Sunday, March 7, 2010

Baking Science & Theory wk8


            This was my absolute favorite week to date!  We were able to make “Banana Walnut Bread Pudding with a Butter Rum Sauce”, “Pot De Creme”, “Creme Brulee”, and “Creme Caramel”, also known as Flan.  I had the joyous task of working primarily on the flan.

The Flan base called for the use of a vanilla bean, which was my first time to be privileged to work with that expensive ingredient.  Having been raised on Imitation Vanilla Extract for all of my baking needs, the real thing took my pallet to an entirely new realm completely.  I eagerly look forward to working with this diverse pod again in the future. 

            I was most excited to finally begin working with sugar to make the caramel top for the flan. 
 Since the first time I sat down to a show of Food Network Challenge six years ago, it has been my dream to learn how to make sugar sculptures, and work in that limitless, delicate, edible genre of artistic expression! 
It was something of a disappointment, therefore, when my first batch of caramel burnt. 
The second batch came out perfectly. I kept  wanting to take the sugar mixture off the burner too soon, for fear of burning it again.  But my instructor was so kind as to help me with it tremendously. 
I learned that we wanted it to darken a bit further than that of Clover Honey, which I have some familiarity with. 
            Our products were critiqued well, which made me very happy. Our instructor complimented our products as a whole, and said they look nice. 
He said nice job on the Flan; it has good flavor and texture. He went on to explain that the main difference between that and the other custards is the caramel. It has a bit of a different texture from the extra protein from the additional egg whites.  Also, this product tends to need care to not get too rubbery.  This dialogue made me concerned that our flan came out poorly. But, when asked to clarify he said our flan was quite good!  I was so pleased, I did a little dance after he left.
The Crème Brulee was pronounced to look nice, and was really good.  The only thing was that it was served still warm, due to time constraints. 
We were advised that it would set up more as it cools, but that you want it to be creamy and to not set up.
 Likewise to the flan, the crème brulee should not be rubbery. 
We should not concern ourselves too much with that, however, since our final product was graded as having been done perfectly.
The Banana Bread Pudding was also called good. 
However, the banana pieces seemed a little large, and should be mashed more.
Also, the nuts should have been chopped a bit more.
But, he still said it tastes good, and we did a good job.

            Finally, the Chocolate Pot De Crème tasted good, but was a little runny, and needed to cook longer.

Part of the reason was the cup which was used to bake it in due to the lack of ramekins available in the kitchen. 

In that case, we should have not filled the cup so much, which would allow the product to cook faster and to set up more. 

That is very valuable insight that will continue to be valuable in the future.

            Overall, he said “Good Job, Guys”, and I couldn't agree more. Yay!