Strudel and Sorbet.

Today’s class was fun but BUSY.  Now that we only have two more days left of Advanced Patisserie, there is so much to do!  We started class with a Chef demo on how to assemble our strudels.  Chef Stewart started with a tiny ball of dough that she carefully worked around the edges, stretching bit by bit. 

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Eventually, students jumped into to help, and everyone used the backs of their hands to very carefully pull the dough until it was so thin you could see through it.  It was also the size of the entire table!

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The dough was brushed with butter, and a row of graham cracker crumbs was laid down one side.  Then the fruit topping was spread along the row of graham crackers. 

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Now came the coolest part.  Once the fruit was laid all along one side, the dough was pulled up over the fruit from the edges.  Then Chef Stewart lifted the tablecloth up so that the entire strudel rolled down the cloth and quickly rolled itself up!

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The entire large “strudel snake” was laid out on a full sized sheet pan, with as much straight surface area as possible – pretty much making a U-shape. 

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Final dusting of pretty sanding sugar, and this guy was ready to go into the oven!  I LOVE sanding sugar – I think it looks like fairy dust. 

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After the demo, my group got started on our strudel.  Because of yesterday’s finger wound, I had to wear one of the embarrassing finger condoms.  :(

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We stretched our dough, brushed with butter, and added graham cracker…

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Then I scooped out our delicious pineapple coconut filling that we made on Thursday.  It looked gooey and delicious. 

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We rolled, shaped, and I sprinkled it with fairy dust.  Popped it into the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. 

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While we waited for the strudel to bake, there were a LOT of other things going on.  Our goal was to get as much prepped for the next two days as possible, particularly for our day 9 practical exams.  While Alexis made sorbet, and Rachel worked on lace crunch for the plates, I made chocolate ganache.  I melted 6 oz of hot heavy cream into 12 oz of chocolate couveture chips.

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And our group decided to make ours a little different by adding some coffee liqueur, mmmmm.  I love anything COFFEE flavored.

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All melted and stirred it looked like this, so I left it to cool under our table for an hour or so…

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When I came back it looked like this, cooled down and much more ganache-like.  Tomorrow we will shape this into truffles to be the center of our chocolate molten cakes on the last day of class. 

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Today was the first day that we no longer plates as teams, but rather as individuals.  We were each responsible for producing three identical plates, and as you can imagine, it was a LOT more work to individually come up with all the components of the plates.  Since the chocolate piping tends to take the most time, I went ahead and did mine while I waited for the strudel to cool down for plating.  I ended up piping a figure 8 pattern and filling it with caramel sauce and crème anglaise. 

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When I finished the chocolate piping, the strudel was ready, so I brought it out and cut it into slices for our entire group.  Forgot to get a shot of it before slicing, but it’s really all about the filling anyways, right?

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Here’s a shot of my group’s table mid-plating and just a few minutes before our final plates were due – total CHAOS!

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Considering it was my first time plating alone, and I ended up completely changing the original plan I had in my head, I think my plates turned out pretty well.  For the strudel component, we had to use two pieces, so I did them stacked in opposite directions, layered with dehydrated pineapple chips.  A strudel sandwich, if you will.  :)

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Another component of our plates was the homemade ice cream we made on Thursday – remember my group’s delicious Grand Marnier batch?  Well ice cream can’t just go straight onto a plate or it will melt and slide all over the place, so I made lace dough “cups” for the ice cream to be scooped into. 

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Here’s how the final plate turned out!  Not too bad for my first time going solo…

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Obviously they looked much better when they were served and there was actually ice cream in the lace bowls, but we didn’t scoop it until right before the plates were served. 

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All three plates – identical and hopefully tasty. 

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All of the desserts were wheeled out on carts to the dining room, and then we headed down to the dining room ourselves to eat lunch.  As usual, I sat and enjoyed the break from class and the company at my table, but there was nothing that I could eat.  :(

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When we got back from lunch, my group needed to quickly finish up making our sorbet.  Alexis decided to go with a raspberry sorbet, which I poured it into the ice cream machine…

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Eight minutes later, we had what looked like creamy pink soft serve!  (And I actually got a picture of ME doing something – hurrah!)

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As you can see I was intensely focused on my sorbet extraction.  :)

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Two full pints of very tart and creamy raspberry sorbet.  I definitely want to try to recreate healthier versions of some of these sorbets and ice creams in my home ice cream maker soon.

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The sorbet will be served on tomorrow’s plates.  We made sure to taste our final product to ensure that we would be serving something acceptable. 

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When I got home, look what was waiting for me!  My precious G11 – all fixed up and finally home!  I am definitely very satisfied and impressed with Canon’s customer service.  Even though I never actually spoke to a single person, the process was very easy and quick.  I submitted my request online, sent my camera along with some paperwork, and today I received a sparkling clean G11 along with an explanation of what went wrong and what was fixed. 

It says that my camera’s optical lens was replaced, and that the camera was cleaned and had general maintenance repairs.  If you ask me, it looks like a brand new camera.  I can’t believe that is the same one!  I’m taking this as a second chance to be a LOT more careful with it and keep it much more clean this time.  No more trips to school in my pocket – that’s for sure.

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And last but not least, remember when I first started my Advanced Patisserie class, and I told you how Chef Stewart was super cool and all about being healthy and active?  Well as I’m sure you can imagine, she and I have ended up in long discussions about our favorite health food, brands, etc.

Clearly OATMEAL became a topic of conversation, and she mentioned that she eats a hot cereal mix called Red River out of Canada that she has to buy online.  She said the Red River cereal blend takes an hour to cook (kind of like steel cut oats), but that it is absolutely delicious.  Much to my surprise, when I came in this morning she had brought me my very own bag of the Red River cereal!  I am SO excited to try it out, and so touched that she offered me some of her imported supply.  Thanks Chef Stewart!

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Off to take the doggies for a 3 mile walk, and then lots and LOTS of homework to do.  I will be sad when school is over, but I will NOT miss homework!!