Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Days 31 and 32: Final Practicum

Yesterday and today were spent in a stressed out haze. At least until I completed my dessert and turned it in.

This morning was our practicum exam. Each of us were to draw a card and then make what it said. As this was technically the mid term we were given the ingredient list and had to write out the method. Once Chef corrected it, we were to go into the kitchen and make it for presentation to the two tasters. There were eight cards and we knew what they were but we selected our actual card at random. Ahead of time, in addition to studying the methods, I thought about how I would plate each one.

On a whim, I bought stainless steel martini glasses. Just in case I drew the macaron card.

I drew the macaron card.

Yay! The card stated that in addition to making three different flavors of macarons - coffee, lemon, and raspberry - we were to make an ice cream of our choice. Planning ahead again, I decided that a pear cardamom ice cream would go well with each flavor. That had to be made first. I made an ice cream base with pear purée, cardamom, and some pear brandy. While that chilled, I worked on the macarons and sautéed pears in butter, sugar, and more brandy. When it was time to put the ice cream in the maker, at the very end I churned in the cooked pears. It was lovely.

The macarons came out better than they had any right to as we had some oven issues (the opposite problem compared to home, the ovens were too hot. Even though we set them 25˚ lower than usual). The tasters noted they were a little dry. I guess they crumble too quickly. Each one had a matching ganache.

For plating, I chilled the martini glasses and put a scoop of ice cream in each. I had made mini macarons and stuck them on the ice cream. I made sure each macaron was between mini macarons of different colors - pink between yellow and brown, yellow between brown and pink, and so on.

Ultimately, I did well on the kitchen part and I don't have the tasting grade yet but the comments were mostly positive. Now we only have the final written exam left!

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