Practicals: Last Day of Baking Class

Practical: eclairs and cream puffs.

This was Day 9 of Baking and Pastry, which also means it was the last day of class.  I truly learned many things about baking and pastries and I am a little disappointed that I have to wait until the spring to take another baking class.  For our practicals, we had to make soft rolls, pate a choux, pastry cream and ganache.  I haven’t made any of the last three since before winter break, so I was a little nervous starting out, but I had a good partner for the practical and we made our way through it with pretty nicely!

Pastry cream is so, so easy, and everyone thinks it’s super involved and difficult.  Not so!  It’s a two step process.  Add milk, sugar and a wee bit of salt to a pot and bring it to just under a boil.  Then you add a slurry, which consists of more sugar, eggs, cornstarch.  You temper the slurry by adding ladles full of the hot milk to the eggs until the liquids are the same temperature and then add all the ingredients back into the pot.  Whisk until the mixture becomes thick and boils.  It needs to boil, otherwise the raw taste of cornstarch will stay in the pastry cream.  The longest part of this is waiting for the mixture to tighten up.

Eclairs or cream puffs or profiteroles are filled with pastry cream.  And then garnished with a chocolate ganache.  Heavy cream + chocolate = chocolate ganache.  It’s pretty straight forward, but this is where we lost some points.  Our ganache broke and so it wasn’t sticking to our eclairs and cream puffs.  The butter fat started separating from the chocolate and became oily and unpleasant to work with.  We didn’t think to make another batch, but it still tasted good, had good shine and was only slightly off.  We still did well on our practical!

Along with our practicals, we produced some other things for fun.  Like cake!

Step 1

 

Step 2

 

Pretty piping

 

Even though our cake turned out terribly uneven, we salvaged it by making a three tiered caked with the uneven end.  It was pretty fun to play around with the frosting and make different shapes with it.  Cake decorating is pretty time consuming and requires much attention to detail.  It’s not really my cup of tea-I’d rather put attention to detail in hot foods.  Or pie.  Pie > cake.

I learned to make pinwheels from puff pastry and turnovers.  I liked the pinwheels!  They looked so pretty when they were done baking.

This turns into...

 

...this! Gorgeous!

 

I really, really like working with laminated doughs.  The products that can be produced from it are so elegant and delicate.

Blueberry danishes

 

How does that not look appetizing?!  Tomorrow, I start Soups, Stocks and Sauces.  Should be an interesting class.

Be well & happy eating!

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