Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Triple Chocolate Cake

This is such a pretty looking cake. It is a Bavarois aux Trois Chocolates or a Three Chocolate Bavarian Cream Cake, and is the only thing the chef did in the demo. This cake has a lady finger sponge base imbibed with chocolate syrup then it is covered in three layers of bavarian cream from bottom to top: dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. And it has a final top coating of a chocolate glaze

I was very excited to see white chocolate used for decoration, since usually you just see dark chocolate used. and the dark background created by the chocolate glaze gives it a very elegant look I think.

Eating it on the other hand was not my thing. I don't know if I have mentioned this before but I DO NOT LIKE chocolate. I can eat it every now and then and in small quantities other wise I find it too sweet and too rich to be able to enjoy it. They only chocolate I like is white chocolate which I agree is not real chocolate but that is the only one I gladly eat. That being said I did not eat this cake, I only ate the white chocolate layer. The rest tasted good, but there was no way I could possibly eat all that chocolate. The flavor for all those chocoholics out there is like chocolate milk, and the chocolate glaze tastes just like Hershey's chocolate syrup, really good!!

I didn't know exactly what to expect about making this cake but I enjoyed it so much. It was so fun to do, and I was really careful while doing it to make sure my layers would finish looking smooth, even and with as few air bubbles as possible.

I really enjoyed looking this cake and loved the opportunity to keep practicing my chocolate writing and even better with white chocolate.

I had a scare when making my creme anlgaise since the chef told my it was over cooked, and I was already thinking I was going to have to redo it, but then he finally said it was ok and to just use it. After that I felt better when I remove the mold and my layers were even and next to each other, while most have problems having their layers even. The chef said that my cake was the better of the class which made me so happy, and told me that my decoration was pretty good, although the chocolate came out shaky in my last two shells of the edge.

I was so happy my cake came out looking so pretty

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Not my Day!!!!

I have never had a bad day at school, I had seen other had a bad day but had never happened to me until now. And not only was it bad, but it was the day I made the Opera, and I was excited/nervous since the decoration for this cake is going to be our technical part of our final exam. It may look simple but is much much harder to be able to write well in chocolate. You have to make it look clean but elegant at the same time.

For the demo the chef made two cakes, which have the same construction and same basic elements. He made the Opera and a Pave Orange (Orange Cake).

The Opera is a chocolate and coffee cake, when I saw it I was really expecting a much more chocolaty taste, but was gladly surprise when I tried it and is mostly coffee with just a touch of chocolate. This cake has several layers it starts from the bottom up with a joconde biscuit imbibed with a coffee syrup, then a coffee buttercream, then joconde biscuit with coffee syrup, the a chocolate ganache layer, joconde biscuit with cofee syrup, cofee buttercream again, and a final layer of a chocolate glaze.

The Pave Orange is made of layers as well, but we present it sideways, the layers are made of joconde biscuit with a bit of orange peel imbibedd with a Grand-Marnier syrup, praline buttercrea, layer, and chocolate ganache. It was decorated with a bit of chantilly cream.

The Pave Orange was ok, not bad, but not really good either. The Opera in the other hand, was so good since I was expecting to taste mostly chocolate I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it since I absolutely love coffee flavored cakes.

Going back to my practical it was awful, first of all I was coming late from work, so I was already stressed out about not being on time to school. I was technically on time, but wasn't able to prepare all my stuff and change clothes calmly like I usually do. Then I was class assistant, so I had to get everything ready for class, but what was my surprise that we get to the classroom and the people form cuisine where still there cooking. It was 3:20 and as I was peaking in trying to see if they were almost finished since it was 10 minutes before my class started I see people working in no rush at all, they were calmly finishing their dishes like they had plenty of time. So when I was supposed to calm down form my being late in the bus, only got worse since now, we were going to be late setting everything up in the kitchen and therefore we could all be starting late the cake. I had this felling of being rushed the whole time. I did my joconde biscuit and turned out ok. While trying to make the chocolate ganache I was waiting and waiting so that it would not boil. I step away for a few seconds, and as I go back to my stove the cream is boiling, so I had to throw it, and start the ganache again. Then I was making my buttercream, and I overcooked my sugar, so when I poured it into the egg yolks instead of incorporating it just crystalized. So there it goes AGAIN into the trash, and I had to start that one again too. By this point my friends where realizing I was not having a bad day, but a horrible day.

Once I manged to finally make my buttercream, and was assembling my cake, I could even spread the buttercream into the imbibed joconde, it would just simply not stay there. I calle dthe chef and he helped me. My friend helped me and rewarmed the chocolate ganache for me so it would be soft for me to spread it, but by the time I was ready it was too cold, hard and very difficult to spread in an even layer. For the final buttercream layer we were supposed to make this one particularly straight and even since any defect we had would show when we poured the chocolate glaze n top. I was able to spread it, but not in my usual way, and when I asked one of my friends if it looked ok he just answered: "For normal you is not ok, but for today just leave it like that" hahahaha. Afterwards he even helped me smooth it out. By the way I had also lost my towel the one we have in our apron and the lovely chef after seeing how my day was going he found it for me, and helped me glazed my cake before I could even try since as mentioned we were late.

Now the moment of truth the cake decorating. I had practice some borders, which I made nice in my cake, but was taking so long that the chef was grading and I wasn't even done. I managed to finish my border but since time was pressing I had to write Opera in a rush, and didn't come out as nice as the ones I had practiced before.

In the end, I was able to present a descent looking cake, taking in account how my practical went and I was really happy, but in the bottom I knew I could have done a bit of a better job on the presentation.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Famous Macarons

Macarons are somewhat new to me. I only found out about them shortly before I came to Paris, and in spite of stores dedicated to them I have never  bought one. I tried them when the Chef made them in one of our Demos from Basic, but we didn't make any then. It is known by everyone that is very very dificult to make good macarons; personally I do not think is hard, I think is tricky since the actual process of making them is not hard, but when to stop mixing that is the tricky part. If you undremix, you macarons won't be nice and smooth but grainy, if you overmix, they won't rise nicelly and look a bit like a tortilla.

The practical was in plated dessert, which was a big change since we have been doing mainly cakes, and not reallypersonal size  dishes. The chef made a Creme Brulee au Caramel (Caramel Creme Brulee) , Fondant Chocolat Glace sur Nid d'Abeille (Dark Chocolate Fondant with Bee's Nest), and Macarons Anis-Framboise ( Light Anis Cream and Raspberry filled Macarrons).

When I tasted the Creme Brulee au Caramel I thought it had a bit of a strong flavor since I was expecting more a mild flavor the one of a regular creme brulee, when I realized it was supposed to be caramel I understood why the "strong" flavor and it is good, but I think I prefer the regular creme brulee.

The Chocolate dessert was a bit to rich for me, the crisp it has nice, but what I really loved about this dessert is the white chocolate ice cream that goes with it, it is sooo good!!!

The macarons I find are usually always good, for this particular time I love the combination with the fresh fruit, but I am not a big fan of Anise, so didn't really like the Anise cream that much. 

For practical we only had to do the macarons. It was interesting because as I said this are plated desserts so we had to present our goodies plated for the chef to grade. So besides worrying about trying to get the macarons right, I had to think in how to present my macarons, be careful to use the raspberry coulis, but not too little or too much, same with the portion of the dessert you cannot put to big of a portion because you won't make money but cannot put too little so that people complain, and the final detail is it has to look good and be simple enough to be reproduced since technically this would be something served in a restaurant over and over again.

Macaron Anis-Framboise
My macarons where not very smooth on the top, I needed to mix a bit more, but when I asked the chef he told me to stop and do them so, I guess I need to just make sure next time the mixture is more liquidy.
Since I don't like Anise I didn't put the liquor in my cream, therefore it was really really good. I liked this desserts so hopefully we get to make more of this in Superior.

Other than that the chef liked it, he said I had a nice portion, and it was clean and pretty!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I Love Baking!!

You probably figured out that long time ago, but I really wanted to emphasize it, since I am loving so much school. The cakes we are making so far in Intermediate are such a fun thing in class as well as to eat. 
This time we made a fraisier, which I knew I was going to like since before I made it since I really like strawberry-cream cakes.
This is France version of a strawberry and cream cake. I like the version of the States, just as the ones they have in Mexico. For the fraisier, the flavor is not really radical, but what really makes the difference in this cake, is the way it is presented. This type of cake is something so common both in Mexico and in the States, that it almost doesn't feel special anymore. I like how this cake brings it back, with a new and renovated look into my eyes.
For demo we had Chef J, the demo was a bit slow since he was only doing one cake, and we are already used to have two or more different recipes in demo, but it was interesting to see the different ways in which we can make these cakes.

The chef made a couple of cakes using a round mold, just like the ones we are to make in demo, and he free styled another one in a rectangular shape. I like some aspects of it, but not so much others. I like the more structured, cakes, more than just randomly putting the things in the inside, but I do like the way he made the edge for the cake, it does take skill to accomplish it. I also liked the really simple decoration of the cakes, since as the Chef said is not a fruit salad is a cake, hahahaha. This chefs have a thing to turn healthier food options into negative things, hahaha.

I anticipated I was going to like the cake, and I did! This cake is sooo good, the cream is sweet enough together with the cakes that it compensated for the acidity in the strawberries. Really good!!

In practical, I really enjoyed making this cake, it was really fun, and enjoyable. Nothing to hard, but just enough things to be made, so that we could improve our speed, and organization.

This cake is sooo good, I had a really hard time giving it away this time because I wanted to eat it all!! But it had to be done, since I cannot afford the extra calorie consumption. 

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