Sunday, September 18, 2011

First 2-Tiered Cake!!

Hey everyone~ As you may know, we have all ascended to level 3, the last and final level in our pastry arts program. As such, we are advancing in all our skills and one of which is building of wedding cakes. One of our first forays into tiered cakes was the 2-tiered Cardinal cake. 2 layers of cake, frosted with buttercream and wrapped in chocolate. Yes, wrapped in chocolate.

What do I mean? Using oil based/cocoa butter colours, we painted on acetate to create our very own transfer sheets! We were allowed to come up with our own designs and for mine, I decided to go with the pastel folk art route~ I knew those days of folk art painting with my auntie Jessie would one day come in useful :)

 If you wonder how tiered cake stand up despite the weight of the layers stacked on top, we use straws!! Beneath the smaller tier, are 2 straws pushed into the first layer to hold the weight of the cake on top.

 This cake was so fluffy it poofed up almost past the edge of the kitchen aid bowl~

 The tiny tier~ Aren't they cute??

 Here is my painted strip of acetate for the bottom tier wrap~ Once painted, tempered white chocolate was poured on top and left to slightly set. when still malleable but not dripping (a very thin line) the chocolate was wrapped around the bottom frosted tier~ I wish I could take a photo of it but when wrapping chocolate, you need both hands. You actually could benefit with an extra set to be perfectly honest!!

 Leave the acetate strip on to set, the longer it is left to set at room temperature, the brighter the shine once peeled off. Ideally, well tempered chocolate will shrink and contract from the acetate.

 The frosted top tier was wrapped with a strip of acetate that had dual coloured tempered chocolate drizzled on top

For the finishing touch, chocolate roses :)

FYI, click on the images for a closeup view!


Sugar Pastillage Showpiece

Hi all, here are some pictures of my sugar cakestand from Level 2. Chef Chris gave us free reign on the theme so we could do anything we wanted basically. I figured, since I was going to work with sugar, my theme would be "Its a sweet life". We made and worked with pastillage made from scratch. Lots of 10X sugar, gelatin and vinegar. Its almost like fondant except that it starts drying and cracking immediately once it's rolled. So, key here is to work fast. Work like the wind. Infact, we had to work like hurricane winds due to a day lost due to the hurricane here!

 Guess who finally made it onto my blog!! lol

 We had to make 2 boxes so here are mine, my favourite Fraisier cake :) I wish it could have been done much cleaner but unfortunately I didn't have time due to the day lost because of the hurricane...

 This was meant to be my second favourite cake the Black Forest, but I had to make do with these cute lil coffee beans instead!

 Here is the main stand. The main pillar is a marshmallow column which can be seen in the background behind the middle lollipop. The cake stand is a round piece of pastillage that I punched holes out of and for each one, created a scalloped edge so that once dried, I could hang little cherries from to make the piece a little more interactive.

 The base of the stand was done by marbling pastel shades of pastillage

All sweets and candies all made with coloured pastillage

 I did mention this was to be a cakestand yes? So guess what this is! 
We were given Styrofoam cakes for this project due to the lack of time, I cut mine in half and a hole in the middle. Then came the fondant. It is always hard to colour fondant dark brown! It takes alot of colour to do so and alot of time to knead it all in. It was not until I was about to cover the cake when I realised I had no idea how I was going to do it because of the hole in the middle!! Eventually I developed a technique to do so and then came the issue with making realistic chocolate glaze~ Eventually it all came together thank goodness! The sprinkles were tiny pieces of pastel pastillage~~~

Woot! It stands!!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Figgy Jam

Mimi, a lovely girl I met on the first day of orientation gave me a bag of figs today from her garden! There were some squishy ones, of which I proceeded to make jam with. A touch of lemon juice, the seeds of half a vanilla bean and a sprinkling of sugar all reduced to figgy deliciousness :)

I grated in an apple cos I didn't have any pectin in the house on hand. Apples will cook down and make the fig reduction thick~

Here it is once it's done! Smells amazing as it cooks and cools~

Crusty baguette with cream cheese and freshly made fig jam. Yum.



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Plated Desserts

Hi my lovelies! Once again its been awhile and I apologise! Level 2 and 3 have been kicking my butt~ Its intense and stressful to say the least, and we have alot of project work these days that involve alot of planning, sketching, designing, preparing and exhausting to execute!

But before we get into all that, I have yet to post pictures of my plated desserts from the section. We got into a system where we break of into teams in class and each prepares an element of the dishes to be plated and then toward the end of class, we come together and plate them up~ Just like how you would have plated desserts in restaurants.  Here come the pictures!

Speaking of restaurant desserts, this may be one of the most well known and common one out there- Creme Brulee

And its close cousin- Creme Caramel

Similarities: They are both baked custards
Differences: One has the caramel made first and the other has it made last

 Creme Caramel has their caramel bases made first!

A custard made with the best vanilla bean/paste you can find is then poured in and slowly baked in a bain marie in the oven on a low heat till just set. 

The final product was plated with a coriander-pineapple compote, caramel sauce, creme chantilly rosette on top which sits a cigarette tuille and a spring of coriander

 Creme brulee on the other hand is baked first, then has its crunchy caramel top done after! How you ask? Simple just some white sugar spread evenly on the surface, avoiding the edges of the ramekin, then torched with a blow torch till desired colour is reached

 Here, it is simply plated on a doily and with some shortbread

 Here are some chocolate brisee shells

 Filled with Manjari chocolate custard and baked! Manjari chocolate is a rare and expensive chocolate due to its variety's raisinated qualities. This just means that it has a lingering after taste of raisins, which is highly desirable and for which will cost you a ton of money. This tartlet alone costs about $20

 Yum. Here it was plated with creme anglaise and chocolate sauce with toasted coconut ice cream and coconut chips

Another dessert made was this kiwi napoleon. I'm not a fan of napoleons but plated this way it made more sense to me in terms of consumption and mess control.  Here we have 3 discs of puff pastry layered with dulce caramel sauce and fresh sliced kiwi. I believe that was lime sorbet and a kiwi cookie. All sitting on kiwi coolis (uncooked sauce made by pureed fruit)

 Oh the lemon barquette. Soooo delicious. A light tart lemony boat of utter deliciousness~~~ This was chef Chris' design... he's awesome.

 This was my design I played around with~ with a melting mixed berry sorbet quenelle, I made that sorbet for the class! Those leaves are candied mint leaves btw

I Love Charlotte Russes. Here we have a green apple mini charlotte russe (lady finger sponge filled with green apple bavarian cream), clear vanilla sauce, strawberry coolis and strawberry sorbet with green apple chips

 Oh yes, I made those caramel cages! Aren't they cute?

Made by making caramel, then once it reaches the desired colour, using a fork or spoon, make strings all over a lightly greased dome

 Here's my messy attempt! The sauces merged as I walked around trying to get all my components... Its not exactly how a restaurant is set up as there are 20 people trying to use 2 sets of the same equipment and ice cream is involved
 so you can imagine the chaos

 I like the idea of caged foods for some reason.

 Ever wonder what happens to those fragile cages that break? This is what happens! DUN DUN DUUUUUN~~~ *drumroll*

 This here is a hot Charlotte. Made by soaking strips of bread in clarified butter and baking it
 in a muffin tin. It actually tastes pretty good. Just was very disgusting to make. This is chef Chris' plate.

 My attempt at swirls with a clear caramel sauce.

 That is green apple sorbet leaning on my hot charlotte

 Finally, something savory!!! A wild mushroom and spinach jalousie with goat cheese and chilli flakes

 A jalousie is basically anything that has a filling and is encased in puff pastry with slits like these that resemble window blinds

 So delicious. Here it sits on a generous pool of seasoned and spiced creamy bechamel sauce and garnished simply with some chives

 We also made a pineapple-caramel upside down tartlet with puff pasty base

 Yes its as good as it looks. I spiked my caramel with some rum. 
Pineapple and rum = yum.

 Here is my plate

 I made these cute lil pineapple chips :)

 We now move on to another classic and many people's favourite dessert, the crepe. Here we have crepe susette in the making, orange crepes filled with orange pastry cream

 Here's my plate, the folded filled crepes and on a tangy orange emulsion sauce, with segments of fresh orange and blueberry sorbet sitting in a tuille cup with a candied orange chip

Another delectable version is the chocolate crepe filled with a rich ganache, plated with some flambe pear slices, a sour cherry compote and ginger-sour cherry swirl ice cream

 Last but certainly not least, we have the caramel-banana brown butter financier with milk chocolate ice cream. Sooooo good.

Here are the pineapple and banana tarts, both made at the same time as they both required caramel as a base. The caramel for the banana financiers are beneath the cut banana slices
 The batter is then poured in and it is baked to golden perfection

I simply adore the burnt amber colour the caramel gives to the dessert.

Financiers are so crisp on the surface and edges but so chewy in the middle from all that hot brown butter that is added to the batter. So good. 

 What? Haven't you ever seen roasted macadamia on sticks before?
Actually, this was my first time too!

 Why you ask? To make these little darlings of course!

 See how they work? The macadamias are dipped in caramel and hung to drip and dry into those sharp pointed fun shapes

 Just stunning don't you think? That spoon there btw is a tuille cookie made into the shape of a spoon and sprinkled with nuts. This was a super fun dessert!! Loved it. Wolfed it down. 

Don't judge me.

Tip of the Day
 When plating desserts, always go in with a plan of how you want your plate to look like. Even to the extent of making a rough sketch before hand of where you would like the components to go. When ready to plate, set up your station with everything that's needed, within arm's reach. Remember- Ice Creams are always plated last and at the very last minute before serving so it doesn't melt everywhere! Also, it is good to secure down your ice cream with something so it doesn't slide around on the plate (eg sauce, chips, crumbs)