Sunday, August 10, 2008

Get Your Just Desserts!

I’ve just finished class number four on my culinary journey—Hot and Cold Plating. I have to admit that I wasn’t very excited about this class because I’ve already made up my mind that if I stick with pastry, I want to work in a bakery, hopefully owning my own bakery someday. I don’t ever plan on working in a restaurant again. Been there, done that when I was in my twenties. It was fun then, but I don’t want to work the late hours now. Super early hours would be great, but no late night dessert service for me.

Anyway, this class focused on plating and dessert presentation, sauces, portion sizes, etc. The real irony is that the whole point of this class is to make the dessert you present to the customer look as appealing and beautiful as possible, but I really didn’t get many pretty pictures. Since I’m determined to document this whole experience I’ll show you all the highlights.

One part of this class that I did enjoy is learning to make sorbet and French style Ice Cream (it's a custard base made with eggs). This is the Champagne Sorbet with a glassed strawberry & Tuile cookie. This sorbet was really tasty.

This is my Tequila Lime Sorbet and Coconut Sorbet with a Tuile cookie. I could not stop eating this Tequila Lime sorbet! Because the Tequila is added during churning the alcohol it isn't cooked off, so this baby offers up a nice little buzz.

This is classic Cherries Jubilee. We learned proper table service with all of the flair. I've never been that excited about setting things on fire, but flambeing was pretty fun. This was served over fresh vanilla bean ice cream and a pecan tile cookie.

On Angel Food Cake day we made and plated several types of angel food cake. This is the Chocolate Angel Food Cake served with Raspberry Chantilly Cream and Raspberry Sauce.

This is a Coconut Angel Food Cake with Creme Anglaise and Raspberry Sauces

These little tarts are delicious! This is a Chocolate Banana Tart. There are caramelized bananas on the bottom of the tart.

This is a Chocolate Lava Cake with a surprise chocolate ganache center. The rose garnish is sculpted from modeling chocolate.

This is the same Chocolate Lava Cake but served this time with Coffee Espresso Bean Ice Cream.
This is my new favorite dessert ever! I have found the love of the Sabayon Sauce. Who knew that egg yolks, sugar and wine cooked together could taste so amazing, but it does! Here it is served with a Fresh Fruit Gratin, a Cranberry Orange Scone and whipped cream. I decided it was my grown up version of afternoon tea. The top of the gratin has been torched similar to creme brulee, so it has a slightly crunchy sugar crust on top.

This is a Lemon Curd Tartlett served with Raspberry Sorbet. My raspberry sauce got a little away from me, but think I still made it pretty with little hearts.

We spent one day working with pulled sugar. We collectively worked on this sugar sculpture, but all of the leaves are mine! Unfortunately, the sugar magic went sour when I burned the crap out of my hand. If you've never had a sugar burn, they are the worst. I hope you don't ever find out for yourself. Very Bad!

These are almond Tuile cookies that are typically used as garnished. I like how these looked together. It kind of reminds me of the Hell's Kitchen logo :)

Only it's Heather's Kitchen!

And for my Practical Final... For this class we needed to present one perfect plated dessert containing all of the elements of a plated dessert: the main item, sauce(s), functional garnish, crunch factor.

I created this Dessert Taco with Strawberry Mango Salsa.

The taco is made up of a sugar cookie shell, passion fruit ice cream filling, strawberry mango salsa (with mint, lime and a hint of cilantro), topped with whipped cream, and served with strawberry and mango sauces. Seriously, this was so fresh and delicious! I love how it turned out, the flavors and the design turned out exactly as I planned.

I got 100/100 points! Yah!

We have a week off of school. I'm heading to see my best friend (Hi Erron!) and family in Nebraska, so I'll be away for a week. Have a great week and eat something fabulous!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Let's Swap!

I have to come forward and admit it, swapping has taken over my life. It's out of control. I need to get a grip! I need help!
In between trying to keep up with pastry school I've been spending nearly all of my spare time working on swaps. Because I've been so slammed for time lately I've been lucky to get swaps out on time, and occasionally remember to take photos, but I haven't had time to post any. So here is my super big spectacular swap post.

Faux Food Swap with my Friend Debbie
Here is part of the package I sent Debbie. I love my mini needle felted pumpkins!
Debbie likes more of the primitive/grubby look so I tried to make this swap more to her style. She also collects gingerbread men, so I made her a felt gingerbread people garland.
Cute little feltie gingerbread people!
Here is the package I received from Debbie! She makes candles. Look at all these fun food candles! Yes, they are all candles or wax tarts. This box smelled AMAZING when it arrived from England. The mini tarts are carrot cake scented, the large and mini cinnamon buns smell like, well, cinnamon buns. And the banana, she calls that scent "monkey farts." I'm so juvenile, it just make me giggle!

And she had this adorable stuffed gingerbread man and spice bag garland made for me. I love it all. Thanks Debbie!

This next swap is a Faux Treats Swap with my friend Yifat.
Here is the package I sent to Yifat in Israel.

Yifat makes adorable sweet treat miniatures. This is the super fun package she sent me. Aren't they so cute? Those are sewing pins with treat toppers in the cute cupcake pin cushion. The ice cream cone is a magnet, and the two bright pink ones on the left are erasers that she made herself! Thanks so much for swapping with me Yifat!

I just received my latest swap this week.
This is the Vintage Bakery Swap with my friend Julie from CupcakeDD

Julie is the super sweet gal who sent me the fabulous Luau package blogged about here. We had so much fun with that swap that we decided to do it again with a Vintage Bakery theme!
Here is part of the package I sent her. I own a sewing machine, but really don't sew. I desperately wanted to make her dish towels with this cute fabric, so I gave it a try. I was so happy with how they turned out! I still can't believe I pulled off the ruffle.
There are more goodies that I sent Julie, but the photos just didn't want to cooperate being uploaded.
Julie went crazy with her package to me...

Yes, that's my new vintage pink mixer! Isn't it fantastic? So cool. She also sent the old decorator Schilling bottle filled with pink glitter.

And this beautiful milk glass bowl filled with pink vintage baking tools. I think I'm going to hang them on the wall in my studio. They'll fit right in. Now, I'm thrilled with all of this vintage love, but then I found another package in the box....My new "Heather" banner made just for me! I've always wanted one. The pictures didn't turn out that great because I immediately hung it on the wall before the thought of photographing it came into my brain. Seriously, it was out of the box for about 10 minutes before it was on the wall above my desk.
I just LOVE it! Sorry for the crummy pics, it's hard to get good lighting up near the ceiling. You can see scalloped pencil marks on the wall which will someday be painted aqua. Maybe if I stop swapping I'll have time to paint them.
Thanks for everything Julie!!

I think my little swapping stint is coming to an end. I need to focus on my Etsy store and new LolliShop opening this fall.