Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chocolate Upon Chocolate

Going into class, I actually had the thought that it was going to be fairly laid back and calm, since our syllabus had us only making two tarts, both of which looked pretty simple and straightforward in the recipes. I was definitely wrong on that.

We started by learned how to make the third in the tart dough triumvirate…pâte sablée (sandy dough), which is a more of a cookie dough, like shortbread.  It’s a very versatile dough, as you can use it for a tart, but you could also use it as a cookie base, which is what we did. We incorporated candied citrus peel and glazed them with a grand marnier glaze. They were delicious, although I found the chewiness of the peel didn’t really go well with the cookie.
Next, we got to work on our chocolate Bavarian cream tart. We learned that when something is called Bavarian, it means it has a base plus gelatin plus whipped cream. Yeah, I think I can get behind that. In this case, our base was crème anglaise, which is important because it is also our first foray into stirred custards. It is made very similarly to our pots de crèmes, and you have to be very careful not to overcook it and curdle the eggs. After making the crème anglaise and stirring in dark chocolate and gelatin, we strained the mixture into a bowl in an ice bath to chill. After that, we folded in our freshly whipped (by hand, of course) cream to create a light, fluffy bavaroise! After setting up in the fridge and some decorations of whipped cream rosettes and shaved gianduia chocolate, our tarte was complete! And delicious! Take a look!

Next up…ganache! Ganache is simply heavy cream mixed with chocolate. What, you thought it was going to be healthy?! Please. Ganache is very simple, but very flavorful. It really only took a few minutes to make. The difficult part was in the decoration. We learned how to make cornets, which are kind of like the pastry bag’s little brother. It is made out of rolling a piece of parchment paper into a cone and is used for fine detail work. We used melted white chocolate to pipe our designs. It was a little tricky for me at first, but I eventually got the hang of it. So, does this tart look good or what?

And now onto a little bonus section, where I make you jealous. So, one of the courses offered at FCI is called the Art of International Bread Baking. They make the most amazing artisanal breads, and the chefs usually slice up a loaf or two for us to try during class. It’s wonderful! However, at the end of every night, they throw a ton of it out, so we are all allowed to raid the bread kitchen and take loaves of bread home. Man, I can’t even really explain how delicious this bread is. Plain, with butter, as a turkey sandwich…it doesn’t matter. It’s just good. Basically, what I'm saying is, I get amazing bread every other day, and you don't. So there!


  1. OMG Brett that looks soo good I want to eat it right off the screen!! And definitely jealous of all that bread! So happy for you!

  2. Can I sign up for this course? The ganache and decorations are gorgeous. Love, Mom