Monday, September 23, 2013

My Creation Lives

I have officially finished my first lab. The practical exam: Create a concept for a themed dessert buffet, including ten different desserts, and actually build one dessert of your choice. My theme: Disney princesses. My choice: Belle.

Belle is a hazelnut-milk-chocolate base, a thin layer of vanilla cake topped with raspberry cremeaux, two dark chocolate layers with rose-flavored Chantilly cream between them, and a rose-petal-and-fresh-raspberry garnish. It went over well and tasted pretty much like I'd hoped. Got them done right under the wire to get them onto the open tasting buffet...

Not the greatest lighting, sadly, but there you have it: Our desserts on display as we squint into the blinding sun to pose with our stuff. Took a few closeups as well... sadly I'm not certain what everything is.

The chocolate cherry thing on that last plate was really tasty, though.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


The continuing story of Advanced Petits Gateaux - products of two days:


Red: New ideas for the cherry thing - sprayed glaze instead of mirror glaze, and trying it as a log.
Caramel: Apple thing again. Ruffly all-tan-and-white ones are ones I helped do.
Purple/yellow: Blackberry lemon again; this time some are from my table (specifically the ones I took closeup shots of).
Brown swirly ovals: Same coffee thing as last post, but with added lemon flavor and white garnish instead of dark.
White: Almond Jow with mango.
In the glass: Citrus flavor.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Back to the Kitchen, Part II: The Pastry Student Strikes Back

It's been a while.

After graduating from Johnson & Wales Denver with an associate's degree in delicious cake, I return to New England to continue my adventures, and begin the final stretch of my bachelor's degree at the main campus in Providence.

Last year I finished all my academic courses. This year will be all baking, all the time.

 Pictured above: The Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence, where my classes are held.

We begin with Advanced Petits Gateaux:

Trust me, I would love to be able to align those two to a row, but Blogspot's user interface is leaving me scratching my head, so screw it. I'm presently typing this in HTML mode because the wysiwyg version of the UI isn't even registering my keystrokes.

Anyway, those are the products of three days' work by the whole class; the ones I specifically worked on are the red cherry domes (made jam centers and chocolate garnishes), the espresso hazelnut entremets (central mousse insert, applied garnishes), and the green tropical boats (lime Bavarian cream, made and placed sugar loop garnishes, glazed with coconut cream).

Other people's work:

-Blackberry lemon things pictured in both bar and dome form; they're considering swapping out the white chocolate garnish for dark, which ought to help balance the over-strong lemon flavor a little more.
-Strawberry yogurt cake. Too sweet because of the extra meringue garnishes but otherwise very nice.
-Caramel apple dome. These things were goddamn delicious. They also made a mini version in a glass (verrine) which was equally delicious.
-Milk chocolate passionfruit thing. Needs more passionfruit.
-Cherry and tropical verrines made with leftover stuff. Both of these were awesome.

Final project for this class is to design a themed dessert buffet and make one of the desserts for real. I've chosen Disney princesses for my theme and to represent Belle, I will be making a layered bar-type thing with rose Bavarian, raspberry cremeaux, and gold-dusted chocolate.

Pastry student out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hey Kevin, how come your mom lets you have TWO birthday cakes?

BF/protofiancee's birthday today (he's 24), so I made these for him. The one with writing is for him to take to work and show me off, the other one is for us.Chocolate cakes, with chocolate mousse and raspberry jam filling, and ganache glaze.

The cake recipe is the Midnight Chocolate Cake from this book. Turned out well, and not hard! The mousse and ganache are according to Johnson&Wales instruction.

Actually made without a cake turntable, believe it or not. Would have preferred to have one, but oh well...


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Homemade Chinese Food: Worth It

A couple nights ago, I made scallion pancakes and pork dumplings in appreciation of the new computer I have, courtesy of BF, because there is nothing better than fried appetizers as the main course. Two and a half hours to make all this, but worth doing once in a while.

The Chinese restaurant my family regularly bought from when we wanted Chinese food had pork dumplings with the most wonderful, substantial dough wrappings, that I have never found anywhere else - most places use thin wonton wrappers, and I've finally nailed down the way to replicate that kind of thick, chewy outside. The recipe linked above is what I use for the dough, but while it claims to make 60 dumplings from one batch of dough, I make 24-30, and change the filling recipe to compensate: same proportions of meat, soy sauce, rice wine (or rice vinegar, because I had no wine), garlic, ginger, scallion, sesame oil, salt, and pepper, and one cup of whatever else you put in (recipe suggests bamboo shoots and napa cabbage; I used carrots because they were on hand.

Order of operations: Dumpling dough first, scallion pancake dough second, then dumpling filling and chopping scallions while doughs are resting. Shape pancakes, then shape dumplings. Fry pancakes while dumplings are boiling, then fry dumplings while pancakes are draining off the excess oil.

That dipping sauce recipe on the scallion pancakes page works equally well for pork dumplings, too, and must be remembered.

If I were having company over, I would make these to go along with a stir fry - shape, boil, and store ahead of time, then fry just before it's time to eat.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chicken picatta

So yeah, it's not really my field, but I'm okay with the culinary side in addition to sweets... and I wanted to try some new meals that BF and I would both like now that I've moved into his apartment, so I figured I'd start off with this one.


I didn't have an ovenproof skillet, but transferring the chicken to a greased nonstick baking dish worked just as well. The green beans are sauteed in olive oil and worked great as an accompaniment, and went very well with the sauce.

Cons: Lemon flavor was a little strong. Next time I will use half as much lemon juice. Pros: Overall, so good I can hardly believe I made it myself, not even very hard, and not a pain to clean up after seeing as it only requires two pans to wash by hand with everything else in the dishwasher.

Seriously, make this. It's so good.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Aaaaaaand cakes!

As promised, the cake table at the "Greatest Day Of Fun..."

First, several sheet cakes representing various campus activities and the school itself. WIGIS stands for "Wildcat Interest Groups for Incoming Students," and yes, the school mascot really does have a lazy eye:


All of these flanked the massive, multi-tier affair that my cookie cake toppers adorned. I was largely uninvolved with the creation of these cakes except for the SGA cake (that's my writing) and the main attraction (put red fondant on top tier, and helped three other people apply dots). The mustached chef in back is Emmerich Zach, the man who organized it all and who taught me to make these kinds of cakes and cookies - the Greek, DECA, and Nutrition Society cakes are his work.

 The rest of the cookies got put on trays at either end of the table. Turns out I wasn't even the only one doing the loose ones... so many cookies!

Hungry now. Time to partake of the feast.