Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pastry 3 and Spring!

We have moved into our very last level in the program, of which I am so excited about. Time has absolutely flown by! Here is how we ended Pastry 2...these are our pastillage (sugar decoration) cake stands:

This is my stand. The theme was First or Last Initial. Birds don't start with an M, but they are pretty, and "monogram" does, so hey, it works.

My cake that went on the stand.
They even kept a few stands (minus the cakes) to display in the theater, and mine was one of them!

The following are various classmates' stands:

Our first week in level 3 has brought us back to chocolate - it's not going so well this time because the room is so hot! 2/3 of us have constant problems with tempering, so that makes us worried because we have another chocolate stand project coming up this week. I have yet to pick my idea, but the less I have to use as structural support, the better. However, it's been so fun to learn candy-making. We made caramels, toffee, and bon bons. Yum! We also had to come up with our own bon bon flavor, so I chose s'mores. They were fabulous!

My partner dipping peanut butter nougat squares.

Also, now that I'm interning on weekends, I have my afternoons during the week free again. Spring here is absolutely gorgeous, as depicted in the following pictures from the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

She Works Hard for No Money

Started my internship at Bouley Bakery today - I'm exhausted. It was a good day overall, and I think it will turn out to be a great experience. I'll be in class all week, and then working all weekend as well. So - literally no more days off for me until graduation.

The weather in New York is perfect right now and has been for the past few days. It's in the 60s-70s everyday, with a cloudless sky, and all of the trees and flowers are blooming. People are out enjoying the sidewalk seating at restaurants, and everyone is just generally in a good mood. Yesterday afternoon I hung out with a gal from class and then we met up with some of her friends at this cute rooftop bar. It's days like yesterday that make it hard to think about leaving this city. Lots of decisions to make - I'd love to stay here for a little while longer, but at the same time it's so expensive, I miss my family, and I really want Mexican food. I guess it will just depend on job situations for the both of us at this point.

Had a fabulous week in class. Ron Ben-Israel, the go to guy for wedding and specialty cakes, came into class on Thursday and Friday. Look what he taught us to do!

Yes, I made all of those, and they are all made out of sugar. Powdered sugar at that. Amazing!! They dry out and harden, so they feel like porcelain. I loved making these so much that I would consider making cakes if it meant I got to do sugar paste flowers all the time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Culinary Adventures

The past few weeks have been nothing but exploring the culinary side of New York City. Or at least that's how it seems. When Mom and the cousins were up, we grazed our way through the city one day, eating street food all day. Yum! I finally got the pictures from that weekend, so enjoy!

We miss you Cheryl and Pam!

Soraiya and Azim came up to visit last weekend, which was fantastic! I've really missed Soraiya - we used to see each other every single day, so it's been weird not having her around all the time. The weekend started out with brunch Saturday morning, with cupcakes and cookies from my old internship and ice cream sandwiches from Milk and Cookies immediately following, with the best dinner that night at wd-50. I was so full by the end of the day! We were seated at the best table in the restaurant, with a perfect view of the kitchen where we could watch the chef work. Then, 4 hours later, at the end of our fabulous meal, we were taken back to meet the chef and the pastry chef. Here we are with Wylie Dufresne:
Honestly - this dinner was one of my best New York experiences so far. And I love that Soraiya and Azim's idea of seeing NYC is eating at as many restaurants as possible. Sunday we had brunch at Prune, another restaurant I've been dying to try. I think I'm still full.

We are getting quite creative in class right now...just completed a unit on plated desserts (I gained at least 5 lbs last week), and now we've moved into pastillage, which is sugar decorations. Not tasty, but very creative. First, the plated desserts:

Creme Caramel with candied kumquats, strawberry-orange-mint salad, and a tuile cookie

Classic creme brulee with chocolate dipped shortbread cookies

Pineapple Tart Tatin with Lime Sorbet, Pineapple-Passion Fruit butter sauce, and a pineapple chip

Cold green apple charlotte (ladyfingers filled with green apple bavarian), topped with cranberry sorbet and an apple chip, dotted with red currant sauce and clear vanilla bean sauce

Warm Apple Charlotte with Apple Caramel Sauce, Green Apple Sorbet, and a caramel design

Cutie patootie marzipan fruit!

Marzipan fruit in a nougatine basket

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Next Steps

If you had asked me a month ago, I would have said that we were definitely staying in New York. The job opportunities are much greater here, at least for would be silly to pass up the chance to work in some of the world's best bakeries or restaurants. But - today I'm feeling homesick. We both are.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Where Has the Time Gone?

It's been ages since I've posted anything - I'm sure everyone has quit looking by now only because there is never anything new to read. But come back! I've got tons of pictures!

A couple weeks after Nick and Michelle's visit, and my subsequent trip to New Hampshire to see Jeff and Amanda and baby Jacob, we had more visitors - Mom and cousins Pam and Cheryl. Look Pam and're on the blog! We had a fabulous visit with them...they all managed to cram in our tiny apartment, and it felt like a huge sleepover every night, with wall-to-wall beds, literally. Poor Luke was the only boy all weekend, but he had such a great time. The gals wanted to see "everything" since it was their first trip to NYC, so we did our best to show them everything. I think we wore them out. Our weekend started with breakfast at my favorite place for pancakes and all things a.m. - Clinton Street Baking Company. Then we explored downtown Manhattan, including Battery Park, saw the Statue from a distance (too cold for the boat ride), made our way back to the apartment because I was a bad New Yorker and didn't dress warmly enough, explored Grand Central, Times Square at night, Empire State building, Central Park, Yankee Stadium, and the list goes on.

At the Charging Bull statue, with a gazillion random other people.

All of the other pics from that weekend are on Mom's camera, so I'll have to wait until she emails them to me. Sorry guys!

During class that week, we worked on cakes. I hate cakes. I'm not good at them. I don't want to make cakes for a living. But here are some examples of my work:
Piping with Royal Icing is so difficult! But my marzipan strawberries are fabulous!

Marzipan covered cake with fondant decorations

Black Forest Cake

Rolled fondant covered cake - chocolate cake with pistachio cream - delish!

Birthday cake for a one-year-old...circus theme with chocolate cake and peanut butter buttercream. The sides of the cake were a tent, but chef cut into it, so it lost the opening of the tent which made it make sense.

Day 1 of our chocolate unit - coating real lemon leaves with tempered chocolate and then peeling the leaf off to leave these pretty little things.

Box made out of chocolate - dumb project

But the good part - we filled it with these orange flavored truffles

Candy Stand project - we had to make the entire thing out of chocolate and put candies in it, hoping that it was built well enough to stay standing. Below are more pictures of some projects by classmates.

My candy stand again, filled with candy

Our wall of fame - everyone had to make a brick out of chocolate with our initials on it.

Queen of Sheba cake