case I hadn't explained before, nougatine is a candy made with caramel and almonds. It is the same kind of mix as those little sesame seed candy squares. It's made by boiling sugar and glucose to a caramel, then stirring in the desired nuts, in our case, sliced almonds. We then rolled out, molded, and cut the nougatine to the desired shapes.
|Nougatine basket and marzipan fruits - exam|
This week, we started our final module, Plated Desserts. The first we made yesterday was a chocolate mousse pyramid with a rum mousse insert and a coconut biscuit base. Next we made a strawberry mousse dome with white chocolate mousse insert and a lady finger base. Today we made and plated lemon-lime tartlets and chocolate soufflés!
|Chocolate-rum mousse pyramid on a nest of toasted coconut with tuile decoration|
|Strawberry-white chocolate mousse dome sitting on crème anglaise/coulis design with strawberry slices and tuile decoration|
|Lemon-lime tartlet sitting in the middle of a meringue wreath, decorated with meringue, lemon twist and tuile decoration|
|Chocolate soufflé! Simple is best with a soufflé ;)|
|Lemon tart made last week|
|Crème brûlées also made last week!|
It's hard to believe, but there are only seven days of classes and/or exams left! In a week and a half we'll be heading out to our respective stages, and three weeks later we'll be done and it will be Christmas vacation!