I'm studying the Grand Diplome at Cordon Bleu in London

Full day today. 2 practicals followed by one demo.

First was making the Black Forest gateau. Similar to the raspberry genoise last week, but a chocolate genoise this time and whipped cream rather than buttercream.
Also the outside was decorated with strips of tempered chocolate given designs by the use of transfer sheets. I hadn’t used these before and it was an interesting technique – the chocolate picks up the coloured cocoa butter on the transfer sheet. I made a very good sponge and the end result was quite light in texture and was eaten quickly by my family.

Next we were making the sole bon femme. We had to fillet our own fish. I hadn’t done this for years but it wasn’t difficult and went well. Lots more turning of vegetables which is getting better. One of those skills that needs lots of practice.
The fish took a lot longer to cook than in the demonstration. So, if I get to do the fish in the exam, I’ll be starting to cook it somewhat earlier than I did today.
The mushroom and cream sauce tasted delicious and as there was not a lot of fish and I hadn’t had lunch, I ate it all there and then.
The class seemed to take a long time however and went over time. I’m not sure why really, but it’s something to be wary of in the exam.

Lastly was a patisserie demonstration. Chef Graeme demonstrated 2 charlottes, one passion fruit, the other chocolate.

The method for each was much the same. A genoise sponge was baked as flat pieces, one flavoured chocolate, the other was plain sponge. The chef used a template and some chocolate tuile paste to create a dark brown heart pattern on the baking sheet and spread the sponge mix over it.

Once baked the sponge was used to line the sides and base of a cake ring. Each was then filled with a bavarois mix, flavoured with passion fruit purée or chocolate respectively. A bavarois is a custard mix to which gelatine and whipped cream is added to make a light but set mousse.

The top of each was levelled and then decorated – the passion fruit charlotte with fresh fruit and a passion fruit glaze and some spun sugar, and the chocolate one with a chocolate fan. The fan was made by spreading melted chocolate on a tray, waiting until it was almost set and scraping it up in sheets with a wallpaper scraper.


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