Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day 30: More Classics

Yesterday we finished the other three classic cakes we'd started the day before. First, however, we trashed all the meringue flowers and mushrooms because the oven was too hot and they didn't look right. I was encouraged to make amanita mushrooms (fly agaric) instead. I made those, but I also had yellow and white meringue and cocoa powder so I made some yellow and brown mushrooms too. I also made white mushrooms, a la Destroying Angels (another amanita).

After that cuteness was in the oven, we started the assembly of the black forest cake. First the vanilla and chocolate mousses were finished and the cake was built upside down. The top layer had the red pâte decor on it so it was soaked from underneath with cherry kirsch syrup and then the vanilla mousse was spread in a thin layer. Then there was a layer of cherries and a layer of chocolate mousse. Lastly, the other layer of cake was put in place and soaked with syrup. This went in the freezer to set up.

By this time, the meringues were ready and we could get the rest of our Buche de Printemps decorated. A thick meringue was applied to the logs and torched. Coffee macarons were made to simulate polypore mushrooms. "Plastic chocolate," aka chocolate for molding, was made in green and leaves were prepared for everyone. After a bit, we had all our decorations in place and we each assembled a log. At this point we were all overwhelmed by whimsy.
Throughout the day we also made things like caramelized hazelnuts and clear glaze and chocolate decorations and fondant into which cherries were dipped and subsequently those cherries were dipped in chocolate. Time flew.

Black Forest Cake
The Alhambra cake was cut into 12 pieces and then each was decorated with piped ganache, caramelized hazelnuts, and chocolate curls. The black forest cake was, by that time, ready to flip. Then came the really hard part, removing the silpat and leaving the red pâte decor in place. I realized after a while that it was a lot like dissecting so I ended up taking over and very slowly doing what I could to keep it neat. It was not easy and didn't come out as pretty as maybe it could have. We were able to cover a lot of it with the clear glaze and decorations.

This is the last of the formal classes. Next week we have a review day and then the practicum. The final written exam is in 10 days. I'm amazed at how quickly the time went by and how natural it feels to be there in the kitchen. I feel very close to my classmates and I'm sad to think I won't be seeing them every week. I have laughed quite a lot in the last four months. Mostly at myself, which is healthy, but also with my new friends, and for the sheer fun and joy of it all.

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