Saturday, February 20, 2010

tarts, tarts, and more tarts

What a week! I don't even know where to start. French language and drawing classes aside, these past 5 days have been a whirlwind. On Monday we had catering class, where each of us were in charge of our own recipe(s). I think I speak for many of us when I say that we could've used a little more guidance, however, everything turned out in the end... but only after countless cries of, "Chef! How do I _____??" or "Is it supposed to look like this?" Although the chef was hovering around the labo, it was up to us (and our prior cuisine experience & creativity) to execute and deliver an edible product. I got to make a delicious rutabaga and leek cream soup garnished with bacon bits.... mmmm! Other recipes included seared tuna, quail eggs, salmon, and a miso-caramel sauce! In the end, we created a buffet of hors d'oeuvres which was colorful and amazing!

Tuesday was another full day of tarts. We made a tarte aux amandes (almond tart) and a tarte Bourdaloue (poached pears in an almond "filling"). The fragile pâte sucrée (sweet pastry dough) was pretty difficult to use, as it kept cracking... luckily we could patch it!

Tarte aux Amandes

Tarte Bourdaloue

and we even had enough dough to make some minis (with blackcurrants on the bottom of the round tartlettes.... mmmmm)!

Thursday was a looong day that started at 6:30am. But at least I got to bake some real French baguettes! I'd never made bread before, unless you count those small shapes/animals of dough that turn into rocks after baking them... It was definitely a process, and we didn't take the baguettes out of the oven until about 11am. Learning about the 5+ types of flour, relationship between the humidity and water temperature (or something like that...), and various methods/techniques to make the bread was pretty cool. AND our bread was being used for the cafeteria that day for lunch! We must've made about 100 baguettes, in addition to little shapes that weren't rock hard after they came out of the oven!

We started with this:

which made this:

which then became this golden delicious chewy goodness:

That afternoon we continued with pâtisserie class and did the mise en place for the tarts the next day. Despite how easy that might sound (we just made the tart shells and round "biscuits"), we didn't get out until about 6pm... almost 12 hours of class!

We finished the week on Friday with another full day of tarts... tarte au café (coffee tart) and tarte au citron (lemon curd tart, with and without the meringue). Oh boy, would you have guessed that a coffee tart would have so many steps?? We covered a molded coffee "mousse/whipped cream" with a sticky coffee glaze, which we carefully placed on top of the tart shell, where a coffee-soaked biscuit enrobed in coffee ganache was waiting. Glazing the whipped cream was the most difficult part as the glaze was sticky and you had to work quickly because the cream started to melt (despite freezing it ahead of time)!

For the two lemon curd tarts, we made two different lemon curds... both with the same ingredients but different proportions. After the coffee tart, these seemed like a piece of tarte (haha I crack myself up)! Still can't believe I made these:

Class ended
with a dégustation (tasting) of the yummy deliciousness. The tarte au citron meringuée was probably my favorite, although the other two weren't far behind. The coffee tart was surprisingly delicious, considering I don't really care for coffee too much... I even took a mini one home with me!

Despite the long hours and the fact that my feet were begging for a break by the end of the week, I am so happy that I chose to come here. Goodness, my whole body might even be pleading for mercy by the end of this year, but it's so worth it. I've already learned so much!


  1. This all looks so unbelievably beautiful (not to mention appetizing)!! I'm so happy that you're loving what you're doing. I can't wait to hear more about your experiences. :)

  2. Oh...Uncle Winston finally showed me WHERE to post a comment...
    We are ALL enjoying your pictures and the accounts of your classes...yum yum!!!

  3. This blog is a fabulous idea. Love your Show and Tell - it's a perfect 10, A+. Your excitement and happiness really show through. Auntie E and I are looking forward to sharing your wonderful journey.

    Oh, your mother wanted to sign off with "love, Mommy"...