Monday, April 19, 2010

Baklava and Macaroons

Last week's baking lab was a lot of fun. I had a wonderful partner and we got to make some awesome stuff! We made pistachio baklava and almond macaroons. I had never made either. I was so excited to make both, but especially the macaroons. I keep seeing these darn macaroons on baking blogs everywhere! I HAD to learn how to make them!

When we told Chef that we chose the macaroons she looked less than pleased. It was sort of funny. She paired us up in teams and she paired me up with another person in class that is really good. When she gave us a funny look and looked away, he turned to me and said under his breath "Shes thinking 'what a waste of talent'." LOL We laughed over that one because it was so obvious that was what she was thinking but we didn't care. I was determined to make those damn macaroons!!

Well, they turned out to not be as easy as I think she thought they would be. If you over mix the meringue mixture, they can get too tough. Ours were pushing that direction but not at the fault of our own. Chef came in and told two of the teams doing the macaroons to slowly put in the almond flour mixture. Well, with that process, you over mix the meringue. But, on the other end, the other teams followed the recipe directions and theirs weren't mixed enough. So, lesson learned: somewhere in between! I can't wait to try these again at home. Ours looked amazing and despite the slight chewy toughness, they tasted amazing! Here is a quick snapshot I took with my cell in the bakery. They are sandwiched with buttercream (vanilla, chocolate, and mocha).

Next came the baklava and working with phyllo dough. It was tough to work with at first, but once we got the hang of it, it got easier. I thought we did a great job and Chef said they turned out perfect. YAY us! Baklava isn't too difficult to make either. The hardest part is working with the phyllo. You make the nut mixture, make a syrup for dipping later, and then start working with the dough. You take one sheet at a time, laying it out and brushing it with butter layering with another on top repeating the process until you have a stack of 4 sheets. Then you sprinkle the nut mixture inside and roll tightly. Score the roll in 2 inch increments for easier cutting after baking and bake. Once they are baked, you cut them and dip them in the syrup. YUM! Here is a picture of the pistachio baklava:

We also made sugar dough for tomorrow's lab. We are making tarts. Then we start the long process of Honor's Night! 3 weeks of preparation for the one hour of desserts at the school's Honor's Night. At least we will be finishing desserts and plating so that will be fun! A lot of hard work, but fun. I also need to work on my marzipan figure project. I have chosen a Salvador Dali time statue so we will see what happens!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Midterm and Springbreak

Okay, so I realized two things: first that I haven't posted for about 2 weeks and second, that I never updated about the cake balls I made! So first thing is first: Cake Balls!

So, they were messy but yummy. They were a hit with everyone that tasted them. I made them for a friend of mine's colorguard and for my drum corp's alumni meeting. All of them said they liked them. So, unless they were lying, they were good. haha They are pretty easy to make. Bake a cake. Crumble into a bowl. Mix with cream cheese frosting. Form into balls and place on cookie sheet. Refridgerate or freeze. Dip cold cake balls in chocolate. Let harden. I made them green for St. Patty's Day. This is what they looked like:

Okay, as for the midterm....not too exciting. I did get only -7 points on my lab test. We had to make bouche', chocolate mousse, buttercream, pipe with buttercream, and write with chocolate. So, not too shabby on the grade. I did pretty darn good and she said my buttercream and mousse were both perfect. NICE!

So, I have been pretty lazy for spring break but I do plan on making a dessert for Easter. I saw the recipe in a Jaques Torres book I got at the library. I am modifying it a little to use a bit of what we have done in class but it should be yummy!