Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh, to be a cookie monster...

So, my cookies class has started. And to be honest...its a little lackluster.

A lot of the things we have made are sort of everyday or just okay. Not to mention we have yet to have a demo.

I've decided I am only going to blog about the "highlights" of the day, Also I may combine class days (as I am for Monday and Tuesday of this week).

So on Monday we made Pecan Fudge Brownies, finished with ganache. When I say fudge, I mean FUDGE. They were so dense, chewy and buttery like the fudge candy.

Fudgey-Fudge Brownie Batter

Applying the Ganache Fudgey-Fudge Brownies

Finished Fudgey-Fudge Brownies

Hazelnut Biscotti

Biscotti, are a favorite of many to accompany their hot coffee or a cold glass of milk. These hard yet slightly chewy cookies, baked twice, can be made in a variety of flavors. We made hazelnut and dipped them in both dark and white chocolate.

Once the dough is made, it is formed into long thin logs and baked until firm but with little to no color.

1st bake-Biscotti

They are then sliced on a biased and baked again at a lower temp (325 F) until dried and golden brown. The thicker you cut them the less dry and hard they will be come. Once cooled, if desired dip in chocolate.

Dipped Hazelnut Biscotti

We also made short dough (1-2-3 dough), lined a half sheet with it and par-baked it. My group made lemon bars and they were soooo gross,everyone's were the same...SUPER EGGY! And some other groups made pecan (or walnut) diamonds. Those were a lot more appetizing.

We also made linzer dough...again. And made a linzer bar out of it using the same method as with the linzer torte. Dough, raspberry jam, strips of dough. And again...not my favorite. I did like the trimmed edges where it was mostly dough and just a touch of jam. Making thumbprint cookies out of this dough would be good, I think. We also made marzipan to be shaped later on, that i am kinda excited about. I wanna make a pineapple, a penguin, ladybug and maybe hello kitty (we shall see!

My partner and I rapidly made our madelines and had to un-mold them at the very end of class, even after the cleaning (this was because of the lack of ample pans and they were such a pain in the neck to clean!). So needless to say, i didn't take any pictures of them. oh well.

Me, being the fatty that I am, could not let those brownies go without being consumed with some vanilla icecream...so my roommate and our friend had sundaes after class today! Yummmmmmmy :D

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sometimes....your frangipane just falls on the floor.

So today, was day 9 of Pies & Tarts. Practical Day.

Our mission:
One Lemon Meringue Pie finished with a meringue

One Chocolate Cream Pie finished with chantilly cream

6 Ganache Tartlets finished with chantilly

6 Frangipane Tartlets finished with powdered sugar

6 Chocolate Cream Tartlets finished with chantilly cream

All finished with appropriate garnishes. All while fighting over ovens, bowls, and ingredients.

While this practical was FAR more relaxed than almost any other one I have done. It was still stressful and on top of it all, I was chef of the day (which means basically I have to take care of all the log and sanitation crap that has to be done hourly).

So after running around doing my duties, I rolled out my blind crusts and had to wait to put them in our assigned oven because it was occupied by others' smaller items (that could have waited!). Not only do the blind shells take longer but they have to cool before you use them and you can't start your fillings before hand really, its best (for presentation) to dump the filling in right away. So, I was stressing about that...and did little jobs while I was waiting for the shells to bake. AND THEN....my poor little frangipane tartlets (that looked very nice) were sitting on a half sheet on a rolling rack when my friend accidentally took a full sheet pan tried to put it where my pan was and knocked them off....onto the floor. And when everyone was shouting "whose are these"...I knew...they were mine. And sure enough they were...

And I am somewhat ashamed to say this, but my classmates backed me up on this...I cried. I cried like two year old whose painting got accidentally smashed my her older brother. And then even when I knew it was silly and pointless for me to get upset, I kept on crying. Then crying and laughing. (I felt bad because my friend felt really guilty too) In the end, I wasn't penalized and she had to remake them for me, with dough and someones left over filling. So once that was all over, I got back into the swing of things, our time limit was extended and all went well.

Yet, while we were all working ANOTHER half sheet of tartlets DOWN...ON THE GROUND (that definitely made my friend feel better about dumping mine). And then later, another girl kinda accidentally smashed another girls pretty piping on her cream pie.

Lesson learned: Never use a half sheet on your practical day.

My Practical Results!

But all's well that ends well. I think I did very well, and handled it all quite well (even though I am a little embarrassed I cried for the first time during a practical, though I have been close before!). I am very sad to see this class go, my chef was AWESOME! And making pies was tons of fun. It really rejuvenated my enthusiasm in the kitchen as well as being at this school. I was doubting it all, until I started Pies & Tarts.

So, tomorrow starts Cookies & Petit Fours. However, I will not be going until Monday because I have to travel home for some family stuff.

So until Monday bloggers!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Clafoutis? What?

What the heck is Clafoutis? even after making it...i'm still not quite sure...

Its sort of pancakey, rubbery, fruity not very goodness....but some people love it. It's honestly not my cup of tea... However, I got lucky enough to be partners with the girl who is allergic to cherries. So instead of the usually boring cherries, we used mixed berries which improved it a lot.

To begin, macerate the berries (or cherries) in sugar. Once they sit for about 30 minutes, place them in the bottom of butter large ramekin.


Create the very loose batter, that is similar to that of a pancake by combining pastry flour, eggs, sugar, salt and milk. Pour over the fruit and bake until set.

Clafoutis before baking

Baked Clafoutis

Swiss Apple Flan

This has a lot of components to it, but is easily done. It wasn't really my favorite either, but I could see how some people would enjoy it. It's got a lot going on at once, which usually i am a fan of but not in this scenario.

To begin, press your pate sable, or 1-2-3 cookie dough into the greased tart tin. Then fill the bottom of the crust with a mixture of crushed almonds, cake crumbs, cinnamon and sugar. Then arrange the sliced granny smith apples in a spiral fashion on top. Bake until the apples are semi tender.

Beginning of Swiss Apple Flan

Once they are semi tender, pour the custard (eggs, heavy cream,sugar, and brandy) over top of the apples and bake until custard is set.

Finished Swiss Apple Flan

Linzer Torte aka The Lovers' Torte
This is a classic but again, not my favorite. The linzer dough smells fantastic with it's toasted hazelnuts and lemon zest. To construct this, select the size "ring" you wish to use. Roll out the linzer dough, and cut a circle slightly larger than the ring. Line the ring with the dough, creating a sort of cup shape. And fill with raspberry jam.

Filled Linzer dough "cup"

Eggwash the rim of the "cup" and cut strip so the dough to form a lattice top. Which is much easier said than done with this dough. The chunks of hazelnuts keep it from being cohesive and it falls apart every single time you go to move it. It got quite frustrating actually but once i switched to a colder piece of dough it went a little easier. Trim the excess dough. Egg wash the lattice and bake until golden brown

One of my finished Linzer Tortes

My classmate's pretty Linzer Torte

So tomorrow is practical day, day 9, and i'm sad to see this class go...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tartlets Galore. Bite Sized Heavens.

The cutest day of pies & tarts so far...tons of tartlets (baby tarts!).

Who doesn't love miniatures? Kittens..... puppies..... cupcakes.... tartlets!

We each had to make four different types (eight at least of each).

-Lemon Curd

-Fruit (with pastry cream)



Lemon Curd Tartlets

To make the lemon curd, you create a double boiler. And in the bowl over simmering water, place eggs yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk this until it becomes very thick, almost the consistency of pastry cream. Pass it through sieve and stir in the butter.

Spoon or pipe the lemon curd into the blind baked (cooled) tartlet shells.Top with a common meringue and then brown.

Finished Lemon Curd Tartlets

Fruit Tartlets

To prevent the shell from getting soggy, brush the bottom of the tartlet shell with melted chocolate.

Make your pastry cream as usual. Milk and sugar to a boil, temper into egg yolks,cornstarch, and additional sugar. Bring to a boil and heat until thick and creamy.

Cool the pastry cream before using. Pipe it into the shell over the chocolate layer. Fill to the brim. Then select desired fruits (berries, mandarin oranges, pineapples*,kiwi) and arrange in any desired fashion. To add sweetness, shine and shelf life glaze with a slightly thinned out heated apricot jam.

Finished Fruit Tartlets

Frangipane Tartlets

These are the only tartlets in which the filling is baked inside, rather than added after the shells have cooled.

To make this frangipane, cream the butter and sugar. Add the almond paste, eggs and then finally the cake flour. Pipe this mixture into the raw dough, top with slivered almonds (crush if desired) and bake until lightly golden brown and the filling is firm to the touch. Once they cool, garnish with powdered sugar.


Frangipane Tartlets

Ganache Tartlets

These tartlets are by far the easiest and (to chocolate lovers) the tastiest. You start with a basic ganache. Heat the heavy cream and pour over equal amounts (to the weight of the cream) of dark chocolate (or white) and a little bit of butter. Stir until it comes together. Pour directly into the cooled prepared tartlet shells. Before setting add any garnishes that will not stick by themselves, such as fruit or nuts. After it sets pipe with chantilly cream or dust with powdered sugar, if desired. (yeah, that's literally it)

Finished Ganache Tartlets

More Assorted Tartlets

And now, for the most EPIC tartlet EVER.

Why yes, that is ganache, pastry cream and chantilly cream. And yes, it was amazing.

My partner and I (both self proclaimed Fatties) got a litttttle excited. And made a snack for ourselves.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pie overload...is NOT a bad thing...

It seems to me, that all I did in class on Thursday was finish pies and then eat them...

And much to YOUR dismay...that was basically true. We finished our lemon meringue pies with you guessed it...meringue and our cream pies with chantilly cream. We also made linzer dough (to be used for a linzer torte) and baked off some tartlet shells.

Linzer dough is a very strange dough. It has cake crumbs, lemon zest, glucose and ground toasted hazelnuts. We will use this dough next class. (Pictures another day.)

Finishing our Pies

To finish the lemon pie made the previous day, we created a common meringue with a one to one ratio (one part sugar to one part pasteurized egg whites). First we covered the whole pie with a heap of meringue and then piped up any design to peak in the middle. Sprinkle with sugar and torch to a deep golden brown. (It should smell like a campfire!)

Finishing the Lemon Meringue

My finished Lemon Meringue Pie

Finishing the Cream Pies

Spread an even layer of chantilly cream to cover the custard filling. And pipe any desired design using any desired garnishes (usually they match the filling).

My finished "Mounds" cream pie

(chocolate and coconut)

Panning Tartlets

Yes, tartlets are little baby tarts. SO CUTTTTTE, hows a girl not to love them? We used our Pate Sablee (or cookie dough), rolled it out to an eighth of an inch and cut a piece slightly larger than the tartlet pan. Using a balled up piece of dough, press the dough into every crevice of the lightly greased pan. Turn the pan over and press to cut the excess dough.Dock the dough and bake until barely golden on the edges. Cool before filling.

Panning the Tartlets

When I talk about pie overload, I MEAN it... we cut up at least FOUR pies on Thursday. I ate three (sorta small...) pieces. One was chocolate peanut butter cream,one was chocolate/vanilla cream and another was coconut. They also had out the lemon one but I was a little reluctant with all of that meringue and jello like texture.

Our pie buffet...(jealous?)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When life hands you lemons, make lemon meringue...

What do you do with the juice and zest of four lemons? you make lemon meringue pie.

Lemon Filling Procedure

Making the lemon filling is very similar to most of the other fillings made previously. You boil the water, sugar and lemon zest. Then you create a slurry with eggs, cornstarch and reserved water. Temper the egg mixture in and then whisk constantly until thickened and clear looking. Then take it off the heat, add butter and lemon juice. ( I know sounds kinda weird, but its good). Transfer directly to pre baked pie shell and cover immediately with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. It is to be finished with a common (aka cold/french) that is torched.

Unfinished filled lemon pie

Cream Pies

We also made cream pies, pretty much any kind of cream pie you want to make you can. Chocolate, vanilla, coconut, white chocolate, banana, anything and any combination. I chose to make half chocolate half coconut (like a mounds bar!). Making a cream pie, is basically making pastry cream and putting it in the a pie shell (delicious!). So the same procedure as before... Boil milk and sugar (and chocolate). Create a slurry with eggs, cornstarch and some reserved milk. Temper the slurry in, and heat until thickened. Add flavorings (vanilla, coconut, bananas, liquors). My partner added dark chocolate to hers and I added toasted coconut to mine. And the mounds pie was born.

Unfinished Mounds Cream Pie

~To be finished with chantilly cream~

Finishing the Turtle Pie

To finish the turtle pie, apply a thin layer of chantilly cream to cover it all up, and then pipe as desired. We did rosettes all the way around and then several in the middle.

Finished Turtle Pie

**don't mind my bad piping, was in a rush!**

We ate the turtle pie, but I didn't have time to take a picture....I ate it too fast.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Turtle Pie, oh my. A chocolate caramel heaven.

Yet another delicious (and very fattening day) in class. The infamous TURTLE pie.

Carmel, pecans and chocolate fluffy goodness. All wrapped up in a pie shell. Down right heavenly.

Turtle Pie : a break down.

~you will need~

-one prebaked pie shell (can be cookie crust)

-caramel sauce


-chocolate mousee

Making the Caramel

To make the caramel for the bottom of layer of the pie, you will be using the dry method of caramelizing the sugar (as used in the tarte tatin). To begin, preheat the saute pan slightly and sprinkle a thin and even layer of the sugar on the bottom of the pan. When the sugar is fully melted sprinkle more sugar, and continue this until you have added all the sugar and it is fully caramelized. You might have to also take it off the heat and roll the pan around a little to keep hot spots from caramelizing faster than other parts. This takes some practice.

Once you have achieved the correct amber shade in your caramelized sugar, take it off the heat. Add in your softened butter.

Adding the butter to caramelized sugar.

When you smell this caramel-y butter-y goodness, you will think you've died and gone to Paula Deen's House.

Stir until homogeneous. If it is still broken, you may need to heat up your caramel again slightly (for any portion of the caramel making process).

Then add your slightly warmed heavy cream. Once it is nice and smooth stir in pecans and place into pre baked pie shell evenly.

Caramel and Pecan Layer

The Chocolate Mousse Layer

Mise en place: Melt your chocolate (we used a slightly dark couverture), whip your heavy cream to soft-medium peak. Soften butter and warm the pasteurized egg yolks.

Melt the butter into the chocolate in a medium sized bowl. And then add the egg yolks. Stir to combine. Then begin folding the whipped cream, first with a small addition, then add the rest. Do not worry about streaks of cream yet.

Chocolate and whipped cream

Next, create a common (French) meringue, like the day before. Beat the egg whites and slowly add the sugar in small additions. Beat until soft to medium peak and fold into the chocolate mixture, with no streaks. Add to the pie shell and even off the top.

Finished (but undecorated) Pie Shell

(mine is a little over whipped but that's okay, still tastes just as delicious!)

They will be finished tomorrow! And then DEVOURED.YUMMMMMMMMMMMMY

We also created pumpkin and pecan pies today. As well as finished our strawberry chiffon pies with chantilly cream.

Pumpkin Pie

Basically you just combine everything until its smooth and bake.

Pecan (before baking)

Place chopped nuts in the shell, then basically you combine the melted butter , corn syrup and eggs and throw it on top. And bake. Easy stuff.

Pecan Pie Baked

Finishing Strawberry Chiffon Pie

To finish, pipe any desired design with chantilly cream (sweetened whipped cream).

And as always, we consumed some of the pies. Yummmmmmy

The pumpkin pie was still warm and buttery when we ate it. I could have eaten the whole thing.

And I leave you with this...buttery Thankgiving goodness.