Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pho in Paris

It's getting colder in Paris. Much colder... like 6 degrees celsius cold, which translates to 45 degrees or so for you Americans. As you can imagine, it's quite difficult for a girl born and raised in sunny California to adjust. But I'm trying my best.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giving Thanks

This is the first Thanksgiving I've spent out of the country. Though I was homesick for some American style gluttony, my fellow classmates and I put together a pretty decent Thanksgiving spread with all the fixins. We had roast chicken (not enough time to roast a turkey with our school schedule), garlic mashed spuds, stuffing, homemade mac n' cheese, salad, and profiteroles for dessert! Not too shabby, if I don't say so myself!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gateaux de voyage and trip to Champagne

Monday we made a bunch of 'gateaux de voyage' translated as travel cakes, as they don't need to be refrigerated. They include fruit cakes, pound cakes, and anything that has high amounts of fat/sugar/alcohol that helps to extend the shelf life of the cake. Chef was even telling us about how some 80 year old fruit cake sold at auction in the UK a few years ago. We were harried to finish them (I think they went off to the restaurant or the freezer) and I didn't get to try the English fruit cake and raspberry cake I made.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Restaurant and entremets

This week we had restaurant service and worked on entremets. It took me a while to figure out exactly what entremets are. According to Miriam Webster's dictionary, etymologically, the word comes from Old French meaning "between food", and is a "dish served in addition to the main course of a meal; especially : dessert". Well what is the difference between an entremet and any other dessert classification such as mignardises, chocolates and sorbets? Well they're pretty much cakes; something you'd buy in a patisserie to serve 8-10 people.

Though winter is upon us, we're still using fresh fruits in our desserts, which is quite nice.

Monday, November 16, 2009


What is a croquembouche you ask? If the French could ever conceive an ornate and unnecessarily complicated pièce montèe, this would be it. Apparently this monstrosity was created by Antoine Careme in the late 1700's. The name comes from the French words 'Croque en bouche' meaning 'crunch in the mouth'. If you ask me, it should be called pain on the fingers, since so many people burned themselves dipping and assembling the cream puffs with molten sugar. It makes for pretty cream puffs though, and I was lucky enough to not maim myself.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chocolate piece

So I'm really excited about this blog post! For about a week we've been working with chocolate. Its messy, its difficult to work with, but in the end I finished my chocolate piece and am very happy with it! I'm not sure what I was going for, but I wanted a cracked earth with things coming out of it. Its sitting atop a granite block with fluid chocolate lines coming out, accented by hearts and 'fire balls'. What do you think?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Restaurant and molded desserts

Wednesday was another night of restaurant service. Aside from the chocolate work, I haven't been too excited about this week's desserts. The day before we quickly threw together some chocolates for service.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate work

Yesterday I realized that its about six weeks until I fly back to the states for the holidays. My brother's 30th birthday is coming up, so I need to beef up my repertoire of cakes and goodies to bake when I get back. I'm even thinking of building him a chocolate sculpture.

This week we're starting on chocolate and creating chocolate sculptures in class. I was initially very apprehensive. Not only is chocolate very temperamental (ha ha inside chocolate joke), and not very forgiving, its a mess to deal with! I have a feeling I'll be doing laundry more frequently, as my chef whites are going to invariably end up brown.

In class we practiced making molds and molded some eggs. I added some oil based coloring to my egg, though it would have shown up a lot better had we been working with white chocolate.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Feeling like a traiteur

Last week was a full week of traiteur, which is catering. True, I did feel sort of like a pastry traitor, pulled from the familiar pastry lab and dropped into a large kitchen, with a new chef (who actually cleaned up after himself... and us!), and lots of odd French catering foods.