Thursday, August 5, 2010

Life Changes & Plated Desserts Final

It's been a while.  Sorry :(  Once again, my life has flipped upside down!  Just when I thought I was getting all my ducks in a row, my ducks have all been replaced by new ducks! 

I guess there are two big pieces of news I have to share.

1) I'm graduating from Culinary School after finishing this summer semester.

2) I've been offered an adjunct teaching position at the Culinary Institute and will begin teaching in less than 3 weeks! 

This job is really a dream come true.  I really feel a great passion about pastry & desserts, and I truly desire to share that passion with others.  Now, I'll have a chance to do that again!

Prior to going to pastry school, I taught in the Culinary Corner Demo Kitchen at the University of North Dakota Wellness Center, a position I loved!  I taught a series called "Sweet Treats," (a name which also inspired the name of this blog as well!) and was privileged to teach UND Faculty, staff, associates, students & Grand Forks Community members how to bake.  Not only did I teach the courses, but I conceptualized the entire series, wrote & tested most of the recipes, photographed the subject matter and designed booklets for each participant, in addition to teaching the actual course.  For anyone who is interested, some of the material can be found here(I even won an award from the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association for the design work associated with the series.) 

While I had hoped this opportunity to teach would come someday, I never dreamed it would happen so quickly.  I'm excited to get started with all my lesson plans!  These weeks will go fast....

So this course, Plated Desserts, I've been taking this summer is ending up being my final course as a student at CIC.  I've learned so much in Plated Desserts.... many of the formulas & techniques we learned are now included in my little book of "best" formulas.
For our final, we were asked to take all the knowledge we've accumulated throughout our class experiences and develop one cold and one hot plate design.  We had two class periods to prepare, execute, and present our best work.

This is my cold plate, all based around the flavor of Earl Grey tea:  A trio of mousses (Milk Chocolate, Earl Grey & Vanilla Bean) with Earl Grey French Macarons filled with Mango Cream, Mango Curd Sauce, Vanilla Chantilly Cream and garnished with Chocolate Leaf Decoration, Fresh Blackberry & Mint. 

While there are always things I would change if I could go back and do it again (like, lining my mousse molds with acetate so the layers would have better definition), I still think this dessert is one of the best I've done.  Conceptually, it took a great deal of thought, both in deciding what flavor components to include and which formulas best showcased those flavors.   I've loved Earl Grey tea since visiting London with my sister in 2008 and I've loved the London Fog beverages we use to make at Archives Coffee House when I worked there.  I wanted to draw on both of those experiences, but also throw in a twist with the milk chocolate and mango components.  Plus, I love French Macarons :) 

 The mousses are adapted from a fabulous mousse recipe we learned in class.  If you're interested in making mango curd, has a great recipe here.  I'll write more about my hot dessert soon!  It includes Golden Grahams Cereal Milk Ice Cream!  Yum!

Unfortunately, my computer is rebelling against me and won't open the program where I've got the recipes stored... So, I'll have the recipes up in a few days!