Thursday, May 29, 2008


So, we've gone through our last two units - sugar and the last plated desserts. I hated sugar - it was boring and it hurts your fingers. Most of the class walked away from that week with major burns and blisters. I managed to stay out of harm's way for the most part, but it was still painful. I just have reflexes like a mongoose, I guess. From there we moved into plated desserts again, which is always fun, but this is where you gain the most weight in culinary school, because you are sampling (or consuming entirely) 2-3 desserts everyday.

I also celebrated my 25th birthday last week - Luke and I went to a movie for the first time in was nice to get out of the apartment and not think about school for one night. We have a big picnic planned for this Saturday with my friends, as a joint birthday celebration. We're having a birthday cake baking party tomorrow after class at our apartment.

Our class also hosted our last Afternoon of Desserts, and this time we created the menu from start to finish, and then served it to our guests. Last time, the menu was simply desserts that we had made in class that week, but this time it was all of our own recipes. We were a hit! Chef Jurgen said we did a fabulous job, and that all of the desserts were "duh-lish", which can't always be said of every group. Overall, we're quite a talented bunch. I wish I had thought to take pictures of those desserts! But, to satisfy your curiosity of what I've been doing the past few weeks, take a peek below:

For the sugar unit, we had one individual project and then two team projects. The first picture is our individual project...making an owl out of poured sugar. The next pictures are of our depiction of famous art - this was a piece that one of my teammates picked...we think it's supposed to be fruit in snow, but not sure about that. Then we also had to make a cake stand with the theme of "traffic". Terrible theme. But our planes are cute. Our air traffic control tower was supposed to be silver/gray, not purple.

The owl - first, one of his wings fell off, then the other. So, you can see my little sign, with the correction made after the second wing fell off.
But wait - I was able to repair him, with the help of someone's leftover orange wing. But - as the chef was moving him to be put on display with his fellow owls, the orange wing fell off. He just wasn't meant to be a whole owl. Poor guy.
Fish made out of blown sugar.
Our art piece.

I'm not sure that I'll remember all of the names for the plated desserts off the top of my head, but I'll try. We have to do diagrams of everything we plate up in class, so this weekend will be quite busy with that.
Pear Spring Rolls

Mango Beggar's Purses

Strudel Day!!! That sheet of dough started as a small round of dough, and it stretched across that whole table. It's tissue paper thin - you can read through it. Chef Jurgen rolling the strudel up.

What was inside the strudel. Our strudel, ready to go in the oven. Finished strudel - 3 different flavors. Yum!
Frying bomboloni - brioche dough, deep fried, rolled in sugar, and then later filled with pastry cream or jam.

Deep-fried apple crepes

Tropical Fruit Beignets - perfectly good fruit rolled in beignet batter, then fried, to clog your arteries. They weren't good at all.

Cheese, spinach, and onion souffle.
Chef Kir's chocolate souffle.
The deliciously soft and gooey center of my souffle.
Mango souffle
Souffles aren't hard at all - I'm not sure what the big fuss is about them. I guess that if I were to make a larger version of these, then they might be more susceptible to collapsing, but they aren't nearly as intimidating as people try to make you believe.

Mystery basket dessert - we were given two items, coconut and dark chocolate, and had to create a dessert in 1 hour with those ingredients and whatever else we could find in class. I did citrus crepes with a coconut creme/chocolate ganache filling, topped with an orange and raspberry salad and garnished with raspberry coulis.

Lemon Souffle Pancakes - I ate about 10 of these.
Pistachio souffle pancake
Cream Cheese Souffle in a baked apple
Pavlova with Lemon Verbena Scented Blueberries - courtesy of Chef Michael Gabriel from the Rockefeller Center Group
Another of Chef Michael's dessert - his version of PB and J. Peanut butter bars with raspberry gelee.

We also handed in our menu projects this week, which was a huge relief. Luke built a website for me, which is fabulous, and it will be the jumping off point for the real site in the future when I open up my own place. Brittany designed the logo - she drew it all by hand, and it's phenomenal. I think she should start a stationery line. We have the practical for this project next week, where we have to make all of the components of two of our desserts from our menus, chef's choice. I'm going to practice the recipes this weekend so that I can have them perfected before next Wednesday.

After this practical, we jump right into final review/wedding cake project. The theme picked for our cakes, chosen by Pastry 2, is a Japanese garden wedding, between a Japanese-American journalist and a geisha. Hmmm.... Haven't yet figured out how I'm going to design the cake. It has to be three tiers, and the flavor has to be a ginger American milk sponge with plum curd and sake. Need to start practicing that as well and get my recipes figured out.

Luke and I are also needing to find a new apartment before we go down to Texas for the summer, so if anyone knows of a place, call or email me! Also - jobs - if you know of any of those, please send them my way.

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