Monday, 18 May 2009

Entremets part deux

Week 14 and we continued to polish our skills in the entremets-making department. It felt the same as any other week in terms of workload in the lab but now looking back, it doesn't appear as though we made much! Our week's haul ended up with just forêt-noire (Black Forest gateau) and San Marco (a chocolate mousse-based entremet). As with the previous cakes we made, there was a lot of preparation involved with making all the different components, additionally, our time was taken up this week with a few fiddly chocolate decorations such as bands, cigarettes and flowers (props to Fen for making picture perfect choccie cigarettes!!). Taste-wise, I wasn't a big fan of the San Marco and didn't even like the forêt-noire at first. Chef then let us in on a secret that forêt-noire usually tastes better after a day (or two) in the fridge. He was right cos when I finally fished mine out of my fridge, I couldn't put my fork down! I even found myself eating the griottines (cherries soaked in kirsch) as their flavour had become much milder whereas usually, they would be left on the side of the plate.

We had our 5th restaurant service on Wednesday night and I was in charge of making mignardises, those little nibbles that one sometimes gets in posh restaurants with your coffee/cup of cha. They consisted of physalis dipped in chocolate (I know what some of you might be thinking now, and no, its not some kind of STD!! Physalis is a small yellow/orangey fruit similar in size to a cherry, usually wrapped in dried leaves. They taste a bit like persimmon/sharon fruit but more tart and the flesh is slightly firmer), strawberries in fondant and date squares. All were fairly straightforward to make, our physalis were looking fairly impressive at first but the choc started turning a speckled colour once cooled which didn't look so hot......on reflection, I think it might have been due to the chocolate not being above 45 degrees before crystallising? Strawberries in fondant were chef's idea and they did not look appetising - why coat fresh fruit with some sickly, sweet fondant icing for the craic? It felt like we were heading into a 1960s time-warp making these gooey nightmares. The date squares were nice and any extra was happily wolfed down by my fellow students; my only gripe was that they tasted more autumnal than spring/summer. Restaurant service went smoothly, with "le jeune homme" showing off his amazing teppanyaki, oops, I meant pain perdue skills! :) 

Thursday and it was onto making tiramisu for lunch service, a different recipe to the one I'm used to as it involves adding lemon zest to the marscapone cheese. According to chef, this is the authentic recipe that an Italian chef had given him. Personally, I prefer it "sans citron" - the dessert tasted OK but like the forêt-noire, probably needed a night in the fridge for all the flavours to develop. It was also the first time that I was crying out to add alcohol to the dessert (usually, am not a fan when chef adds booze to our cakes), tiramisu without any booze does not taste good. As there were extra biscuits à la cuiller floating around, we used them to make a "pudding diplomate de cabinet" - a baked eggy pudding topped with some alcohol-soaked candied peel. It doesn't sound like a great sell and thats because its not. The sole purpose of making this stodge was to learn some techniques, making biscuits à la cuiller, making mixture cream and shaping the pudding into a "charlotte" shape - it shames me to say this, but I think they went straight into the poubelle after coming out of the oven!

We ended the week with a morning of boulangerie, a bit of a shock to the system as we haven't had any 6:30am starts in a long time! This week's session was particularly important as we were doing a dry-run of the test we will be doing in a few weeks time. It will consist of making baguette tradition, croissants, pain au choc, a speciality bread and finally, some brioche shaping. It was certainly very hectic in the lab trying to get everything done on time; the feedback we got from chef was positive and he gave us some pointers before we left so fingers crossed for June 2nd! :)  

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