Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tray Up!

Hey everyone. With the bread unit over, I think it's safe to say we've turned a corner in my education. We've reached the almighty petit four unit. A petit four (literally, "little oven") is a dessert that eaten in only one or two bites. It can be almost anything, really, so this unit serves as a review of most of the techniques we've learned thus far. The way this unit works, though, is that we save what we make the first class and add that to what we make the second class, so that we can put together a petit four tray. They call that "traying up."

So, here are the results of days 1 and 2 of petits fours:

I will describe everything from left to right. First up, on the two ends, we have the palets aux raisins. These are very simple, but tasty, raisin cookies. They're glazed with rum, too, and they're actually pretty good!

Next are the almond tuiles. These are very delicate, paper-thin wafers that were flavored with ground almond and orange zest. Pretty good, although they're really fragile and kept shattering as we tried to lay them on the tray. Also, I have to be honest and say that while these are delicious, the appearance of the raw batter kind of turned me off to them. I'll just say that it looks like the result of having way too much fun on a night out...moving on.

Third from the left are the financiers, a very classic French pastry and petit four. It is a cake made with almond meal. We topped ours with pineapple. I have heard a couple stories as to why these are called financiers. The first is that it is simple to eat and doesn't leave crumbs on your suit, and the second, given by our chefs, is that they're cheap, but you can charge a lot for them. The latter sounds more accurate, I think.

Next up we have the drool-worthy chocolate macaron. These are not the macarons that are so trendy these days. These are more of a wafer cookie...crunchy. We sandwiched these together with ganache. They're REALLY good.

Second to last, we have little passion fruit barquettes. A barquette is a tart that is shaped like a boat. Ours are filled with passion fruit curd and topped with fresh blueberries.

Finally, we have the macarons gerbet. These ARE the macarons that are super trendy now, and were almost my undoing. To be fair, they are notoriously tricky to make, and so many things can go wrong with them. For some reason (chef thinks I may have mis-scaled my almond flour), my macarons would not deflate enough, and my dough was therefore very stiff and dry. Seriously, I mixed this dough by hand for a half hour straight and nothing happened! I was...exasperated, to be sure. But, they tasted great, even if they weren't very pretty. The macarons in the picture (courtesy of my partner, Nicole) were colored pink and filled with raspberry jam. However, I brought a bunch home and filled them with Nutella, which my barber raved about. Suck it, raspberries!

Well, there you have it. Next up, we're making Sara Bernhardts, Madeleines, and a whole bunch of other junk. Huzzah!

1 comment:

  1. Brett--
    This is one of my favorite units. So many little time.