Piping and Plating.

Today’s class was all about chocolate!


That, my friend, is a giant cocoa pod!  Very cool.  We spent our lecture learning all about the different types and grades of chocolate – it’s much more complicated than it seems!  Chef Stewart did a bunch of fun chocolate demos for us today before we got started on our individual plates.  Since today was our first day plating for service, she showed us how to make chocolate garnishes for decoration.  Starting with chocolate piping…

IMG_4662 IMG_4663


We each had to make 8 plates with this “L” design, and each had to be approved before we could use them for service.  Next she showed us how to make chocolate sticks – SO COOL!  She piped the melted chocolate into a plain straw…


And then froze them for a few minutes, before pushing the formed chocolate out with a wooden skewer.  These are awesome!  I want to make them at home.


The last demo was making chocolate molded cut outs using cookie cutters.  The coating chocolate gets spread in a thin layer on parchment paper, and then as it cools you quickly use cookie cutters or freehand cutting to make your designs…


IMG_4679  IMG_4681

After the demos, we got to work on our group projects, as well as our plates for the day.  Each day we are responsible for 8 dessert plates, as well as starting the product for the next day.  So since yesterday we made chocolate mousse, we used those on today’s plates.  Monday will be cooked fruit and gingerbread, so that was what we prepped today.  Make sense?  I worked on gingerbread, while Alexis took charge of roasting our pears.  Gingerbread went from this…

IMG_4682 IMG_4689

To THIS – yum!  I can’t wait to try these on Monday.  Since we are making desserts for service, there is not a lot of opportunity to sample.  It’s actually good because there is really no temptation.  I imagine it’s similar in a real bakery – you’re not going to eat products all day long instead of SELL them, right?


Alexis rocked out on the roasted pears.  Peeling, slicing, roasting, basting…



I wanted to stick my fork straight into this tub for lunch.  I love pears, especially when they are roasted with brown sugar, mmmmm.


With our prep for Monday out of the way, we got to work on our service plates.  I popped the mousse out of the molds I made yesterday

IMG_4684 IMG_4685

While Beth made another round of tuile cookies for our “crunch” garnish…

IMG_4660 IMG_4686IMG_4692

Then it was time to put all the pieces together!  My group decided I was best at piping the chocolate, so I did my piping magic on all 8 plates. 


They turned out really good – some of the best in the class!  I loved doing the decorating and fine details – it reminds me of doing art projects.  I’m telling you, I’ve definitely got a thing for this pastry business…


Then I filled the loops of the “L” with blueberry and mango coulis (that we made yesterday).


Thank you, Beth for taking pictures while I piped!  :)


Final step was to add our crunchy cookie and our fruit garnish!  These were my group’s final plates – don’t they look pretty?  We were the first group finished!




With plates ready for service, we rolled them onto a rack and sent them down to the dining room.


When we were done and I was cleaning up our table, I glanced in the oven and noticed what looked like a volcano of gingerbread.  Looks like one team had a slight mis-measurement?  Your guess is as good as mine…


Having finished a class with a hard final exam, and started a new class all in one week, I am EXHAUSTED!  I am so happy to have a long three day weekend to relax!  Off to meet Kath and Amanda for a fun fun evening!  Back later with details…