Day 4 & 5

Pear Charlotte

Pear Charlotte

Thursday and Friday – and now we’re into the complex stuff.

My “action oriented” impatience is starting to wear on my co-students. When chef says “make your pastry cream,” I’m not waiting around for someone else to lead the charge – or crack an egg. Let’s get the ingredients, get the utensils, and make this bad boy! Now that I’m gone, my fellow students can leisurely go about their baking.

Strawberry Cake

Fraisier – Strawberry Cake


Day 2 – Meringue

Swiss MeringueDay 2 and it’s all about meringue – Swiss, Italian and two kinds of French. Such girly confections – pale pink dollops just hinting of raspberry. I feel a bit more lady-like just admiring them. Time flies in class – is it really 2 p.m. already? A co-worker noticed there’s a bounce in my step when I arrive at work in the afternoon. My life belongs in some version of this.

I never read the The Secret or The Law of Attraction, but isn’t their motto something like, “Ask and it is given?” So, here I go (again):

Dear Ms. or Mr. Universe,

In case you hadn’t realized, I’m enamored with all things culinary – particularly of the baked kind. I would be overjoyed if you could help me employ my existing skills to secure a new, rewarding, blissful career in the industry.

p.s. And I need to make a lot of money doing it. Dough for dough, in other words.

meringue rochers

The manly version – meringue rochers

Marzipan Roses

Marzipan RosesI’m reminded of that saying, “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” What does that say about me, the perpetual student? Those who are too gutless to do either learn? I’ve done it again – enrolled in yet another culinary class; this time it’s a week-long “Introduction to Pastry and Baking Science” course. It’s really the first week of a 12-week professional program, but regrettably my work schedule allows a week respite, not three months.

Today, we practiced marzipan roses and royal icing writing. I aced the roses, not the writing – my south-paw impairment rears its head once again. I’m reminded of my kindergarten report card with three simple words: Needs Help Cutting.

Sweety Pie

Everyone LOVED Phoren’s Apple Pie Gelato!!!! – Chef John, ICI

That was a message I received the other day from Italy.  It seems the next class sampled our creations – and I should be delighted with the response.  Everyone loved my flavor…except me.  Yes, I’m too hard on myself (it’s a familial trait), but there wasn’t enough apple flavor and I didn’t like the texture (I kept some of the apple pieces chunky, like applesauce, in the final product). During this class, I’ve realized that I like the smooth texture of gelato – or definable bits surrounded by smooth (nut or chocolate chunks) – and not an unrefined or lumpy consistency. I’m pleased with my concept (who doesn’t like apple pie a la mode?) but not the final execution.

Ideally, I would like to try again – concentrating the flavor more and blending the hell out of the base before it’s frozen.  Homework, I guess.

Apples to peel

Apples to peel

Sauteed apples

Sauteed apples

Lumpy base

Lumpy base

In it goes...

In it goes…