Culinary School: Week 9 (of 12 weeks)
Last Week's Diary: Don't Like the Taste of Egg Yolk? Try Adding Lemon Peel!
In a fantasy life I would work in pastry in either a restaurant or a bakeshop. There is just something so soothing about working in pastry. Everything is so precise. You can work with the same four ingredients and get vastly different results depending on ratios or when the ingredients are added to the recipe.
One thing that's not so clean and precise that I learned last week in culinary school, however, is filling and maneuvering a pastry bag. Our instructor taught us this simple step to make things a little easier.
Pastry bag + Spatula + Plastic container
Normally when you fill a pastry bag you simply hold on to the bag in the middle, fold it down to your hand, and then stuff your filling in the bag with a spatula. Things can get messy if you hold too far up the bag, or get the filling on the side of the pastry bag instead of towards the tip.
An easy and faster way to fill a pastry bag when you're using one for the first time is to use a plastic container like the kind you get from any take-out restaurant. Take your pastry bag and put it in the container, and then fold it down around the outside of the container. This method helps you get the filling farther down the pastry bag without making a mess.
Have you ever tried this? Do you think it's worth the extra, cleaner step?
This Week in Culinary School
I am incapable of smiling. Don't judge.
We tackled a lot for the first week of pastry. My instructor indicated that he wasn't sure we could do it all, but was seriously impressed when the class pulled through.
The hardest part was making and shaping the sweet and salty doughs for the tarts and quiches. There just wasn't a lot of time for everything to set and be cold enough to work with. The little time we had the dough in the freezer, however, really helped.
Here are ALL thing things my partner and I made last week for culinary school.
Cream puffs (+ Eclair) filled with Pastry Craem
Chef decided it would be a good idea to show us how hot caramel is by putting all of it on the marble countertop and watching it harden.
Pear Tart with Frangipane
Next week is a short week – we're working on mousses and souffles! I think I might faint I'm so excited.
After dreaming about culinary school for the last five years, I finally signed up for a course this summer at the International Culinary Center in New York. The course, "Culinary Techniques," is a three month class that meets two nights a week, and focuses on classic culinary traditions and methods like knife skills, stock-making, classic recipes, and some pastry.
(Image credits: Ariel Knutson)