Sunday, April 4, 2010

happy easter!

With Easter this weekend and spring on its way, I think our menu this past week was quite appropriate: colorful macarons (yes, that's right, we got to make them!), petits fours, and brioche!

Monday through Wednesday were spent on our little bite-sized treats. Each team of two made 3 different flavors of macarons. *Note: don't get them confused with the beloved coconut haystacks, macaroons... macarons are actually an almond meringue-based sandwich cookie with a filling.* A special treat with trademark aspects (such as a delicate crust with an established trim/"foot" and a light/chewy interior), macarons have become one of the "IT" patisseries of the past few years. McDo's (MacDonald's) is even selling them on their McCafé menu.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous for the day we'd learn how to make macarons. What if mine came out flat and hard (like the ones I had tried making at home before coming to Paris)?? What if I didn't have the coveted "foot" or trimming formed on the bottom edge of the cookie? Fortunately, after following chef's precise directions, we produced macarons that actually looked and tasted like macarons!

our colorful macaron cookies, not yet filled

filled and ready to sell ;) = box of deliciousness

In addition to our colorful treats, we made an assortment of petits fours... or basically a million types of cookies. I made sponges, sandwich cookies covered in almonds with a praline filling, in addition to biarritz, a round flat butter cookie with a thin layer of chocolate on one side (think of a circular Milano cookie with only one cookie... no sandwich). Spreading the chocolate on one side of the thin fragile cookies without making a huge mess was quite a challenge, but with time and patience, I managed to finish just before clean-up :). As everyone made at least 2 different recipes, we got to take home a box of assorted cookies... now if only I had a party to go to!

box of deliciousness #2 (sponge cookie in center, next to humpy madeleine; biarritz peeking in from the left side)

The end of the week was quite brutal, as we had boulangerie both Thursday and Friday mornings, 6:30am and 7am respectively. We made baguettes for the cafeteria, a specialized bread (pain de mie again for my group! mmmm), and brioche/pain au lait doughs for the next morning. On Friday, we folded squares of butter into croissant dough and shaped/braided our brioche. I think we also shaped our pain au lait... I had only gotten a combined 10-hrs of sleep the past 2 nights so some things might've blurred together...

HUGE mixer for the bread doughs

my shapes for the pain au lait (I got a little crazy with the chocolate chips): mushrooms, flowers, and little balls... who spies the creepy smiley face?


Unfortunately I forgot (again) to take a picture of my finished pain de mie. It's basically like a square loaf of sandwich bread... also deliciousness. It was great to know though, that our creations this past week contributed to our Easter brunch this morning. French toast with homemade bread = mmmm!!

Hope you all have a Happy Easter and enjoy the day off on Monday (or at least I know I have it off! hehe)!

1 comment:

  1. what fun these look! I hope you remember how to make these when you come home. Our neighbors and friends all want to be your "tasters"!!! I finally realized just how to post the comments...