Culinary School: Week 10 (of 12 weeks)
Last Week's Diary: An Easier Way to Fill a Pastry Bag
This week in culinary school we focused on mousse and soufflés. Both of these desserts originate in recipes that sound easy, but they are both very delicate. Turn your head for a moment and your pastry cream is scrambled or you've over-whipped your heavy cream.
Attention to detail is paramount in classic pastry recipes, and small tricks make for a prettier, tastier dessert. Our instructor this week taught us a simple trick to make soufflés rise evenly in the oven for better presentation.
Our instructor use to work at the Four Seasons in London, and always used this simple trick for prettier soufflés. As you can see in the short video I took above, the chef fills a ramekin with the soufflé mixture, and then runs the end of a fork along the edge of the dish to pull the mixture away the ramekin. This way the soufflé will rise evenly in the oven.
Here's What We Made in Culinary School This Week
There was only one class this week for culinary school and we focused on mousse and soufflés. I have to admit, this was my least favorite class of culinary school so far.
Maybe I was having an off night, but I seemed to just mess everything up: I burned my hand, I scrambled my pastry cream, my partner was out sick so I worked by myself, I messed up the proportions of my white mousse twice, and well, I just don't like the taste of soufflés. I had a huge stomachache the next day after tasting everything.
Unlike working in savory, when you mess up in pastry you can't just add more salt to the dish and it'll be OK. When you mess up in pastry, a lot of the time, you have to start over. So even though I had a hard class, I learned a lot in the process.
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.