Friday, April 30, 2010

CIC Year One: Recap.

...and it's, once again, been over a month since my last post.....

*Sigh, where does the time go?

Today marks the official end of my first year of Culinary School!  Hurray!  What a year it has been and I simply cannot believe how fast it has gone.

This semester has been extremely demanding on many levels.  I've had some challenging, time-consuming courses (like "Retail Baking" and "Candies & Confectionaries" which I've got detailed posts about coming in the near future)....  And then I've been doing some soul-searching as I try to figure out what exactly it is that I want to do with my life.  So, once again, I apologize for the lack of posts.... I've even had to sit out this month's Daring Bakers challenge because of finals :( 

What I'd like to do with this post is do a sort of re-cap of the most exciting things I've learned this year.  Some I've posted about, and others I haven't....  Some I've got posts about coming in the future.

August 2009
Linzer Torte

(Photo coming soon) 

This is the very first thing I made in school, on the first day of "Intro to Cakes."  What a crazy day that first day was!  I was so nervous!  And then I was nearly late because I couldn't find a parking space anywhere on campus.....  And this was also before I started taking my camera to class, so this image is taken with my Blackberry.

Hand-Stretched Austrian Apple Strudel 

Laminated Dough was my favorite class of my first semester and we learned this strudel early in the semester.  Then, when I went back home for Fall Break, I was able to teach a class on it at the UND Wellness Center. 

September 2009

Another favorite from Laminated Dough: Puff Pastry, Frangipan filling and Apricot jam.  Mmmmm.... 

Pate a Choux Swans

When I went through orientation before starting school, we were served Pate a Choux Swans for dessert.  I'd heard about them previously, but had never tried any myself.....  So, it was rather exciting when Chef Fritz showed my Bakeshop Production class how to make them!  They really are much easier than I had thought. 

Parisian Croissants & Pain Au Chocolat

Oh. My. Gosh!  These were the most amazing croissants ever!  Eating them was like eating a memory of my times in Europe, only a better memory than what I originally had!  My original post can be found here

October 2009
Chocolate Mousse Torte

This torte was one of the biggest disasters of my Cake course.  I screwed up the chocolate mousse icing.  FYI, it doesn't work to make faux chocolate mousse without powdered sugar.... And it REALLY doesn't work to try to add it later.... Post can be found here.

Banana Coconut Cream Danish, Apricot Cream Danish, Apple Fontain Danish, & Cranberry Apricot Scrolls

These danish were the ones I carefully packed into my carry-on when I flew home for Fall Break.  And they were the ones I fought for when the Gate Agent in Detroit tried to tell me I had to check the bag they were packed in!  More about them here

November 2009
 Better than anything Krispy Kreme can ever make!  Post can be found here

 Another highlight from Laminated Dough: Chocolate Brownie, Drunken Strawberry, Almond Brioche.

Key Lime & Coconut Cake

 This cake was my final in Intro to Cakes and I practiced frequently prior to the practical exam.  Although it turned into an upside down cake right after grading, it was a great success! Post can be found here.

January 2010
 I love, love, love baguettes!  We made them weekly in Artisan Bread.  Post can be found here.

Vintner's Dinner

 It was such a privilege to be a part of the Vintner's Dinner.    Full post can be found here


You know, I've never really been a bagel person.  There are many other things I'd much rather eat for breakfast.  But I've come around to bagels after this class, but only to artisan bagels.  We made both savory bagels and cinnamon raisin.  I'm a fan of the cinnamon raisin, personally :)

Super Fruit Bread
 This bread from Artisan Bread class made the best french toast! 

 Chocolate class has been one of my biggest challenges of the semester.   Tempering chocolate made me nervous and our class seemed to have some sort of disconnect of personalities.  Still, we made delicious product :)


Not only did we make the best Pizza Marguerite I've had since France, but we also made the mozzarella!

Normandy Apple Levain
 We had the option in Artisan Bread class to work on side projects from recipes found in our book Bread by Jeffery Hamelman. And I decided to try to make this bread, which featured our Charleston sourdough starter, homemade apple cider, and homemade dried apples.  The "icing on the cake" was the apple stencil a classmate helped me make to embellish the top flour tattoo.

The Honey Competition
My first culinary competition!  The proceeds from my winnings are partially financing my upcoming trip to Europe.  Post can seen here.

Modeling Chocolate
 Modeling chocolate is basically a homemade tootsie roll.   I made this lovely dauschund with a cat-friend who are guarding a flower. 

March 2010
Bread Sculpture
Part of my final in Artisan bread.  This sculpture is made of "Dead Dough" (aka, non-yeast dough) that was naturally colored using Spinach Powder, Turmeric, Beet Powder and Caramel.  Though it took a great deal of time, I really enjoyed the project and was very happy with the results.  Post coming soon!

Wine + Food Festival: Pinot Envy, Bubbles & Sweets, Culinary Village

Piping, Piping, Piping..... 

A great majority of my semester has been spent piping royal icing (or tooth paste at home for practice--try it!   it works).  And my practice paid off when I totally rocked the practical final, although my arm & had hurt so badly after the exam that I couldn't even drive!  We piped six 20 min increments of 20 ornaments with 10 mins between sets.

Pineapple Frangipan Tart
A creation from Jams, Jellies, Chutneys & Tarts.  Lovely almond frangipan with roasted pineapple.  Yummy! (I really like almond, if you can't already tell...)

Pizza Croissants

In Retail Baking, we held bake sales each Friday.  Our class was split into groups and rotated through different product stations every couple of weeks.  My group came up with the idea to make Pizza Croissants and they sold like crazy!  Probably one of the hottest sellers of the bake sale season.

April 2010
Sparkling Wine: Sabering 
I don't believe I've mentioned on here that I took an introductory wine course this semester.  On our sparkling wine day, my instructor Emily taught us how to saber champagne bottles. Very cool!  Then, a guy in my class, who had sabered bottles previously, tried his had at it....  And the bottle of Prosecco nearly EXPLODED!  Definitely one of the most exciting experiences I've ever had in class.  This is what was left of the bottle..... 

Ambrosia Cake/Tart
I am in love with Ambrosia Conserve!  Pineapple, coconut, almonds and cherries all cooked together.  Delicious!  Then, we turned it into one of my favorite cakes ever (it may, in fact, be what I make for my next birthday cake) and used it in a coconut pineapple ambrosia tart.

Tomato Tart
Another one of my favorites from Jams, Jellies, Chutneys and Tarts.  It featured class-made tomato marmalade, fresh tomatoes, herbed goat cheese and Parmesan cheese.  I ate it for dinner for several days with an arugula salad on top. Yummy!

Marzipan Centerpieces: Animal Theme and Fruit Theme

Both of these pieces are entirely edible and hand constructed of marzipan that was either pre-colored, or airbrushed. 

Royal Icing & Pastillage Centerpiece
This show piece is made entirely from pastillage and royal icing decorations.  Over 16 hours of just piping alone..... Post to come! 

Retail Final: SILA croissanteria + tapas bakery 
My final project in Retail Bakeshop.  And what a project it was..... Post to come!

Lemon Meringue Tart with Raspberry
My Final for "Jams, Jellies, Chutneys & Tarts." An almond short-crust shell with homemade Raspberry Jelly, Lemon Curd, Swiss Meringue, & Raspberries.  Post coming soon!

So, that's the highlights of my first year!  I can't wait to see what the rest of my classes have to hold :)