Friday, April 11, 2014

Culinary Technique: Week 5

We started off our final week of culinary class learning how to make souffles and mousses. I have to say that my first and last encounter with souffle was not an amazing one, which leaves me wondering why some people are so crazy about it. But after learning how to make it and tasting the final product, I have to say that when done right, it leaves you craving for more. The initial creation is quite beautiful but after it cools down it sinks, which is why many places prepare it right before it should be served.

The next day, we made a genoise cake which is one that does not call for chemicals for leavening. Instead, similar to a souffle, it requires the perfect marriage of timing, whipping, and heating. I think now, I can finally understand the logic behind making a meringue as part of your cake batter. Also, I learned a slightly different variation of a swiss meringue butter cream that uses yolks instead of whites to achieve a richer flavor and creamy consistency. At the end of the day, the most rewarding part was putting it all together into a final art piece.

After creating and sculpting the dough over a course of three days, we were finally ready to assemble and complete our puff pastry fruit tart. Chef was suppose to show us more variations that we can do with the puff pastry dough, but unfortunately time did not permit so we never got to that. However, the end product was a very delicious and colorful masterpiece. 

Finally, the day has come to pop a bottle of champagne and overload on seafood. It was like a trip around the world and back with an Asian inspired scallop dish, to Belgium style mussels, and American lobster dish (the classic french way). Who knew that seafood, although so delicious could be so overwhelming. For many of us, we killed a lobster for the first time, and that was how we started off the morning before moving on to other dishes. I really wished that we spent more time on seafood and not squeeze it all into a day. 

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