Sugar Shaping and Fruit Tarts.

Today we worked with fruit and SUGAR – two of my favorite things!  Class started with a demo on shaping sugar – very cool.  Sugar is melted on low heat for an hour or so, until it finally reaches the temperature where it can be shaped.  I discovered that you can shape sure on anything!  Using a honing tool to wrap thin whisps of sugar…

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Produces these awesome sugar curls!

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Drizzle the sugar over the back side of a ladle…

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And get amazing sugar cages!

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These can also be melted together in the center to form sugar balls.  These reminded me of that thing you do in like third grade where you put the glue and string all over a balloon and once it’s dry you pop it.  Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

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Stick a skewer into a nut and dip in the sugar…

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And get these awesome nut spikes.

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Last but not least, the coolest sugar shaping of all.  It looked like a threaded curtain of wispy sugar – so beautiful!

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After the long lecture and demonstration, we quickly got ready to work on our plates for dining room service.  We made fruit tarts today, using the pie shells that we pre-baked yesterday.  We needed to paint the inside of the shells with chocolate, so my group decided to use delicious white chocolate…

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Because the shells were going to be filled with yesterday’s pastry cream, we needed to add a layer of chocolate so that the pie crust didn’t get soggy. 

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All painted and ready for pastry cream!

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Rachel piped the pastry cream while I prepared the fruit.

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Rachel was our plate designer today, and we went back and forth trying to decide how to arrange the fruit on the top of our tarts.  In the end, we went with a simple but fabulous berry design.

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While Rachel and I got the plates ready for service, Alexis rocked out making our crème caramel – basically crème brulee with a caramel top layer. 

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Caramel sauce in the bottom for baking…

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And then filled up with crème anglaise.

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Back to the fruit tarts, we finished adding the berries to all eight tart shells.

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Our Chef said that coming up with symmetrical designs is really tricky, so she encouraged us to just do asymmetrical patterns that would be easier.  But I am a symmetrical control freak and could not stand the thought of creating an asymmetrical circle.  I am so glad we went with the circle pattern!

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Finishing touch, these were painted with an apricot glaze to give a little extra flavor and shine.

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We were actually running a little behind today, so our whole team jumped in to help get the finished plates ready.  I piped the chocolate lines…

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While Alexis added dots of crème anglaise sauce.

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Rachel used mint leaves to make impressions in coating chocolate – her awesome idea. 

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And just in time – we were done!  I LOVE the chocolate leaf.  I think these turned out realy cute!

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Other plates from around the classroom…

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Just as the plates went out, the crème brulees were ready to come out of the oven.

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Every day this class eats in the Advanced Dining Room – the same class where I was serving food just a few weeks ago.  There is literally NOTHING I can eat in that dining room – never a single vegetarian option.  Typically there are a few students who overflow because there are only 40 seats in the dining room, and they have to find other places to eat for the day.  Since today was day 5 of classes – and I happened to know that day 5 is “vegetarian day” in the Nutrition lab class – I asked my Chef if I could skip out on group lunch today and head to Nutrition.  She was very understanding, so when the rest of my class went to enjoy fine dining and French cuisine, I headed to Nutrition for a vegetarian feast of my own! 

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Absolutely delicious black bean chili.  Wanted to eat about five bowls of this.

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Plus a plate of a few different tastings.  I ended up just eating the filler on the sandwich, because I figured the bread was a lot of excess gluten that I didn’t need!

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For the first time in a LONG time, I left class stuffed!  It was such a nic
e change.  I am usually ravenously hungry by the time I get home at 2pm.  Now I’m off to work some more on my project, until Kath gets here for a fun workout!