26 November 2009

Gum Paste Flowers

Happy Thanksgiving! Finding myself surprisingly conscious after going to bed two hours later than usual and waking up an hour earlier than usual, I thought I'd use the airport downtime before my flight to Kansas City to post some pictures from this week's gum paste extravaganza.

Day One: buds for daisies, carnations, roses, orchids, and lilies

Day Two: roses, daisies, carnations, orchid and lily buds

Day Three: orchid throats, blossoms, daisies, carnations, roses; rose leaves, orchid and lily petals

Day Four: lilies and orchids

We also coated the base and first layer of our "dummy" cake (Styrofoam) with fondant. By the end of next week we will have added another two layers to the cake and constructed a centerpiece using some of our gum paste flowers.

Enjoy the holiday, everyone! I'm sincerely looking forward to some quality time with friends and family.

20 November 2009

Entremets (Cakes)

My temporary burnout has ended, thanks to Chef Dimitri Fayard of Chicago's Vanille Patisserie. In France, a layered mousse cake is called an entremet, and over the past couple of weeks I have learned the differences between several mousses with regard to texture, flavor, and ingredients, as well as how to successfully construct various layered cakes. Each cake we made contained a minimum of three components - sometimes more - and they were each built over the course of a couple of days. Besides the cakes from our books, we were fortunate enough to have enough time to make two cakes that Chef Dimitri sells in his bakery. We also made puff pastry from scratch to construct a Pithivier - an intricately-decorated French cake that gets its shape and pattern designs from the use of a blade. We filled the Pithivier with frangipane, and made apple turnovers with our leftover puff pastry scraps. Nearly everything from this course was absolutely delicious. See below for pictures and details...

Nougat Mousse Cake:
pistachio dacquoise
passion fruit and apricot gelee
nougat mousse
clear glaze
Hazelnut Chocolate Cake:
hazelnut dacquoise sprinkled with caramelized hazelnuts
chocolate biscuit
chocolate mousse
hazelnut mousse
chocolate mirror glaze
Coconut Passion Cake:
coconut dacquoise
candied pineapple
coconut mousse
passion fruit mousse
clear and colored glaze
Raspberry Silk Cake:
almond dacquoise
raspberry gelee
hazelnut crunch
white chocolate diplomat mousse
puff pastry
Apple Turnovers:
puff pastry
apple compote
Chef Dimitri's Sophia Cake:
flourless chocolate biscuit
craquant praline
vanilla cremeux
chocolate mousse
chocolate glaze
Chef Dimitri's Chocolate Caramel Cake:
streusel / streusel crisp
caramel cremeux
chocolate caramel mousse
dark chocolate glaze

15 November 2009

Exam III Recap

For our third exam we were required to produce and present the following:

  • Beer Bread
  • Toast Bread
  • Croissants
  • Lemon Pound Cake
  • Chocolate Espresso Tarts
  • Coconut Rochers
  • Raspberry Financiers
  • Pate a Choux (Chouquettes, Eclairs, Salambos)

While I personally feel I could've done better on this one, my grade was decent enough to slightly raise my overall grade. Can't complain about that! Here are some photos:

All that remains: cakes and wedding cakes...