Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's a baking extravaganza!

Yesterday was my first all-day Saturday at baking school. It was a day for redoing stuff we'd previously messed up and to make things we hadn't yet made. We also learned to slice things evenly and cleanly, a skill which I was able to put to use later that day.

I began by making the crust... ...that would later become part of my banana creme tart: Then was a creme caramel or flan which was a two step process. First I had to make the caramel which is a bit intimidating as the smallest grain of undissolved sugar can cause the caramel to turn into a rock hard lump of crystalized sugar. It's quick too, once it starts boiling, it darkens rather fast so I basically stood in front of it with my arms protectively crossed in front of me waiting for the moment I was to grab it off the stove and plunge it into a ice bath to stop the progressive darkness. Surprisingly, it went off without a hitch. After the caramel was made and poured into the ramekins, I started in on the creme caramel which is similar to the creme anglais, pot de creme and creme brulee I had made earlier in the week. It's "eggier" and I ended up curdling it which is pretty much a sin when making a custard dessert. It tasted eggy which detracted from the earlier perfection of the caramel. Finally, I made the lemon pudding cake... ...and the pastry creme for the banana creme tart. This was all accomplished between 8 and 1 o'clock, and I admit, when I started out, I couldn't imagine how I was going to accomplish it all, but somehow I pulled it off, with nary a bit of stress.

I think I am most proud of my crust, which in the past has come out too tough. This time, it was flaky and delish.

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