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

Posts tagged ‘petit fours’

Day 122 – Student Event Dinner – Thurs 26th July

During superior cuisine each class, or 2 classes working together, have to prepare a dinner for 50 people (staff and other students at Cordon Bleu) including creating the menu, within a budget, and use specified seasonal ingredients.

We had to prepare 3 canapés, an amuse-bouche, a first course based on mackerel, a main course based on quail, a cheese course using Reblochon course, a dessert based on cherries and 3 petit fours as well as 3 breads.

We split into 3 teams, one to prepare the canapés, amuse-bouche and first course, a 2nd team to prepare the main course, cheese course and staff food and a 3rd team to prepare the dessert, petit fours and breads.

I was part of the starter team and worked on the mackerel, amuse bouche and one of the canapés.

The 3 canapés were ham hock croquettes with a little redcurrant jam

crab vol au vents

and shots of gazpacho with a parmesan tuile.

The amuse-bouche was a mille feuille of filo pastry and herb cream.

The first course was a duet of mackerel. Some of the mackerel was cured with beetroot and horseradish and then diced to make a tartare which was topped with cider and apple jelly, and was served with a piece of grilled mackerel and a lime and chilli vinaigrette and beetroot dust.

The main course was roast quail stuffed with pistachio and fig, pea polenta, purple potato purée and a sauce finished with bitter chocolate.

The cheese course was a Reblochon eclair with a honey and mustard dressing.

The dessert was a dome of cherry mousse encased in dark chocolate with a cherry compote and hazelnut crunch.

Finally, the petit fours were pink champagne macaroons, lychee and passionfruit jellies and white chocolate and lime truffles.

Day 74 – Light cooking and savoury petit fours – Thurs 3rd May

Today’s demo was about light cooking (a brief hiatus in the regions of France) and the chef prepared a side of salmon for a beetroot gravadlax and left it to marinate overnight.

He also seared a loin of venison for carpaccio and put it in the freezer for easier slicing.

The main dish was a poached and pan-fried lobster with broad bean risotto and parmesan shavings.

Next we had a technical class from chef Nicolas on making savoury petit fours. He made chicken and mushroom vol-au-vents, cheese twists, mini ham croissants, mini pizzas, sausage rolls and salmon roulade.

Day 44 – Eclairs, more desserts and petit fours – Tues 13th March

Today we had a couple of practicals and a demo between them.

The first was to make the eclairs from the previous day’s eclairs and we all treated this as a practice for the patisserie exam as eclairs is one of the dishes we might get asked to make.
Doing this again showed me that this dish was not hard to do and I made some pretty good eclairs, filled with pastry cream and decorated with fondant and chocolate.

The demo was another cuisine demo about desserts and chef Neil made 3 desserts:

Pears poached in port served with chocolate sauce

Oeufs a la niege, which are meringues poached in a sugar syrup and served with creme anglaise

And creme caramel

We finished the day with a patisserie practical making some of the petit fours. We had to make the sablé biscuits and the almond meringues.

The almond meringues were quite straightforward, as long as you didn’t knock all the air out of the meringue while folding in the dry ingredients. They came out well and were decorated with chocolate.

The sablés were more challenging. This is a mixture which goes from too firm to too soft to work in seemingly nanoseconds so was quite problematic. I did manage to make a reasonable checkerboard and spiral, though we will be repeating this a lot in intermediate and superior patisserie classes. I think the answer is to really chill it well between working it.

Day 43 – Eclairs, Sablées, Bavarois and Petit Fours – Mon 12th March

Today in the cuisine demo we had chef Gilles and he was covering a few basic desserts: Eclairs filled with creme patisserie, sablé biscuits with fruits and cream and a vanilla bavarois with a red fruit salad.

The recipes were the same as we have used in pastisserie, though the amount of sugar that went into the eclair paste was not measured correctly and was much too high, making eclairs that were much too brown.

The sablé biscuits (similar to shortbread) were layered with strawberries and raspberries and chantilly cream and served with a raspberry coulis

The bavarois was plated with raspberry coulis and a salad of strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants.

We then had a practical making the beef stroganoff and rice pilaf from last week. Quite a quick practical (we finished an hour early) as it all cooked quickly and it was very tasty indeed, but not nearly enough.

Lastly we had a patisserie demo with chef Nicolas, which was a pleasant surprise. He went very quickly in the demo, which was good as I couldn’t stand the constant noise at the back of the class from those who just can’t shut up for more than 1 minute. Considering how much money the course costs, I am amazed that people want to talk through it rather than paying attention and I wish they would shut up or go out to have their inane chats.

Anyway, some repetition of recipes today as the chef was making sablés too as well as almond meringues and orange tuiles.

The chef made the sablé paste (a shortbread like mix, rich in butter) and coloured half of it with cocoa powder. He then made a couple of different designs, one being a checkered pattern of the 2 doughs, the other a spiral. Slices of each were cut and baked.

The tuile mix contained orange juice, zest and grand marnier and nibbed almonds. It was piped in small circles, which, once baked, had spread out and were shaped into curves.

The almond meringues were made of whisked egg white into which sugar flour and ground almonds were folded. It was piped in baton, circle and oval shapes. The centre of the ovals was filled with almond cream. Once baked the small circles were joined together with jam. the batons spread with chocolate and the ovals topped with fondant.

All the petit fours were arranged on a silver tray for presentation.

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