Rush Hour    

September 21 1998
Just like Mom used to make
back in Indiana

The task of the day:

Cakes, Torts, and Tarts

We're back with Chef Grewling again. This week we're going to be doing cake-like desserts that serve multiple people. The first day was pretty much a "get introduced" sort of day, with a bit of minor production to get the week started. Tomorrow and following, each group will be producing a different one of four classifications of cake-like desserts. More about that in a later edition, I'm sure.

Chef chopped us up into 7 groups this week, because there are 19 in the class. The two long term students (Dan and myself) got put into a group of two, which is pretty cool. Nice of the chef to trust us. Guess it was misguided, however, as we batted 0 for 2 today.

The first mistake was an over mixed sponge cake. We got lots of air into it, which is a great thing. But, I was so careful with the mixing of the flour into the eggs that I hardly deflated it at all. This is all normally very good. However, we had so much air in the cake, that it didn't cook evenly. Oh well. It'll still probably be just fine when used in a cake. We'll also have lots of chances to make more. We're going to be doing alot of cakes this week.

The 2nd failure was in making an Italian meringue that was to go into a Buttercream that we were making. The problem was a combination of undermixed egg whites and under cooked sugar syrup. The meringue just didn't come together right. But, we noticed it and did that part over, so the final buttercream turned out just fine. Tasted great too, with all of that real pure, high quality butter that they use at the school.

Lots of people hate buttercream. That's because most people haven't had real buttercream. What passes for buttercream in most stores is a mixture of shortening and powdered sugar. Yum. Real buttercream is a stabilizer (in our case, egg whites whipped with hot sugar syrup) plus butter. It tastes nothing like SweetGrease(tm).

* * *

Went to catch the latest Jackie Chan film, Rush Hour. Good mindless fun. Excellent stunts as usual for Mr. Chan. Chris Tucker was less interesting than he was in The 5th Element. Paid $4 and didn't feel ripped off.

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Copyright 1998 Tom Dowdy