Thursday, October 23, 2008

Week 4 and Week 5 all in one!

During week 4 lecture, we talked about custard and creams. You use pretty much the same ingredients for all of the different types, but it's all about how you use the ingredient, how much of it, etc etc. I definitely have an affection for the stuff but I stay away from it mostly because I'm lactose intolerant.
Instead of lab on Wed, we went on a field trip. I was pretty excited about this trip because it was actually thought out as opposed to some of the ones we've been on where we all just picked a place and showed up. First we met at Great Harvest Bread Co on 131st and LaGrange. We got a tour of the back and saw how they mill their own grain to make the flour for the breads and pastries. We saw their oven, which was pretty cool. I have 8 long racks that just rotate around, something like most pizza places have. We then tried a bunch of the bread. My favorite was the Popeye bread. It has red pepper, spinach and parm cheese in it. It was def good...
Then we went to Dan MaGee's. The restaurant was a smaller place, no hostess stand or anything up front. Very nice and simple. The pictures on the wall were actually pictures they took of places in Frankfort, where they are located. We have a choice of dinner items, I got the roasted chicken breast on top of asiago mashed potatoes. The sauce was a little much for me, but it was still very good. Then Dan had prepared a bunch of different desserts for us to try. We had frozen chocolate mousse, pumpkin creme brulee (which was my favorite), panna cotta with strawberries, flourless chocolate souffle with coffee ice cream and a couple others. Dan also sat (well, actually, stood) with us for a bit and talked to us about his career and how he got to where he is now. It was definitely a cool field trip.

Week five lecture I missed because I was still en route form Michigan for work. But the class took the mid-term that day, which I got to make up on Wed before class. Speaking of class....

I heart Crème Brûlée. I really do. It makes my tummy hurt, but it is sooo good. Which is why I am happy I never have the chance to eat it.... Except last night. Yum.
I don't think that making any of these dishes was hard at all. The only real pain was trying to poach the meringue. But we'll get to that later...

Crème Brûlée
2 quarts Heavy cream
2 Vanilla beans, split
50 Egg yolks
20 ounces Granulated sugar
Granulated sugar, as needed

1. Place the cream and the vanilla beans in a large, heavy saucepan. Heat just to a boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until smooth and well blended.
3. Temper the egg mixture with one-third of the hot cream. Return the egg mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until very thick. Do not allow the custard to boil.
4. Remove from the heat and strain into a clean bowl. Cool over an ice bath, stirring occasionally.
5. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the top of the custard and caramelize with a propane torch. Serve immediately.

***I would put a generous coating of sugar on top so that you don't burn the cream when you are torching it. I made the mistake of just putting a little and the cream burned. Besides, who doesn't like more sugar?

Toffee Caramel Flan
1 1/4 pounds Granulated sugar
8 fluid ounces Water
24 fluid ounces Milk
24 fluid ounces Heavy cream
2 Cinnamon sticks
1 Vanilla bean, split
8 Eggs
4 Egg yolks
6 ounces Brown sugar
3/4 ounce Molasses
1 fluid ounce Amaretto liqueur

1. Combine the granulated sugar with the water in a small heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar reaches a deep golden brown. Immediately pour about 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of the sugar into each of the ramekins. Tilt each ramekin to spread the caramel evenly along the bottom. Arrange the ramekins in a 2-inch-deep hotel pan and set aside.
2. Combine the milk, cream, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean in a large saucepan. Bring just to a boil, cover and remove from the heat. Allow this mixture to steep for about 30 minutes.
3. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, brown sugar, molasses and amaretto together in a large bowl.
4. Uncover the milk mixture and return it to the stovetop. Bring just to a boil. Temper the egg-and-sugar mixture with approximately one-third of the hot milk. Whisk in the remaining hot milk.
5. Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer. Pour into the caramel-lined ramekins, filling to just below the rim.
6. Pour enough warm water into the hotel pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake at 325°F (160°C) for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. The custards should be almost set, but still slightly soft in the center.
7. Completely chill the baked custards before serving. To unmold, run a small knife around the edge of the custard, invert onto the serving plate and give the ramekin a firm sideways shake. Garnish with fresh fruit or caramelized almonds.
8. Yield: 10 Ramekins, 6 oz. Each

***I wasn't a huge fan of the molasses taste, but the flan still tasted good enough for me to eat it (and little miss critical mom didn't even notice the molasses taste, and she HATES molasses!) Also, I had a bit of a hard time getting the flan out of the ramekin, and I have to use a paring knife to loosed it from the edges, but then it destroyed the edges of the flan, so the plate presentation wasn't all that great.

Crème Anglais is basically an ice cream base. We used it here as the liquid that held our floating meringue. The meringue was easy to make, you just whip up the egg whites and when it starts to foam, add sugar. I took a small ice cream scooper and scopped up balls of the meringue and dropped them into the simmering cream. I poached them on each side for about a minute and then pulled them out and cooled them. Honestly, I thought they were gross, but the Crème Anglais tasted good.
The spun sugar that Chef put together made a nice touch as a decoration, but people kept bumping my table and they fell down. Oh well, it was the thought that counts right?

As far as the class is going, I am really excited about what I have done so far in lab. I really need to get with it on these quizes, I am really disappointed in myself on the midterm. I've never been good at memorization and I think that if I had more practice remembering the 9 steps to baking or had really good practice understanding their importance in recipes, then I might have an easier time remembering them. Hopefully the extra assignment Chef gave us to do will help me remember it for the final!

1 comment:

Ivy said...

One of things I have added to my "List to Buy" is a propane torch. You did a great job with the creme brulee and the Toffee caramel flan.