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Posts Tagged ‘school’

Pomp & Circumstance & Cake

Lizzy’s not big on tootin her own horn*, so I will. Wednesday was her culinary school graduation ceremony, and not only did she graduate with distinction, she was awarded Pastry Graduate of the Year!

For those of you who have access to her skills, take advantage man! And for those of you who currently don’t, just dream patisserie dreams until you see her again. If you thought she was good before, now she got real game.

Funny side note – one of her prizes was a cookbook titled ‘Heerlike Maaltye Met’ – that’s right, it’s written in Afrikaans. Dankie a lot, Capsicum Culinary!

*Editor’s note: anyone who knows me knows that is a bold-faced lie, but I thought I’d let John have a turn today. You know, because I’m awesome like that. – LH

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Sweet Stuff: Reine de Saba

It translates from French as “Queen of Sheba”, but Julia Child’s chocolate almond cake should have several emphatically joyful curse words in its name. OMG, best chocolate cake EVER.

My final school project was about the pastries of France (hence the fleur-de-lis), so I gave it a Julia bent and whipped up a few recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. MAKE THIS CAKE.

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Dressed for Success

Though I vowed I would never show you a picture of me in my chef’s uniform, I’ve decided to give you a little post-Thanksgiving treat. I had already ditched the hat and scarf, so all you really get is the jacket and a slice of the pants (imagine the rib-high elastic waist up under there for the full effect).

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Sweet Stuff: Final Exam

Despite my idiotic confusion about the start time and subsequent HOUR-late arrival, I rocked my final kitchen exam on Thursday! Truly a Thanksgiving Miracle. Even with everyone else getting an hour head start on me, I somehow finished first, and with a damn-near perfect presentation if I do say so myself.

Pumped up on rage and adrenalin, I whisked through the burn in my arms to churn out in 2 hours and 45 minutes:

  • Apple-meringue tart
  • Vanilla frozen custard in a brandy-snap basket with passionfruit sauce
  • Chocolate genoise sponge cake with chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache (better known to you as Chocolate Fail Cake, though not this time!!)

One more project due on Tuesday, and then I am done!

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School had the nerve to schedule my final exam on Thanksgiving night, so no turkey for the African Hawthornes today. Luckily, our awesome group of friends agreed to postpone the official feast until Saturday, so we’ll make up for lost time over the weekend.

In addition to the exam tonight, I also have to turn in one of my final projects: a “celebration cake”. Since I’ll be baking tonight in lieu of stuffing my face with red wine and bourbon turkey and mashed potatoes, I went with “American Autumn” as my theme. And in case you wonder what’s under all those hundreds of hand-dyed marzipan leaves and rolls of chocolate brown fondant, it’s … styrofoam. Or, as my father-in-law would say, styro-form (hey Big Tom!). It’s just a lookin-at cake.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Y’ALL!!

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Éééééék, these things are tasty. And way, way too easy to make. Poor John — who meets me at the door every night after class to see what I’ve brought home, and has suffered through such recent disappointments as fruitcake and savarins — is out of town, so did not get to experience the joy of fresh, hot beignets and éclairs.

Maybe worse, there is no one here whose presence would shame me into not eating mini éclairs as though they’re baby carrots.

Please pardon the grainy camera-phone pics… Choux-paste éclairs filled with creme pâtisserie, topped with dark chocolate ganache

Choux-paste beignets rolled in cinnamon sugar (I know they do powdered sugar in NoLa, but seriously — TRY THIS)

Vanilla soufflé. It really did rise, and stayed puffy for the 15 minutes that it would need to if you were serving it, but I forgot to take the pic until it had collapsed in on itself. Regardless, it falls into the wobbly-eggy category, so I took one sniff and tossed it anyway. Bleeaaghhh!

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Yet another not-so-popular-in-America item that I’ve never baked before, and will probably never bake again: fruitcake. The far more interesting part was draping it in fondant, which I thoroughly enjoyed (though I clearly haven’t mastered yet).

True to its rep, the stuff keeps forever — so we’re meant to finish decorating it at home and serve it over the holidays. Nah. Mine’s already in the trash. (Note to friends I’ll be celebrating Christmas with: you’re welcome.)

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