Heads up! This chronicle will not fail you. Everyone- today was my pastry mock final and let’s just say Eliana-isms came out full throttle. For the mock final, chef had us cut the recipes for both the pear tart and chocolate gingerbread cake in either half or quarter because we didn’t need to make 16 portions worth. We began at 9:00 and had to be done with both dishes at 11:30 to present to the chef’s, so that they can critique us (oh joy!—all three of the chefs that I give the hardest time to!).
First thing I got down to business on were poaching the pears in the caramel sauce. I added sugar into the pan until it began to turn golden brown then dropped in cubed butter added my pears and covered it with a lid while the fire was nice and slow. The problem is that the burners on this particular stove are more schizophrenic then Russell Crow in a Beautiful Mind. Somehow the heat turns higher by itself or off whenever it feels like it. So, you have to be extremely tricky when playing with fire (ha! No pun intended… pretty sure that applied there. If not, how about we pretend it does). Pandora’s pears nearly burned and all three of us needed to add extra water to the liquid because we got the sugar too dark in the beginning (note to self- easy on the heat). As my pears were poaching and soaking up all the caramel juice, I began to gather my ingredients for the tart dough (pate brisee). I rolled my dough out, used the pear cookie cuter to cut pears out, and then rested the pear dough cutouts in the freezer before baking them off.
I figured since dish #1 was well on it’s way, I would start on dish #2. At this point, I haven’t eaten anything since waking up and I am beginning to feel the hunger come on. I’m slapping my stomach trying to tell it to be quiet. The only thing I could do was feed it water. I was on a mission to NOT fail this mock midterm and have my level 6 chef flip another number two and really have ZERO faith in me passing the final (good lord- and here I thought I was a drama queen). I began making my chocolate truffles. Problem A: The milk by the time I used it wasn’t hot enough, so the chocolate didn’t melt as fast. I ran over to the stove and put the chocolate over the heat. I semi melted it, but had to keep trucking, so threw that bad boy into the freezer to freeze. The chocolate cake is a little annoying because it has a few key components. Above all, you have to make sure NOT to over work the mixture or else (…or else, I’m not sure what will happen, but just don’t let it over mix, I tell you!). Once my cake mixture was done, I took out the little cake molds and began pouring the batter into them. I baked them for seven minutes then dropped a chocolate truffle in the middle to bake again for 3 additional minutes. I thought all was fine and dandy—that is UNTIL I went to go plate!
Scratch that, before I plated we had to make the crème anglaise for the ice cream. My first crème came out great for the goat cheese ice cream, but Problem B: my chartreuse crème curdled on me! I faked it till I made it and used whatever I could. I plated my pear tart dish and it came out really pretty! But are you ready for this--- please fasten your seat belts because this is about to drive you crazy! The minute I tried to take the chocolate gingerbread cake out of the mold I realized that it was stuck! I thought the first cake I tried to use was just a defect; so on to the next one I went. UMMM- stuck again also! You have got to be kidding me! Panic tried to flush over my body, but I decided to kick it back to 2013. I did what the only sane person would do—“BORROW AN EXTRA CHOCOLATE GINGERBREAD CaKE FROM MY PARTNER’S STASH! I didn’t feel so bad because one of my partner’s pear sauce burnt on them, so they took out one of the extra already made sauces that chef had made and poured it in a container and labeled it with their own name on it to use. HA- adios guilt! Sooo--- here I was like a deer in headlights picturing myself having to face the three chefs at their lunch table and I just couldn’t bare it. YES! I took the extra cake and pretended it was mine!!! The minute my pastry chef wasn’t looking, I threw all my cakes out because here was the problemàI FORGOT TO USE PAM SPRAY BEFORE PUTTING IN THE BATTER! Every last one was ruined! But, you bet your bottom dollar that come the final, if I get the chocolate gingerbread cake, I will NOT FORGET TO USE PAM SPRAY BEFORE PUTTING THE BATTER INTO THE MOLDS. Who knew that spray was so vital. I learned my lesson the hard way.
By 12pm, I was checked out and ready to go home. Our pastry chef, Chef Mimi, is awesome/funny/such a character/ we get along (surprising—I know… she appreciates my weirdness/vivacious demeanor). Today in the kitchen next door, they were working on a sugar project to hang in the window of the restaurant. Some genius left the room and let their sugar BURN! When I tell you the sugar was as black as a black cat and smelled worse then a burning house on fire, I’m not lying. Chef was the only one to recognize the smell and she actually saved the day! Hilly (a level 5 girl) and I made chef looked fabulous in front of her head boss because we were overly dramatic and over exaggerated when we told the head chef that if it wasn’t for chef Mimi the whole school would have been engulfed in flames and yada-yada-yada. All day, chef kept telling everyone how good I made her look! Hahah
The special of the day was a French toast with quince and a orange lemon liquor sauce. Finger lickin’ good! Spatula lickin’ good! Bowl lickin’ good! All good everythang! Elba is one of my dear friends from level 5. We are always joking around and she tells me she is old enough to be my mom (she is though, but doesn’t look it). What you see is what you get with her and I like people like that. She says I’m just like her. Chef continues to call me cheeky! I’ll take it—nicknames are terms of endearment. I’m going to miss pastry, but excited to move on to production tomorrow.
Yes, today was a long entry, but suck it up, you haven’t received one like this in a while!