Mod 2: Lessons 39-42

Wait.  How are there only eight lessons left in this Mod?  Pastry school is FLYING by, as I expected.  Also, I am going to miss Chef Sim pretty terribly.  He is kind of one of the coolest people I’ve ever met, and I hope he never reads this; we don’t need his ego to get any bigger than it already is!  No, but really, he’s great and is one of the chefs allowed to say how good he is at what he does.  Much like myself, obviously.

So, part of having Chef Sim as a chef-instructor (as I mentioned in an earlier post), he doesn’t quite go by the curriculum.  As in, he tweaks the recipes, has us make recipes not in the curriculum, and often has us make individual desserts rather than working in pairs.  We’ve been running around and working hard, and it’s been great.

This week, we made: galettes, pies, linzertortes, biscuits, scones, breton tarts, dough-based petit fours (tartlettes), strudel, and puff pastry.  As far as flavors go, I got to make plum ginger, pear currant, and pear fig galettes, a plum ginger pie, cheddar cheese and chive biscuits, lemon and cherry scones, pear breton, cherry, lemon, praline, and ganache tartlettes, rich ganache tarts with fresh berries and nuts, and apple with cheese and tyrolean strudel.  Yup.

Okay, so a few things.  ICE gets the most delicious plums ever in the world.  EVER.  I think I mentioned that already.  They are THAT good, you guys.  Also, slathering ganache (neatly and professionally, of course) in a tart shell and topping it with hazelnuts and raspberries might be one of the best situations I can think of.  And, making strudel is MIND BLOWING.  Not just for food nerds, like myself.  I guess I should have taken pictures of the process, but just imagine:  making the strudel requires literally slapping the dough hard on the table and folding it in half 100 times, no more, no less.  This develops the gluten, as well as releases frustrations.  I had a pretty rough morning, so it felt pretty good.   The dough is now the size of a pancake, then slowly we stretch the dough until it takes six people to support and help stretch the dough super wide and thin, then stretching it over a counter top, then putting on some delicious fillings, and then rolling it up and baking it.  Lots of teamwork and concentration involved.  It was like making strudel brought us closer together.  Thanks, strudel.  Thanks.

Another good week.  I am so excited to work with puff pastry, I’ve always loved working with the stuff.  Next week, we’ll be working with that to make some delicious food things, and it will be amazing.  Tomorrow, I’m going on my first trail at Hill Country in the city (shout out to the fabulous Hill Country pastry cook, Melinda) and then I’ll be helping them at the Food Network Wine & Food festival!  Hooray for pies and trails and opportunities!

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