Thursday, March 17, 2011

Iron Chef America!

Ok, not really – but I sure did FEEL like I was on Iron Chef America during my pastry final exam!!!

We had 3.5 hours the first night to do our mise en place (preparation) in order to present out final products the next day. We had 3 hours to assemble everything and make it look beautiful on the final day.

Let me tell you, friends, I will NOT be challenging Mario Batali or Bobby Flay in this lifetime on Iron Chef America – timed cooking/baking is not my style! I’m more of a sip on a cup of tea while I chat with my friends and listen to Frank Sinatra kind of chef! Anyway, I was sweating and checking the clock every second I had during the exam, and I could swear time sped up, leaving me with less! I was down to the wire, whisking away, building some serious muscle in my right arm as I whisked my sabayon for my lemon sabayon tart over a bain marie (simmering water with a bowl over top). In 3.5 hours, I made pastry cream, Italian buttercream, lemon sabayon filling, made, rolled out and baked pate sucree, made and baked genoise cake (in preparation for a 3 layer birthday cake) and made and proofed croissants, which I baked off the next day (you have to let the dough proof – not poof – overnight). We had 3 hours the next and final day to assemble everything and bake off the croissants. Final products for presentation? A 3 layer birthday cake decorated with chocolate writing and buttercream rosettes, and iced, off course, with Italian buttercream, 20 croissants, 12 profiteroles filled with pastry cream and topped with a dusting of icing sugar, 12 eclairs filled with pastry cream and dipped in chocolate, and a lemon sabayon tart topped with swiss meringue. Done and done! I made many new friends enroute home from school that night as I gave everything away to security guards, employees and passengers on the seabus!

Another quarter of pastry school behind me, and I am celebrating by going to the motherland of food: France!! Have a lovely 10 days, everyone! I will talk to you when I get back! Here is a preview of what you can expect from me everyday in France:

All my love to each and every one of you!



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