April 4, 2008

Our final week of Cakes and Tarts

Final weeks often involve tests and practical exams.
I love them... as geek-like as I might sound; I sincerely do love tests...only in pastry school of course ;). It's really important that we realize where we stand in terms of how much we've learnt. Surely we could follow instructions from a recipe and replicate as Chef Mary demonstrates the step by step processes...the real question is; can we do it again without any guidance. Can we fly solo confidently? personally; that really is important to me. Practical exams are truly a good gauge for how well you know your product and how confident you are with hand skills involving assembling and baking of each recipe component.
It usually is the time where my camera lenses take a backseat while my mind is focused on my batters; custards; creams and baking. I don't get to take many photos during my practicals; but I do try to snap a couple of photos before I have them graded. My fingers are often too busy working tiny chocolate details and touch ups instead of fiddling with my shutter clicking.
Here were a couple of pieces I put together this week...
Hazelnut Sable Entremet

Charlotte Russe
The Opera

Linzer TorteAfter having completed our practical pieces; Chef Mary sent us off to make simple items to keep us occupied with practice of technique. Meringues were made yesterday...devoured today..and OH MY gawd... they were out-of-this-world-delicious! I topped a tiny shell I piped with whipped cream; dollop of jam and fresh raspberries.... can you almost taste it? Crisp on the outside; hints of sweetness and tangy berry juices... as you crunch through each bite; the crisp meringue melts gently in your mouth; releasing hints of vanilla and luscious whipped cream ....*giggle*
Oh alright... I shan't tease no more..
Make some too!! I used to be afraid of making meringues...well; I ain't afraid no more :)
There are basically 3 types of commonly used meringues:
- French meringue (basic) - least stable but easiest to make; Whip eggwhites to soft peak; add sugar and whip till stiff and glossy.
- Swiss Meringue - Eggwhites and sugar are warmed in a hot waterbath before whipping into a meringue; this gives better volume and stability.
- Italian Meringue - Most stable; a sugar syrup is gradually poured into whipping eggwhites

This recipe is for a Swiss;
Eggswhites 250 gms
Fine granulated sugar 500 gms
Vanilla bean/extract - to taste
Place egg whites and sugar in a stainless steel bowl of in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a wire whip over hot water till the mixture is warm (120 F/50 C )
Transfer the mixture to the bowl in a mixer and whip at high speed till stiff peaks form and meringue is completely cool.
pipe into shells or disks onto nonstick parchment and bake in a preheated conventional oven at 200 F/105 C for 2-2.5 hours till completely set. Baking time will depend on the thickness and size of piped meringues. Bake em' slow and easy... top and bottom low heat.When completely cool; top with berries/fruit/creams/custards/chocolate sauces/toasted nuts... Dig in!

**Guess what's my next chapter of pastry school?
WEDDING CAKES!!! YAY!!!!! *SUper MEga Excited to start!* hehehe


Liz Ranger (Bubble Tea for Dinner) said...

I just have to pop in at least once and mention how much I love your blog! I actually saw your mango video on youtube way long back, and was so thrilled to discover there was more pastry goodness here! All your cakes and things look fantastic, good luck with your exams. :)

(yes I'm jealous you get to go to pastry school!!)

Anonymous said...

hi! i was wondering if you could tell me what camera you use. Your photos are always beautiful.
i hope you come back to sydney sometime soon! and best wishes for your exams!

Michelle said...

It's been a long time since I commented but your creations are always looking good. (:

Anonymous said...

The meringue looks delicious! I've only made meringue once before, but it wasn't for a cake, it was for little desserts. I love them because they're fairly easy to make and taste absolutely out of this world!

giz said...

Meringues still terrify me - and - everything looks wonderful.

theadams said...

All the best of luck in your coming exam Su.

ashieBee said...

suyiiiin :))

wedding cakes??? ooooo *gasp* cant wait to see the update on that!! yeay! goodluck with your exams!

Su-Yin -Décorateur said...

lizliz: aww.. thanks my dear; I love hearing from everyone! it's so nice to see who's lurking around! haha your visit here makes my little blog so much more pleasant :)

min: I use an olympus
It's pretty good :) I will be back in sydney for my graduation in august!

chelle: heya! :) always a pleasure to hear from ya~

thesassychef: uh huh~ meringues are marvelous~ they are good with custards and fruits! or even on their own! I wish they baked quicker in the oven though..waiting for them to harden up takes forever!

giz: use a conventional oven :P convection oven fans tend to ruin meringues and their nice crust; it used to be my worst nightmare!

theadams: thanks! chef mary gave me an A! YAY! hehe

ashie: thanks :)

Sonya said...

BRAVO !! for your blog, that was a wonderful tryp in your taste,

Québec, Canada