Monday, 8 June 2009

The perfect scoop (homage to David Lebovitz)

Following our boulangerie test, there was no time for a breather as we were straight into the lab to make ice creams and sorbets for the rest of the week. 

Surprisingly, they were a lot easier to make than I had imagined - the trick is getting the balance right between sugar, fat, water, etc and its different depending on what fruit (be it fresh or pureed) you decide to use. Chef had already gone through the formal calculations with us last week so now it was up to us to put it all into practice in the lab.  

We began with making a lot of mise en place during the beginning of the week, including more dreaded nougatine work (luckily, this time my fingers were unharmed) - making a bowl to fill scoops of sorbet and ice cream, as well as a lid which we then had to decorate with royal icing. Chef had given us a piping demo beforehand where we had all scoffed at his "antiquated" patterns! He said that we could choose to pipe whatever we wanted but to make something classy and not shit. When left to our own devices, we realised just how hard it was to replicate his design so I cheated and modified my piping to suit my weaknesses - it wasn't so bad and I think I may have even heard chef say that he liked what I had done, woohoo! Props to chef tho for the impressive nougatine corbeille ("basket") he made with all our crappy bits of leftover nougatine! Then it was onto making various biscuit bases and sauces for some of the ice cream cakes we were to build.

Thursday was left to make all the different sorbets (we pretty much had 10+ flavours on the go!) and a few ice creams - the trick is to make all the mixtures and then fridge overnight before then putting into the churner. Think chef had a bit of a heart attack as almost none of the sorbets were registering the estimated readings on the refractometer. After much fumbling and scavenging later for other refractometers, we realised that the one that chef had used was completely banjaxed (so much for "investment for life", ha!!) and another refractometer finally gave us the readings that we wanted.

Friday was all about churning, freezing and building/finishing cakes. A little hectic but the final results were impressive: 
  •  Ananas givré royal: hollowed out pineapple refilled with a combo of pineapple and raspberry sorbet.
  • Bourgogne: ice cream cake with layers of blackcurrant sauce, blackberry parfait and raspberry sorbet on an almond dacquoise base and covered with a joconde band.
  • Cassate pistache: Pistachio ice cream dome filled with cassata filling (like vanilla ice cream with dried fruits soaked in kirsch) - originally from Italy.
  • Citrons/oranges givrés: hollowed out lemons/oranges refilled with their respective sorbets.
  • Passoa: ice cream cake with layers of passion fruit sauce, Cointreau parfait and blackberry sorbet on an almond dacquoise base and covered with a joconde band.
  • Plombières: rich ice cream concoctions studded with alcohol macerated dried fruits - a bestseller in France, we're told by chef!!
  • Roussillon: ice cream cake with layers of raspberry sauce, pistachio parfait and apricot sorbet on an almond dacquoise base and covered with a joconde band.
  • Vacherin: Meringue cake filled with an assortment of sorbet and ice cream flavours. (that pithiviers-like cream piped on the top is bloody hard to master!)
  • William: ice cream cake with layers of pear sauce, caramel parfait and vanilla ice cream on an almond dacquoise base and covered with a joconde band.
Naturally there was a "degu" on Friday afternoon where we had the chance to try out everything we had made (not that we hadn't tried all the individual components already!). I think my favourite cake was the William, followed by the Roussillon (our group made this one!), Bourgogne and Passoa. Am still not convinced by the alcoholic fruits and ice cream combo so favoured by chef tho! Luckily, despite all the ice cream I scoffed, I did not suffer from brain freeze, ha! ha!

This week has definitely sowed the seeds for making ice cream in the future - I only hope that I can reproduce what we made here in school :)

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