Another Ugly Cake and French Vanilla Ice Cream

Charlotte Royale

Royale Slice

Homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream


A Cool Treat On A Hot Summer's Day

We made some incredible sorbet!  There weren't too many options with regards to flavors but this sorbet featured below is a mixture of apricot and strawberry.  There is also a little bit of ginger in there to enhance the flavor.  It was really hot today so having this cool treat was ever so delightful.  You can tell it's melting a little bit in the picture.  Oh well!



Frozen Souffle

No, it's not a purple sponge.  It's black currant frozen souffle.  

Frozen Souffle

I thought I'd include this shot to prove it's not a sponge


Panna Cotta

Look how awesome these turned out!  This is called Panna Cotta which is Italian for "cooked cream" and I must add, it is quite fresh and flavorful.  We used real vanilla bean (of course) and as they set in the pyramid molds the tiny seeds fell to the bottom which resulted in a beautiful look once unmolded.  

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta (a closer look)

Sometimes You Feel Like A Homemade Chocolate Cake

It was my sister and brother-in-law's eighth anniversary this weekend.  While they were out for the day, my nephews and I made a "chocowit cake"--by their request.  We iced the two layer cake with my world-famous cream cheese icing (if you want to know the recipe, just let me know) and used some dragees to garnish the top.  The boys couldn't get over how awesome the "shiny sprinkles" were.  I thought I'd take a picture of the final project--it was beautiful and delicious.

Double Layer Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Icing



A Little Cream and Puff

Our most recent creations include a wide array of desserts made with Pate a Choux.  The creams and custards were quite tasty--especially the dark colored praline custard used in the Paris-Brest.

Cream Puff (Swan Style)

Cream Puffs


The Ugliest Dessert Ever

I'm pretty sure I made the ugliest dessert I have ever made in my entire life.  Gateau St. Honore.  This interesting piece of work meshes the complex techniques of creating pate brisee, pate a choux, two different kinds of creme diplomat, and caramel.  We learned that it is a cake that, if made successfully, qualifies an aspiring pastry chef for upper level training.  So, yes--it was technique heavy, but it really wasn't that fun to make simply because it's ugly.  Just look at it!  The best part of the entire dessert is the nest of sugar we had the chance to make by dipping a cut-off whisk into our melted caramel and flicking it in between two wooden spoons.  It was a lot bigger but it immediately started disappearing as the heat of the day melted it to this sad tumbleweed-esque pile.  Sadly before the end of the day, I threw my passport to greater training in the dumpster after eating a few spoonfuls.  

Gateau St. Honore


On To International Patisserie

I know, it's been a while since I've updated the blog.  Sadly, our time with Chef Lora came to an end.  She was an incredible chef instructor and I am so glad to have learned under her tutelage.  My final practical ended with her kind works of encouragement.

"You have great potential!  Your work has been impeccable and I appreciate your attention to detail..."

It meant a lot coming from the master of breads!  For the past two days, I've been in Chef Mushet's International Patisserie course.  Currently we are adjusting to the change of environment and Chef Mushet's expectations.  She is the author of four cookbooks written for William Sonoma and Sur la Table and I find her quite thorough in her explanations during demo.  I feel that we will learn a lot from Chef Mushet.  We've already made crepes and chocolate soufflé.  Soufflé has to be served immediately because it shrinks within a mere two to three minutes.  Needless to say, my soufflé was rather sad looking by the time I got home.  Perhaps I'll make them one more time at home so I can snap a shot of them.

During the brief interim between the end and beginning of class, I decided to explore more of the L.A. area.  I went to Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park--home to the most exquisite view of the city and really quite an interesting museum of sorts.  I went with Yolanda and her kids, one of which is highly obsessed with space and is certain that he will "be an astronaut."  I also spent a lot of time working out the plans for my future career.  I'm remaining a little hushed up at this point, but I'm getting excited as plans and inspiration are starting to evolve and become more of a reality.  More to come on that note.

I hope I'll be able to bring home some desserts that I can photograph in the coming days.  Until then, I'll post some of my most recent photos including some from my L.A. excursions.

 Chef Lora's Class

A Chef Lora and Chef Guillard Sandwich

Griffith Observatory

The Hollywood Sign

The Classic "Jump Shot" 
(Note how high I am compared to my little nephew)

"Uh-kah-chahn" = "Uncle Jon"

The moon was BEAUTIFUL that evening

The City
(Notice all the planes)


Beignets, Just Because...

We have been testing since it is finals week but somehow there was extra time today.  Everyone was allowed to make an extra bread project.  I decided to make French Beignets.



Some People's Trash Is Another's Treasure

Chef showed us how to make Tart Tatin out of the extra scraps of puff pastry dough we've been collecting throughout the past few days (we could have easily thrown it all away).  The result: a delicious and attractive creation of caramelized apples and pastry.  We had extra time on our hands so Becky, Armine, Masumeh, and I made some pretzel dough.  It was so easy!

Tart Tatin

Amish Soft Pretzels


Puff The Magic Pastry

We have been working on puff pastry for the past few days.  Lots of butter, lots of layers, lots of yummy goodness!  Yes, they tasted just as good as they look.



Trio of Napoleon




Laminated Doughs and Doughnuts


Chocolate Doughnut Holes

Pain au Chocolat

Ham and Cheddar Croissants