Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pastries has my mind spinning

I thought I would always characterize myself as a hot foods chef. I like to eat pastries, sure, but I generally don't crave them. 

This class has me reconsidering. There's something about the combination of mathematical formulas and the delicate artistry of it that excites me.  It soothes my OCD. 

A quickly taken, blurry shot of the captain, Chef Joseph Decker, and his station. Check out his website at

Panorama of the freezer which is so cold it only takes 10 seconds for your nostrils to freeze from the inside out! According to Chef, the freezer is a baker's best friend. Second is very hot water for cleaning fat off of cooking utensils and surfaces.

Friuit strips, baked pear frangipane and fresh fruit, both with a base of classic puff pastry 

Jake's tart tatin. Rocked it. Straight up.

Unfilled pate a choux. Eclairs, profiteroles, and the Paris Brest.

Key lime tart with Chantilly, a close second to the previous post's macaron topped tarts.

Jaconde sponge: for the edge of our Bavarian cream tart. The red lines are made of a thick batter called stencil paste, and frozen before jaconde batter is poured and spread on top. Will post final product tomorrow. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pastries: week 2

Today In Pastries class with master pastry Chef Joseph Decker, we gilded the Lily, quite literally.
Our master chef is always searching on the World Wide Web for inspiration.  He recently found a muse on the History of Sugar Facebook page. 

Instead of one one dessert--why not combine two? And this creation followed a dynamic lecture about the importance of being able to prepare nutritional desserts. We soon diverted from the discussion of dietetic specialties to create a whopper.

We began by creating a base:
Yellow short dough crust (in this case we used a gluten free dough), brushed with a Meyer lemon marmalade (not visible), lemon curd and a citrus vanilla glaze.

Chef Decker's  demonstration of piping macaron:

Beautiful-with feet and all!

Filled with passion fruit ganache 

Finally we towered Macarons on top of the tart resting on a pyramid of chantilly cream, decorated with gold leaf. Gilded. 

Friday, November 07, 2014

Pastries: week 1. Caramel & apple pie

If ever you make an apple pie and it's, well, not the prettiest pie on the block, try this trick. 

Make a caramel sauce. Start with wet caramel method. When light brown, add butter, cream, & chocolate. Let cool briefly. Add whole mixed nuts and while still pourable, flip pie over on a platter and pour on this luscious sauce.  Cool before serving.