Thursday, May 17, 2012

Building biceps (and breaking down egos) with Chef Bill

These light-as-air profiteroles
evolve from a bicep-
building choux paste. 

This week was the first in the kitchen for the afternoon Cook Basic I. Chef Bill beat us into shape yesterday– literally – insisting on the manual whipping of eggs for génoise sponge, chocolate mousse and whipped cream. The fire in my forearms by mid-afternoon was a welcome relief from Tuesday’s bicep-building lesson on choux paste (like mixing eggs into potters clay...with a spoon.) 

Monday started sedately enough with banana bread, corn muffins and shortbreads. Already in my minimal repertoire of baking, they turned out fairly respectable. From the second day on, though, the learning curve got a bit steeper.

Resty, Devon and Nathan putting the finishing touches on their mousse.
There were several lessons built into the construction of each item that we turned out (with varying degrees of success).  Tuesday’s profiteroles involved the choux paste lesson for the shell along with pastry cream for the filling. Chef’s warning to err on the side of excess for the starch was lost on me, leaving me with a runny filling for the shells and a messy challenge with the piping bag (though I heard no complaints from the taste testers).

Nathan's chocolate mousse with its base of
génoise sponge took a lot of  whipping...
by hand. 
Ego-deflation is part of the collateral damage, with génoise more like bricks than sponges, and flat, runny and less than stellar chocolate mousses. Chef’s plan will break us down to build us up while our own learning curves will help keep our egos in check. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.