Saturday, 4 December 2010

Friends and Fours

Without getting too soppy, this weeks blog is going to have to be a bit of a shout out to my fellow budding pastry chefs in group D. Since that momentous day when we met in the Boulangerie in the beginnings of October we have become quite a close knit group and they are certainly the cherry on the top of my LCB days. Anyway, enough of that for now, time to talk about the matter at hand: petit fours.  Petit four or ‘small oven’ are miniture treats served with your coffee at the end of a hefty meal, and should be no more than 2-bite sized. They can be quite a variety of things from meringues and biscuits to pastries, chocolates and fudges but the one thing they must be is small. I do quite like the idea of miniture food, mostly because it looks cute and so with a whole variety to cover I was looking forward to the lessons on the topic.

We began on Thursday with a demo that covered sables hollandais, meringue a l'amande and tuiles a l'orange. Sables biscuits are named so because of their sand-like texture, They are like a french shortbread and come in many varieties. The aim of our sable game was to make both a chocolate and a plain mix and use them together to make patterened biscuits. For the almond meringues we were shown three different ways of piping and finishing off the mixture and the tuille was an alternative to the plain batter we first covered way back in October. Because petit fours are so small, even low quantity recipes produce enough to feed the masses so there was more than enough to go round after class, all served up on a mirrored platter.


In class our task was to make the sables and meringues and if there was anytime we could make the tuiles as a class as an added bonus. The sables can be quite time consuming because there is alot of cutting and fiddly work to get the patterns and they need to be chilled inbetween layers, but the end result is satisfying enough to justify the time spent. At the end of class we found ourselves with a miraculous half an hour left to frantically make some tuilles. The result was a lot of mad dashes up and down the stairs to the stockroom to get the ingredients that hadnt been accounted for and alot of hands around one bowl zesting, mixing & piping. Without enough time to chill the batter it spread a fair amount across the tray in the oven and we ended up with what chef called 'road kill tuile'! Nothing a bit of artistic liscence and a bagette rack couldnt solve though. They were an added bonus not only because they make a tasty take home treat but also because we seemed to be the only group who managed to make them.

Selection of sables

Almond Meringues

Best roadkill I ever did see

On Friday it was time to be shown another multitude of sweet treats. Class covered two types of fudge, florentines, financiers and macarons. Macarons have, much like cupcakes, become very fashionable over the past few years with a lot of shops stocking all sorts of brightly coloured and different flavoured styles and so are potentially quite important for the budding pastry chef, but do require a bit of time to fully master. Heres the end platter from demo, my favourite were the financiers topped with fresh raspberries.

With alot to get done in class we worked together as a group in practical this week. I quite enjoyed it as it was a bit like being in a real kitchen. We each had to make our own macarons because that was where we were being marked but the rest was a group effort all round. The end results of everything were really good and dispite everyone being a bit tired and ill we worked well as a group. Anyway, before I start getting soppy again, here are the pictures

Petit Fours a la group D

Very bright macarons

We are heading into our last weeks of the first term, which has well and truly flown by. First exams start on Tuesday with our theory exam so a weekend of revision awaits me. So if anyone need to know egg coagulation temperatures in the near furture then I'm definately your gal.. 

1 comment:

  1. awwwwwww :) i never want to leave. Now i want to cry.