Caramel Bomb.

Sorry for another late post – the closer it gets to finals and classes ending, the more hectic the workload gets.  You know how sometimes you just have those days where one thing goes wrong after another?  I think I’m having one of those WEEKS!  I am determined not to let it get me down though, and to regroup and make tomorrow better.

We started class this morning with a demo on making the perfect soufflés.  I’ve never made soufflés before, and maybe never even eaten one?  But apparently they are a big deal – hard to make and super expensive to sell.  Final product…

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Tasted like sugary eggs – delicious!  After the demo we got to work on another packed agenda.  First things first, making truffles out of yesterday’s ganache

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We used a small scooper to portion out each truffle, and then rolled them into shape in our hands. 

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Final dusting of powdered sugar – so pretty!  These are going inside our chocolate molten cakes tomorrow.  I am praying for a successful dessert plating tomorrow, since it is worth 15% of our grade.  Thank god it wasn’t practical day today!

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While Rachel rolled truffles, I made ice cream.  I made a simple French Vanilla Bean crème anglaise base, and then we ran it through the ice cream machine again.  I’m glad I got to practice the crème anglaise again before we’re tested on it tomorrow – I think I’ve got it down now. 

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After the ice cream, things started to go downhill…  There were a lot of components to get on the plates today, and for some reason everyone seemed a little frantic.  I made a stencil and laid out some triangle shaped tuile dough for my plates.  My plan was to use two per plate and shape them into arches, and then set my ice cream down inside.  Before they went into the oven, my teammate mentioned that she needed to do tuile too, so she used the other half of my sheet pan.

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While she worked on her tuile, I moved on to my Pear Tart Tatin, the main dessert entree for my plates. 

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I chopped and peeled the pears, and then started a caramel sauce on the stovetop.  LOTS of sugar into the pan…

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Starting to caramelize…

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And finally turning into a sauce.  I threw my pears in and cooked them for a few minutes so that they would caramelize too.  YUM!

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Unfortunately while I was working at the stove, suddenly Alexis came over and said she had left the tuile dough in the oven and they had all gotten too brown – WHAT?  I didn’t know she had put them IN the oven!  I guess she didn’t realize that I
was going to shape them.  The thing about tuile is that in order to shape it you have about a 30 second window from the time it comes out of the oven, to the point that it hardens, so you have to work very very quickly.  By the time she approached me, my cookies were long hardened and my idea was long gone.

Did I mention we also had about 10 minutes left until our plates were due?  I shook it off and thanked myself for not throwing away my stencil, and quickly decided that I would try to re-make them.  With about 5 minutes to spare, I got batch #2 baked and had JUST enough – six total – to get them on my plates.

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Two cookies nestled and waiting for a scoop of delicious ice cream!

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Pear Tart Tatin!  Caramelized pears and caramel sauce in a puff pastry sandwich…

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I added some lines of chocolate piping, and a few squirts of strawberry and mango coulis for color.

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I thought overall my plates looked pretty good – obviously better once there was ice cream…

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Unfortunately while I was squirting out the caramel sauce for plate number three, THIS happened…

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Total caramel EXPLOSION!  It was definitely not what I needed after the tuile cookie disaster.  :(  Instead of getting mad or yelling about it, I just got really quiet for the rest of the day.  I tend to do that when I am really upset.  Talking about it gets me more upset, so instead I kind of crawl inside myself for a bit while I regroup.

My partner Rachel did NOT have a caramel explosion, and her plates came out really cool and modern looking…

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I kept saying it looked like soup in a bread bowl!  With a sugar topping of course…

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Obviously I was only able to get two out of my three plates completed for service, as there was no coming back from that disaster.  At least I was able to get out of “eating” in the Advanced Dining Room today.  I volunteered to be the ice cream scooper, so I got to hang out in the French kitchen and scoop onto all of our plates while everyone else ate lunch.

I ended up not getting home until 3pm, and having not eaten since 6am I was ready to chew my arm off.  I dove headfirst into the first thing I could find – a giant bowl of frozen blueberries and gluten-free cereal.  Not the most nutritionally balanced meal ever, but it got the job done.

Now I’m off to study for the rest of the night before tomorrow’s Advanced Patisserie final exam and practical – eeeek!