Thursday, May 20, 2010

Honor's Week, Sorbet, and Frostings!

Okay, so Honor's week wasn't so bad. I learned a ton and it was nice to be able to do desserts in mass quantities and learn how to make everything uniform and look great on serving platters.

The day before the event we had our regular lab. At the beginning of class, Chef had a tray of really tiny cupcakes. Well, the problem was, they weren't supposed to be tiny! So, she had done research and decided that we were going to make cake pops out of them. I was super excited! Of course she turned to one of the girls in the class that she knows has done stuff like that and wanted her to do them. I, of course, wanted to be sure to get in on the fun so I raised my hand to let Chef know that I had dabble in the cake pop/cake ball area myself. And trust me, having done them before definitely helped. Both the other girl and I had figured out the same things having made them at home so making them in class was a lot easier. (For example, the website we both love where we got the idea to make them from,, mentions to use a can of frosting. We both had issues with them being too squishy and not setting up correctly so we added frosting little by little which helped a ton. BTW Bakerella is awesome. I love her!! If you haven't visited her website, it is a must. She is amazingly creative and definitely an inspiration when it comes to baking!!) We had another girl help us out and I think the 3 of us did an amazing job! Here is the pic:

The next day I was to report to the bakery at 1pm. I had art class in the morning so I grabbed lunch and went to my car to eat and read until time to report. I don't even know if I should get started on that! haha I got to my car and this is what I see (FYI...I am the tiny Mazda on the right):

I was a bit furious to say the least. The funny thing is, behind me while I take the picture is the campus security building. When I got to my car they were sitting outside as I stopped, looked, turned to them and said "How the hell am I going to get in my car?" They totally laughed. They were really cool giving me ideas. Luckily the idiot was parked at that angle which enabled me to put my stuff in the passenger side and being thin, I was able to squish into the driver's side by going around the front of my car. Don't think I wasn't careless with my door while getting in. ;-) The campus security even called over the head of security to okay them giving the idiot a ticket. It was a definite go. Poor bastard probably has no idea why they got the ticket. Too bad I wasn't in my car when they came back to theirs!

Anyway, I got to the bakery only to find out that they were finished. Completely done until right before the event. Chef checked me off and said I was fine and that if I wanted to come back at 4 to help with the event and it was convenient, that I could. Well, living not so close I chose not to knowing that there were a lot of people coming back. It probably would have been a waste for me to be there. So, I was a bit bummed I missed the hustle and bustle of the event day, but in a way I lucked out getting points for doing nothing. But she did say that the cake pops were a hit and that they will probably have to make them again next year in a higher quantity. :-)

This week's lab was chill. No pun intended. We made ice cream and sorbet! Since I can't eat ice cream I wanted to do sorbet. My friend who I have all my classes with and I paired up and made lime sorbet. YUM! I actually was able to get it home too. We did work a bit on plate presentation but we ended up getting a bit rushed and didn't have time to really do anything fancy. So, even though I took a picture I am not putting it up because trust me, it is not worth it! I really enjoyed making the sorbet and now I really want one of those little ice cream makers. Not only are they super cute but it makes ice cream and sorbet a breeze to make! I remember when I was a kid and we had to get rock salt and stuff to make ice cream and it would take all fricken day to churn. This took about 20 minutes!! Awesome to say the least.

This week was also very exciting for me. On Monday I got a call for a job that I had applied for just last week. There is a fairly new gourmet cupcake place a few miles from me that was looking for a baker/decorator. (They do cupcakes, cookies and are getting ready to branch out into chocolates). Out of the places I applied, it was one of the two I was hoping to hear from. I was super excited when the owner called and did a phone interview with me and then asked me to come in and meet with him and the bakery manager. I went in yesterday to interview and not only did I love the bakery but they both seemed really nice and I got a really good vibe. I thought the interview went very well. Well, today, I got the call and they offered me the job!! I am so excited. I cannot wait. After the corporate world took a poop on me, I am finally going to be getting paid for something that I truly enjoy doing. The work will be hard with some rough hours (some shifts start at 5:30am, but such is the life of a baker) but I am so excited to get on to yet another chapter in this life of mine. I still have some schooling to finish up but I am moving up! Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

So much to catch up on!

Okay, so looking back I realized it has been a while since I posted. I honestly thought I was kind of caught up through at least the week before last. Oh well!

So, the week after the Baklava and Almond Macaroons we made tarts. We had made sugar dough the week before so it was ready for us to use right away the next week. (It was frozen for a week of course). I was the only one that wanted to make Strawberry mini tarts so I ended up working by myself which was fine with me. I hadn't really worked by myself before. So, I rolled out the dough, cut the rounds and put them in the mini tart tins. Easy enough. The idea was to make 10 individual tarts that we chose (technically assigned) and then 5 fruit tarts which are tarts with pastry cream and topped with fruit and apricot glaze.

My strawberry tarts turned out really cute. I was very proud. The only problem I had was that even though I measured everything properly, the base of the strawberry mixture didn't really set up as much as it should have. It was heated to the right consistency (Chef even came over and helped out with that since it was my first time heating up a puree to thicken it) but after being mixed with the strawberry chunks and placed in the tarts, even with refrigeration they didn't set the way they should have. We decided (Chef and I) that the recipe definitely needed a bit more cornstarch for thickening. At any rate, they turned out super yummy and everyone that tasted them raved. So, I might just have to make more over the summer when my Dad has his summer BBQ's. :-) Here is a picture of them topped with banana whipped cream and a white chocolate disc.

Then there were the regular tarts which I actually think I did a good job with. I was happy with them. And they also were super yummy. Picture:

Okay, so the following week we started Honor's Night prep. Honor's night at the school is a reception and ceremony for those being honored with scholarships. The culinary department does all the food and baked goods/pastries for the event. I cannot even explain to you how much stuff we are making! Last week I worked on my own making eclair shells. So, I made choux for the eclairs and piped them out. The idea with Honor's prep is we treat it like a professional catered event so we really have to do things perfectly (or almost). So, it was essential that I piped the shells as identical as possible. I didn't do too bad at that. I baked them off and then the rest of lab was me helping those prepping the mini tarts.

This week was another Honor's Night prep. I made white chocolate mousse to help fill roulades with and then rolled them and put them in the freezer. It was quite a stressful day in the bakery and things were quite insane to say the least. Yelling from Chef, personal drama brought in to the end of class Chef told us to go home and forget about the day but that we were still her A Team. lol It was definitely one of those days.

On the bright side, I finished my marzipan project for Honor's Night. The theme is "Mastering Your Dreams" with the idea of art masterpieces. I ended up chosing Profile of Time by Salvador Dali. It turned out pretty good. It is due Tuesday and will be displayed with the others on the dessert tables during the reception. Here it is! I am pretty proud.

So, next week is Honor's week. We will be finishing up prep and Wednesday I have signed up (we have to put in extra hours) for the few hours leading up to the reception so I will get experience plating and doing catering set up. I am happy about that! After next week we have one week making ice cream and sorbet and then it is finals week! I cannot believe the semester is almost over. I am actually kind of sad about it. Then it will be off to find a bakery job. Next semester will be Baking 3 which is cake decorating, chocolate work, sugar pulling, etc. I can't wait!!