Sammy the Seal

Posts Tagged ‘pastry’

THE final exam

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Wednesday, 7 May, 2014 at 21:47

exam gateau 1

I forgot about this, my capstone exam over four weeks ago. B+ on the practical,written bumped it up to an A- though. I was hoping for a B- on the practical, so a mildly nice surprise. Cardamom genoise, filled with lemon curd and lemon-zested italian meringue buttercream. The filigree was slightly out of temper, at least my curls were good. The ganache for the rosettes (not the pour) was slightly broken, damn it.

exam desserts 1

Ginger bavarian with lemon gêlée, ginger was weak though, boo hoo. There was supposed to be a raspberry underneath the gêlée but due to a misunderstanding, my chef didn’t have them that day. So I thought I’d use them as a garnish, but he forgot them the second day. Not blaming, just explaining why it looks so plain. The red was supposed to make it pop a little. It doesn’t look as bad as I thought, for something with color. The crème brulée had a soupçon of both ginger and cardamom. Unfortunately I had to rush to get everything done on time, so that last couple weren’t burned so well. Oh, and the lemon zest kitty tuile. Which fell over. Nice job distributing the caramel sauce, eh?

exam desserts 2

That’s better, slightly. Hide it….

exam croissants

And croissants. No cross-section, I forgot to get one. Not so thrilling to look at. Yes, that’s how they look. They were arranged more nicely, but I didn’t get to photograph before they were disassembled (for grading).

The model for the tuiles:

tuile model 1

If she were really the model, the tuiles would been fatter. But then they would’ve dwarfed the dessert. The inspiration, anyway.

tuile model 3

One last time:

exam gateau 2

Fun time, school, but exhausting. At least now I’m getting paid, rather than paying, to wake up early.

Pineapple cheesecake + almond meringue sandwiches

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Sunday, 31 March, 2013 at 23:33

pineapple cheesecake 1

With ladyfinger border, obviously. Oops, didn’t get any photos of it sliced. Would’ve been messy anyhow. Sponge on the bottom, then pineapple, then cheese filling, then the rest of the pineapple. It was a fluffy cheesecake, not a smooth one with clean slices. I’d think that’s because of the soft peak meringue that was folded in to the mixture. (Edit: after speaking with a classmate this morning, it’s also quite likely I creamed too much air into the cheese mixture, which is why it wasn’t so smooth; it wasn’t so loose, it supported everything, but it sounds like you mix just until blended, and I remember definitely paddling it longer than that.) A little sweet, it could probably have done with only about 60% of the sugar. The ladyfingers had to be re-done, because I left them in maybe a minute too long. They were done when I checked on them the first time. Darn. But I wasn’t about to have a dark, shriveled, ugly border on the cake.

pineapple cheesecake 2

pineapple cheesecake 3

That would be an interesting appendage to have. You can snack on it, or you smash it into people, à la pie-in-the-face, at any moment, and then regenerate it.

pineapple cheesecake 4

Everything looks so different at night, like a different identity. It looks more serious.

pineapple cheesecake 5

I had extra whites from making buttercream, and extra buttercream from the cake, so for utilization’s sake, I made some almond meringue discs to hold the chocolate french buttercream. That, and I wanted to use my new mixer again, and to make one last thing before spring break ends and I have little time to tool around in the kitchen.
What’s with the dang shadows?almond meringue sandwiches 1

A bit better.

almond meringue sandwiches 2

And with that, I believe I feel a yawn coming.

yawn coming

Yes, it’s time to go.

yawn is here

The Week In Pastry: Napoleon, Poured Mousses, Strawberry Charlotte

In delicious on Saturday, 9 March, 2013 at 10:20

This week was mousses and bavarians, though included is a napoleon from when I was working with puff pastry that I finished Monday.

Unlike the one I did the week before, this napoleon I created start to finish– mixing, baking, assembly/finishing– with the exception of sheeting the dough (which I could’ve done, except the chef asked someone to do it for me). Also, I didn’t make the fondant, but we make large batches at a time for everyone in the program to use, so few people actually make it. I made it once last quarter, so that counts. (I think the lens of the camera wasn’t clean, hence that gray spot on the right.)

napoleon full 1

Fondant wasn’t thick, so the chocolate lines melted into the white, unlike last time when it was too thick, which also made for sketchy feathering. Much smoother feathering this time around. I don’t usually like glares in photos, but shiny fondant means it was re-worked properly and not overheated (which results in an unappealing matte finish). So shiny is good here.

napoleon full 2

The molded mousses we make in batches and freeze, as well as the cookie bottoms, so the only thing I did myself was make the cocoa glaçage to pour them in, pour them, and finish with chocolate buttercream and filigree and such, all of which are par items and pre-made in bulk. For these Sarah Bernhardts, I did make the chocolate whipped cream inside:

sarah bernhardts

Chocolate mousse towers, of which all I did was finish, i.e. pour and then add a choco buttercream rosette and filigree. Shoulda gotten closer, oops:

choco mousse towers

White chocolate mousse pyramids, as finished by me, which should be obvious by the wonky white chocolate lines. If it isn’t obvious enough, the lines should be a lot finer; I cut the opening to the piping bag way too big. Also, it’s possible I should’ve melted the chocolate more thoroughly to be thinner. I also should’ve moved the pyramids as soon as I piped the lines on, before the lines dried. They had hardened when it was time to move them from the grate they were poured on, onto the liner, which is why there are broken lines on the center pyramid. Not too proud of those, finishing is kinda essential here, but oh well. Next time.

white choco pyramids

And finally, two strawberry charlottes with raspberry lemon gelée. I made most of it, though a couple of things were leftovers from other production, like whipped cream, lemon gelée, and the two thin layers of chiffon cake inside.

strawberry charlotte 1

A little messy with the gelée, which was influenced no doubt by the lack of uniformity of the ladyfingers. Piping those always gives me trouble, very messy. But I think all the other elements distract enough. I hope.

strawberry charlotte 2

Raspberry bavarian charlotte (not mine)

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Sunday, 3 February, 2013 at 22:08

raspberry charlotte 1

This was made by a classmate, for production. I really don’t need more dessert, but I ended up buying this because, 1) it looked wonderful, and 2) it was marked down on Friday to get rid of it for the weekend. There was one other one, that didn’t have the gelee run out a little, but one of the chocolate strips fell over and raked across the whipped cream rosette. So I went with the unblemished finish. Just gorgeous. Delicious too, even though I really need to stop my stomach from sticking out even more.

The plastic ring was removed, and unfortunately some of the ladyfingers stuck to it, so it’s not as perfect as before.

raspberry charlotte 2

raspberry charlotte 3

raspberry charlotte sliced

Why stop at pretty dessert? How about some pretty cat:

The seldom-seen box cat.

The mythical box-cat.

morning lounge stare

morning lounge

Cinnamon rolls

In delicious, vinyl on Wednesday, 18 July, 2012 at 14:51

cinnamon rolls plated


Song: Simply Havin’
Artist: De La Soul
Album: Art Official Intelligence: Bionix

I just thought a fragment party song would play well, rather than cinnamon rolls on their own. Something to listen to while looking. Anyway, these came out better than the strawberry rolls last week, as I had more time but was still with company. I think I need to bake on my own time, for the most part. On the whole, I could’ve let the batter and dough rise a little more. A little messy, but that’s likely because I accidentally put in two sticks of butter for the spread/filling instead of one. For the first time ever, I mistook the amount of butter in one stick, 1/4 cup instead of 1/2. There was a lot of fluid on the bottom at the end, I’m thinking it was close to 1/2 cup. Also, unless the recipe I based this on was an aberration (or in error, as I’ve already found a few errors in the cookbook so far), the only cinnamon in cinnamon rolls is in the dough only. But, I put some in the filling anyway, and sprinkled some on top. Also, I’m thinking maybe the temperature doesn’t need to be so high, it was at 400º. I didn’t compare recipes to get a general idea and to come up with a normalized formula. Tsk. Always a good idea to research and compare. But the were still good. And, since a lot of the butter melted and took some of the sugar with it to the bottom of the pan, at least the rolls weren’t too sweet.

Sigh, two round, still working on it. I need to make a complete success. It might be time for another honey, Greek yogurt, cream cheese tart covered in fruit soon.

cinnamon rolls panned

Ugly strawberry rolls, cute girl

In delicious, experience, vinyl on Friday, 13 July, 2012 at 12:26

ugly strawberry rolls


Song: Dull Life
Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Album: It’s Blitz!

Usually iPod-quality sound is decent, but hearing this through a computer, I had no idea the bass tones (guitar and percussion) were so full and thick, just through headphones. I really like the ones at the beginning, like that beefy bounce at 0:42. The sound is not terribly original– it’s pretty much “modern rock”– but it’s very spirited and rousing. It’s great for dancing and/or getting amped.

Now, as far as the food, I wanted to make cinnamon rolls, but with strawberry filling instead. They tasted fine, but the appearance, well… As long as it’s edible, it’s functional. The consistency of the filling and rolling technique are main things to work on next time, that’s for sure. I wanted to impress people, but I didn’t want to waste lots of time on it though. I was seeing family I hadn’t seen in 3-4 years, and I had about 12 hours, and wasn’t about to allot time to obsess, analyze, or fix. (Also, I may have found another typo in my cookbook. These were done after just under 20 minutes, book said it would take around 40. Sigh… Hopefully, school ought to straighten this out.)

My excuse was that I was too busy interacting, but this was the only photo I got. I hope to get more from my sister when she has the time. It felt nice to be so popular for one day, before returning to inverse, mundane reality. This niece was hanging on to me much of the day, which is how she got the glasses. Earlier that morning, I was talking with four of the kids about missing and pulled teeth, which three of them had. This one didn’t have any, I guess she felt left out, but I told her to be happy her teeth are in good shape still. I think I’m in the minority in saying this is better than a missing tooth/teeth smile, which would be cute, but not as nice. Pretty almost always beats cute, anyway.

cool corynn 1

cool corynn 2

I think it would’ve been sweet without the sunglasses, she looks a little too cool. But she asked for them, and when asked if I could see her eyes in the photo, and I replied that they were hidden pretty well, she was satisfied at people not being able to see them. You have to respect your subject, especially when she’s awesome. However, she lost some of her desired mystique about an hour later at dinner when cleaning up a few drops of chocolate milk spill on the table… with her shirt. (Napkin, ehhh.) But, she gained a buttload of charm. That’s the preferable one to have, anyway.

Rhubarb and strawberry toaster pastries

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Sunday, 1 July, 2012 at 21:47

toaster pastry strawberry and rhubarb 1

Now turn to the right and re-arrange yourselves

toaster pastry strawberry and rhubarb 2

Better than commercial, with the likely-10%-fruit/90%-sugar filling. Making them is easy as pie. That’s all they are: pie dough with cooked fruit inside. Seven ingredients on the whole, compared to double or triple the number in processed. Butter is the only undesirable part, but as they say, it’s not so much the fat content as the excess of saccharides that are harmful. Even then, I scale back on the sugar. Fruit has sugar, so I don’t add much when cooking. It can speak for itself. If the fruit is legitimately sour, the ratio of sugar to fruit will approach 1, but not over. The dough recipe is the same I use for all my pies. I’ll list them here, but leave the technique there. (I just noticed that the post I link to doesn’t actually contain a recipe, it links to one. Dummy. I’ll type up a separate page for that soon.)

3 c flour (this one used 2 c whole wheat pastry and 1 c unbleached all-purpose)
~2 t sugar
~ 1 t salt
1.5 c butter (2.5 sticks), sliced and chilled
1 c ice water + 1 t vinegar (not all will be used, about half, if that)

2 c strawberry, hulled and chopped
≤ 1/4 c sugar
1 T cornstarch

Filling is always made beforehand (at least a day for me), so it has time to cool. It’s the same as with any cooked fruit: toss the fruit, cornstarch, and sugar in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water, stir to combine, bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to just under medium, and stir for 10-15 minutes. When done, it needs to be completely cool so it won’t melt the butter in the dough. Since I used the left over rhubarb filling from the danishes, I have some strawberry filling to use now. But, it’s always better to make more filling. I like cramming filling in to pastries if it can handle it, because I don’t like piddling, cheapskate amounts. Also, extra filling can be used for anything, whether eating plain, spreading on bread, filling other pastries, adding to yogurt or ice cream, making a blended beverage, etc.

The dough was rolled into a large rectangle and cut into rectangles 3.5″ x 4.5″. The scraps were gathered, combined, and rolled to cut again. All in all, I got 18 rectangles, good for nine pastries. Every single scrap was used. I put half the rectangles on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and brushed them with egg wash. Then I put about a tablespoon of fruit filling on the center of each, leaving about 1/2″ border on all sides, before covering with another rectangle, pressing then crimping the edges together to seal. When all were done, I put the baking sheets in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to chill, after which I brushed each top with egg wash, poked holes for steam, and sprinkled demerara sugar on some of them, then baked 20-22 minutes at 375º.

toaster pastry strawberry and rhubarb 4

I always like to include an intermediate, less presentational shot. I feel it signifies honesty and realism.

toaster pastry strawberry and rhubarb 3

Since it was two batches, it took about 45 minutes, which is about the same as a normal pie, if not less. But, unlike pie, you can start eating halfway in. If these last more than two days, I’ll be a bit shocked, at the very least congratulatory for not gorging myself.

On another note, someone’s quite content:

happy kitty 1

happy kitty 2

Rhubarb danish

In delicious on Thursday, 28 June, 2012 at 17:33

rhubarb danish 1

Ah, if only these hadn’t been baked at 9 at night, I might have felt more inclined to whip up some kind of glaze or icing for these. They have kind of a matte finish, which is fine, but would be prettier with a covering. However, they were still delicious. Taking a bite, I initially knew the flavor but couldn’t place it, and then, I remembered that danish pastries are made of croissant dough (which I only just learned recently). Ah geez, if I recall (I’m not at home with the recipe), the ingredients were:

3.5 c flour
1 t yeast
1 c water, barely warm
1.5 c butter, cold
1/3 cream

1 # rhubarb (two long stalks)
≤ 1/2 c sugar
≤ 1/4 c water
1 T cornstarch

The rhubarb filling I made days ahead of time, as cooked filling will last longer than fresh produce. I chopped off the very ends of each stalk (no leaves, poisonous!), then sliced each into hunks no thicker than 1/4 -1/2 “, then I put them in a saucepan with the sugar, water, and cornstarch, stirred, and heated up to simmering, before turning it down to medium heat, or just under. I stirred gently, but constantly for 10-12 minutes, or until soft. There will be some chunks intact, but some of it will break down and turn to mush. Then I left out a little to cool before refrigerating.

The dough… Yikes, I don’t remember. Here goes my memory: I combined 1 cup of flour, the water and yeast, stirred to eliminate lumps, and let rise for an hour or so (it’s a thin mixture). Then, I added the cream and the rest of the flour, stirring until it came together into a loose, shaggy mass, before kneading by hand for about ten minutes on the counter until smooth and elastic. Then I refrigerated for about 15 minutes. While that was going, I mashed the butter in between two sheets of plastic wrap with a rolling pin, until I got a roughly 8″ x 8″ square. I then refrigerated the butter while waiting for 15 minutes to finish on the dough. After taking the butter and dough out, I rolled out the dough to double the area of the butter, then placed the butter on one end of the resultant rectangle and folded it over. Then I rolled it out longer, and folded the dough into thirds (like a letter) over itself, then turned, crease on the left, into the an 8″ x 16″ rectangle, then, fold into thirds. Total, I folded it five times I think. (I started late at night, got tired, and finished the last two folds in the morning before work.) Then I floured it, wrapped it in plastic and refrigerated it for at least 12 hours. It was kind cool how even in the morning, the dough had ballooned overnight (due to the yeast).

That evening, it was time to roll out into a rectangle no more than 1/4” thick in parchment paper, before putting it all on a pan, and into the fridge or freezer for chilling, to firm up the dough a little, about 15-20 minutes, less in a freezer. When I took it out, I sliced the dough into strips about an inch wide, then twisted each end of each strip in opposite directions until the inside of the strip was no longer visible. At that point, I formed each into a loose spiral, before saving an inch or two of the tail to tuck up through the space in the middle, and pressing down to make/seal a pit for the filling. (Note: the longer the rolled rectangle, the larger the pastry, as the dough strip will wrap around itself more.) Then I crammed the filling in. (Note: the size of the pit doesn’t matter. More filling shouldn’t affect how the pastry cooks. The bottom was not at all moist, as I thought may happen, but it was crisp!) The uncooked pastries went onto ungreased, unlined baking sheets and covered in plastic wrap to proof for an hour or two. Just before baking, I glazed them with egg wash. Then, FINALLY, I baked them for about 20 minutes at 400º, or until desired brownness is reached. Pleasing taste, light texture, fruity center. Even uncooked, I was excited about them, and I felt vindicated afterwards.

The flat perspective. Not as nice, but I was so happy they turned out, I like looking at them.

rhubarb danish 2

The whole family:

rhubarb danish 3

rhubarb danish 4

What I’d do differently:

Glaze it, as I mentioned earlier. Also, I’d make the pits bigger to stuff more filling. (In fact, I have leftover icing from the cake, maybe I’ll use it in these next time.) But, if using fruit filling, it’s probably best to cook the fruit first, to remove moisture, or else line the bottom with some kind of paste or cream cheese filling if using fresh fruit. Also, it might be fun to fill it with a non-sweet filling. With pastry doughs, anything is possible!

Apple turnovers

In delicious on Friday, 3 February, 2012 at 12:05

apple turnovers 1

Puff pastry dough from scratch! Pretty simple actually, much of the 3+ hours spent making them last night was keeping the dough chilled. And even the apple filling was at least as intensive, merely because it required constant stirring. Despite the fact that it was something new, it was all in all a relatively relaxing process. Depending, of course, on how much patience and manual effort you’re capable of. Not an ordeal, quite simple:

2 c flour
2/3 c cold water
1/2 t salt
1.5 c/3 sticks butter, cold

Apple filling:
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped up good
1-2 T cornstarch
≤ 1/4 c brown sugar
≤1/4 c water

I made the filling first, as it needs to cool completely before filling the pastry. Toss all the above in a sauce pan on medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10-15 minutes, or until the apples are at the desired firmness. Set aside to cool completely, as any warmth will melt the butter in the dough. Use the fridge if you need to.

Dough time: I sliced each stick in half lengthwise, then turned 90º and sliced lengthwise again to make quarters, then cubed the quarters, and put it all in the fridge for 10 or 15. I mixed the salt and flour, then added the cold water, stirring only until there was no loose water. The resultant dough will be kinda shaggy and raggedy, which is normal. After the butter cubes were chilled, I tossed them together with the dough, pressing it all together into one mass, before rolling it out into a rectangle about 6″ wide x 18″ long. I folded the ends in towards each other so they met in the middle, then folded them one on top of the other. Then, I rolled it out into another 6″ x 18″ sheet, and repeated twice more. More folding means more layers/rise. Then I wrapped it up and stuck it in the fridge for an hour or so.

(Important note I completely forgot: if, at any time, the dough/butter ever gets too soft/warm, refrigerate/freeze for about 10-15 minutes. Sure it adds time, but cold dough/butter is essential to the entire process, for flakiness, rise, and such.)

Upon taking it out, I rolled out the dough, on parchment paper, into a rectangle 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick, then put it on a baking sheet in the freezer about ten minutes. After taking it out, then I cut out the circles or squares (I did 4″ wide or so each, wider if you want big ones) on the baking sheet, then turned the cut-outs face down. I spooned about a tablespoon (not too much or the pocket will be hard to close) of filling just off-center, then brushed egg wash (just a beaten egg + a little salt) on the non-fruit half, and folded it over the fruit half. I pressed the edges gently together to seal, crimping with a fork is optional, though it may help seal. Then I brushed the top lightly with egg wash, not so much that it runs down the sides and edges though. I sprinkled demerara on top, then tossed them in a 425º oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Always keep an eye out, regardless of whether you’re over or under 20 minutes.

Pretty cool, I’m proud of these. Batch number one, which came out with great color but not as much puff:

apple turnovers 2

apple turnovers 3

apple turnovers 4

Batch number 2, which was made partially out of the scraps from batch number one, and therefore came out with more rise because I had to re-roll and re-fold, which is how you increase volume anyway, though unfortunately I left them in maybe a minute or two too long and some of the sugar on top burned, but still, look at the extra volume!

apple turnovers 5

apple turnovers 6