Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Every dog has it's day...

So does every dog have it's off day too? I believe so.

These past days I have really been questioning my motivation here and sort of questioning my passion. And for anyone who has gone through that before, you can understand my frustration and lack of enthusiasm. Not to mention I am really quite homesick and ready for SUMMER!

So, Monday and Tuesday were my practical days. And unfortunately they were my "off days".


Class didn't start for a long time, as every student had to make a five minute oral presentation.

First, we had to make a half recipe of puff pastry dough (which didn't go well for a lot of us apparently, the conversions were kinda weird and they threw a lot off. And much to everyone's dismay the coolers were also on the fritz. Messing up lamination and such. Not to mention when i first used my scaled out ingredients i forgot to cut in some of the butter. So I had to restart (and rescale!), setting me back.

We also had to make a full formula of pate a choux. During that locating eggs was kind of a hassle and I needed up just using less than called for and just working with it. I did this at the end of the class period, so I had no time to bake it off. So I placed it in containers and packed it up.

Luckily, my pastry cream went just as smooth as ever. Good ole pastry cream, never lets me down. It never fails.

Monday was long, but I knew Tuesday would be EVEN longer.


I was correct. Today was a LONGGGGG day. Probably the longest in my pastry career thus far.

To start, our puff dough that was stored somewhere else over night (due to our malfunctioning coolers STILL) was almost frozen. Way too hard to work with and I still had two folds left to do before I could use it! YIKES! So, instead of working my dough I mise en placed.

Took the exam and did okay. It wasn't a huge deal. Then worked my dough, ran around putting it back and forth in the next room over's cooler. Not to mention the fights for bowls, space and spatulas.

I piped out my pate a choux, not too many issues there. Good bake also. But then there were so many other components that went into finishing them. 1/4 recipe of pistachio diplomat cream, 1/2 recipe of chantilly cream, powdered sugar,ice baths, slicing and plating. Some of it was more of just a pain than anything else. A 1/4 of a recipe, why bother?

Mostly I had issues with my puff dough. The lamination was not too superb. It came out better beforehand. So butter spilled out of my jalousie and my palmiers as well. And I thought for SURE I was screwed! My sacristans came out well.

So when i finally presented it to chef, I was about 30 minutes past time (less than about half of my class finished before me though). And I was quite surprised by her evaluation.

She said my palmiers were great, nothing wrong with them (surprised me!). My jalousie was nice but not baked enough. She could tell I had issues with my dough. My sacristans were very well twisted and had a good bake. She also pointed out my lamination issues there though (not too big of a deal I think).

Then to my pate e choux products. She said creme puffs were well done, and my eclairs were pretty good (one was a little short in the way of filling though). My paris brests were done well, the filling was a little loose. She really like my swans a lot. And even my classmate completed them.

My finished products

Palmiers and Apple Jalouise

Creme Puffs, Swans, Eclairs filled with pastry creme and coated in chocolate fondant, Paris Brest filled with pistachio diplomat cream, and almond,almond sacristans filled with almond cream, crushed almonds topped with nutmeg sugar.

Close up of Swans

Overall, I was glad it was over in the end. While it wasn't my best class, I did get through it. Looking for a little more inspiration in my next class. Pies and tarts (sounds promising,eh!?)

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