Student Diary: Advanced Pastry Arts, Day 8

By the end of our third day working with chocolate, most of us were done with it. Tempering, retempering, tempering again, all night long. One of my poor classmates had the unenviable task of trying to temper white chocolate--the stuff never wanted to melt! When all was said and done, though, I came away with no concerns about working with chocolate. There was no fussing with thermometers or endless scraping of chocolate across marble. We mostly just melted it down, then cooled it with some stirring (or just by getting involved with another project, letting the bowl sit, and coming back later to find it in temper). So our last day of chocolate sent us home with a solid chocolate prickly pear pad and some pieces of printed (with cocoa butter patterns) chocolate ...
pastry class chocolate

Chef had made silicon molds of prickly pears at his main job, and he brought them in to explain the process of making the molds and so we could use them. So what does one do with a chocolate prickly pear pad?
pastry class chocolate

Turn in into a backdrop for the strawberry prom, is what.
pastry class chocolate
The wound in the left-most berry is from being pressed into the styro box. Fire the limo driver! Oh, wait ... I was the limo driver!

I used the shards on a little cake, pressing them into the buttercream, mosaic style. It was fun to eat, sorta like cracking creme brulee.
cake with leftover chocolate pieces

What I learned:
-How to make chocolate-covered strawberries using tempered chocolate, and to give them a little push after resting them on the parchment paper so they don't develop a big "foot." Also, how to dress strawberries in fancy clothes.

-How to spread temepered chocolate on cocoa butter transfer sheets, then how to bend the sheet to give the chocolate some shape (you can curl it into a teardrop shape and fill it with mousse.

-How to use acetate sheets to pipe chocolate shapes onto that you can later place on other desserts.

PS--Since I have to grab a bite before class or risk the consequence of eating my homework for dinner, this is what I usually do:
dinner before class

I'm determined not to do what I did during Classical Desserts class and eat my way to an all-time high. ;)


Julius said…
Chocolate prom - that is so cute. :)

I am totally envious.

BTW, your question about the almond cake from the Cake Bible - yes, it is very good. Textured and not smooth like RLB's other cakes, it has a homey feel. I used almond meal out of a bag instead of roasting and grinding my own, so its really fast to put together.
Julie said…
Julius--why envious??? None of this is anything you can't do at home. =) Blindfolded, even!

I have almond meal I ground a month or so back and am storing in the fridge--now I have something to do with it to finish it off! Thank you!
Ken Sloan said…
I noticed in a previous post and this one that you've got some sort of crazy print-out stenciled chocolate stuff going on. Any chance I can get my Canon at home to print edible ink?
Julie said…
Ken, unless you can get your hands on a cocoa butter ink cartridge, then probably not. Though wouldn't that be RAD?! Then again, you never know what you can find at your local office supply store ... er, kitchen supply store ... ? I recommend just hitting your local cake/pastry supply store, since they're probably have sheets on hand. You can also find them online at places like Sugarcraft, who will even print up custom sheets for you. For a lotta money (300 sheet minimum at $825 USD. =\

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