Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week Nineteen: Cookies and Plated Desserts

The first two days of this week were devoted entirely to cookies. That's never a bad way to spend an evening, in my opinion. We made the dough for half of the cookies on Monday night and then held it in the refrigerator overnight so we could bake it off the following evening.

On Tuesday we worked on the other half of the doughs and baked those along with the doughs from the previous evening.

The spread was quite impressive.

From left to right: spritz, Italian macaroon, mamoul, biscotti, amandines, checker board

From left to right: biscotti, rugelach, spritz, madeleines, Italian macaroon, mamoul

From left to right: madelines, marbled, checkerboard, linzer, chocolate chunk, marbled, pecan ball, biscotti, rugelach

From left to right: brownie, Sicilian fig, Scottish shortbread, oatmeal raisin, biscotti, madelines, marbled

It was a fun (and delicious) two days. I brought an incredible amount of goodies home and Mike enjoyed picking out his choices to keep in the apartment. The remainder went to the office with me on Wednesday and, just to give you an idea of how many cookies I had, people in the office could not finish them.

After our two-day cookie adventure, it was time to move on to plated desserts. I think most people in the class were excited by this, as looking at restaurant dessert platings can be a bit overwhelming.

But before we could plate the desserts, we had to actually make the desserts. So Wednesday night, each team was assigned a different dessert and we were to make all of the components, which would in turn be plated on Thursday.

My partner and I divided up the work and set about mise-en-placing our ingredients. But my partner was having a bit of an off night. The first clue was when I looked over and the milk and cream for the ice cream custard was overflowing on the induction - she had walked away to go get eggs.

There were many other "Oops!" moments through the remainder of class. I am by no means saying that I never make a mistake in the kitchen or have nights where I just can't seem to get it together. But working alongside such a disaster was incredibly frustrating - especially since I knew it was affecting the result of our desserts.

Thursday night we were to put the finishing touches on our plating components before moving on to preparing items for Monday and, finally, assembling plates. There was not too much on our plate for the evening, until my partner decided she wanted to make the plating group that had been left out the night before (there were four plating options, but only three groups).

So that more than doubled our work for the evening. I re-warmed the chocolate sauce for our original plate and then went coat the frozen gianduja parfaits with a power sprayer (not kidding). When I came back into the kitchen, our table was again a disaster as she explained she had accidentally turned on the induction for the chocolate sauce up to high, which obviously burned the sauce. The pace was thus a bit frantic the rest of the evening.

But plating the actual desserts was quite fun. It was a creative process, but also quite methodical in terms of how the customer would actually consume what was put in front of them.

Gianduja Parfait
Chocolate Sauce, Hazlenuts, Cocoa Nibs, Vanilla Ice Cream, Carmelized Banana

Chocolate Caramel Tart
Caramel Popcorn, Chocolate Pudding, Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Chocolate Sauce, Praline Citrus Sorbet, Peanut Butter Powder

We have two more evenings of plating desserts and then our exam and practical will follow on Wednesday evening. That means we move into the final module next Thursday evening, which will consist of chocolate work and wedding cakes.

During the week, it still never seems like this schedule will ever end. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I love the weekends so much - they give me a chance to relax and reflect - and sleep.


  1. I am again drooling. Each plate was beautifully presented and delicious looking. Very professional looking and creative. Very proud of you as usual.
    Mike is the lucky one to have his choice of the cookies. I am very envious.

  2. The Famous Free Recipe Newsletter

    This is a new recipe site I recently found,
    I made a recipe from the site, and it was for a family dessert.
    The entire family enjoyed it very much.
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  3. AWESOME website!! I love to see our students make creative dishes! great work.

  4. Dolcetto Confections | Allison M. VeinoteJune 20, 2010 at 5:27 AM

    Thanks Tia! I'm glad you're enjoying the website!


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