Friday, September 23, 2011

My ALMOST Perfect Cake!!

We had the Demo for the Gateau Basque and Diplomate on Wednesday. The cake which is the one we have to do for demo, and the Diplomate didn't look so difficult, but the Chef emphasized a couple of things several times, proving that most likely we will have to watch for those, such as clearing the top side from the ring since we will have to remove the ring through the top. As the chef was almost finished explaining, he said if we had any questions, as no one asked anything, he started laughing as he said " We'll see in practical if you really got it, usually 1 in 4 student will get this cake right", which hit us all as a joke, then realizing he was serious about the comment, so when the time came to take pictures of the cakes he had left at various points of preparation, everyone was very attentive since by now, we were all a bit unsure about how we were all going to do in practical. The Diplomate pudding is sort of like bread pudding, which is really not difficult at all to make.

Gateau Basque

Diplomate with Creme Anglaise

Diplomate with Raspberry Coulis

Diplomate with Apricot Coulis

Since I am not a cherry fan, and the gateau basque has cherries, it was definitively not my favorite, I mean it was good except for the cherries. I like the Diplomate more, but just the one with the creme anglaise. I found that the ones with either the apricot or the raspberry coulis where a bit to sweet, and too strong of a flavor to notice the Diplomat.
Chef J is the youngest of the Pastry Chefs here in Le Cordon Bleu Paris, he is only 32 years old, but as you listen to him in demo, you immediately notice how much he knows, and how good he is for his age. I really like his classes, since he talks in a medium speed, which allows me to understand, and he always gives lots of interesting information.
Having him for practicals is a whole different thing, although I know he does this for a purpose, and is good for me, is very stressful when he is always rushing us, telling us, we should already be putting our cakes in the oven, and how we are already late, even though technically we still have plenty of time. The other thing he does, is he walks around checking our work, but something in the way he looks at you while you are working, that you feel how he is scrutinizing every single movement you do, already thinking how you are doing it wrong, and how will he do it better. It is indeed very stressful to have practical with him.
Of course today when I had to do the Gateau Basque and knowing it might not be an easy cake to accomplished based in all the mocking comments made by the Chef in demo, I had Chef J as my Chef for practical .
I was very excited this time since my Gateau Basque came out pretty good, except for the fact that when I was removing it form the ring, we use as mold to bake it, being this my first time, I don't know exactly how I cut it, that I made a cut along the crust, which was OK, just as I take my cake to the Chef, so he can grade it. Just as he was about to say a praise about it, he spins it fast and a tiny piece falls off, and he said:  "Ohhh, it could have been the perfect cake, but you where clumsy with the knife, and you messed the whole thing up. You have to pay more attention!".

I, of course,  didn't picture the little mess up
 In spite of this little mistake he still took my cake, and gather the whole class around it, to show them how the cake was supposed to look, the shape, the color, the decoration. At the end he did tell me a "Tres Bien", which made me feel really good, and so happy, I know that for some people it might be just a cake, but this is something I had always like to do. I knew I wasn't terribly bad, at it, but coming from a job when nothing was appreciate it, whether you did it good, bad, or nothing at all. It is certainly encouraging to know that I can do this, and not only can I do it, but I am good at it, and I love doing it!!!
He was the Chef when I had my not so good Madeleines, so hopefully I erased that bad impression with my cake today.

Butter Cake with pastry cream and cherry filling
I didn't try this cake since I do not like cherries, but I already received some reviewing comments about it, and so far all are positive!!!

I will definitively will be a lot more careful now when unmolding my cakes, who knows, maybe I can get a perfect cake one of this days!!

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