Monday Tarts

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Hello there, I don’t know. I’m a bit frizzed (it’s an actual word) up with my internship coming to an end. A month to myself, yes I have to use up my compulsory leaves and so on. It’s exhausting having to think of something to do the entire day, especially when I’m suffering from an extreme case of the lazy. (I just deleted an entire paragraph, cause you know, brains be crazy) Moving on,  I have shifted to a new laptop which is quite confusing because I got really comfortable with the previous keyboard. Beware of typos. I did give a trial on my last day. I was restricted to one plate, quite disappointing and at the same time made the task a bit more difficult. I wanted to show as many techniques and dishes I had learnt and perfected so far but to put on one plate would be sort of a mess, considering flavours (ooh, wordpress uses US English? whimsy) and components. A bit hypocritical to say the least because my final plate did have a lot going on, but it worked together which I was fine with.

A bit overwhelmed by the number of options open to me and having to work with tact required some time. I took some time out during the break to list down my thoughts on textures, flavours and dishes. It did help and I always had the back up of making a Panna Cotta if all else failed. Somewhat of a thing between a colleague who considers himself bad at desserts and myself, who loves to eat and the day we spent eating panna cottas that he made for his own trial. Well he had to do a 5 course meal, so he could afford a simple dessert at the end of complex menu. So apart from the deviation off topic, there is a point which is that I did have a back up.

The touchstone.

The touchstone.

Two days for one plate, as I had my usual daily routine tasks to complete as well and there was no way I was going to serve up fresh macarons (WordPress hasn’t been alerted of macarons). The final plate consisted of an almond tart, mint butterscotch, lemoncurd topped with a caramelized white chocolate bavaroise. Dense chocolate pudding, red velvet macarons and a strawberry sauce.

A little something.

A little something.

It’s a lot and it definitely needs refinement, but for a first go, it was really good and everyone liked it. Very different from what I’d initially planned to put on the plate, namely a smaller tart with a smaller dome but the bakery was void of the two. I cut a slice of it obviously, but in my deluded mind I did start out with the entire tart on the plate. A moment where I panicked and was quite thankful for my friends who assured me that it looked great. What? Compared to my two batchmates, I thought I should have dumbed it down a bit. Though one things for sure that it’s better to avoid putting something on the plate that doesn’t belong there.

Still have this scrap of paper.

Still have this scrap of paper.

The verdict: The pastry chef liked it, was taken aback by the macarons for which I had the entire staff of the Italian restaurant to back me up, reason being he questioned whether I really baked them myself. There’s one thing about baking which is a whole lot of exciting fun and then there’s baking with wide eyes staring at everything you do. All in all, a good dish, but that wasn’t the end of it. He asked me to make him a creme brulee. It felt like my brains splattered against the wall behind me, since in my head it felt like the plate I’d been working on wasn’t good enough or well, wasn’t enough! So after a few talks from my colleagues, reassurances and a lot of time spent in the walk-in deep, I went about preparing the creme brulee and flustering about, I screwed up the first batch by whisking the base instead of folding it, incorporating unwanted air bubbles. Chucked it out, and well over-baked the second batch when I walked off to the bakery to eat some chocolate chip cookies (I worked quite the appetite). Like I was trying to sabotage myself. So another pep talk from my senior/colleague and  I made a final batch with all my heart, what was left of it and it was decent. Used a little demerera sugar, torched it and quickly wiped the sides of the dish clean of any caramelized sugar. The pastry chef ate it all up and claimed it was good and I walked away with a little spring in my step. Exhausted.

 P.S. – It’s good to be back.

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