Monday, February 23, 2009

The exam is finally over.....

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Yes, I was having my first exam in pastry school last week and that explains the quietness around here. The self imposed expectation made me tense up and stress the whole week, which on hindsight, was pure silliness on my part. I think I did ok in the exam, even though a few mistakes were made and some of the final products were not how I envisioned them to be. But all is water under the bridge now. I am glad that I learnt a lot in the process.

Next week, we are learning to make tarts! The first tart recipe is none other than my favorite - lemon tart! I couldn't wait to see how it compares to my all time favorite.

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Here's a picture of my fondant covered dummy wedding cake sans gumpaste flowers. Surprisingly piping the string work on the middle layer was not as daunting as I imagined. I made all my cake layers white with ivory borders because my posy has some really crazy color. Moreover, I was too lazy to knead color into my fondant. I was a bit regret seeing how beautifully my classmates' cakes turned out. You can see some of them in my flickr.

On my train ride home, some of the strings broke, but most of them remain intact.This dummy cake is currently occupying almost a quarter of my small dining table. I am waiting for OCT to see the cake when he comes visit in March before I tear it down.

Moving on to something edible. The last wedding cake we made was a croquembouche, the traditional french wedding cake. Croquembouche is basically a tower of choux pastry glued together with caramelized sugar, sitting on top of a nougatine base. As the chef explained, croquembouche means "crunchy in one's mouth". So each choux pastry is coated with a thin crisp crust of hard crack sugar. The traditional version has each choux pastry filled with pastry cream, but due to time constraint, we skipped the filling.

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As I carefully dipped each of the mini puffs into the caramelized sugar, I could hardly resist the temptation to pop a few into my mouth as I worked. The thin crisp layer of sugar gave off a crunchy sound when one bit into it. Ah, the satisfaction. Not to mention, it was really addictive. I am glad that we made enough choux pastry to build the croquembouche!

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Too bad I couldn't take a decent photo of this elaborate dessert. I was rushing out the next morning so the pictures were hastily taken, without proper lighting. I was planning to retake the picture the following day, but alas, the croquembouche fell apart when I was still in bed. Needless to say, my delicate spun sugar decoration on top of the croquembouche broke into a million pieces. :(

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On a happy note, it's finally Monday! I can't wait to start on tarts classes! And my friends A & D are visiting this Friday! Which means more eating ensues. :)

19 comments:

thecoffeesnob said...

Both the croquembouche and fondant covered wedding cake look fantastic, Mandy!

I can't wait to see pictures of the tarts you make in class! :)

Lisa said...

Congrats! They look beautiful AND yummy.

veron said...

Your wedding cake looks terrific. I love the look of fondant! Can't wait for your report on the tarts...

Amanda said...

Oh my gosh, that is beautiful! Both of them, actually. It's hard to believe that the beautiful decoration is actually sugar. You're very talented!

heartofacountryhome said...

That is gorgeous!

Elyse said...

What a gorgeous croquembouche! I love the name alone, but the dessert looks just beautifully decadent!! I'm sure you did fabulously on your exam judging by the superb pictures you've posted of your work!! Have a great Monday!

mikky said...

Amazing!!! Congratulations for a job well done... :)

duodishes said...

The topper on that croquembouche is beyond impressive! Truly a daring feat.

Foodess said...

That wedding cake is gorgeous, and I love the croquembouche - with that sugar spiral, it looks like such a celebration! Mmm... I've never had a choux with a crunchy coating.

Stardust said...

I thought your pictures and produce are very impressive, you should be proud of your achievement so far. =)

Passionate About Baking said...

Hi Mandy,
Your croquembouche and the fondant wedding cake is really beautiful! I'm sure it's just a beginning for you! Hope these bring you good colourful results! :)

Jennywenny said...

Wow! I love the white wedding cake, I think it looks perfect without color. Croquembouche looks awesome too. I dont know if its a regional thing, but I mentioned it to a french friend at work and she'd never heard of them!

niagaragirl said...

Great job!

Nicisme said...

That croquembouche is awesome, as is the beautiful wedding cake. You must have so much patience!

The Food Librarian said...

OMG! Amazing! I hope you got an A++++++ and I can't believe you get on the train with your treats!

Jude said...

Glad to hear you felt good about the exam :)

Y said...

Congrats on completing your first pastry exam! Your croquembouche and wedding cake look great!

Manggy said...

Well, congratulations! I'm sure you did fantastically :) The creations do look freaking flawless, after all :)

Jacque said...

They both look fantastic! I love your sugar decorations on the crochem...(however that's spelled).

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