Week 8: The pace is on, and practice makes perfect!

The pace is on. As mentioned before, we are in the crunch period of the curriculum and this past week definitely felt like it. Not much time to reflect on the days, we just moved on to the next task and day’s agenda.

The week began with our second quiz which I was happy about, again. I studied well, and was glad that it was over with at the top of the day. The quiz was followed by a practice day for our big entremet (layered cake) project that was due on wednesday, then executed and judged for marks. We also had doughnut day on Tuesday.

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Friday was buffet day with the culinary students who prepared a massive Indian and Thai buffet for the whole school. We shared our cakes with them, for the dessert platter. We ate together at long tables for lunch – like a family. It was awesome to sit together, enjoy their food and company, and it was a wonderful way to wrap up an full week. The food was amazing.

My friday buffet lunch plate.

My friday buffet lunch plate.

My Entremet Project: After the quiz, the balance of Monday was a practice day for our entremet project preparation. We tested recipes we planned to use. It was a little chaotic that day, compared to usual, because all 12 of us were doing different things (rather than the same thing).

Overall, I think we all enjoyed this day though, and learned a lot from the practice. We were able to critique each others’ recipes and provide feedback –  too sweet, not sweet enough, maybe increase or decrease yield of recipe, etc. From this I made some modifications to my own project. Our projects were graded on a variety of factors including waste, cleanliness, textures, flavour combinations, etc.

We had to hand in a written report on our entremets too: detailing the the recipe for every layer, equipment needed, detailed methods for each recipe, how to assemble the entire cake, what our project timeline for the two days is, and all details of recipe costing for the entire cake (i.e. how much the cake costs to make, and sell). It was a lot of work. I was grateful for my word and excel skills, as it had to be typed, bound together, and presented nicely.

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At 9am on Wednesday we turned in the report then we had to deliver the exact cake we planned. Thursday morning we had 2 more hours to add the finishing touches and present for grading. We were graded one by one, it was intense to wait your turn to be judged. Fortunately we had other recipes to practice for our midterm, and this kept me distracted.

My entremet creation was a Sweet Vanilla S’more, which included: a base layer of graham dacquoise sponge cake, then dark chocolate mousse, graham cracker sponge cake, a caramel vanilla soaker layer, topped with a layer of vanilla bean marshmallow and torched on top like all marshmallows are. The outer edges were decorated with meringue sticks, and topped with chocolate curls to look like a campfire.

The taste of s'more...

I have never made chocolate curls, marshmallow, or either of the sponges until that week. It was a risk on my part, but I followed my instinct. The sponges I modified from recipes in class and tested them on monday, along with the marshmallow. I managed to pull it all off and I was happy with the result.

If I had to remake this, and I will, i’d use less meringue on the outside because it was very sweet. Or perhaps use a different sponge on the outside. I’d also like to have a graham cracker crust bottom to add more of a crunch, but that layer didn’t fit the requirements of this particular project, so i’ll test it out on my own another day. Overall, it did taste like a s’more, so I achieved that much! I was happy with my grade, which we received right away. I agreed with the Chefs’ feedback too.

The balance of Thursday and Friday were practice days to prepare for this week’s practical exam. It’s all about practice, practice really does makes perfect. I managed to make perfect macarons finally, it took me four tries. I just hope I can pull it off again tomorrow. We practiced baguettes so many times during bread week, now we make them again for marks.

Oh ya, and on Tuesday we learned how to make doughnuts! Three kinds: french crullers, cake doughnuts, and yeast doughnuts. We also learned about deep frying. I’ve never made doughnuts before, and it was fun, but less exciting if you get burned by any oil that splashes. That combined with the warm oily feeling air, I was ready for a shower after class. I don’t think I could ever work in a doughnut shop. But, they do taste AMAZING when fresh out of the fryer, and reminded me of the PNE mini-donuts.

At any rate, it was a FULL week to say the least, hence this LONG post. I was up until midnight for a few nights earlier in the week to finish my entremet project, and had been up late the weekend before to study for our second quiz. By the end of the week, I was beat – I fell asleep on the couch friday night. Seriously.

I feel like i’m still recovering, but I have been studying for my midterm this weekend as well and fit in some fitness (to keep me balanced). I feel ready. Bring on the midterm and the second half of the program!

Photo recap of the week, in no particular order:

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Having some fun after class one day!

Croissants are coming along, hopefully I can produce more like this tomorrow.

Croissants are coming along, hopefully I can produce more like this tomorrow, or even better. Practice makes perfect!

We eat like a family together. So grateful the amazing food and this entire experience.

Buffet day: we eat like a family, together. So grateful the amazing food and this entire experience.

I used my leftovers in mason jars, a s'more in a jar!

I used my entremet leftovers to make a few s’mores in a jar!

Chef Tony describing the feast before us, as we drool over the aromas and platter descriptions. Well done to the Culinary students on this one.

Chef Tony describing the feast before us, as we drool over the aromas and platter descriptions for buffet day. Well done to the Culinary students on this one, thank you! It was a wonderful way to wrap up the week.

My meringue sticks ready for use. Dusted with graham cracker crumbs.

My meringue sticks ready for use. Dusted with graham cracker crumbs.

Practice makes perfect! I finally nailed it with making perfect chocolate macrons. Such a great feeling.

Practice makes perfect! I finally nailed it with making perfect chocolate macrons. Such a great feeling.

My practice cake from minday.

My practice cake from monday.

The final product! Even looking at it now, i realize I should have cut the meringue sticks shorter.

The final product! Even looking at it now, i realize I should have cut the meringue sticks shorter.

Monday's practice cakes, we reviewed them as a class and shared feedback. It was a fun exercise.

Monday’s practice cakes, we reviewed them as a class and shared feedback. It was a fun exercise.

Waiting in the fridge for final judging....

Waiting in the fridge for final judging….

Doughnut day success!

Doughnut day success!

We had so many different glazes, dulce de leche, orange, strawberry, etc.

We had so many different glazes, dulce de leche, orange, strawberry, etc.

Filled with raspberry jelly....

Filled with raspberry jelly….

Honey crullers in the making! One of my favourites as a kid.

Honey crullers in the making! One of my favourites as a kid.

Before we glazed, here's my platter of doughnuts. My station partner had to leave for the afternoon so I was able to glaze all of these on my own.

Before we glazed, here’s my platter of doughnuts. My station partner had to leave for the afternoon so I was able to glaze all of these on my own.

The inside of a yeast doughnut, we agreed it reminded us of the Challah bread from earlier in the term.

The inside of a yeast doughnut, we agreed it reminded us of the Challah bread from earlier in the term.

learning the tricks of deep frying.

learning the tricks of deep frying.

Perfect colour on a cake doughnut.

Perfect colour on a cake doughnut.

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The oil temperature has to be just right.

The oil temperature has to be just right.

Playing with cake doughnut dough.

Playing with cake doughnut shapes.

Yeast doughnuts before proofing.

Yeast doughnuts ready to proof.

Yeast doughnut rounding.

Yeast doughnut rounding, before proofing and frying.

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