We started the week by working on items that served as vessels for various different creams and custards. The first was the Crepe.
Pastry cream of course. Angie and I display teamwork in cooking our pastry cream. It’s one of the most basic sauces and one of the easiest. Eggs, sugar and cornstarch are blended then tempered with hot milk and a vanilla bean. When all the liquid is added, it’s boiled slightly until thickened. Very tasty too. It’s the basis for a crepe or even an eclair.
We also used our pastry cream as the base for our cannoli cream. Here you see how a cannoli is built. Cannolo are a favorite dessert in Sicily.
The filling gets piped in from either end and there you have it. I’m not particularly fond of the cannoli or even a cream puff. I’m more of a cake/pie person. So I was looking forward to our next few days of pie making. There are several different types of pie doughs for different types of pies. There is the flaky crust, mostly used for fresh fruit pies. There is a mealy crust which is used for pies that have a lot of liquid in them. There is a pate brisee in which eggs are used. The eggs help to create a barrier between the filling and the crust as not to make your crust soggy. You’d use a Pate Brisee for a quiche, custard or pumpkin pie. My favorite crust is the Pate Sablee. That dough contains lots of sugar and butter and is quite similar to a sugar cookie. It’s much more difficult to handle but worth it.
Rolling out pie crusts is one of the most difficult skills to develop.
You’d never know we were beginners. After we got the crust down, we were off to pie heaven.
So we make a lot of product during the week and sometimes don’t bake everything off until later. Thursday was a day like that. Most of the pies were baked on Thursday and our custards and creams that we worked on during the week was baked and tasted on Thursday. The day started with this sampler of custards.
On the blue plate left, we have a Coconut Flan, right is a Creme Brulee and front center is Panna Cotta. The Panna Cotta was my favorite. It has no egg so gelatin is used to firm it up. The milk is heated, then mixed with sugar and vanilla and gelatin. It gets poured in molds and chilled. Above is the Pot de Creme, or chocolate pudding. That was really good also but very rich. In addition to these treats, we sampled all the pies so by the end of the day, I really felt like I had OD’d on sugar. I felt my heart racing….or maybe it was manopause!
Part of our final practical is to make Pate a Choux, or eclaire paste and pipe it out into eclairs and profiteroles. A profiterole is the tiny puff of the cream puff. Angie and I worked together.