Savoriesnsweets’ Blog

Mod 4: It’s a Wrap! Bye-Bye Pastry!

Posted on: August 18, 2009

Just like all our other courses, we have a module practical and written exam.  While finishing this module means we’re just ONE month away from graduation, it’s bitter sweet for me, since I now feel I’ve missed my true calling as a pastry cook.  I will also miss the instructor we had for this module.  Chef Kathryn was probably one of the most knowledgeable instructors I had at culinary school.  She was not only a great teacher, but she also tried to ensure we had fun while working on our desserts pushing us to try different items and different plating ideas.  She also offered other opportunities to learn other skills by asking students to volunteer for her, which I gladly did!  I will miss pastry and I’ll miss working with this great chef and teacher. As I have my exam tonight, I’m trying to focus on trying to get the best score I can.

The written exam is comprehensive and includes a variety of topics we covered in class. Wanna see if you can do well on a pastry written exam?  Here are the different questions we had to answer.  The answers will follow later in the post.

  1. What are four methods of cooking fruit? Give an example of each.
  2. What are four differences between Pate Sucree and Pate Brisee?
  3. What are three things you can find on a petites fours platter?
  4. What are the different types of flour?  Describe their use and their protein content.
  5. How do the following factors affect yeast?  Salt? Sugar? Heat? Cold?
  6. What are the similarities and differences between puff pastry and croissant dough?
  7. What are the three components of puff pastry?
  8. What are the steps to making truffles?
  9. How do you temper dark chocolate?
  10. Describe the methods of making a fat based cake and a foam based cake.
  11. What are the 4 important items to consider when finishing a cake?
  12. What are two differences between stirred and baked custards?
  13. What are examples of frozen desserts?
  14. What are the differences between static and churned frozen desserts?
  15. What are the factors to consider when plating a dessert? Draw an original plated dessert.

I did fairly well as I scored a 99.5.  I lost a half point for not fully describing all the fruit cooking methods.  As soon as we were done with our written exam, we moved onto the practical portion.  First, we rolled out a pate sucree dough we made yesterday.  Then we had to line a tart pan with the dough.  I scored a 39.5 out of 40 only because it wasn’t perfectly uniform.

After rolling out the dough, I made a creme anglaise.  Creme anglaise is essentially a stirred custard which is used to make ice cream!  Of course, this is very important to make!  When I practiced my creme anglaise yesterday, I under cooked it, basically causing the chef to question whether I really cooked my eggs and killed any possible dangerous pathogens.  Today, I overcooked my anglaise just a tad.  We had to show her the pot we made the creme anglaise in as well as the finished product.  Unfortunately, there was a bit too much cooked egg left at the bottom of the pot, so I only scored 29 out of a possible 30.

Our next task was to make 5 parchment cornets and then to pipe “Happy Birthday Name” on a cake round using melted chocolate.  Of course, we could substitue our own name or someone else’s name or even Mom or Dad for the “Name” part.  It was this part of the test that I was most nervous about since I did not practice enough chocolate writing nor did I ever manage to be able to make a nice border. Luckily, we only had to do a border if we wanted to, so I opted not to do it.  I piped “Happy Birthday Stacy”, “Happy Birthday Mom” and “Happy Birthday Dad” all in cursive chocolate writing.  I was pleased to know that I scored full credit on this part of the test bringing my final score for the practical to a 98.5! Overall, this was a great mod and I will miss it.  I will definitely have to continue my own pastry education by taking extra classes and doing some more work at home.

If you’d like to know how to make a parchment cornet, check out this video from Chow.  And if you’re interested to see how you’d do on a pastry exam, check out the answers below.

  1. Four methods of cooking fruit are grilling, poaching, baking and candying.  To grill fruit, slice your fruit and add sugar and spices to the cut side.  Place the fruit cut side down on the grill and turn to create grill marks.  Grill until tender as in preparing grilled peaches. Poaching, as when poaching pears,  occurs under low heat, moist cooking with water, wine, fruit juice, spirits and sugar until softened. It is then cooled in ice bath in its own syrup and stored in refrigerator in its syrup.  To bake fruit, as in baked apples, peel apples half way and hollow them out.  Then place sugar, currants, and nuts in the apple and bake until tender. To candy fruit, as in candied grapefruit peels, peel the fruit and slice the peels.  Cook in syrup, reduce and cook until tender.  Cool in syrup and store.
  2. Pate Sucree                                                                                      Pate Brisee
    Wet Ingredient           eggs                                                                                                   water
    Leavening                    baking powder                                                                                baking powder optional (rises with steam)
    Degree of mixing        mealy consistency                                                                          cranberry size consistency
    Uses                               savory and sweet tarts                                                                  Sweets preparations–pie and pastry cream + filling
    for savory, leave out sugar
    Baking                           Baked with moist filling                                                               must be docked and blind-baked before filled, otherwise will become
    soggy
  3. You can find Marshmallows, truffles, macarons, biscotti, buttercrunch, spritz cookies, chocolate dipped strawberries on a petites fours platter.
  4. All Purpose Flour contains between 9 – 11 % protein and is used most commonly in the kitchen for cookies, breads, and doughs. Cake Flour contains between 7.5-8% protein and is used mostly for cakes and pastries.  Bread Flour contains between 11.5-13% protein and is used mostly for different types of breads. High Gluten Flour contains about 14% protein and is used mostly for bagels, hearth breads, pizza and hard rolls.
  5. Salt inhibits yeast.   Fats also inhibit yeast.  Sugar feeds yeast. Cold water will slow yeast.  Hot water will kill yeast.  Ideally, you want to
    mix yeast with lukewarm water between 100-110F.
  6. Both puff pastry and croissants are laminated doughs rolled in fat and consist of beurrage, detrompe, and paton.  Layers for puff pastry are created by the 4 book folds.  Layers for croissants are created by 1 letter fold and 2 book folds. Croissant dough is leavened by both yeast and steam while puff pastry only rises using steam. Croissants contain milk while puff pastry uses water.
  7. The three components of puff pastry are Detrompe, Beurrage and paton (package).
  8. The steps to making truffles:
    1- Make your ganache. You want a shiny and smooth ganache, showing you had a good emulsion of heavy cream and chocolate.
    2- Pipe the ganache out evenly and round them off.
    3 – Cool
    4 – Temper your chocolate and coat your rounded chocolates in the tempered chocolate twice (2 coats)
  9. 1 – Heat chocolate over a bain marie/ double boiler to 115F.
    2 – Cool chocolate over ice bath to 85F.
    3 – Perform the snap test by coating a piece of parchment with the chocolate and placing it in the freezer for 5 min.  If the chocolate snaps, you are in temper.
    4 – Gently re-warm to a working temperature of 89F to get shine.
    Tempered chocolate should be shiny, have a solid snap and be non streaky.
  10. Fat based cakes rely on the creaming method:
    Creaming method
    Emulsion of room temp butter with sugar until light & fluffy
    Add flavoring (extract, zest)
    Add room temperature eggs and combine until smooth
    Add 1/3 of sifted flour, leavening agent, salt
    Add 1/2 of liquid
    Alternate between dry & wet ending with dry

    Foam based cakes such as sponge cakes rely on incorporating air into your eggs.
    Beat eggs with sugar until they are light and creamy
    Beat egg whites with salt until soft peak & beat in sugar until firm peak
    Fold egg yolk mix into egg white mix
    Fold in sifted flour & cornstarch in 3 additions

  11. 1 – Outside decorations should be indicative of flavor
    2 – Layers should be level
    3 – Do not use too much frosting or filling
    4 – For sponge cake, be sure to imbibe and soak cake
  12. Baked Custards:
    – are baked in a water bath
    – sets when baked and is not pourable
    – examples: creme brulee, bread pudding, flan, creme caramel,
    – cheesecake, pot au creme, quiche, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, sweet potato pie
    Stirred Custards:
    – cooked on the stove
    – Stirred remains pourable after cooking
    – examples: creme anglaise, lemon curd
  13. Static:   Popsicle, kulfi, granita, frozen mousse, frozen souffle
    Churned:  Ice Cream
  14. A churned frozen dessert freezes while air is being put into it while a static dessert is not aerated.
  15. 1- color
    2- portion size
    3 – temperature
    4 – market availability
    5 – seasonality of ingredients
    6 – facility–your freezer/oven capacity
    7 – time–some items are more labor intensive than others
    8  – budget
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2 Responses to "Mod 4: It’s a Wrap! Bye-Bye Pastry!"

I heard your cakes are very tasty! Do you make cakes to order, for like a birthday? And how much notice do you need?

Hi Susan! Thanks! I do make cakes to order. I do need at least 3 days notice. Sorry for the delay in responding–I’ve been preparing move & get married soon. 🙂

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