Return of the Bake Shop.

Home sweet home after my first day of a NEW class!  I know how much you guys enjoyed my Intro to Baking & Pastry class last term, so I’m worried that my newest class might make your heads explode.  Are you ready?  It’s Advanced Patisserie and Desserts – an entire class based around chocolates, mousses, tarts, and advanced plated desserts!  Without all of the typical kitchen equipment, this classroom feels HUGE!

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And of course instead of traditional kitchen things there are fun BAKING toys.  Check out this wall of ovens – awesome!

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Next to that is a little stovetop with only 8 burners, conveniently located right behind my group’s table.

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I am counting down until day 6, when our curriculum focuses on ICE CREAM, and we get to use one of these gigantic commercial ice cream makers!

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Because it was a new class, we started off with a long lecture and a lot of notes.  Chef Stewart gave us her background and went over basic guidelines and expectations for the class.  I can already tell that I LOVE her – totally a woman after my own heart.  Despite teaching a class based on desserts, she is all about health and nutrition!  She explained her philosophy that “the most useful tool you have in a kitchen is your body” – so we need to take care of them and make sure we can move quickly and efficiently by being in good health and good shape.

She also said we were more than welcome to bring breakfast/snacks in during lecture, but that any food brought into class must be healthy – thumbs up for oatmeal or fruit, thumbs down to Bojangles and Chick Fil A.  I love this woman!  And finally, her penalty for mistakes, tardiness, etc.?  Pushups!  Love it.

After lecture, we were put into our groups and jumped right in to our three assigned projects.  First up for team four – blueberry coulis!  We took some thawed (frozen) blueberries and pureed them in the blender…

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And then strained them through this fine mesh – called a chinois mousseline…

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The straining helped us separate out the liquid (for the coulis) from the solids – all the seeds and skins.

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I kind of wanted to eat the leftover strained solids – I feel like this blob was totally packed with nutrients!

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While the coulis cooked on the stove, we scaled out our ingredients for chocolate mousse- yum!

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This kitchen is dangerous – lots of chocolate just sitting around in open containers!

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While we waited for the Chef’s demo, my group made a Lace Cookie Dough in one of the giant stand mixers…

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We tubbed it up to be used for a project we are making tomorrow…

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And then it was DEMO time!  Chef Stewart showed us how to make the chocolate mousse, starting by hand whipping a pint of cream…

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And then folding in a chocolate/butter/egg mixture…

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Once mixed entirely, the mousse mixture was spooned into a piping bag.

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And then piped into these cool silicone molds!  She has a ton of different shapes for these – round, pyramid, hearts – fun!

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Once filled, the molds are smoothed and then covered and frozen.  We are serving these tomorrow in the Advanced Dining Room (the one I just left!) for lunch service.

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The second demo was for Tuile Cookies – really thin molded, shaped cookies – almost like wafers!  We each had to cut our own stencils on a cardboard sheet…

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And then spread a very thin layer of dough across the stencil.  Quickly lift off the board, and you have a thin layer of cookie dough!

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Next they were decorated with a bit of chocolate tuile decorating dough…

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And then baked and shaped!  These got a little too burnt, but you get the idea…

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After watching the demos, we headed back to our station to try each project individually.  Alexis started whipping cream like a mad woman…

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While Rachel cut out cardboard stencils for tuile cookies…

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Once the whipped cream was ready…

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I got to work mixing, whisking, folding, and piping.  Thank you to Rachel for taking over photography services!  (LOVE the new camera!)  :)

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Clearly I would not want to serve an unacceptable mousse to my guests, so a tasting spoon sample was necessary.  :)  YUM!!

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With just a few minutes left before cleanup, I stenciled my tuile cookies and got them into the oven.  The goal for each student was to produce three identical cookies – I made six just in case!

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Mine ended up coming out pretty well!  When these come out of the oven, you have to be ready to shape them right away, as they harden in about 10 seconds.  I was racing to mold them before they hardened and broke.  Good thing I made six bec
ause only three survived!

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Overall, it was a really fun first day of class.  I can already tell that I will learn a lot over the next nine days, and I’m excited to have a better foundation in desserts for future jobs and opportunities.  Tomorrow we are doing our first plated desserts for service!  I just hope I can keep my hands away from the sample spoons…


Don’t forget to enter the Envitote giveaway before Friday!