Chocolate X 3    

September 30 1998
Girls, Girls, Girls
attempt to break their arms

The task of the day:

Individual European Pastries

Boy, yesterday sure was a bunch of bummers. Before I get to that, however, I might as well spill all of the good stuff.

Made some mini-tarts consisting of caramel, whipped chocolate ganache, and pecans. They were a fair amount of work (spreading caramel without having blemishes is tough), but were also excellent. We also started work on our pastries for tomorrow, which are going to be layered chocolate and mousee pastries.

The first step in making these pastries is the bottom layer, which is a very thin layer of cookie dough, cut into a two and one half inch square, and baked off until very crispy. The next step is creating two layers of solid chocolate, one sixteenth of an inch thick. These chocolate wafers have a pattern of white and milk chocolate spattered on them. In order to do this, a plastic sheet is placed down, and you use a piping bag to drizzle random spirals onto the plastic. Then you spread the entire sheet with melted dark chocolate, making sure it's very thin. All of the chocolate you use for this must be tempered first, which takes about half an hour per chocolate. It's gobs of work, but you do make quite of few of these at one go.

By the way, a few people have asked what tempering chocolate is. Chocolate that's been melted won't set up properly when cooled until you temper it. This is achieved by slowly lowering the temperature of the chocolate below 90 degrees, while stirring the chocolate and adding "seed" (or already solid) chocolate to the melted mixture. It's not hard, but is time consuming.

* * *

Bad stuff during the last 24 hours:

  • Lost my credit card
  • A woman in my class nearly broke her hand by reaching into a Hobart mixer that was on
  • I got a wicked hangover today from three drinks last night
  • My roommates have broken up and Marla's moved out
  • Motley Crue's "Girls, Girls, Girls" is stuck in my head because Chef was singing it today
  • Our student assistant knocked over an entire tray of pastries, ruining them all
  • He also burned a cake into ashes that he was supposed to be watching

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Copyright 1998 Tom Dowdy