Sammy the Seal

Honey dough wine press

In delicious on Tuesday, 18 March, 2014 at 21:40

honey dough wine press 1

Speaking of belated pieces, this was a showpiece at a fundraising event here on campus in January. Honey dough is just a type of gingerbread, but it sounds a little nicer, and less familiar, than gingerbread.  I did everything but the bread, which the bread quarter students did, of course.

honey dough wine press 2

honey dough wine press 3

I wish I had gotten photos against a more picturesque backdrop than the lab, but it got moved around a lot. After I finished constructing the piece, it was spray-painted (unpainted piece is at the end), then filled with bread products, neither of which I was there for. This was the only time I saw it after I built it and before it got carted off to be displayed at the fancy dinner.

honey dough wine press 4

This high-angle photo is the best I could get, as far as photogenic quality. Slightly better than the hard edges and fluorescent lighting of the lab. Plus the leaves, which were made out of I-don’t-know-what by not-me look cute.

I didn’t know they were going to paint it, I thought it looked nice and rustic as it was. Though probably too plain for a ritzy banquet.

honey dough wine press 5

Floral-themed pulled sugar showpiece

In delicious on Tuesday, 18 March, 2014 at 21:25

pulled sugar showpiece 1

A small one, anyway. This is almost three weeks old. I took a continuing education sugar class taught by one of my chefs, for kicks, to expand my horizons, etc. Fun, but also painstaking. I thought it would be rough on my baby-smooth hands (this is hot sugar– isomalt to be precise– after all), as the one or two times I’d handled it previously in the lab in previous quarters, it was ouch. Most of the pain came from the friction of manipulating, or “kneading” big hunks of sugar. The heat didn’t bother me much.

pulled sugar showpiece 2

We didn’t pour our own bases, but the rest we each did it all. Pulled rose, crocus, dogwood, branches, and leaves. The stones are pastillage, which we didn’t make, but we did shape, paint, and glaze them.

pulled sugar showpiece 3

Good thing it all looks nice together, as the individual detail (read: petals) were unpolished. I got the hang of it, only after lots of practice and asking for advice after the fact. It was all so simple. So much wasted time. Oh well.

These last photos are pretty much the same as the others, though at inferior angles, but what the hell, it looks pretty.

pulled sugar showpiece 4

pulled sugar showpiece 5

pulled sugar showpiece 6

Banana cream hazelnut torte

In delicious on Monday, 3 February, 2014 at 19:58

banana cream hazelnut torte 1

More catching up with last week’s production. Two layers of hazelnut sponge, with a rope of crème chantilly around the circumference of the bottom layer, thin banana slices overlapping in circles inside the rope, then the second cake layer on top, dredged with powdered sugar, then twelve cream rosettes with a banana chip in each one. If you don’t like bananas, don’t touch this one, that’s what I say. (Bonus points award to those who get the terribly obscure Izzard reference, found at 19:00–  ”F— off!” “I heard that!”) A lot less extravagant than a mousse cake, but, as I was told, we’re going for a rustic look. And this fits the bill, in its unassuming appearance and simplicity of design. I didn’t get to try this one, I’m sure it was delicious, not to mention a lighter eat.

banana cream hazelnut torte 2

The cake layers are made with hazelnuts roasted and carefully ground in a food processor (RoboCoupe!) by pulsing. Why pulse? Because if you don’t, and don’t continually sift out the powdered bits, you get a paste, which later clumps with the flour, and thus an ugly, unusable cake. Trust me. I should’ve snapped a photo, rats. Like night and day.

Not shown: a cake that was sliced too high (not by me!), and, being a cake that typically sinks in the middle upon cooling, one of the layers had a hole. Consequently, I took the remaining bottom and sliced that one in two, 1/4″ or so each layer. Pretty good for a sponge, and this one is even more tender than your typical sponge and was room temp, rather than easier-to-slice cold. But hey, I got a thumbs-up from the people watching through the window. I felt them staring, but it appeared to be a compliment of my utilization, and knifing, even. That cake was not as tall, and not as pretty, but at least I got the max of three cakes out of it. So, another look at one of the others:

banana cream hazelnut torte 3

And a fatty:

furry fatty 1

furry fatty 2

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