Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Basic Pastry Final Test

I was so stressed out the morning of the test. My main worry was not the actual exam itself, but my fear that I would get the Moka. I kept praying that I would get the Gateau Basque or the Saint Honore since I had practiced those, and did them fairly well.
We all gathered outside the kitchen in the second floor, all anxious and trying to guess which will be the recipes for the test, and who will get which. It was very nerve racking just seeing the chefs and assistant going in and out without saying anything, and us trying to catch a glimpse of the kitchen to see if we could figure out which were the chosen recipes by what molds were placed on the tables.
Finally sweet Chef T came of with a cup wit colored chips in it, green yellow, and red. One off my friends was the first one to rich for a chip, a yellow one. I was going to reach for the same colored chip, but something stopped me form doing that, and I found myself reaching for the green chip. The other 3 girls that are usually next to me in practical, all when for the green chip as well, hoping we would either be together, or help each other at least by looking (since we are not supposed to talk or help each other at the exam like we normally do in class).
Once everyone had their chip, the Chef went in, leaving us all clueless about what the chips mean. By this time we had figured out that the Moka was for sure one of the test cakes, since we saw the mold required to do it, so of course I was totally freaking out in fear I would have gotten it Then finally the Chef comes out saying: "Green inside", so we go. The Chef goes inside as well and point to the right hand corner of the kitchen where we had all set up for us, it was such a relief since I saw that the Moka was in the middle. I didn't even care what cake I had gotten, but just not getting the Mocha was already a relief. When I finally reach my place I was so thankful to God when I saw I had gotten the Saint Honore. I was so thankful to God, since he had not only not given me the Moka as I had asked, but he also gave me the cake I wanted to make.
Everyone was getting in by now, and once we were all in the Chef gave us the green light to start.
I first made the dough for the tart lining since it is easier to work with once it has been chilled, and then off I went preparing my cake.
We had two and a half hours, to make the cake, and the tart lining. I finished both in a bit less than two hours, I was very excited. We do not get extra credit for finishing early, but is always nice to realize how you have improved from the first time we did it in class, and took us the full class, without the tart lining.

During the test I was able to focus, but never forgetting it was my final test. For the tart lining, I think it wasn't perfect since I didn't leave enough dough to make a nice pinching in the edge, but still came out pretty even.

My cake came out good, my choux pastry puffed nicely, which was one concerned I had. The one thing that got my a bit not happy about my tests was the final decoration of the cake. It is so difficult to do the Chantilly cream pipping to make it look even and well define each "flame". Even though I had practiced it at home, I am not very happy on how they looked, since it could definitively looked better, still with shaky nervous hands, it was all I was able to do that day.

Oh, and I burned myself, with the caramel, again! I was so focused in getting puffs, to be all straight in the cake, that for a moment I got distracted holding one in position, while dipping another one into the caramel, so I burned my finger, luckly not as bad as last time, but still not fun.

I was overall happy and comfortable about my outcome, it wasn't spectacular, but wasn't bad either. I just hope the Chefs' and the invited jury that will grade like my cake as well.

Now, lets relax while eating some of the left over chouquettes, and Chantilly Cream!!!

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