Vegetable Garden

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Odd Looking Cake & Fun Homework

Charlotte Royale
We made this Charlotte Royale yesterday but it had to be chilled overnight before we could unmold it.  Odd looking cake - looks like a brain if you ask me.  It doesn't taste very good either.  We made 2 gorgeous mousse cakes, which I will post tomorrow when I bring it home.  It's chillin' in the schoool fridge so we can deck it out tomorrow with more caloric goodies in the morning.

Fun homework to do today - we were asked to make roses out of almond paste.  Not bad for my first attempt :)

almond paste roses

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Here are the layers in this Marjolaine... (from bottom to the top)
  a. chocolate genoise (chocolate sponge cake)
  b. chocolate ganache
  c. dacquoise meringue
  d. creme d'or (chocolate/whipped cream)
  e. daquoise meringue
  f. coffee buttercream
  g. daquoise meringue
  h. whipped cream
  i. coat of butter cream
  j. chocolate gaze

Sounds OTT (Over The Top)?  Not if you ask my husband, Vince.  It's OTT decadent.  His comment is, "forget about dinner".


This simple lemon cake is going to make it to my list of favorite recipes.  Why haven't I thought of adding lemon supremes to my lemon cake batter!  It's so simple yet it gives it the lemony flavour that many other lemon cake recipe lacks.
Lemon Cake

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Most Amazing Dessert I've Ever Had

We made a Marjolaine and Charlotte Russe today.  In case you're looking for a visual for the Marjolaine, it's still sitting in the freezer in school.  The Charlotte Russe is with pear puree and if you're wondering, yes, we made the ladyfingers from scratch. 

Charlotte Russe

Charlotte Russe

However, the highlight of my day is attending a deomstration by Salvatore Martone, the Executive Pastry Chef of L'Atelier.  He demonstrated some techniques on sugar works, which included making a small sugar dome/bubble.  He then filled the sugar dome with passion fruit & chocolate mousse, inverted the dome over some raspberry compote, served it up on a beautiful platter.  I was sitting in the front row of the auditorium and I had the previlege of having the beautiful dessert showpiece.  The entier dessert was an experience in itself.  It was beautiful to look at, the sound and sensation of breaking the sugar dome with the back of my spoon, followed by the amazing flavour and texture of the mouse and broken pieces of sugar... ahhh.... heavenly!

Chef Salvatore Martone demonstrating sugar work

The most amazing desset I've ever had

Monday, June 27, 2011

How Desserts Get Its Bad Rep.

We made 3 cakes today - Chocolate Ganache Cake, Coffee Butter Cream Dacquoise and Angel Food Cake.  Total (key) ingredients used - 470ml cream, 450g chocolate, 860g sugar, 615g butter. Granted that we have some left over buttercream and chocolate glaze, BUT, we indeed used a tremendous amount of butter, sugar, and chocolate!

Chocolate Ganache Cake

Coffee Buttercream Dacquoise

Friday, June 24, 2011


We started our unit on Cakes today, which is also the the final unit in Level I Pastry (out of 3 levels in total).  Cakes 101 wasn't quite "101" at all.  90% of the class' Genoise, including mine, did not rise as much as they should have had. Cake decorating was just as difficult.  It's such a challenge to get the butter cream to smooth out perfectly.  I am going to check out some youtube videos on the subject this weekend.  So, here's my imperfect cake... and have a great weekend!
Genoise with Buttercream

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Last day of Viennoiserie


This beehive was slightly destroyed on my way home... it's brioche covered in meringue with little bees made of marzipan.  The little bees were a lot of fun to make. 

Pullman Loaf
This is a plain old pullman loaf, but I envision a good grilled cheese sandwich out of this.
The Pannatone is my least favorite Christmas loaf we've made so far in this unit.  My favorite was the Stollen followed by the the Kugelhopf.

We're moving into cakes tomorrow. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Croissants!!  Who doesn't like croissants?  It's flaky, buttery, chewy... and even better with chocolate! 


Chocolate Croissants

Stollens are traditional German Christmas Cakes.  The shape is supposed to symbolize baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes.  Well it's either that mine didn't come out right or I am not seeing the resemblence.  This fruit and nut cake'ish bread is actually not as dense as I thought.  It's sort of a cross between  an English fruit cake and the Kugelhopf we made yesterday. 


I think I mastered the art of making scones.  Bad scones are dense, rock like and they become an unpleasant paste in your mouth.  Ah, these are flaky and tender buttery goodness! 

Black Currant Scones

Tender buttery goodness

By the way, notes on weigh-in - I, surprisingly, weigh 1 lb less when I started pastry school.  My husband's weight? ... no comments :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Eaters Wanted

Yes... all made today...

Today was an incredibly difficult day in class.  My partner was out sick and I had to work alone to produce the Kugelhopf, Muffins, Brioche and Cookies.  My head was spinning by the time lunch time came around.  I hope Gretchen, my partner, will be back tomorrow. 

Kugelhopf (Austrian Bowl Cake)
The Kugelhopf is more of a cake than a bread, but unlike most cakes that are leavened with baking powder/baking soda, it is leavened with yeast.  I like the texture and flavor - it's light, not too sweet... makes a delightful pastry for breakfast or tea time.

I ended up with twice the amount of brioche as I otherwise would have since my partner was out today.  Vince and I walked to the West Side to off load some Brioche at our friend's.

Cherry Muffins
These muffins are...well... quite ordinary. 


Cookies - not part of Viennoiserie, but since we had time to kill, Chef Jeanne had us bake cookies.  We were allowed to use any ingredients available in the kitchen our cookies, so mine were chocolate chip coconut hazelnut crunch cookies.  They are quite delicious!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Viennoiserie Day #2


Another fun day in the sweet kitchen.  This is my first attempt at making Danish and it turned out to be delicious.  It's flaky on the outside and soft on the inside.  Most people in class gave their Danish a coat of icing but I deliberately left it out.  I am truly not so fond of sugary fondant icing.

We also made a fruit cake which was packed with lovely dried fruits.  I gave half a loaf to my Brit ex-boss/friend, food enthusiast. What's better than to ask a Brit for his opinion on fruit cakes!  I wonder if he's going to have it with cheese.  Apparently that's what some Brits do.

Fruit Cake

As usual, my class is super efficient in kitchen.  We (as usual) made our required pastries with much time to spare.  So we made an "extra" - a jalapeno cornbread.  It's a little dry for my taste.  I might repurpose it into a stuffing of some sort.
 Jalapeno Cornbread

Friday, June 17, 2011

Viennoiserie (Viennese Specialties)

Today is Day #1 of the unit on Viennoiserie.  I made a beautiful 4-braid Challah, some Sally-Lunn Buns, Orange Swirl Bread and Pecan Sticky Buns.

Vince thinks that the Orange Swirl Bread (which he thought was delicious) tastes like Suiker Brood (Sugar Bread, a stollen like bread for Christmas in Holland).


Sally Lunn  Rolls

Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Pecan Sticky Buns

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Puff Pastry Test

I would consider today's test a success.  It was one of the least intense test days we've had.

Tomorrow we're moving on to Viennoiserie... Here's an illustration on bread making :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Last day of puff pastry... then it's test day tomorrow

Layers of puffed pastry and pastry cream.  The top is icing fondant (yikes) and chocolate. 

Dartois Aux Pommes (Apple Dartois)
I am thinking of getting a lattice cutter for my next kitchen gadget.  It makes such a beautiful design for pastries. 

Feuillete Assemblage Rapide (Quick Puff Pastry Cases)
Vince is making mushroom ragu to fill these pastry shells for dinner tonight.  Yum!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chocolate Puffs

Chocolate Mille Feuille

Today class was all about chocolate puff pastry.  I prefer the traditional puff pastry to the chocolate variety but I suppose this is an introduction to what one could do with the basic recipe.  The above Chocolate Mille Feuille was fun to make and it looks nice.  My nephew, Brian, is returning from Uganda today.  Since his birthday was a few days ago, I shall be serving this up as his birthday cake :)

Banana Tart with Peanut Butter Ice Cream

We also did a plated dessert in class... well, since it's plated and the ice cream would not survive the subway ride, I did what I had to do...and it was great!! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pithivier, Jalousie, Tart Tatin

When I first saw a picture of the Pithivier a month ago at the beginning of the program, I thought to myself that it is not possible for me to make something quite so "perfect" looking.  Today, I proved myself wrong.  I can't believe it, this entire thing was hand shaped.  There were no special tools involved.  We used a big piping tip to trace the shape for the scallop edges and a paring knife to score the rest.


The next dessert is called "Jalousie".  According to Merriam-Webster, Jalousie is a blind with adjustable horizontal slats for admitting light and air while excluding direct sun and rain or a a window made of adjustable glass louvers that control ventilation.  This explains it.

Jalousie filled with Raspberry Jam and Almond Cream

We also made Tart Tatin, and I ate a slice for dessert after lunch ^_^.  It was DELICIOUS!

Tart Tatin

Friday, June 10, 2011

Oh, Lovely...

"You eat with your eyes first"... and this statement is definitely true with this Pear Tart.  Half a poached pear is encased in this wonderful latticed puffed pastry.

Tarte Aux Poires En Cage
(Individual Pear Tarts with Lattice)

Looking at this picture, I think my Conversations turned out to look like a shirt button.  This is a puff pastry tart filled with almond cream, topped with royal icing.  Apparently the name of this tart came from the book "Les Conversations d’Emelie (1774)"... exactly why... I'll have to find out.  Maybe my french friend, Hugues, can shed some light.

(Almond Tartlets)

My Apple Galette turned out to look like Shiu Mai (Chinese dim sum).    

Galettes aux Fruits de Saison
(Seasonal Fruit Galettes)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Puffs Continued

Today might just be the hottest day of the year in New York.  Nonetheless it was still a fantastic day in the sweet-kitchen.  This is the first time that I am making a Nepoleon like this one and I like it a lot.  The contrast in crunchy texture of the puff pastry and creaminess of the pastry cream (especially when chilled) is absolutely pleasing.

Mille-Feulles De Forme Ronde
(Round Mille-Feuilles)

Slice of Mille-Feuilles

(Round Puff Pastry Cases)

Bye-bye Pepperidge Farm!  I shall from now on, stop buying puff pastry shells at $0.60/piece.  It's really quite a liberating feeling....

(Fruit Strip/Bar Tart)

This might just be a lower (note it's "lower" and not "low) calorie dessert.  It is satisfying without being OTT.