There was practice, and practice, and more practice, but I’m finally done! And now, I’m taking a little break to recoup after Basic Pastry. I’m leaving you with some photos of a few of the desserts I made at school recently.
The miroir cassis (shown above) is filled with a black currant mousse made from gelatin, fruit purée, Italian meringue and whipped cream (all hand-whipped, of course!). I discovered with this dessert that, no matter how much I practice writing with melted chocolate on parchment, put a cake in front of me, and I panic. I had to redo the writing probably 20 times before I was satisfied…
|Pavé du Roy|
The pavé du Roy is composed of thin layers of chocolate almond sponge, soaked with a rum syrup and topped with layers of dark chocolate ganache. I, of course, had the misfortune of working at a station directly under the air vent which means my ganache set almost too quickly to work with. My chocolate curl decor was labelled as “feminine” by our instructor, and we are all wondering what exactly that means…
The succès cake is made up of three layers of crispy/chewy almond dacquoise and filled with chocolate French buttercream. Traditionally, the succès cake should be filled with hazelnut buttercream, but since I’m allergic to hazelnuts, I got to flavor the buttercream with cocoa instead.
The tarte soufflée seems very “retro” to me for some reason. It’s basically a sweet tart crust baked with almond cream, then topped with a dome of soufflée batter and baked again. The whole thing is finished with a good drizzling of coulis that is funneled through the center of the tart so that, when you cut into the tart, each slice has it’s own serving of coulis.
The Saint-Honoré cake is one of the most difficult cakes of the term, which I guess is why we do it last in the curriculum. You start with a base of pâte brisée that you top with a rim of pâte à choux and then a crown of baked choux that are filled with chiboust cream (a light mixture of pastry cream, gelatin, and Italian meringue) and dipped in caramel. The tart is then filled with more chiboust, and then topped with a pretty dome of spoun sugar.
|My final exam dessert: charlotte aux poires|
This last dessert is a pear charlotte, which is the cake I was assigned on exam day. The border is made of lady fingers that were actually piped as a fan. The difficulty in this technique (as opposed to piping individual lady finger cookies) is that you have to pipe the fan at the right curved angle in order to get the lady fingers to appear to be standing up straight. In practice, I always did this wrong and ended up with a slanty lady finger border. The baking of the lady fingers is also tricky because they need to be baked enough so that on a humid day, they won’t end up overly moist from contact with the air, but if they are overbaked, the border will crack. Somehow, on exam day, I finally got it right! My lady finger border was straight and free of unsightly cracks and, of course, baked to “GBD”—golden brown delicious. The filling is a pear bavarian cream made from crème anglaise, gelatin, pear purée and whipped cream. The dessert is served with chantilly and raspberry coulis.