Day 4- CIA

Our day started as they have been, 90 minutes of lecture/question time on … CHOCOLATE MOUSSE!  Oh yes, that is one of my most requested desserts, so I was excited for today’s class.  I have made chocolate mousse too many times to count and each time I’ve had a different outcome. Some good, some not so good … luckily however I screw it up– it’s still dark chocolate and cream and that ALWAYS tastes good!

A quick side note:  I started taking classes at Sur La Table about 5 years ago. I took several (10+) and then moved on to classes through the University of Richmond, Continuing Studies Program.  They offer cooking, baking and a food safety program.  Each of those programs consist of about 20 days of work.  I didn’t realize how much I had learned from those program until I got here.  I’ll be sending a note to my former instructor to thank him for giving a great foundation.

We started our kitchen time by “finishing” our puff pastry dough. We made Palmiers, which are light, sweet and caramelized with sugar. You may not recognize the name but if you saw them, you’d say – OH!!!   Then we made a dessert that is pronounced, “PA- T- V- A!”  It has a beautiful round presentation with a flower like border.  We filled itt with almond cream and then added another layer of the puff pastry on top. Besides a nice presentation, it tasted AWESOME!  I will definitely be making one/ or several of those when I get home.  Lastly we glazed our fruit tarts that changed the look from a home cook, to a shiny restaurant presentation!

Then we moved onto the MOUSSE demo!  He asked that when we got back to our groups, (3 in each) that we TRY to do something a little different to the recipe and then share what we had done.  I’d actually asked him if we could make it correctly, since I screw it up all the time at home, he said yes and even TRYING to make it correctly we screwed it up.   Side note, the chefs in the baking department ONLY use fine sugar. Another tip I learned was that you don’t need the BEST chocolate for a mousse, because you are flavoring it with eggs, sugar, vanilla and cream. If you are making truffles, that only have a couple ingredients you’d want the better brand of chocolate, but like wine. It’s what YOU like…

Next up- Fruit Mousse and Bavarian cream.  I don’t really understand why anyone would want a fruit mousse … it’s actually hard to write those two words together. Mousse is SUPPOSE to be made of chocolate. That’s that! The Bavarian cream we will piped into small glass cups and then covered with a sauce we will prepare tomorrow.   It’s made by using a Swiss meringue instead of an Italian meringue.  I literally know more than I need to know about different egg combo’s… all the same ingredients but again it’s about the order and amounts.  Italian Meringue can be turned into an amazing buttercream frosting. It has the best stabilization of all the buttercreams. (it will hold up in warmer weather)  The Bavarian cream in our recipe and the fruit mousse both had gelatin in them, so unfortunately I won’t be tasting either. (gelatin is made out of animal by products bones etc.) NO THANK YOU!  The dark chocolate mousse doesn’t need a stabilizer because it has so much butter fat from the cocoa.  (That wouldn’t be true for milk or white chocolate.)

We ended with about 300 palmiers sitting in front of us before we finished up for the night.  I was baking duty for those and learned how to tell when they were done.  (it took me taking them out of the oven and putting them back in the over per his instructions … TWICE! ) Okay, I lied there were only 297 palmiers-I ate 3.  Yes, embarrassing but they were so good.

Bake on and then HIT THE TREADMILL- for awhile.  My jeans hurt- thankfully my chef’s pants have SPANDEX!

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