Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back to School, Intermediate here I come!!

Two months vacations have already past. I thought I was going to have so much time during my vacations, that I could get board and not have anything to write about, but on the contrary I have been so busy mostly working, some traveling, that I have not really had time to write. There is absolutely no excuse, but I still had a hard time finding space to write.
This past week school started again. I am hoping that with the forced no work spaces work school produces cutting into the usual work hours, so that I cannot make it to work, I will be able to go back to writing and publishing all those posts I have yet to post.
Well school started on Thursday, and it was a bit to stressing first day. As I mentioned I had been on vacations for 2 months, and I did do some backing, but I do feel I got out of the school's pace specially during the practicals.
Well my first day back, and I had Demo #01 followed immediately by the demo!! I found it a bit shocking to be pulled back into school after such a long break.
Because Chef JJ, the Chef for Intermediate pastry, is on vacations, we had Chef C do the demo. I just love his demo's, they are fun, keep you attentive, since the Chef has a bit of a speed doing things, I just really like his demos.
Anyway for the Demo, the Chef made three different cakes.

The first and one of the cakes we will do on Practical is the Streussel. I know the streussel to be a puff pastry sort of log with apple, and sometime nuts, but was very surprised to find something very different.

The base is made of puff pastry, then it has a thin layer of "fromage blanc" wich is a sort of greek yogurt, very common here in France, and it has some apricots too, but not very many. Then on top we put a streussel topping, which is like a crumble topping. It was very good, just very different to what I though a streussel was.
Then he made a Pave aux Amandes, which is a gluten free cake, very dense and rich in flavor. Is only powdered almonds, sugar, eggs and butter, what's not too like??

And the third cake, was a two layer, sort of pound cake, in a thin log shape. The cake had two layer, a vanilla pound cake part, and a inner chocolate-almond meringue one with chopped almonds.

Nothing really impressive, more like a quick review of basic pastry.
As always we got the "degustation".

The cakes were ok, nothing really outstanding. The almond cake was a bit dense, but good flavor. The layer one was just ok too. The one I like the most was the streussel, but then again I like anything that has puff pastry, so nothing special.
Even though we had fairly simple recipes, which were more to help us practice time management and organization, and not really skills, I was freaking out a bit to have the practical, right after the demo finished.

I started demo a bit slow, trying regain my pace, that I kind of lost over the holidays. Since groups changed that also shakes things a bit, but I am happy with the people I am working with, they have a fast pace which helps me keep son track and not slack off too much, and are very clean which I always like.

Anyway, I put lots of almonds on my almonds, cake, and it came out perfectly golden looking very good.

The streussel came out ok, not perfect, but not bad either, just ok. I considered that for trying to get back on track, I did pretty good, and didn't fall back too behind. "Pas mal" as the french would say.

Putting aside the stress, I didn't realized how much I missed, being in school, and how happy going back to the kitchen and baking made me fell.

Feels so good to be back in school, and now ready to see what Intensive has to come!!

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