Welcome to the Sweet Side of the Kitchen
Posted July 27, 2009on:
Anybody who knows me knows that I love food, but I especially love baking & pastry! As we finished mod 3, I grew more and more excited to start a course all about my favorite topic. I often came home after class and would spend my nights baking different treats. I figured since it was some time until I learned about it, I might as well try to self-educate. Many of the results of my self education are posted.
Now that I am in the baking & pastry mod, I have begun to re-think some things. Do I wish I had enrolled in the pastry course in stead of culinary? No–I learned a LOT in the culinary segments. And should I stick with this industry, I do think it’s important to know how the savory side of the kitchen works. I also think it’s important to consider the full picture of a meal from the production standpoint as well as from the consumer’s standpoint. What dessert would someone want? Someone that just ate a steak may not want something very rich and sweet. Maybe just some sorbet or a light panna cotta? Knowing how to end a meal on a high note means you also have to know the other notes in that meal’s symphony. I do however wish I had the opportunity to also enroll in the pastry course. The expense right now is just too much and while I’m sure I would enjoy every minute of it, I’m not entirely convinced I absolutely need the course to succeed in the pastry kitchen. That being said, I do think I need to ensure I constantly educate myself about different aspects of the sweet kitchen and that I try as many things as possible on my own.
In class we are learning classic French techniques of pastry. Of course, this results in rich, delicious, butter-filled goodness every time! The progression of this course is good in the sense that we seem to mimic the pastry program, but in a 6 week period. Even though chef says this course is going at a very fast pace, I’m really loving it and I’m not finding myself needing to come up for air anytime soon!
We started with poaching, candying and cutting fruits. This is harder than it sounds. Many people, myself included, in class were not aware of how to best peel an apple nor how to best slice it for a pie or tart. Then we moved on to doughs. Doughs have always been scary to me. I’ve only tried to make simple pizza doughs never a pie or tart dough. I just never quite knew how to handle them. But we did learn all about pate brisee, pate sucree, and pate sablee (cookie dough). My classmates and I successfully made several different tarts using the pate brisee and pate sucree. I also used the same technique I learned in class to make a cherry pie at home! More practice doesn’t hurt right?
Week 2 of pastry took us to the land of puff pastry and yeasted doughs. I never made any of these items before so I was super excited and I really loved it! We made puff pastry and then proceeded to make napoleons, cheese sticks, apple crisp, pithiviers and palmiers. These were all flaky, sweet and delicious! Then we learned how to make fresh croissants, brioche, bagels and pretzels. I never knew how delicious croissants were when they were made so fresh! I also never knew how easy it was to make fresh bagels & t! I’ll definitely be trying those recipes again!
I’m looking forward to learning about pizza doughs and petite fours. Pizza day is gonna be delicious! I’ll leave you with some shots of the sweet productions made in my class.