Buona Pasqua!

The base consisting of pâté a choux and pâté brisee
 This week of school just flew by. Consolidating and packaging products while baking them in five different ovens without using timers; then switching the next day to solely making biscuits and muffins, it all was a blur but I learned a lot and had a lot of fun!

So today is Good Friday, and what with having a four day weekend from class, I decided to make a gâteau; one called Saint Honoré. Maybe you haven't heard of its name before but I am sure you have come across it's trade mark choux profiteroles which are all neatly ringed around a cream topped short pastry.

pâté a choux with set caramel
 There is a great guide and formula for this baby in our student text book so I have thought of attempting to make it for some weeks now. The results turned out well but it definitely took quite the time and patience to create. From making a batch of fresh Diplomat cream to the painstaking dipping and reheating of the caramel to sticking all those little suckers on the short dough, this is a cake that will test ones patience. 
the finished product; Gâteau Saint Honoré
 The part most fun about making this was the caramel, albeit it's difficult and extremely hot handling, watching the sugar threads dance around like silk while forming a nest out of them was great.
The worst part is just assembling. You have to balance each profiterole on hot caramel to make sure it will set and stay all the while the cream filling and topping begins to reach room temperature and begin to melt :S

This was definitely a great learning experiment and had a blast figuring out the percentage of ingredients I needed plus imagine how I'm going to build it from crust onward.
 At the same time my rustic mamma was making and fermenting her Cuzzupe di Pasqua (Calabrian Easter bread). Needless to say it was busy in the kitchen and with two very distinct-but very opposite-baking styles going on, one would laugh at the circus the two of us make. me with my scale and to the gram measurements versus my mom, a bowl, a glass and completely winging measurements yet always resulting in the perfect product :)
That nibble wasn't me...


Station week numero 2

This week I am on the puff station. I was able to make palm leaves for the first time as well as cream horns. It is something that is hard tograsp at first but once you do it is really fun working with puff pastry! Because tomorrow we are on a field trip to Gran. island, we wont be in the lab so this week has already finished. I was able to make everything possible in our recipe book: cream horns, eccles cakes, cheese straws, blueberry and apple turnovers, windmills, palm leaves and apple strudels. Last week I was able to make sixteen things, including mise en place, in five days; this week I made that in four days. :)

Next week is the oven station...



Last week we started our "station" groups where we are assigned into one of four groups of four peers. We are now to work solo and create at minimum two products a day. This may seem easy but considering the fillings and doughs which are to be made, it is a good amount of work. So last week I was assigned to cookies. It was crazy on the first day but then you really get into time management and it ended up being really fun. I made two versions of chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter, fruit bars, brownies, apple squares, diamond, snicker doodle, date squares and sand (spritz).

This week I'm on puff pastry. So far it has gone smooth, and getting more practice at making the classic puff dough is great. So far I made some turn overs, palm leaves and sausage rolls; this on top of two fillings and two doughs, it has been busy. Hopefully i can get more than four products out tomorrow but we shall see...


Mish mash

Apple turnover using french puff pastry (pâte feuilletée)

So today was a day where we can make anything that has been covered for the past three weeks. Tomoko and I decided on eight pumpkin pies, three fresh apple pies, and three dozen banana muffins. It was a very busy day but we managed to rock them out and very well as you can see.

The turnovers and cheese scones were baked off and they turned out awesome! Our dough ended up being really flaky and tender even with the cheese straws which was made using scraps that should be tougher! When we made our pies I had a bright idea to use the sheeter to roll out our dough four at a time. This saved us so much time and the pies just flew out, so to speak :)
Fresh apple pie
Parmesan cheese straw (pâte feuilletée)

The oven station was very organized today; credit to those on the station today!
Pumpkin pie