I love passionfruit. That is an understatement. J’adore fruit de la passion.
Entremets Passionata de Chef JJ
This practical in particular was the most fun we had thus far. My buddies, Vanessa and Neha, and I teamed up to make our joconde biscuit, and various fruit purées to compile the Entremets Passionata. There’s no better way to spend a friday night practical than with your best pastry buddies, piping, scraping and decorating tasty Entremets passionata. Aren’t they beautiful?
Since the internet at our apartment has not been working for the past few days, and the French don’t work on le weekend, Catherine and I have been without contact with the cyber realm. So here’s a short and belated post of last weekend’s chestnut dome cake:
Dôme aux Marrons
I wonder if it would taste better with fresh chestnut paste and chestnut cream, rather than the canned goodies. Perhaps there is a cultural or a generational disconnect, but I couldn’t understand why Chef Bernardé kept sneaking tastes of the canned chestnut paste and creme. I thought, “I suppose if the MOF likes it I shall give it a try.” Ick! I tried both. Ick encore! I’ll keep trying…just because he’s a MOF.
It’s not that I have a disdain for chestnut. The chestnut, like the adzuki bean or the matcha powder or other flavors of Asia, is my friend! Je ne comprends pas les Français. It’s such a big deal here at this time of year. Perhaps it will grow on me as I become more French…
At least this was enjoyable to make and we got to use the chocolate paint sprayer! Hence the ‘velvety’ effect.
Here are a few photos of the strawberry ‘treasure’ cake. It has an almond dacquoise base with strawberry mousse and a vanilla chiboust. What’s with all the gelatinous mousses lately? Gelatin + mousse = texturally unappealing (with a few exceptions). At least it was fun to make and decorate!
As much as I relish the rush and adrenaline at the start of class, I also enjoy the therapeutic moments at the end where I can slow down and channel my inner artiste.
For the first time in pâtisserie class, we made something savory! And it includes pork! Yes, salty pork in place of all the sugar, chocolate and cream we’re always playing with. To celebrate, Catherine drew Mr. Piggy and his bottle of cognac:
Devils on Horseback
Why do they call these ‘devils on horseback’ and not ‘angels on unicornback’? What makes bacon devilish? Je ne sais pas.
We learned to make inverted puff pastry. It’s quite similar to puff pastry so it was a basic review of dough work. Inverted puff pastry however is even richer!! Flaky, buttery goodness can only mean one thing: food coma. It’s all too easy to over-pop these addictive, savory petit fours.
At long last we had Chef Deguignet for demo. He teaches mainly the superior classes and if you’re lucky, you may catch him subbing in for a basic or intermediate class every now and then.
Watch how quickly and effortlessly he makes these beautiful chocolate ‘fans’. He makes everything look so simple!
Last time in Paris, I made it a goal to sample as many different flavors and brands of macarons I could. This time around, I haven’t been so diligent. I blame it on the colder weather and earlier sunset (yes, mother nature), both of which make it more difficult to walk around the walkable city as much as I did in the summertime. Anyhoo, I made up for lost time today by paying Pierre Hermé a visit, namely the location at 72 Rue Bonaparte.
Coing (Quince) , Marron et Thé Vert (Chestnut and Green Tea), Chocolat et Gingembre Confit (Chocolate and Candied Ginger). The ginger confit packed a nice spice to pair with the dark chocolate. The others were neither memorable nor texturally pleasing.
I liked this savory macaron and this is coming from a non-lover of truffle oil, having lived, eaten and breathed truffle oil every day for a year at O Ya. Oui, c’est possible to be all truffled-out.
Mille Feuille de Praliné
Every since we made the douceur last week, I’ve been craving praliné and feuilletine. Despite the sweetness of praliné, I can’t get enough of the nutty richness! I love the crunch so much I even bought a bag of feuilletine to bring home 🙂
The Douceur Chocolat, also known as ‘Heavenly Chocolate’ was one of my favorite tasting cakes thus far in intermediate pâtisserie. The components were quite simple: hazelnut dacquoise (which we learned in basic), milk chocolate mousse (a mixture of cream and milk chocolate), crispy praline and the more challenging part, tempered milk chocolate. We have been tempering chocolate all week so we should be experts by now, right? Eh…no. We have observed several demonstrations on tempering chocolate and the chefs always make it look so simple, but how many hundreds of times have they done it? Well we worked with milk chocolate once and dark chocolate once so third time’s the charm! I was determined to get it brillant this time around. Plus, I’m tired of Chef Tranchant saying our chocolats are for the supermarché! 😦
Please excuse the horrible fluorescent glare and hideous marble of LCB’s P3…voilà! My best chocolate [tempering] work yet. Since the other components were familiar and required little time to prepare, I took it upon myself to temper the milk chocolate twice for extra practice and to challenge myself. After all, that’s what spare time during a LCB practical is for. If you note the curved pieces of chocolat, this is where I curled my second sheet of tempered chocolate on to a rolling pin and let it solidify in to a curvy square. I’d seen Chef Cotte do it during a practical in basic pâtisserie so I figured, bien sûr pourquoi pas? Yay, my risk-taking was rewarded with somewhat successful curvy squares. Although I would have preferred them to be more even in thickness...jusqu’à la prochaine fois...
It takes a bit of practice, patience and understanding to convince myself that the chefs are indeed correct, that chocolate tempering is not so difficult. Have faith.
This week has been a very decadent week. Beaucoup de chocolat. Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to:
I wish I had added a bit more glaze for a shinier sheen. I chose a simple design that in the end reminded me of an awkward starfish. Oops!
Here is a picture of my friend Neha’s Bavarois. Magnifique, mademoiselle!
The cakes we’ve been making lately (Fraisier, Bavarois, etc.) have incorporated a few new techniques such as making Bavarian cream. But for the most part, it seems like a review of basic pâtisserie. Just as we thought we could get comfortable…we had to temper chocolate.
Chocolat Café et Truffes
The first day of chocolate tempering was the hardest: milk chocolate. It was a novice’s work so I won’t even bother posting our hideous, not-so-delicious Praliné et Muscadines. Even the dark chocolates featured above are not sufficient with chef’s standard of brillant. They can always be shinier.
Well I suppose if I keep working with chocolate and practice, practice, practice, perhaps one day I can be like Chef Daniel Walter and know just from looking, whether the chocolate needs to be heated or cooled a few more degrees. We call him Monsieur Chocolat for a reason.
Done with chocolate [tempering] for the week and of course like any other day at Le Cordon Bleu, I’m craving salty [Spanish] jamón…
Ah, the bittersweet beginning of the end. Today we had LCB graduation. Thank you to the wonderful chefs and friends I have met in Paris. Keep in touch and keep on baking!
What better way to precede graduation than with a fish spa pedicure?
Rufa Fish Spa
Oh so tingly:
Chef Daniel Water a.k.a “Chef Grandpa”
The sweetest French chef I’ve known. Doesn’t he look like Michael Douglas?
Chef Xavier a.k.a. “Chef Crazy” y el Trio
Of course some post-celebratory Belgium beer seemed appropriate (both the day before and the day of graduation, bien sur!):
Nayma et Bier
Catherine et Bier
Sam et Bier
This is the last week of class at Le Cordon Bleu so between spending time in class and with friends, I haven’t left much time for blogging! Fear not, here are some pictures to catch you up to speed:
Also known as “Three Kings Cake”, this was one of my favorite “pretty feuilletage” to make. Glossy, flaky, golden goodness…I had to post two pics:
I wish I had taken a better picture, but here it is:
Making marzipan roses in class is like therapy after spending an hour rushing to whisk, fold, bake and clean. It also makes me realize I should look at more roses if I want to make my marzipan ones more realistic, versus copying the Chefs since all their roses look different.
I have to learn to trick myself in to liking projects, even if they aren’t tasty in demo or have ugly names like “pistachio log.” The hulk green was a big turn-off as well, despite the many times I repeated the mantra, “pretend it’s a chocolate matcha cake, Trac” in my head.