Hard to believe we’re coming down the stretch already. Hard to believe it wasn’t just yesterday that I walked into the bakeshop at Midwest Culinary Institute for the first time, as a total pastry noob who was likely to put my eye out with the pointy end of that cake I just oafishly brutalized in what would be construed a war crime in several foreign jurisdictions.
Just thirteen short weeks later, and I have improved my bread-baking skills, worked my way through sweet dough, éclairs and Parisian macarons, and made tons of ganache. I have experienced the joys and sorrows of both French and Italian meringue. I have learned to work with puff pastry, gained a least minimal competence with pies, cakes and tortes, and delved into the mysteries of custards, mousses, crème brȗlée, crème Anglaise, tuiles, chocolate coins and fruit coulis. I even know how to use a piping kit, a chef’s torch, a tuile template, gelatin sheets and a candy thermometer — not all at the same time, of course. That would be awkward.
Hard to believe I can now make this: an orange chiffon torte, with a touch of Cointreau and raspberry marmalade, frosted with whipped ganache and enrobed with poured ganache — I told you, we make tons of ganache in this class.
We even hand-made those little decorative chocolate motifs — how cool is that? Anyway, just wanted to take a few minutes to share what I have been doing with my Monday nights since late August — continuing to chase my passion for the kitchen. I like to think I’m better for the experience, even if I still prefer to sauté and flambé to get my jollies. Until our next culinary adventure together: Eat well, my friends!