Cream of Monday.

Day three of Advanced Patisserie and Desserts, and today was all about CREAM!  But first things first, we had to get our pears prepped to go into the blast chiller and turn into ice cubes.  We pulled out the poached pears we made on Thursday

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I chopped them up into little bits and pieces and smushed them into these pyramid shaped silicone molds.  Then into the blast chiller for pear-cube making!

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Next up, we learned how to make crème anglaise.  I had never made this before, but it seemed like most people in my class were familiar with it.  I never do any baking or desserts at home, so I feel a little out of my element on this class.  To make the crème anglaise, we de-seeded whole vanilla bean pods – very cool.

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And then added the vanilla pods and seeds to a combination of milk, cream, and sugar.  Once those were heated through, we tempered the dairy mixture into a bowl of egg yolks.

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And then added the combined mixture back to the hot pot on the stove.

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We stirred and stirred until it started to thicken, and then set the pot in an ice bath to stop the heating.  (Hi Rachel!)

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Once we could see the crème pulling away from the bottom, we were done!

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Mandatory sampling – YUM!  Love that fresh vanilla bean! 

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Once we had mastered the crème anglaise, we moved onto the next project – Bavarian cream!  Bavarian cream uses crème anglaise as a base, but it is steeped with an infusion first in order to give it a strong flavor.  My awesome partner Rachel had some ruby red chai tea bags in her purse, and suggested we use some to infuse our Bavarian cream, since it would make ours unique and different. 

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We scalded the milk and sugar with the tea bags – it tasted AMAZING!  Like a sweet chai latte.

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While Rachel steeped the tea, I rehydrated some gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water.  We had a small class discussion about the use of gelatin in baked goods, and how it affects the vegetarian and vegan customers because it is an animal product.  This was also the point where I was outed as the class vegetarian to my new teacher.  She was really cool and told me that she was vegetarian for many years when she lived in France, because all the meat over there is so exotic and strange. 

Once the gelatin went into the cream, I accepted that my tasting days were over!  I whipped up a batch of whipped heavy cream, and we folded the scalded chai milk mixture into the bowl. 

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Once combined, we poured the mixture into a piping bag and filled up silicone molds with the cream.

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At this point our poached pear ice cubes were fetched from the freezer!

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We filled up each mold 2/3 of the way with cream, and then dropped in a little frozen pear cube. 

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Then we filled it the rest of the way up!  When the diners eat these tomorrow, instead of simply getting Bavarian cream, there will be a fun fruit surprise in the middle.

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After all our cream making was finished for the day, we got to work on our plated desserts.  Alexis was in charge of designing our plates today, and she had me do the chocolate piping again.  I piped these swirlys onto the plates, and she filled the bubbles with crème anglaise.

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We pulled out our gingerbread cakes from Thursday, and the rest of our poached pears, and made this cute arrangement of cake and fruit!  We also made the curly cue lace cookie garnish.

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Added a few drops of strawberry coulis…

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And viola – our finished product!

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Our plates were pretty simple, but they were neat and clean and ready ON TIME -  our first pr
iority.  A lot of groups tried to do really fancy garnishes and embellishments but ended up running late or not finishing.  I would much rather get good flavor and a simple presentation and have everything ready to go on time!

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Finishing touches on all eight plates…

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We loaded up the cart to take them down to the advanced dining room.

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But before the took the cart, I snapped a few shots of some of the plates my classmates put together…

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One my way home from school, I picked up a few books at the library for a dessert project I’m working on – has anyone read these before?  I definitely need to start utilizing our library more often before I graduate – they have over 10,000 cookbooks, and a surprisingly large amount of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks. 

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I was starving as usual by the time I got home, so I made a gigantic salad.

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Spinach, leftover roasted broccoli from last night, sprouted mung beans, mushrooms, hummus, and sriracha sauce.

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Working on my project from now until YOGA time with Kath and Amanda!  :)