Sunday, April 13, 2008

Let them eat cake

Well, I was going to post once I had finished my schooling, secured a marvelous job, and could announce to the world my ambitious plans for the future, but unfortunately, I'm still in career-limbo (any prayers that I could solicit which would boost me out of limbo. . .) and mom wants to see some pics, so here they are.

Finishing up my plating class, here's one of my more successful pieces. It's a apple tart tatin (warm spiced and baked apples inverted in a puff pastry shell) with some sugar and tuille garnishes, and some saucing inspired from my living room rug. Left we have a pear poached in pineapple, stuffed with cream cheese, figs, almonds, and honey. Holy smokes did that thing taste good. I never knew that pears and cream cheese made such a lovely lovely pair. I highly recommend this little number for any dinner party. (The pears are usually poached in wine, but chef let me alter the recipe.)

And here we have one of my more disasterous pieces (that's what school is for, right?). Not proud of it. The vision was much better, but I ran out of time, and my caramel mousse didn't set up, so instead of a nice piped braid, we have a blob sliding down it's chocolate ramp. And there wasn't much time for saucing the plate either, so it looks pretty bare and pathetic. Yikes. This plate earned me the nickname "Stonehenge" for the block. Well deserved, I'm afraid.

I decided to do a more traditional design for my next plate, and put some sauteed and spiced peaches and pineapples in a little phyllo cup, throw on some diplomat cream, fresh fruit, and some pulled sugar, and call it good. Sometimes the less I think about something, the better it turns out. Funny how that works. My last plate sort of speaks for itself. It's a flamingo. In a bavarian. Why not?

Entering my advanced cakes class, we have the abominable croquembouche ("croak 'n boosh"). Did you know that Antoine Careme actually intended this thing to be eaten? At somebody's wedding?? The translation is "crunch in the mouth," and not without reason. Not that tasty, and frankly, I just think it looks weird. It would probably make friends with St. Honore.

Continuing on, we have a nice marzipan covered cake poured in fondant, with marzipan roses.

This is the children's cake I did, with a mother goose theme. I spent so much time modeling those little figures out of marzipan and building a pastillage rocking chair, I kind of forgot about decorating the rest of the cake. So I'd do this one differently given the chance.

Here is a baby cake: chiffon cake masked in buttercream, and covered in fondant (the nasty stuff you peel off of wedding cake (which actually isn't quite so nasty when it's homemade)). The baby carriage is made of pastillage. The strings on the side are royal icing, and the flowers are gum paste. I flavored the cake pina colada, so it was actually enjoyable to eat. This particular cake requires you to make six different recipes and is super labor intensive, so of course, this is the very cake I've been requested to make for my friend's niece's birthday. Go figure. It's business, right?

And here's my wedding cake. What do we have here? Fondant, pastillage, gum paste, the regular stuff. I'm not hot on the little archway topper, but we had to put some kind of topper on there, and I thought it would be easier than the tacky gazebo my chef showed us. Chef liked it, so now it sits in the wedding topper hall of fame to be shown to next semester's students. Overall, I was pleased with the turnout here. Oh, tidbit: you have to buff the fondant with your hand to make it smooth, and I was such a perfectionist about it, my chef gave me the nickname "buffy" for the block.

The block that I'm in now is candy and showpieces. Here are some of the truffles and pate de fruit (glorified gumdrops) that I made to go in this little chocolate box. I could really get in to this stuff. I put peppers in my lemon truffles, so my nickname for this block is "spice girl." Whatever.

Here's my chocolate showpiece. Sort of a tribute to Picasso. I enjoyed making it even if my chefs don't understand cubism. The back reads "Art is the lie that enables us to see truth." Oh, I've finally made friends with chocolate, and we temper together quite fine now.

This is my gingerbread house. I still can't believe we had to throw these things together in two days. The base is nougatine, the trees are made of white chocolate, the house is covered in modeling chocolate, the river is pulled sugar, little red and the wolf are marzipan, the fence is royal icing, and the roof is spun sugar. Some of the others were pretty cool. We had a haunted house, buddah's temple, a beach house, and a motel. Kind of makes this fairy tale scene look sort of trite.

And that, my friends, is the full culinary update. So what does Liz do when she's not shaping little red capes out of marzipan and piping out lace points all night? Well. . .


mom said...

Lovely, Louise!! loved the wolf peeking out the door...

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