Today I had Demo 04, and a few hours later the practical. The theme for this demo was Choux Pastry. We were all a bit intimidated since the chef was only going to make two different cakes, when they usually do 3 or more variations, and we were going to do one of them in Practical.
The chef did a Traditional "Saint-Honore" (which is the one he had to do later), he did variations in the filling of the cake, and he also did the "Paris-Brest".
The Saint-Honore is a short pastry base circle, with a choux pastry ring around the edge, and choux pastry puffs, covered in delicious caramel, and the the cake is filled with delicious hand made Chantilli Cream.
The Paris-Brest is made of a huge choux pastry ring, with roasted almonds on top, and filled with this wonderful praline mousseline cream, that is just very very good.
After the demo, I ran home frantically to get a quick bite, and to rewrite my notes in time for the practical 3 hours later. It's not that is hard to make, is just there are so many steps, and things that have to be done, and since I didn't know which chef was going to be there, I was feeling a bit nervous.
As we get to the kitchen I was so glad to see Chef T, which is the one that was with us for the Tarte aux Pommes.
As soon as he says go, I start, already having almost memorized the steps to follow. I do my dough for the bottom half, and get my base ready. Almost immediately I am already getting my choux pastry ready, and done. I piped my balls, and put into the oven. I was feeling better since the critical part was done. Now the exercise part, whisk liquid cream into nice and thick Chantilli Cream, after a good 30 minutes whisking, and feeling how the muscle in my armed burned, as it could do any more whisking, I finally got it. My caramel was already on its way, and my pastries were out.
I assemble my cake, although it had some minor problems. My puffs rose nicelly, but the ring on my base didn't, and the piping of the decoration using the special tip for this cake. As I was dipping the puffs in caramel, I burn myself with the caramel. My first burn, form many to come I suppose.
I really thought I was going to do better after all those cake decorating classes I took, but I realized I haven't practice that much since then. I found the tip too wide to nicely reach in tight areas to be able to give it a perfect finish. Luckily in the pictures looks way nicer than in reality.
Chef C, who gave the demo said he had to decorate in a certain way, but as we were in practical Chef T allowed us to decorate any way we wanted, so I decorated with my left over caramel. I had done a few shapes and left behind me to harden, as I turn around I see that they are gone, and I almost faint. I ask around and find them on the trash, being able to rescue the one piece, that had been somehow not broken and stayed wrapped in the paper without touching anything else. Luckily it looks good, and gives the perfect final touch to my cake.
I am happy with it, but I can see some improvement areas I definitively have to work on.
I get home, and as I unpack the loads of left over pastry, dough, chantilli cream and puffs covered in caramel, I take one and dip it into the Chantilli cream, and pop it in my mouth, Ohhh wow, is AWESOME. I have been baking all week, and have tried a variety of things, but this in my mouth, is incredible. I am so happy, my puffs are light and airy, some are completely hollow at the center, which means they are good. The chantilli cream is not greasy at all, and is not too sweet, and then the caramel, ohhhh the caramel, I don't know exactly how, but thank God, I cooked it to perfection, the flavor is just wonderful. As the three hit my mouth, the crunchiness and sweetness of the caramel, the melting, smooth texture of the vanilla chantilli, and the puffs is awesome, I pop another right after it. In fact is soo good, I get a plate, and leave the kitchen otherwise I would've ate them all. I know I am really not supposed to be eating them, but they are soooo good, I don't even regret eating them.
|Doesn't the caramel looks just wonderful!!|
|This is GOOD food!!|