Creamsicle Creations.

What a fun day of class today!  Even after only THREE hours of sleep (gaaaah) I was still excited about all the yummy treats we were making.  As we do every day, we started off by prepping for the next day’s desserts – or in today’s case, Monday’s desserts (no class on Fridays!).  Monday we are making various fruit strudels and my group was assigned PINEAPPLE. 

IMG_5035 (800x600)

At first we were a little weirded out by the idea of making pineapple strudel, and we didn’t really know what flavor direction to go in.  We ended up making our strudel filling by dicing up the pineapple and adding applesauce (to preserve it over the weekend) and sugar.

IMG_5049 (800x600)

Then we toasted up a batch of walnuts and shredded coconut on the stove top…

IMG_5050 (800x600)

All mixed together.  It ended up REALLY good!

IMG_5053 (800x600)

With the second half of our pineapple, we were supposed to make dehydrated fruit chips.  We used a meat slicer to get super thin slices of the fruit, and then laid them out on Silpat baking sheets.

IMG_5045 (800x600)

I have seen these Silpat non-stick baking sheets before at Crate and Barrel, and always wanted one, but I could never figure out why they are so darn expensive!  Now that I’ve actually used them in this class I have to get one – they are amazing!  You can bake anything on them and it just peels right off – so useful. 

IMG_5048 (800x600)

Our pineapple chips went into the oven on low heat for a loooooong time.  We flipped them over ever ten minutes.  The objective was to dry them out and get them crisped without getting too much color or browning. 

IMG_5078 (800x600)

Success!  There were a LOT of burned fruit chips in the classroom today, but our group’s turned out really well!

IMG_5079 (800x600)

Don’t you think it looks like a flower?  So pretty.

IMG_5081 (800x600)

To go with our pineapple strudel and pineapple chips, we also got to make ICE CREAM today for the first time.  Again, we were sort of stumped on what flavor of ice cream to make to go with pineapple flavors.  Eventually I came up with the winning combo – we made a vanilla bean ice cream that we infused with fresh orange zest and Grand Marnier…

IMG_5037 (800x600)

We made the ice cream using the same method of making crème anglaise.  Infused the flavors, whisked over heat, tempered in the eggs, and cooked until nappe…

Once it thickened we cooled the mixture in an ice bath.  Even before we turned this into ice cream I could tell it was going to taste amazing.

IMG_5041 (800x600)

We poured the mixture into the incredibly fancy commercial ice cream maker (which costs $8,000!), and after ten minutes we saw this bubbling out of the trap – ice cream is ready!

IMG_5055 (800x600)

Delicious vanilla orange ice cream flowing out…

IMG_5056 (800x600)

Rachel caught the ice cream while I documented the process.  My teammates are so great about pausing for pictures and letting me know when they are doing things that are photo worthy!  Can’t possibly pass by this picture without pointing out Rachel’s ridiculous glasses – totally broken with only one arm!  Did you notice?  I love that crazy girl. 

IMG_5057 (800x600)

Two pints of the most delicious ice cream you have ever tasted.

IMG_5058 (800x600)

Seriously, I wish I could give each and every one of you a bite.  Maybe it’s just that I never eat “real” ice cream anymore, but this was AMAZING.  The vanilla and orange made it taste like a fresh CREAMSICLE!  Seriously, when was the last time someone at a Creamsicle?  It was pure heaven.

IMG_5061 (800x600)

Rachel tested out our combo for Monday by combining a bite of the pineapple strudel filling with the ice cream – smart girl. 

IMG_5062 (800x600)

We forced ourselves to put the ice cream away before we ate half of the mixture, and finally got to work on today’s plates.  For some reason I have ended up doing our chocolate piping every single day!  I’m getting in good practice I guess.  Today’s plates were the crème caramel custards that we made yesterday.  Because the custards have a really runny caramel sauce, we had to pipe a line of chocolate down the middle to try to act as a barrier. 

IMG_5054 (800x600)

Alexis was the plate designer for today, so I piped her design and tried to help make her vision come to life! 

IMG_5063 (800x600)

She created these cute “umbrellas” using cookie sticks and sugar cages, with orange supreme slices at the bottom.

IMG_5065 (800x600)

Our custards came out pretty well – basically a crème brulee with a layer of caramel on the top, and a sweet caramel sauce. 

IMG_5074 (800x600)

Final plate!&

IMG_5072 (800x600)

I am all about being neat and organized and clean, so I hated the messiness of this sauce – it was driving me crazy!

IMG_5073 (800x600)

Other plates around the classroom – another crème caramel group, not quite as successful – maybe under-baked?

IMG_5068 (800x600)

Crème brulee with strawberries and whip cream…

IMG_5069 (800x600)

Totally awesome cheesecake with a fresh fruit cup.  I wish we had gotten to make cheesecake too – this looked really cool. 

IMG_5070 (800x600)

Mini cheesecake with almonds around the sides, and a walnut dipped in sugar…

IMG_5071 (800x600)

And delicious banana pudding with white chocolate covered strawberries.

IMG_5077 (800x600)

Couldn’t resist a bite of bread pudding with white chocolate sauce.  Totally not gluten free – I will pay for it later :(  Already feeling guilty!

IMG_5080 (800x600)

And now that class is over I can start my weekend – hurrah!  Sorry for weird late posting today.  I stayed up way too late last night, and had to be up super early to be at school this morning, so I took a much needed nap when I got home from class today. 

After I got up, Casey and I took the dogs for an almost 4 mile walk, and now they are totally tuckered out and sleeping at my feet.  :)  Thanks for all the awesome cookbook recommendations!  It’s funny how trends change with technology – I am a lot like you guys.  More and more I use blogs and the internet to quickly find a recipe based on the ingredients in my refrigerator.  My go-to sites are Recipezaar and My Recipes (which pulls from Cooking Light).  They both have great filter systems where you can specifically search for vegetarian, vegan, low-calorie, etc. 

Now I’m off to make dinner – we are both craving MEXICAN food – yum.  Adios!