Vegetable Garden

Friday, October 28, 2011


I made it through 6 months of pastry school and finally....

The last 4 days of pastry school was insanely intense.  We had just 3 hours to bake our danishes and tart and assemble our showpieces this morning.  It was the worst 3 hours of my life.  So many things went wrong during the process of putting together the showpiece, starting with broken pieces which I tried to glue back together then followed by shattered pieces of the glued together components.  I had to come up with back up plan on the fly - 1 hour before the time was up I temper some chocolate to make new pieces to replace those that were unredeemingly destroyed.  Chocolate is the only medium that will set fast enough yet sturdy for enough for the showpiece.  And as I assembled the building more pieces broke - that's when I felt like I wanted to cry but didn't have time to cry... so get over it and move on.  I did whatever repair I could, somewhat painted the building with my partner's pastry brush and glued down all the detailed pieces.  All in all, it wasn't the  showpiece I had designed or imagined but it held up.  I had Katzie Guy-Hamilton (Top Chef Just Desserts) for my judge.  She was really nice and she liked the showpiece nonetheless.  She thought my opera cake and chocolate bon bons were perfect.  Well, the drama is over and now I am going to put my feet up after I deal with the sugar burn which I didn't have time to attend to earlier...

Here are my few thoughts/observations after the fact (I am sure I will have more later):
1.  I have a new level of admiration for people who take part in TV/Culinary competitions.  The stress level is quite unimaginable, you feel all alone to fight for yourself and for one to do it day after day (i.e those TV competition like Top Chefs)... these people have skills and most of all they have great mental strengths.
2.  If I ever apply for another corporate job, I can truly say - I CAN MULTI TASK and I am a tenacious individual!!!
3.  I am glad that I did pastry school... and it was a great 6 months.

Yours truly,
Chef Sharon

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I have 2 more days till graduation.  It's amazing how time flies.  The final days in the sweet kitchen isn't easy I must say.  We have 4 days to:
(a) do a written exam
(b) make a showpiece that is 14" x 18"
(c) make 2 dozens of apple danish
(d)1 caramel nut tart
(e) 2 dozens opera cake (petits fours)
(f) 2 dozens chocolate bon bons

Here's my day's itinerary... I didn't get to do the bon bons so I will be starting my day tomorrow 30 minutes behind my planned schedule.

8:30   Flip pastillage pieces
8:45   Bake Opera Cake Layer
9:10   Danish Dough/bulk proof
9:30   Ganache
9:40   Apple Compote
10:00   Turn Danish Dough
    Roll out Tart Dough/Shape/Chill
10:30   Make Coffee Butter Cream for Opera Cake
10:50   Assemble Opera Cake
11:15   Turn Danish Dough
11:25   Make caramel nut filling for tart
11:45   Make Crème D'amande
12:00   Dishes/lunch
12:30   Shape Danish
1:00   Assemble Tart/Freeze
1:20   Bon Bon 
2:00   Break Down Kitchen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wedding Cake

Winter Forest Wedding Cake.  Took about 14 hours in total to make this 3 tier cake.  The branches around the cake are made of pulled sugar.  4 more pastry school days to go....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Menu Project

I am now 8 days from graduating from pastry school.  The pace have definitely picked up lately, stress level heightened and days in the sweet kitchen more intense.  In the final 2 weeks of the program we have 3 major projects to complete.  The first is the Menu Project, which I just completed 4 hours ago.  The requirement is to produce a 8-item menu of which the chef will select 2 items he/she would like to taste.  We have 2 days (more like 8 hours) to produce then serve.  So here are my desserts and my menu.  I'll be working on the wedding cake project next, so check in again next week!

Cappuccino Semifreddo with Warm Vanilla Milk Foam and Double Chocolate Oreo

Pumpkin Mille Feuille with Maple "Glass" and Hard Cider Ice Cream

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Plated Dessert III Days 1-4

In the last 4 days, I've eaten more desserts that one should have in an entire month... and this plated dessert unit is far from over.

On Monday we made

Apple Beggars' Purse with Ginger Sake Sabayon and Lychee Nut Sorbet

Pear Spring Rols with Raspberry Gastrique and Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

Tuesday we made Strudel.  The process of stretching out the dough was really quite fun.
Classic Apple Strudle with Vanilla Ice Cream

Wednesday was "Fryday" as the chef calls it, unfortunately the following day was not Saturday...

Deep Fried Apple Crepes with Hard Cider Ice Cream nd Bourbon Caramel Sauce
(fried crepes are odd... It's unlikely for me to repeat this dish)

Tropical Fruit Beignets with Tamarind Ice Cream and Coconut Emulsion Sauce
(the only fried tropical fruit I enjoyed was Bananas - "Pisang Goreng")
Bambolin filled with Vanilla Pastry Cream, Chocolate Pastry Cream and Raspberry Jam

Today (Thursday) was souffle day.  I ate a ridiculous amount of souffles today... and guess what we're making tomorrow?  SOUFFLES! 

 Passion Fruit Souffle
 Chocolate Souffle with Coffee Creme Anglaise
 Savoury Souffle - Cheese, Mushrooms and Spinach

Peanut Butter Jelly Souffle
(This is my parter and my creation... turned out fantasic)