Monday, May 10, 2010

Week 16: Breads Exam & Petit Fours

I am SO behind on my blogging! Life has been particularly crazy lately with school and work, but I'm going to try to get caught up by the end of the week.

Week 16 (almost 3 weeks ago!) was the end of the breads unit and the start of petit fours, which are bite-sized desserts.

The bread exam went well, but we had temperature issues all night long. My test items were croissants, chocolate croissants, petit pains (small rolls), and lemon poppy seed muffins. Because everyone was in and out of the proof boxes and ovens all night long, both had temperatures way too low, and the baking was very challenging. My croissants didn't come out as well as I had hoped, but the overall end result was okay.

The best part of the breads exam was that we all made individual pizzas using the pizza dough we made the previous class. Mine had mozzarella and pepperoni on half.

The end of breads allowed us to move on to petit fours. Previously when I thought of petit fours, I thought they were those tiny iced cakes that are served at tea parties. Turns out they are any bite-sized dessert.

First up was financiers. They're mini hazelnut cakes with a small piece of fruit on top of the cakes. We used rhubarb and pineapple.

We also made palets au raisin (raisin cookies), but my team used dried cherries instead of raisins though, so I guess that made these palets au cerise. They were coated in a rum glaze. These were really good, but only about the size of a quarter so it was too easy to eat 20 of them without realizing what you're doing. That was actually the problem with all the petit fours.

Tuiles are crisp almond "cookies" made with butter, sugar, and almonds. They're baked, and then molded on a tuile mold to have their curved shape. They reminded me of Pringles because of the shape.

Ah, passion fruit curd. My new favorite thing in life. We filled these mini tart shells (called barquettes (French for ships) with the curd and then put fresh strawberries and raspberries on top. I want to put passion fruit on everything from now on.

I was so excited to make macarons! I had previously made them and posted the results here, and it was great making them again. These traditional macarons, made with almond flour, were tinted pink (or color of your choice) and the filled with either raspberry jam or passion fruit curd.

We also made these almond macarons which were used two ways. With some of them we made a sandwich with chocolate ganache. Everyone in the class thought they looked like mini burgers. They've never seen my mini burger cupcakes I guess.

We also made Sarah Bernhardts with the almond macarons, using them as a base for a pyramid of chocolate ganache, that was then covered in a chocolate coating. Did I mention all these desserts are bite-sized? As in, 30 seconds and 10 are gone??

One of the key portions of the petit four unit was learning to "tray up," meaning arranging these petit fours on a pretty tray. There needs to be the same number of each item, and it needs to look nice and organized.


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