We also had our first quiz this week; this one was on sanitation and weights/measurements. I am happy to report I received a 100%.
Monday and Tuesday we prepared pate de fruit, which we made with raspberry preserves. They were a quite gummy and very sweet treat. I took them to the office and was a little worried people would think they were too sweet; but they seemed to disappear without incident.
We learned how to properly use our knives while cutting fruits. The knives felt very different from the ones I have at home, so that took some adjusting on my part. We worked on peeling, slicing and wedging both pears and apples. The pears were especially difficult since they are not in season. Strawberries were a bit easier and we learned to hull, quarter, slice and fan.
We also supremed oranges. This cut looked so beautiful and professional during the instructor's demonstration, but the thin, mutilated little slices on my cutting board did not do this technique any justice.
For practice outside of class, I now won't let myself eat an orange without supreming it first - a rule that can be quite tedious when all you want is an orange slice - but I have nonetheless improved immensely in the past few days.
Wednesday was the first day we baked for the entire class, minus the 20 minute preparation lecture at the beginning of the evening. We worked in teams and were expected to complete five recipes in the remainder of class and have them displayed for tasting at the end of the evening. Needless to say, I was happy I had thoroughly read through all my recipes before class, trying to make helpful notes for myself along the way.
We started by candying orange peel. As the peels needed to boil four separate times, we also began on the Poached Pears in Wine. While the orange peels continued to boil and the pears simmered in the wine, we began slicing apples to prepare Baked Apples.
We had to use a mandolin for the apple slices - a tool that I have been lusting after for the apartment - but I found I was quite terrified to use it! This mandolin was not like the cute, compact OXO models at Sur la Table; it was a commercial-sized stainless steel model. You could feel the force as it pulled the slices of apple away from the fruit.
After the apples were dipped in sugar water and placed in the convection oven to bake, the orange peels finished boiling and were now ready to simmer. I checked on the poached pears, but they still needed to soften quite a bit. So we began on the Roasted Pears and Figs. I couldn't help but think of Cabbie as coated the fruits with ground ginger, lemon zest, dark rum and cinnamon.
Once the roasting pan was in the oven, my partner and I moved onto slicing the strawberries which were to be mascerated with sugar, balsamic vinegar and an herb of our choosing. As soon as the strawberry salad was in the refrigerator, it was time for everything to be taken out of the ovens and plated for tasting.
My favorite dessert of the evening was actually the simplest of them all - baked apples. Crisp and crunchy like a chip, but with just enough sweetness to not overpower the taste of the fruit. Mike enjoyed the samples I brought home, so I imagine this will become a fall staple in our apartment.
If I was a fan of pears, or if they had been a bit riper, I think I really would have enjoyed the Roasted Pears and Figs. I happen to think the warm-from-the-oven fruit would be quite delectable over a big scoop of vanilla ice cream in the summer.
We wrapped up the week by beginning a discussion on eggs. We also had to separate eggs (thank you Mum for teaching me this so I knew what I was doing!) and then we performed different experiments whipping egg whites and yolks.
We also prepared a sabayon with raspberries (pictured at the beginning of the post). I was very pleased with the presentation, even if I did not like the dessert. Sabayon is very rich, much like a custard. I did, however, enjoy the contrasting taste of the marsala wine in the dessert.
It was an exciting week. I'm starting to become more comfortable in the kitchen, as I have started learning where everything is. I really enjoyed the evenings where we spent the majority of the class working, which is good, since we will very rarely have long lectures like during the first week.
This weekend I am practicing my chocolate writing and knife skills as well as preparing for next week's readings and recipes. Funny how homework can actually be quite enjoyable!