Thursday, October 1, 2009

Weeks Twenty, Twenty-one & Twenty-two: Plated Desserts and Chocolate

Time to play catch-up with updating you all on pastry school. I cannot believe graduation is only three weeks away. Granted, the next three weeks will be long nights filled with the intricacies of wedding cake design, but the end is more than in sight at this point.

Since the time I last wrote, we finished a second night of plated desserts, took our module three exam and moved into chocolate work.

Crepes Suzette

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta
Grapefruit, Avacado and Basil Foam

Calliops Tropic

Chocolate Souffle
Vanilla Ice Cream

Raspberry Mille Feuille
Ice Wine Granita and Litchi Sorbet

Milk Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse

Lemon Fromage Blanc Mousse
Rhubarb Compote, Carmelized Phyllo, Pine Honey Ice Cream

After the conclusion of plated desserts, we took our third exam. The first hour was again spent on the written portion and then we moved into our practical. Our practical for this module was to split, ice and decorate a cake. This had become second nature earlier in the module when we were spending each night doing these techniques. But since we had moved on to other things since, I felt a bit nervous and out of practice.

Overall, I received a 99% on my module, keeping me on track to graduate with highest honors in October.

It was then time to begin the fourth, and final, module of the program. This module was split into two portions: chocolate and wedding cakes.

We began the chocolate portion by learning how to temper chocolate (bittersweet, milk and white). This was a fundamental technique for all chocolate work, which involves melting the chocolate up to a certain temperature, working a portion of the melted chocolate on a marble in order to drop the temperature back down and then slightly warming the chocolate again.

We used this during the following nights of chocolate work, where we created free-form chocolates, truffles and molded chocolates.

During the first night of chocolate work, I thought this was a medium I was really going to enjoy - perhaps something in which I would eventually want to specialize. But this turned out to be a fleeting thought - the following nights of chocolate work made me realize that this most certainly not something I would want to specialize in.

Don't get me wrong - I did enjoy chocolate work. The skills are something that I know I will use not-so-far down the road. I found molded chocolates beautiful and they will make lovely gifts during the upcoming holidays. I just would not want to only work with chocolate as I felt a bit stifled in terms of creativity, both in taste and design.

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