BP: Week 2 – Tarts, Fruit Cakes, Sables

Hiee, in reality this is already week 4 but I need to finish up week 2 if I actually want to make this a useful blog for other future students interested in studying at Le Cordon Bleu. So, this week we made fruit tart, pastry cream, light fruit cake, Sables Diamantes and Sables Hollander. What a great week this was especially after the first week. In my opinion, normal scones and whatnots just taste bland especially when it’s just the basics.

Yummy

Yummy

Anyway, we learnt how to make Tarte aux Fruits (fruit tart), Creme Patissiere (pastry cream), Frangipane filling, Apricot glaze and Tarte aux Pommes (apple tart) during the demonstration. However, due to time constraints we only get to do the fruit tart as well as the pastry cream. I felt that there’s actually enough time to do the apple tart as well but I guess for someone who isn’t experienced enough, it is really pushing it. I mean, I’m pretty much experienceless but at least I’m a fast learner but what about the others? It is a little disappointing though for the apple tart looked really nice. Argh, what a waste that I did not take a photo of the apple tart. Very thinly sliced apples were arranged in a nice circular pattern towards the middle and when coated with the apricot glaze, it does look yummy (taste yummy too)! (Chef Gert made them ^^)

Chef Luigi cutting the tart

Chef Luigi cutting the tart

Oh, we also get to use many fruits for our fruit tarts: kiwis, oranges, rasberries, blueberries and strawberries. It is said that this fruit tart will most likely be one of our examination item, and some useful things to remember are to have your tart completely covered (by fruits), as well as have a nice looking crust at the sides. Look at my fruit tart! I was really proud of it and tried hard not to show it, haha. ^^ It was basically my first day of many more to come (hopefully!) that I received many compliments on my pastry work. :) You so need a good container to carry around your stuffs btw as it makes it neater and more convenient for you to carry (back home for eg.) and as I was carrying my tart back home, I received so many friendly/hungry stares at my tart. Lol, now thats a thought you’d never think would happen… people staring at my tart… .

My tart!

My tart! Doesn’t it look bright & happy?

Oh wait, I do have a photo of the apple tart. ^^ Anyway, making good tarts (by hand) requires a cold hand. I have very warm hands, so my base wasn’t that good as it shrunk a little. I felt that with pastries like these which requires you to not overmix it, I tend to do just that, no matter how hard I try. It’s very delicate (take sponge cake for eg.) and warm hands just makes it worse by helping to develop the gluten in the dough more. Anyway, overmix/overdeveloped = shrinkage. By now (week 4), even though I can be quite a perfectionist but I like it too when mistakes comes up unexpectedly. I always tend to learn much more that way, knowing what I did wrong as well as the consequences of the mistake that I’ve made (I’ve also felt that I’ve learnt much more than my classmates that way ^^).

Apple tart, Sables, Light fruit cake and Marble cake

Apple tart, Sables, Light fruit cake and Marble cake

We did the light fruit cake and Gateau Marbre (marble cake) on the second day, and like the first day we only did the light fruit cake because there just wasn’t enough time for a marble cake. At the end of the day, I didn’t feel too partial to the fruit cake. Maybe because I much more prefer a heavy fruit cake (with rum!!) and maybe it’s because the fruit cake tasted a bit meh.  Oh, my fruit cake was like a jackpot lottery. 3 lucky person might get a whole glazed cherry inside a piece of fruit cake. Haha, that’s what happens when you forget to chop the cherries and just pop 3 whole pieces into the mix. I think I made a huge mistake today too when I mixed the butter with the eggs instead of the sugar first. However, somehow, I managed to salvage it and it still turned out ok in the end. But you know, it could’ve been better. An important tip to remember would be to chop the butter into smaller pieces as it makes it easier to soften in the microwave (soften not melt!) and when adding the eggs into the butter always make sure the eggs are in room temperature (especially when you keep your eggs in the fridge). Otherwise warm butter + cold eggs = lumpy mess. Eww.

Sables Diamantes and Sables Hollander

Sables Diamantes and Sables Hollander

Goodness, I totally forgot about the Piped Sables (Viennese biscuits). In the picture above somewhere at the top right corner (with the tart and 2 cakes) are the Piped Sables. It’s just basically biscuit dough piped out into nice shapes with the piping bag. If I’m not mistaken, we did that on the same day as we did the light fruit cake. The third day is mainly about the other 2 sables: Sables Diamantes and Sables Hollander. Sables Diamantes was a pretty good cookie as it has orange zest and vanilla in it. After making a long log of dough with it, you roll it over castor sugar and then keep it in the refrigerator to harden it in order to make the cutting easier. Sables Hollander if I’m not mistaken are actually Holland biscuits. It does look impressive and difficult to make and it really isn’t that easy. You have to be really precise at cutting it right (a ruler does help) and it could be a little time consuming as well. However I feel that it can be pretty rewarding as well made Holland biscuits can be quite impressive to look at. ^^ I reckon it could improve with *some* rum in the chocolate part of the biscuits though… . Hmm, why didn’t I think of that before.

My cookies!

My cookies!

I think I was pretty annoyed on the third day regarding the ovens (there isn’t enough). Everyone wanted to have a go at the ovens and because there isn’t any real queues, it’s more on a first come first serve basis and you really need to be on your toes to catch the next empty space in the oven. I really took my time on that day with the sables as I really wanted them to look good. Therefore I was the last who finished the first batch of cookies and I was quite pressured for time to get my cookies into the oven and I recall feeling quite annoyed and upset at some of the students who just didn’t have the courtesy to allow the late ones to finish up his/her batch of biscuits. I mean, I know that you need the ovens too but when you are already at your second or third batch, come on… . It’s just pure, simple courtesy and common sense which a lot of people these days lack. Oh and I am getting better at judging when I should get my things out of the oven rather than letting them brown too much.

On a happier note, my biscuits came out really well (it could’ve been better still!) and it attracted a lot of attention. ^^ I’m proud to say that on the way home, a random guy bumped into me and asked me if I was selling them. Selling? Here, take some instead! *proud of my work* 

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~ by limmyfox on May 11, 2008.

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