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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Passion is in the air

We're rolling into that age group where all our friends are married. It's a scary thought actually, not marriage but that we're in the 25-30 age group in questionnaires. I feel old everytime I check that box. I literally hear my back crack and give way. In a way though, it is a great thing. Neither husband nor wife have to ask their friends "do you mind if my wife/husband comes too?" it is expected if not compulsory.

The last of our friends here in Corpus Christi just got hitched (lol). So there is absolutely no singleness around town. We were all unable to make it to their wedding because well the wives had work and the men had their planes to fly. So we all decided to be nice and surprise them with a "It's too late to turn back now," party. Kidding! We just wanted to show them we care. So we all got together at Dave and Andreas house for dinner last friday. Everyone brought a dish. Andrea said she was going to get a cake. I couldn't let that happen even though I was going to have a busy week with school and work. There was no way I could justify a store brought cake. Snobby? Yes.
It was only AFTER I had offered to make the wedding cake that I realised 'I have NEVER made a wedding cake before." When, am I going to have time to make this????? Anywhos, I made a mental sketch in my head. Something simple, something light blue. Out out popped this cake.

I baked 2 - 9" chiffon cakes and sliced each cake into 3 layers. Each layer recieved a generous helping of passion fruit syrup and a layer of ganache. I covered it marshmellow fondant and it was simple enough but this texas heat just made it 3 times more difficult than it needed to be. It stuck to everything! even though I kept smothering it with more powered sugar. You know, I was going to get those pretty pearl decorative balls. That was until I found out they were like $11-$14 for 40 of them. Then I said "Simple does it."

If you ever want to make a very moist, easy and tender cake I recommend the Chiffon cake. It keeps SO well and honestly, there was no need for the passionfruit syrup since the cake itself had no hint of dryness at. So definitely use this recipe if you ever want to bake a cake.
CHIFFON SPONGE CAKE - The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg
3/4 C vegetable oil
8 egg yo9lks
1 C water, room temp
1 tbs vanilla extract
14 oz cake flour
14 oz granulated sugar
4 ts baking powder
1 ts salt
8 egg whites
  1. Line pans with parchment paper but don't grease the sides of pan
  2. Whip vegetable oil and yolks together just to combine. Stir in water and vanilla extract
  3. Sift cake flour, 1/3 sugar, baking powder and salt together. Stir into egg yolk mixture then whip on high for 1 minute. Set aside.
  4. Whip whites to a foam and gradually add remaining sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Fold meringe into reserved batter. Divide between pans.
  5. Bake 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes till cakes spring back when pressed lightly in center.
  6. Invert and let cool on cooling rack.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fit for a Princess

I read the recipe over and over and over again and STILL I could not mentally picture this "princess cake" in my head. Our Advanced Pastry teacher gave Patti and I this recipe to do and I do not think I have ever been so exhausted after baking and decorating a cake before. It was none stop going from 8am-1pm. I think I almost passed out.

It is a basic sponge cake that is cut into 3 equal layers. The bottom and middle layers are brushed with simple syrup and the bottom layer is then covered with a strawberry jam (we didn't have any so we used raspberry jam). It is then topped with the middle sponge cake layer and then spread with a bavarian cream. The top layer is then put ontop the bavarian cream and a thin layer of whipped cream is spread around the sides of the cake and ontop.

Then we lined the inside of a bowl with plastic wrap and filled the bottom of the bowl with whipped cream, flipped the cake into the bowl ontop of the whipped cream and put it in the freezer to set up a little. Once that was taken care of we rolled out marzipan and covered the cake with it. We used royal icing and piped along the sides of the cake.
All in all though exhausting, the cake looked REALLY pretty. The people who did taste it though thought it was rather bland. I didn't taste it cause it was just too much cream in it and that would infact probably make my stomach curl up.
So if you are ever up for a challenge, let me know if you want the recipe. It is like 6 pages long. hahahaha.

Friday, October 17, 2008

chocolate tuile joconde cake with caramelized fig

This is only my second time doing a practical midterm. The first was the challah bread I did for the breads class midterm. This time around it was for Advanced Pastries class and we basically could make anything we wanted but no cookies, pies or tarts. So I chose to combine a couple of recipes together. I used a Black Cocoa tuile paste, which is a really thick batter. So thick that you can scrape of some of the batter to make pretty designs. The Black cocoa which is now my favorite ingredient smells and tastes like an oreo cookie! It really was an accident on how I used the black cocoa. I actually was opting more for just regular cocoa powder but I saw this black cocoa in the pantry and I was like "Sweet. That would make an awesome contrast with the color of the joconde base." So after I put designs on the tuile batter I froze it whlie I prepared everything else. Next, I made the joconde base which is an almond cake batter. I poured that over the top of the frozen tuile paste and baked it off. Since it was such a thin layer of cake (1/8 in thick) I decided I should layer it ontop of each other inbetween chantilly cream. The caramelized figs I messed up on a little bit. The caramel didn't work well with me. It's suppose to have a long tail of caramel that hardens as it dries so that the fig has an extra long stem almost. It was a fun recipe and it look less time that I thought that it would.
All these recipes are from The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg
Chocolate Tuile Decorating Paste 8 oz
Joconde Sponge Base ½ recipe
1. Spread chocolate tuile paste evenly over 1 full size silpat, covering them completely about 1/16th inch thick.
2. Remove half of the paste in straight, crosswise or diagonal lines along the length of the silpat with a decorating comb.
3. Lift silpat by edges out of the sheet pan and set on top of an inverted sheet pan and freeze till firm
4. Spread batter evenly over tuile batter and bake at 400-450 degrees F for 4 minutes or until sponge color changes slightly.
5. Dust flour lightly on top of sponge and invert onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper and buttered sides of pan.

Butter, unsalted, room temperature 4 oz
Powdered sugar, sifted 4 oz
Egg whites, room temperature ½ C
Vanilla extract ½ ts
Bread flour, sifted 3 oz
Unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted 1 ¼ oz

1. Sift cocoa powder and bread flour together
2. Sift powdered sugar and cream with butter in mixer with paddle attachment.
3. Add egg whites, 1-2 at a time. Scrape and evenly mix after each addition.
4. Add vanilla extract then the flour and cocoa powder mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix.

Blanched almonds, finely ground/almond meal 3 oz
Powdered sugar 2 oz
Bread flour 1 oz
Whole eggs 3
Egg yolk 1
Egg whites 2
Granulated sugar 1 oz
Melted unsalted butter 1 oz

1. Place almond meal, powdered sugar and bread flour into mixing bowl and mix in eggs with paddle attachment for 5 minutes on high. Scrape sides regularly.
2. Add egg yolks, till combined on medium speed. Set aside
3. Whip egg whites with sugar to hold a soft shape. (soft peak)
4. Fold half of egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Stir in melted butter and then fold in the rest of the egg whites. Spread out on top of Chocolate tuile decorated baking sheet.


Chianti wine 2 ½ C
Granulated sugar 2 oz
Figs, whole 15

1. Combine Chianti and granulated sugar in saucepan large enough to hold figs. Allow liquid to come to a boil and then lower heat to simmer and add figs.
2. Poach 5 minutes, remove figs with slotted spoon onto a baking sheet lined sheet pan.
3. Keep boiling poaching liquid till reduced to thick syrup. Let cool off heat.
4. Skewer each fig through the side and hold skewers at edge of counter with a heavy object so the figs and skewer stick out of the counter.
5. Line floor under figs with baking paper.
6. Dip each fig into caramelized liquid and place back securely on counter.
7. Let cool till caramel sets.
8. Snip off tail of caramel to desired length and remove each fig with latex gloved hand to prevent finger prints on the figs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Korean 1st birthday girl!

Our wonderful friends we met when Brandon started his aeronautical masters degree in Dayton, OH had their baby girl a year ago. They invited us last weekend for their baby girl Graces' 1st birthday. It is the MOST important birthday for a child, a big deal in the Korean culture. Let's meet our contestants today!

Pat, Grace and Hye Sung sitting down at Graces mini table with layered fruits, cookies and cakes. Layering is important because it represents length of life. They're in their traditional dress right now. I thought Graces hat looked like a purse. It was TOO cute!
Grace trying to "boo" at the cake
This isn't only traditional in Korean culture but in the Chinese culture as well where you set out a number of items that represent the child's future infront of him/her and wait till she/he picks one up. The flute is for a future in music, money for riches, pen for intellectual and noodles for long life. She chose the flute! Hye Sung plays the flute.
OH! The other day in food prep was great! We were studying vegetables so I was excited since I don't eat bloody meat. :-b Anywhos there was a dish that one of the guys made that made me literally pass out on the floor cause I thought itw as so good. So here's the recipe. I changed it a little.
Pinto bean and vege bake
1/2 onion, small dice
1/2 green pepper, small dice
corn (frozen and thawed) 8 oz
16 oz can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
chile pepper powder
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheese (to top)
bread crumbs (to top)
  1. Heat some olive oil in a saute pan and sweat the onion
  2. Then add in chili pepper powder and cook for a minute
  3. Add peppers and corn and cook till tender
  4. Add pinto bean and season to taste
  5. Top with shredded cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven to melt the cheese
  6. Top with bread crumbs and broil till golden brown. SO GOOD

Side note: Adding poblano peppers (canned) makes it MORE tasty!

For some reason, I tend to attract female jerks to talk to me. You know how you first start class in a new year, in a new school, whatever the situation may be, you TRY to pick a table with people who you think you would fit in best with. Considering I'm older than most of the people in the culinary school, I decided why not go for the table of girls who range from freshmen to their 30's. Inevitably, I made "conversation" with this 30 year old. Now, after several weeks of sitting with the same people, you can't quite move to a different table once you find out you think they're crazy and childish. Our class is so small that the boys sit with boys and girls with girls. How stupid is that! SO there's no way for me to move without offending anyone.

Last week I went to class and I was extremely excited about the fact that I had made truffles the day before so here is the convo:

me: "Guess what? We made truffles yesterday!"
girl: "Shut up. No one cares." (she doesn't say it in a way where she hates you, but her tone definitely makes you think 'what???')
me: "Piff, you're just jealous cause you don't know how to make truffles."
*silence* --> Girl is nice to me the rest of the class

It's not that she's a mean person. She's VERY high school in her way of thinking and acting and speaking. Seriously, I had to resort to silly high school responses to make her realise she's not All that and a batch of frozen cookies; presliced.

A couple weeks ago I had mentioned to her that I was in a hurry to get to my bible study after I got off work and I only had 2 hours to make something sweet for the bible study. So I opted on making bread pudding which I have never done before nor tasted. I commented that I did not really like the taste of it. She told me "Why didn't you just make a pie?" In the 'you should have made something more elaborate' attitude. This coming from a women who does not work ontop of school. I have limited time with work, school, the gym, the puppy and a husband to have time daily to "bake a pie" in under 2 hours.

So I replied to her "I just didn't have the ingredients that I needed and the time it would take to make a pie from scratch."
Girl: "Why, you should have just gone to the store. You know they do have frozen pie crusts there."
I seriously almost blew up in anger. I AM A PASTRY STUDENT. WHY WOULD I BUY FROZEN STORE BROUGHT PIE CRUST?????????

SO glad I'm not her lab partner.

Sugar Coma!

As a women, one cannot deny herself of silky, smooth, and delicate truffles at least once a month. I tend to eat it more than once a month, but lets keep that a secret ladies ;-) Beware, the following truffle pictures may put you into a sugar coma. Sometthing to the effect of this picture below:
We worked with chocolate last week in Advanced pastries. I am grasping the idea better and better the more I work with chocolate. We tempered also which is part of the process to realign the alpha and beta crystals in order to obtain chocolate that has a smoother, shinner, crispier and snappy texture and mouthfeel. It also increases the melting temperature so it doesn't melt as fast.
These truffles are made with a mocha paste ganache which is rolled and allowed to set. Then I dipped it in tempered chocolate to cover it for the shinny appearance. Just FYI. I did not grow the mint and blueberries. :-b

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Carbs. They are my world. I LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEE making them and I LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEE eating them. This girl ain't goin on no carb diet. *snap fingers*

It's been a while since I've felt like baking at home since I bake 5 days out of the week at work and at school. It's hard to drag my sorry lazy butt into the kitchen and watch dough rise. Until...last week. I reminisced about the pizza and foccaccia we made back in Faulkners breads class. I dug into 'The Professional Pastry Chef' book by Bo Friberg and viola! This came out.
I love this recipe because unlike most other foccaccia recipes I've come across, this one literally pours a cup of olive oil ontop of the risen dough before baking so it makes it crispy on top and SOOOOO tender and soft on the inside. It's amazing!
Focaccia - 'The Professional Pastry Chef' by Bo Friberg
1 1/2 oz fresh compressed yeast (3/4 oz dry active yeast)
3/4 C warm water
1 TBS granulated sugar
8 oz high-gluten flour
2 C warm water
3.4 C olive oil
3 oz granulated sugar
2 TBS salt
1 lb high gluten flour
14 oz bread flour
1/4 C olive oil
Herbed garlic oil (1 oz each fresh rosemary, fresh sage and fresh basil; 1 C olive oil heated, 2 heads garlic, roasted and pureed)
1 ts kosher salt


  1. Sponge: dissolve yeast in warm water, add sugar and high gluten flour, knead using dough hook for 5 minutes
  2. Cover, let rise till sponge starts to fall
  3. Dough: add warm water to sponge with olive oil, sugar, salt and high gluten flour. Knead with dough hook and add enough of bread flour for a soft, smooth, elastic dough
  4. Form into ball on floured surface, cut X into dough and pull out to form a rought square. Cover and rest 30 minutes.
  5. Coat bottom and sides of sheet pan with 1/4 C olive oil. Place dough in pan and with oiled hands stretch out dough to all sides of pan. Let rise till doubled.
  6. Stretch dough again to cover entire pan and let rest for a couple minutes. Press fingertips into top to make dimples
  7. Let rise till 1.5 times original size.
  8. Spread herbed garlic oil over surface of dough and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  9. Place in preheated oven at 475 degrees F then reduce to 375 degrees F when pan is placed into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes
  10. Herbed Garlic oil: chop herbs finely and add to heated olive oil with garlic. Let stand for 1 hour.

As if the focaccia isn't enough carb for me, I decided a couple days later to make pizza. So I concocted a pizza sauce and it actually came out really tasty.

Val's Pizza Sauce

1 can of tomato puree
1 ts of dried Oregano
1 ts dried basil
2 heads garlic, chopped
Olive oil
1 1/2 TBS Brown sugar
pink of salt

  1. Heat olive oil in pan. Add garlic and sautee till golden brown.
  2. Add dried herbs and sautee till fragrant and add in puree.
  3. Add in brown sugar and a pinch of salt and combine. Adjust salt and sugar to taste.

This is also the best pizza crust I have had in a long time. Like the Focaccia, the dough is crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Bo Friberg's Pizza dough 'The Professional Pastry Chef'

1/2 oz fresh yeast (1/4 oz dry active yeast)
3/4 C warm water
1 ts granulated sugar
2 TBS olive oil
1 ts salt
1 TBS honey
10 oz bread flour

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let dissolve
  2. Mix in sugar, olive oil, salt and honey
  3. Add flour and knead in mixer with dough hook till smooth and elastic, 10 minutes
  4. Place dough in oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover and let rise till doubled in volume
  5. Place in refrigerator covered for at least 2 hours. Return to room temperature before proceeding. (I didn't put it in the fridge. I used it right away)
  6. Divide dough in half, and roll and stretch dough on floured surface into a 10-12 in circle.
  7. Top as desired and baked at 450 degrees F.

Val's pizza topping of choice

muenster pepper jack cheese
Shredded colby jack cheese
Finely diced onions
Finely diced Tomato

Oh yeah, I ate the whole pizza. I would TOTALLY win a pizza eating contest!