Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Baking & Pastryyyyyyy!!!!!!!!

Man, has it really been since last November that I posted?! Sheeit, how time flies when... yeah. Anywho, I can catch up on Foundations III Finals later, and I'm sure no one wants to hear about my travails with English Composition and Food Cost Control/Management... PHBT! :)

Really, the main reason for this post is because a certain bench partner has been out sick two days in a row! Needless to say, these last two days have been a LIVING HELL! (I can't bitch too much... I did ditch 'er two days last week, which just so happened to be two reeeaaaally heavy production days)

A'ight, Val - we're even!!!

Last night was all about making doughs for tonite. We made mealy dough. We made flaky dough. And we made something called sucree, as well as frangipane and some lemon curd stuff, too. All of this was in prep for tonite's cooking... Apple pie, pear-almond tart, Quiche Lorraine, key lime tartlets, and some other stuff I never got to... :)

Chef laid out the production for us on the board... holy SHIT it was a lot of work! Even those with partners had trouble getting to it all, and those without... we were pretty much SOL. I decided to just start at the top of the list and concentrate on getting each item done properly... no sense in rushing and then screwing it up (though I did manage to make that happen, too!).

I started with the apple pie by peeling then slicing a bunch of green apples. I then cooked them in a pan with some butter and a little bit of lemon juice, later adding in a mix of sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg (and a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up)...

I rolled out the mealy dough (the one where the butter is incorporated very thoroughly) as the bottom crust, and when the apple mixture had cooled, I filled the pan...

The last step was topping it with the flaky dough (the one where the butter is only a little bit incorporated), chilling it a bit, then brushing on some milk and sugar. The baking commenced...

Success!!! We get to save this one for tomorrow nite when we'll eat it with a creme chantilly...

Next I moved on to the pear-almond tart. I started out on the wrong foot by using the wrong tart pan (Hey! I saw a bunch of tart pans, I took one! How the frak was I supposed to know it was too big?! Oh yeah, Chef Leahy specified the size... damn). I lined the bottom of the pan with another mealy bottom crust, then sliced the pears thuswise...

Nice! We peeled the pears last nite and passed them to Chef, who placed them in a big ol' pot with wonderful ingredients like wine and sugar and various spices and such and whatnot. Anyway, she poached them in there for a while, then they went in the walk-in. We pulled 'em out tonite, Sliced 'em in half, then made cuts lengthwise starting at about 3/4" from the top and cutting all the way to the bottom. We then lightly pressed on them in one direction, and the slices, still attached at the top, fanned out...

Alright, so we filled the tart crust with the frangipane we made the night before, then topped that with the pears, like so...

Then I put it in the oven and... oh, there's my other mistake. I was supposed to chill the dang thing before I baked it! Sheesh! No wonder it came out looking like this...

Sigh! The team next to me of Steven and Cheryl, though, made an excellent pear tart...

So on I went. I actually spent so much time futzing with dough that I ended up having trouble with the next item: a Quiche Lorraine. I got the crust started, which involved filling the pan and trimming it just so. Then you line the crust with plastic wrap and fill that with these beans that will help keep the crust from 'poofing up' too much during the pre-bake phase. I got that part done, and it was already 9:30. Shoot! Dang! Golly! The next step was to cool that, then remove the beans and plastic, fill it with the quiche mixture (swiss cheese and bacon), as well as the curd, then bake it.

I did start the key line tart crust, which also had to chill, but I ran out of time so it had to be trashed!!
Anyway, here's someone else's Quich Lorraine, just so we all have a good idea of what mine was SUPPOSED to look like!

So, what's on the docket for tomorrow?

  • A quiz on cookies! (reach the chapter in the book and review what we've done in class so far)
  • Pate choux (which will be for eclairs and such... mmm!)
  • Blitz puff pastry dough (which will be for Thursday, more than likely)
  • Paris brest (noooo... B-R-E-S-T! sheesh)

As a side note, I got a 93 on my written exam last week - woot!

Y'know, I talked to Chef about the whole production thing. See, theyz seen me coughin' and hackin' the last week or so, and some of 'em have even made comments about it (well, some were like 'Wow! You're such a trouper!' while others were like 'You shoulda stayed at home!'). And with Val out sick-as-a-dog (hey, she's NEVER missed a class since we started last July - NEVER!), Chef knew I was doing the best I could under the circumstances.

She doesn't ask us to bring up our production for review like we do in our culinary classes, so I was wondering how I was being graded. She tells me, "Hey, I look around the room and see who's working hard and who's slacking off. I won't bother checking your production, you're doing just fine in here."


A'ight, I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I wanna watch Lost... Peace out, and Namaste.

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