So begins our week of pastries, cakes and cookies.
Monday morning we hit the ground running. We rush in first thing in the morning with "Pate a Choux" for making profiteroles and eclairs, then carry on into "Crème Patissiere" and "Crème Anglaise", (we make them one after the other so we can see the difference in method and product). All the while we are turning our "Blitz Pate" (a kind of quick puff pastry), and managed to get a "Crème Brulee" into the oven as well.
(My friend Roz warned me that my French was about to get better, was she ever right!)
Crème Brulee and Blitz Pate are not pictured today, as we'll finish them off tomorrow.
Class cooling racks
As we made most of these individually, I've discovered that I'm pretty good with a pastry bag. I have never officially used a real one before, always opting to make little disposable ones with wax paper and masking tape. (It made sense at the time as when I do christmas cookies I like 4 or 5 colours of royal icing to work with!)
My petit choux, (little cabbages).
But my arms are dead. All the stirring and whisking and rolling and turning has them feeling pretty spaghetti-like. I can't help but think on a regular basis, "In a real kitchen situation, you'd use a mixer for this". Come on! Does anyone hand-beat their own meringue anymore? I think not! Not since the mix-master was invented.
But we do it because we have to. I have learned that the best way is to endure the cramps and just go for it. I've also learned to use my wrist instead of my whole arm, and that a side to side motion not only mixes better than a round and round motion, it's easier on my cramping muscles.
My finished product...
Three profiteroles filled with crème patissiere and topped with chocolate ganache,
sitting in a pool of crème anglaise!
Here's the kicker - I didn't love these. They were very sweet, and the pastry was pretty tasteless, (we made the plain variety as we may be using them in the future for canapes), and the cream inside was, well, not very exciting. Many of my classmates felt the same.
PS: Food safe was Ok! A great teacher made it bearable and made us think about some of the bad habits we had already formed in the school. Passed with a score in the high 90's.
Got our first quiz back today, (I was a little worried as a few questions I should have been clear on were a little less than clear at the time of writing). I got 90% , the class average was 81% so I'm sleeping easier tonight!
My gosh! Who goes back to school at 40?? I must be insane.