Friday, October 14, 2005

Freezer Burn

I'm still waiting to hear from my mother, regarding my dad's surgery, so no news on that front. But my freezer is full of ice cream, in a variety of configurations, so we've got that going for us, which is nice. Plus, Chef Bob gave me a really good evaluation today, which just made my damn day. It's funny--it's not the grade, per se, that's important; if he had given me a lower grade but said the same things to me (and explained how I could continue to get better, and so on), I'd feel the same way. I think the chefs get a little frustrated, having to assign grades to what we're doing, and I know I find the feedback--both in the evaluations and in the everyday assessments--to be infinitely more valuable than a number. But you want pictures, don't you?

I'm not going to bother with the Pineapple Surprise: you cut a pineapple in half (including the leaves, keeping them attached), hollow out one side and dice the flesh from both sides, then candy it with simple syrup (and maybe a vanilla bean, which we did use); put a layer of raspberry coulis at the bottom of the frozen pineapple half; put in some of the candied pineapple a couple of days later; pipe in blobs of pineapple sorbet. The sorbet isn't bad, but the candied pineapple is way too sweet, and the whole thing is eh. I do like the presentation, if you really need to do some fruit sorbets and want to get a tropical theme going, especially if there's a buffet or some large tables rather than individual plated desserts. The chef put all of his desserts out on a display, then we cut up and ate the vacherin (see yesterday) and the chocolate caramel thing (see below). LOTS of sugar in the bloodstream today. Here's the chef's vacherin:

Second was a chocolate-caramel ice cream thing. Take a disk of hazelnut dacquoise (dacquoise is also evil: it's basically meringue with ground nuts folded into it; in this case it's topped with caramelized hazelnuts before it's baked), top it with chocolate ice cream and another disk of dacquoise, put the whole thing inside a larger ring and put caramel ice cream around it, then garnish it. Here's the chef's:

And here's ours:

Finally, there's the Chocolate Bombe, which involves getting a domed stainless steel mold and putting a layer of raspberry coulis at the bottom. Once it's frozen, fill the mold with vanilla parfait (basically an eggy custard mixed with whipped cream) and freeze that. Take a bigger dome and line it with chocolate ice cream, then press the (unmolded) frozen parfait into it. Seal the sides with chocolate ice cream, and press a piece of baked sablee dough into the bottom. Freeze the whole thing, and then garnish as you please. I had the idea of making a chocolate "cage" for the thing, and the chef went and found me the one dome mold that was bigger than the one we used for the ice cream portion of the program. I put some chocolate on it--drizzled it--but we could not, not, not get it to come off yesterday. (The plan was to use tempered chocolate, let it set, refrigerate it briefly, and then it would just come right off. Or not.) So I did it again today, and got to temper some chocolate for practice, which was useful, and did it on the inside, rather than the outside of the dome, in the hope that it would shrink a little when cold. The freezer didn't work, but the blast freezer did; even though the cage broke a little, I really liked that effect better anyway. Here's the chef's:

And here's ours:

I don't have pictures of everyone else's however, because I just didn't get to it. Some people drizzled chocolate on top of the bombe; some put white chocolate on it; there were other curls and garnishes and so on. They were really quite lovely. And, yes, we made all of the ice creams and sorbets I've been mentioning.

Update: Yeah, Dad's okay. Which is even nicer.


Blogger landismom said...

Thanks, now I have drool on my keyboard.

8:44 PM  

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