• Eliana

Day 30: Taking This to Pound Town.

Two weeks into level 2 already and this is culinary gig is flying by. The fact that I’ve almost been here two months is hilarious, but my skills are no laughing matter anymore. Well, I probably shouldn’t get to ahead of myself there now. Woahhh, there cowboy! Slow down that giddy up! Level 2 really dives into pastry, so today we continued on with sweets. We worked on tarts and doughs. There are three classic French doughs and we learned all three today. They are pretty much extremely similar except the amount of sugar is altered and flour etc. Before we made any of the tarts, we had to learn how to mix, roll, and knead the dough. I know it sounds pretty simple, but if you don’t keep the dough at the right temperature or mix the ingredients together properly, your dough could dry out, crack, or not roll well enough (and no I’m not up for hire to teach the dough how to get her “roll” – dance move- on). My first attempt, I mixed everything up fine, but I rolled that baby out too thin and had to restart. My second try was a keeper and I put it over the pie molder as the base for my tart. Some of the dough’s require a two step process- first baking it a little in the oven and then you add the filling and then cook it back in the oven again. So far, I was so good!

Our first dish was a Lorraine’s Quiche (cheese, eggs, bacon, etc). I made my dough, put the dough down as the base, then put the dough in the oven with some beans wrapped in paper on top to press it down, then took the beans off, added the egg/bacon filling, cheese topping, and back in the oven it went till it was pretty golden brown. When I tasted it, immediately I wanted more cheese. I mean can you ever have enough cheese oozing out of something? If you say yes, I’m not sure if I can continue sending you my emails. I’ll show you what cheese tastes like! I took a few bites and then gave the rest to Candido (our dishwasher man- not sure why I keep having to tell you who he is because I’ve only mentioned him a dozen times or so).

The next dish was the apple tart. Our apple tart is essentially an apple pie. I guess the term pie is not as fu-fu as tart (pshh- the French and their terms, I tell yah!). I’m going to refer to our dish as an apple pie even though it could have used some more oomph! Like cinnamon or butter or just something more fattening (obviously). This tart was pretty basic. We made an apple compote. Filled the pie with it then peeled and cut apples into slices to place on top. I almost gave Chef a heart attack because I cut my apples TOO THICK! They were not thin enough and done in a more “rustic” way then “refined”- no wonder they say “you are what you eat”… but wait does that mean I’m not refined!? I better start referring to that apple pie as a tart then! Instead of envisioning my family eating my pie, I should have envisioned (I’m about to make up a fake character) “Edith” an affluent French mademoiselle chowing down on my lovely tart. Better luck next time, I guess when making my fancy tart! Sorry chef for being too rustic! But, see my pie doesn’t look that bad even though the apple slices were thick.

Our third dish was a pear and almond tart. For the tart, we had to prepare a basic pastry crème filling. We’ll that was my job and I didn’t quite do it the right way. You see, I didn’t whisk the egg yolks before adding the flour, sugar, salt, etc. in and therefore my base was clumpy and thick to begin with. I tried to temper my train wreck by adding hot milk, but it only made it look half decent. We still filled our tart pie with the pastry crème along with almond paste and almond extract. Then added pears on top with almond crumble. As a class, each team put their individual tarts inside the convection oven (without our names). Now, when it was time to take ours out- I noticed that someone already took ours out. Well, that’s funny because I know Tyler my partner didn’t take it out, so I figured (haha laughing to myself) that someone must have picked up the wrong pie aka mine with the half decent pastry crème and the middle pear cut up (when it wasn’t really supposed to be). So, we presented to chef- thanks to who’s ever pie I presented because it wasn’t ours! (Sorry to those who presented ours ahha!) I then surreptitiously walked around the room looking to see who took mine and low and behold I found the culprit. I ended up telling the team and they were laughing (oh Julie and Noah such epic characters). I gave Felix (my old dishwasher from level 1) the tart to take home and I found out that tart is his wife’s favorite. How sweet right! I almost cried.

Today Zandra used one of my phrases when describing her feelings on finishing our mango sorbet (beyond amazing)… she said “I’m taking this to pound town”. The career fair is tomorrow- wish me luck let’s see if I get any bites on my fishing line. If all else fails, my dad is pushing for me to do another 6 months, but this time in the pastry program! Unless he wants to pay for my gastric bypass surgery that I am going to need after both programs, then count me out!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA! I HOPE YOUR DAY IS AS SWEET AS MY TARTS! I LOVE YOU G-$!

Rolling in the dough!

Eliana Nicole.

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