Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Scream, You Scream!

For ice cream, sorbet, frozen soufflés, granités – all the wonderful frozen desserts one could enjoy. Friday night we gathered around Chef and watched as he made a vanilla custard-based ice cream from the rich Crème Anglaise we prepared in the last class. He poured the mixture into a high-powered ice cream maker and about 20 minutes later we had ice cream flecked with vanilla beans.

We also made a Sorbet au Pamplemousse (Grapefruit Sorbet) using the same machine – both the ice cream and the sorbet went into the freezer to set. On to our next recipe, a Soufflé Glacé Aux Fruits (Frozen Fruit Soufflé). By team we made an Italian Meringue by heating sugar and water together to a hot simple syrup then adding that to beaten egg whites. The hot syrup cooks the eggs whites and we proceeded to continue and beat the egg whites to a stiff peak. We whisked some heavy cream to a fluffy, whipped consistency then added a purée of passion fruit. To that we added our meringue and carefully folded the mixture together. Chef came by with a puzzled look on his face and said, “what happened to your mixture - it is too liquid,” we verbally ran through the recipe and steps making sure the cream was properly whipped, the meringue was stiff, then he asked what kind of fruit purée we used and I responded, passion fruit – there lied the problem, Chef told us that the passion fruit purée was too watery and our frozen soufflé would never set properly. So, we tossed out the entire mixture and started over. Chef apologized and said he asked the assistant Chefs in class to get rid of any remaining passion fruit purée in the refrigerator. Stephen, my cooking partner and I bounced back very quickly and whipped up a new batch using raspberry purée. The resulting mixture, was light pink and airy – we piped the mixture into ramekins that were outfitted with parchment collars to give the effect of a freshly risen soufflé. Our ramekins went into the freezer to set – an easy no bake dessert.

Our last recipe for the night was a Bande de Tarte Aux Fruits (Puff Pastry Fruit Tart) we used the puff pastry we made a few nights before. Rolling out the puff pastry was easier than I thought it was going to be, we docked the dough, gave the edges a little egg wash and baked it. The dough puffs up nicely if made properly and takes on a golden color. After our tart dough came out of the oven we set it to cool and proceeded to prep fruit for the topping. A layer of Crème Patissière is placed on the tart, then fruit is layered artistically. After brushing on an apricot glaze, Chef remarked and said it was very nice. We carefully wrapped our fruit tarts (we each made our own), I put mine on the rack above my head while I cleaned the station – we worked late that night and it was quickly approaching 11:00 pm.

With a train to catch I raced out of the kitchen, put my street clothes back on in the locker room and rushed to get to Canal Street to take the subway uptown. It was Friday night, the weather was gorgeous all day and it felt like Spring. I was tired but happy to be able to sleep late the next morning. On the subway I realized I left my fruit tart on the overhead rack in the kitchen. Forgetful me, I hope someone enjoyed it…

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