Monday, February 28, 2011

So much food!

We finished up last week with lemon tarts and a coffee tart.

The coffee tart was especially delicious.  Into a blind-baked shell, we put a layer of coffee ganache (coffee grounds infused with warm cream and then mixed into white chocolate).

And then, we had these baked piped-batter rounds called "biscuit", that we soaked in coffee

 And put on top of the ganache, and then put another layer of ganache on top!  Think that sounds good? (This is reminding me of the SNL skit about Taco Town--well it's not a Taco Town taco until it's wrapped in a blueberry pancake...)

Well, it's not a real coffee tart without a frozen layer of chantilly (basically stiff whipped cream with coffee, burnt sugar caramel, and vanilla), with yet another layer of ganache--this one a bit different from the other.

The chantilly layer is placed on top of the ganache/biscuit layer, and this beautiful little creation remains.

Chef Averty then spread out everything we have made so far (the first 2 weeks of class).  Pretty impressive.

My class in front of our work
 Having that large spread of our creations made us pretty proud of ourselves, so instead of being exhausted at the end of a long week, we decided to go out.  I had drinks and some dinner with Martin from San Diego and Johnny from Trinidad at a cute little bar/restaurant near school.

Then I met up with Annegret from Canada and Stefanie from Australia at the Louvre, where we began, what we titled, our "Parisian Prowl."  Here are some pictures of the Louvre at night.

We walked from the Louvre, along the Seine...

Past the giant Ferris wheel (which costs 10 euros to ride.  ridiculous)

Stefanie and Annegret
 Past pretty little fountains, and down tree-lined streets.

All the way to the Champs Elysees.  This is a car from the window of a Toyota store on the Champs Elysees, it's crazy!

Yes, we went to McDonalds.  But only for hot chocolate (because it was the least expensive we could find!).  I thought it was funny that they have goat cheese burgers at McDonald's here:

Week 3 at school.  We got to go to catering class this week to make savory pastries!  
Chef Montassier cutting up pork belly
 So I knew it was a good sign when the first thing we did was to line a tart ring with bacon!

After the bacon layer, was a layer of very thinly sliced potatoes, some goat cheese, more potatoes, and then a round of puff pastry.  MMMM!  Some people in our class used steamed zucchini slices instead of bacon, for a healthier option.  I didn't.

Here they are once they're cooked--they're served with the pastry side down.

We also made quiche Lorraine.  I LOVED this exercise because it was kind of like an experiment.  We got to choose to use either pure cream, pure milk, or half cream/half milk.  Well, I chose pure cream!  Here are all the quiches after cooking.  The lightest colored ones were form the pure milk recipe, the very browned and lumpy ones were from the pure cream recipe, and the medium ones are half/half.  We got to taste one of each to compare and I really think that the cream one is the better tasting, although some liked the half/half best--no one really liked the milk one.

My pure cream quiche!  It was yummy

Milk quiche

Half/half quiche
 Then we did sausage wrapped in brioche dough.  But we didn't just wrap it in the dough, we wove the dough first.  Chef Montassier made these sausages a few days ago.  They have pistachios in them!

Rolling out the brioche dough

setting up the dough for weaving

Rolling out the woven dough to remove holes

Wrapped sausage
 This is my dough after weaving!

Here is the final product.

On catering day 1 we also made this bread (called a salty cake here), that had feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil in it.  We also learned about sauces, and made the brown mushroom sauce that is on top of the breaded sausage above.  Finally, we prepared doughs to use for the next day.

Catering day 2, we learned about different cuts used in cooking.

This is puff pastry topped with Mornay sauce (a béchamel sauce that has egg yolk and cheese added), a layer of ham, more Mornay sauce, and cheese.

Then another layer of puff pastry is sealed on top to make a pillow.

We also made little sausage-filled puff pastries (I ate mine for breakfast the other day mmmmmm!).

We got to decorate the tops of our pastry pillows--this is chef's design

You can't really tell, but I tried to draw little wheat sprigs in mine

Our pizzas

We made these little things called bouchee a la reine.  And here's some more Catherine de Medici history:  did you know she brought forks and table manners and, arguably, better tasting foods to France?  This was one of the dishes that one of her chefs created just for her, and she apparently loved it.  It starts with puff pastry dough, cut out with a dough outline cut out and stuck on top (to make a little bowl once it cooks).  Highlight of my day: chef singled mine out and said "c'est superbe!!" and pulled them aside from the rest and even kept one for himself!  yay! 

So, you cut off the top layer very carefully and it's hollow in the middle. 
Then you stuff it with deliciousness and put the cut-out back like a little hat

Crepe-making demonstration

Crepe pans

My crepes

Parisian gnocchi (not anything like Italian gnocchi)

On Friday, there was a large display made by one of the French adult pastry classes.  We got to taste all sorts of yummy things.

Incredible chocolate sculpture

Display of what we made in pastry class this week

I had a really nice weekend.  Although it was sad to move out from the Garmon's place, I got to move into a place that I can call mine and that felt pretty good. 


  1. I keep thinking how beautiful the food is. I love all the attention to detail, like braiding the dough for the sausages.

    I have to start reading your blog later in the day. These photos have pretty much ruined my appetite for my own humble breakfast. I want to go have a brioche sausage right away!

  2. Again....these pictures are FABULOUS!!! And that woven pastry around sausage...OMG looks NOM NOM NOM!!!