Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Day 12: Custards

Today's topic was custards and Bavarians. While I'm still a little shaky on the definition of a Bavarian vs. a Bavarian Cream, I enjoyed making the custards. We made a huge batch of flan, so everyone got to work on it. These are baked in a water bath. We were taught that they're better served a day later as the caramel on the bottom becomes more of a sauce. Therefore, I have my three flans and we'll eat them in the next day or so. We also made a clafoutis (cherries baked in a custard sauce) which we ate; that was lunch.

The crowning achievement of the day was making a Ruche, or beehive cake.

The layers consisted of lemon hazelnut meringues (that gift from the past we made ourselves last week), lemon mousse, honey mousse, and Italian meringue for the top. One team made lemon curd which was made into the lemon mousse. That formed the sides and one of the layers in the cake. Our team made the honey mousse which consisted of a honey custard to which honey Italian meringue and then whipped cream was added to make the mousse. Then, while the cakes froze for a while, I made the bees with two of my classmates. First I kneaded marzipan with yellow food coloring and we shaped the bodies. Then I drizzled them with chocolate to make the stripes and we stuck almonds in for wings. My classmate who is terrific at piping finished up by making the eyes. I lined them all up for their photo op. Here is our Bee-2 Bomber Squadron...
Some others in class made the honeycomb chocolate for the sides and froze it. Then another person made the caramel which we all got a chance to drizzle into shapes. When I got to the caramel it was a little too cold so it glopped a bit. In my attempts to clean it up it serendipitously bent into a 3D structure which I liked very much.

Once everything was ready, we used Italian meringue to coat the top and pipe a beehive on the cake. Then we torched it to brown it and get the ring off. After that, we coated it with the chocolate honeycombs, added the caramel and then the bees.  We were overwhelmed with the cuteness of it all!
The evening lecture was the first of three covering fruits, herbs and spices. This was an opportunity to work with unfamiliar fruits. A panna cotta was made and we were each asked to come up with a compote, particularly using something we'd not used before. I picked pomegranate, red currant, key lime juice and apple. I added the apple for the pectin and, of course, ended up with more of a jam than a compote. However, the lime juice worked really well with the pomegranate. Chef also had us make some really terrific savory dishes; I made fried avocado with a cilantro dipping sauce and others made a risotto with strawberries. (So unexpectedly tart and tasty! And pink!)


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