Day 2: Custards, Puddings & Soufflés

The class trying to absorb every thing Chef says
Last week, we were taught all about Kitchen Sanitation.

This is the second session but the first time to be actually in the kitchen doing some baking. I got do excited I got up an hour earlier than my alarm even though I wasn’t able to sleep early from all the excitement. I go to school 45 minutes earlier and I was glad to see that I’m not the only one who is excited. The day started out with a lecture then Chef Vivian demonstrated the proper technique and along the way she gives pointers on what should be done and gives us pointers to avoid pitfalls especially on soufflés. Then we were divided into groups and each group was assigned particular recipes to do. It is up to us teammates to decide who gets to do with what. I chose to make Chocolate Pot de Crème and who gets to finish early among our group gets to do the Grand Marnier Soufflé. I never realized it before how daunting it is to bake in a new kitchen, everything is unfamiliar. We don’t know where the ingredients and equipment are located. It’s a good thing though that the kitchen helpers are there to point us to the right direction. It was chaotic at first but I find it so much fun!

Chef Vivian demonstrating how to do Soufflés
Of course, everything didn’t run as smoothly as one would want but we manage to overcome obstacle and finish with flying colors. There are three of all in a group, actually at first, B and I couldn’t find our third teammate, since we asked everybody if they are team 2 and all of them said otherwise. B and I found it weird that we lost a teammate early on. I even thought that he/she must have left the building. We didn’t think much about it and just divided the task between the 2 of us. Then after a few minutes our lost teammate was there, C said she thought that she was part of the other group, we said its ok just pick whatever she likes. Then she keeps asking us what we are going to do, B kept telling her but she doesn’t seem to understand what B is talking about until B wrote it down! OMG! Deep inside I was thinking we are in big trouble… uh oh. When she finally understood what we are going to do, she turned into this know it all person. B was getting her ingredients putting it all on our prep table when C told her to put it back since we should be getting all the measuring cups, bowls, and trays first. B got a little ticked off that C keeps putting her nose where it doesn’t belong. I told B just ignore C and just concentrate on her task, of course B happily did. The 3 of us are sharing a four burner range, since B and I started first we took the ones in front and C was left at the back. For some unexplainable reason C put her mise en place with B’s mise en place. So when it was time for B to mix her sugar with her eggs she grabbed the wrong bowl. I couldn’t do anything because my chocolate is on the double boiler it might burn if I don’t watch it. So just calmly told B that if she could just take out the excess. B got so flustered and a wee bit pissed that she over cooked her Crème Anglaise and Chef told her to go it again, which is actually a blessing since now here Crème Anglaise has the right amount of sugar and B did it perfectly! I was fortunate enough that my Chocolate Pot de Crème came out splendid, I was a bit apprehensive about it since it was supposed to only bake for 20-25 minutes and yet whenever I checked it’s not yet finished. Then my little babies came out of the oven all smooth and shiny, I couldn’t wait to dig in. Since B and I are finished with our first dishes, we teamed up and made a Grand Marnier Soufflé together, I was scared of doing this because I remembered trying to do a chocolate soufflé at home years ago and it came out raw at the bottom. But what the heck, right that’s why I’m in pastry school to learn from my mistakes. I’m sure that Chef doesn’t expect us all to be perfect.

B and I divided our tasked, I buttered the ramekins then she started making the pastry cream. B then was having a hard time whisking the pastry cream because it got heavier I took over and she started whipping the egg whites. While waiting for the egg whites to whip up, I’m cooling the pastry cream. Since the pastry cream looked cooked enough I left it for a while and checked on C because I haven’t heard from her. She asked me to watch her pot and I did having no idea what it should look like was afraid it starts boiling over with her high heat and C sure is taking some time to get back I lower the burner into simmer. Good thing that Chef was there to tell me that should be simmering only. Then just in time C came back and asked what happened and I said that it should be simmering only not boiling. And I left C to finish her task and went back to our soufflé. Finally after few minutes of folding and smoothing, it’s time to put our little baby in the oven. B and I started cleaning up our prep area since chef said several times that we are very messy, so sorry Chef. :D C for some reason is taking all the time to garnish her pudding I think it took her 15-20 minutes to slice 2 berries, a strawberry and blueberry. She for overzealous with her cinnamon, that the whole top of the pudding is covered with cinnamon. I think she thought that was cocoa powder or something.
Chocolate Pot de Crème
As we were winding down, with the pot de crème cooling and with our diva soufflé in the oven, our table clean and shiny. C kept bugging me that the pot de crème looks too plain we need to garnish it. She asked me what to put and I told her that it’s still cooling; putting whipped cream on it would melt. Then a know it all that she is wanted to pour the Crème Anglaise on it! Told her no, whipped cream is better but we have to wait. When C saw that I wasn’t listening to her, she told B the same thing this time thought she is singing a different tune. C told B to get whipping cream so it would look plain. B this time, all tired and pissed off said that “Ano ba problema e ganun din naman yung sa iba” (What’s the problem? The other teams look the same) C then insisted that it’s too plain! I calmly told her we don’t know where the whipping cream is; if she wants to put some go find it. After a few minutes she got tired of repeating herself she just stopped insisting. I mean if you want something done and you’re 100% sure that you’re right you’d do it yourself instead of bugging other people. I mean come on we’re on the same boat here. We are not her minions to boss us around. I mean, I get her point but she is NOT listening they are still too hot to be topped with whipping cream! Geez how difficult is that to understand. It’s a good thing that I’m in such a happy mode that all that drama just slips by me no problem. I bet in a real kitchen there are more dramas like that or even much worst.
Grand Marnier Soufflé
The waiting is killing B and I, we couldn’t wait to see our soufflé, we’ve been waiting for what seems like ages but really its just 25 minutes. B and I are so happy that our soufflé rose! Even though we overbeat our egg whites and our pastry cream was too cold and didn’t incorporate very well with the whites. It still looks glorious on the outside all tall and golden brown. The inside though was another story; it didn’t look appetizing on the inside but still taste fabulous with the Crème Anglese. I love it. You know the feeling that when you made something and other people enjoys it? I love that feeling of instant gratification that all your hard work is well worth it. Can you imagine a room full of foodies enjoying each other’s work? It’s pure heaven.

Even after all that drama, I had a good time because I’m there to learn and I believe that I did learn a lot that day. I sure wish that I still get to see B on the next session. I think she got too tired with all the running around and stuff and with C bugging her on the side. I was trying to cheer her up that it was ok it’s our first time to make soufflé, all things considering, we did well. I told her next time we’ll do better.

Next session is all about Pies and Tarts, yikes and yes!

Yikes! Because I can honestly say pies are not my forte. Yes! Because finally I get to see firsthand what is proper pie dough. I can’t wait!

Sweet Tooth

I'm a nine to five pencil pusher who loves to play with flour and paper during my free time. Dreams of going to Europe and eat croissants and make pastries all day long!

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