Forgotten Cake and Homemade Marshmallows

For some reason I failed to post this picture of my Angel Food Cake.  It wasn't on the syllabus, but Chef Rocque taught us the proper technique to making a delicious airy Angel Food Cake.  With a little bit of fresh cream and strawberries, this light dessert truly is heaven sent (ahem).

Angel Food Cake

In class, we made fresh marshmallows.  They are actually made with gelatin, sugar, corn syrup, and various flavorings according to preference.  I didn't want to get too fancy with my marshmallows so I simply used Madagascar vanilla bean and a hint of cayenne pepper.  For an added crunch, I added cocoa nibs to half of the recipes, just for the sake of it.  The process is rather simple, although, I must say that when the 240 degree sugar is added to the bloomed gelatin, it gives off this horrendous odor!  I'm talking wet nasty dog/zoo smell.  Not cool.  I was rather pleased, however, when the smell dissipated and all that was left was a fluffy, flavorful marshmallow cream which was piped and then cut into one-inch pieces which were tossed in cornstarch to finish them off.  I couldn't wait to get home and make some hot chocolate!

Spicy Vanilla Marshmallows

Vanilla Cocoa Nib Marshmallows


A Box of Chocolate

For the past three days, we have been working on creating a variety of truffles and an original design chocolate box.  Take a look at these stunning desserts!


Semi-Sweet, Bitter-Sweet, Milk, and White Chocolate Box
The box started with a preliminary design and homemade stencils. With the help of textured acetate sheets, I was able to incorporate textures along with my design.  I decided to replicate a two tone wall-painting job, by brushing tempered dark chocolate in deliberate strokes across the acetate.  I then poured tempered milk chocolate over the settle dark to create an interesting combination of texture and color.  I designed a box with an opening on the top to create a peekaboo effect.  I used golden pearl dust to enhance the white chocolate trim and added bittersweet chocolate embellishments about the edges.  At the right-hand corner of the opening I created a white chocolate magnolia.  Each petal was created by dipping three different sized balloons into tempered white chocolate.

Another View 
Close up of the Detail and Texture
Truffles Inside


The Mix of Truffles

Chocolate Orange
In all honesty, I have never fancied the well-loved chocolate orange combination.  I blame the gross, waxy chocolates that come out during the winter holidays.  My dislike lingered through the years until this week--the day we learned to make our own chocolate orange truffles.  In place of the Grand Marnier, I increased the amount of orange zest and infusion time.  The result was fantastic--life changing, really.  It was as though my lifelong dislike of orange chocolate completely vanished as soon as the smooth, rich texture graced my tongue with its incredible flavor.  For the exterior, I used dark chocolate with a golden bronze luster dust. 

Chocolate Orange Truffles

Passion Fruit
Our recipe packet included a truffle filling using cassis (or black currant).  In demonstration Chef used passion fruit puree which was so wonderful, I had to follow suit.  The exterior is dark chocolate which provides a nice balance with the tartness of the passion fruit.  The bon bon is only slightly brushed with a gold luster dust to provide a somewhat aged and aesthetically beautiful look and feel.

Passion Fruit Truffle

As I was creating the passion fruit truffle filling, the thought of substituting strawberry and lemon in place of the passion fruit came to mind.  I finished the passion fruit filling and asked Chef whether I could make another batch using strawberry and some fresh lemon (to offset the intense sweetness of the strawberry puree).  With his permission I made the extra recipe.  This truffle is coated in tempered white chocolate that is brushed with a super pearl dust mixed with a little bit of pink luster dust.

Strawberry Truffles

Chocolate Coconut
The chocolate coconut truffle was supposed to be a Port truffle.  In place of the alcohol, I mixed in coconut puree which added a subtle flavor highly less offensive than that of mounds or almond joy chocolate bars.  These truffles were rolled by hand and hand dipped in dark chocolate.

Chocolate Coconut Truffles

For the hand-cut and dipped coffee truffles, I used a coffee substitute so I guess it would be more accurate to say these are pseudo-coffee truffles.  Ha!  I'm sure the substitute mimics the correct flavor; but whether it did or did not, the taste was impeccable.  It combined white and dark chocolates and was hand dipped in bitter-sweet chocolate after in was cut into small rectangles.  A multi-colored transfer sheet was used to add a unique garnish.

Chocolate Coffee Truffles

Needless to say, this was a perfect end to a great week!  Oh, here's one more pictures of the truffle fillings.  Utterly delicious, my friends!

Truffle Fillings
(Chocolate Orange, Passion Fruit, Coffee, Strawberry, and Coconut)


Le Seul Arbre

Our major written assignment for this six-week module was the creation of a dessert menu including the designs, recipes, and directions.  It was so much fun to create original desserts and creatively express our work on paper.  I made up the name of my restaurant "Le Seul Arbre" and designed a logo.  Spending hours reviewing notes and pulling from the depths of creativity, I eventually decided on four fine dining desserts--each containing about seven recipes.  With reach recipe requiring quite a handful of ingredients, you can imagine that it took quite a bit of time to create the whole project.  In the end, there were approximately 40 pages to the menu.  Yeah, it definitely wasn't your average menu.  Thanks to Yolanda and Hunter's instruction on Adobe InDesign, I was able to format the project in a professional way.  Another bonus to this project, Hunter taught me how to saddle stitch the little booklet menu.  All in all, the project probably took more time than it required, but I learned may new skills in the process.  The result, a pretty neat book containing the directions to create four of my original desserts.

What good are these recipes without sharing them?  Click below to download my assignment.  If you get to trying any of the recipes, be sure to snap a picture and send it my way.  Happy baking!

Le Seul Arbre Menu

Yes, I took pictures of the menu.  Ha!  I only did this because Chef Rocque asked to keep the menu to show future classes as an example.

 The Menu Cover

The Dessert Menu

Seasonal Dessert Design

A Little Peek at the Directions

The Last Plated Dessert

Our Challenge: Create two identical plates employing tempered chocolate, chocolate banded Japonaise and Chocolate Bavarian (yes, the same dessert from the last post--just wrapped in a different manner), and two sauces.

It was a pretty slow day, mainly because I was running on three hours of sleep; but somehow I was able to come up with a pretty good concept and flavor profile for this dessert.

   Dark Chocolate band pre-brushed with Gold Luster Dust
   Creme Chantilly flavored with Orange Zest
   Tempered Chocolate garnish with Cocoa Nibs
   White Chocolate Creme Anglaise
   Orange Gastrique

The Plated Dessert (can you see the gold on the surface of the chocolate?)

Close Up on the Delicious Sauces


What's Better Than a Present Wrapped in Chocolate?

Today, we finished decorating our layered Japonaise and Dark Chocolate Bavarian desserts we made some time ago.  Japonaise is a type of meringue cookie similar to a French macaroon only it is made with hazelnut.  The Bavarian is a pastry cream flavored with semi-sweet chocolate and folded with cream.  They were previously layered--bound within two-inch circular acetate bands.  Chef demonstrated a new technique of chocolate banding.  Mixing chocolate with a portion of vegetable oil and playing with temperature enables you mold the delicate pieces.  It's rather tricky, however, because the chocolate immediately starts melting as soon as it touches your fingers.

We melted the chocolate and then whisked in the oil.  We poured approximately five ounces on the back of a warm half-sheet baking pan and spread it evenly across the surface.  After a quick tap to remove the streaks, the pan was placed in the freezer until the chocolate set up.  Warming the chocolate to a perfectly pliable state, we rubbed the inside of the pan with our hands.  Using a pastry scraper, we released strips of chocolate pulling the strip with one hand and scraping with the other.  Fearing my hand's warmth would melt the chocolate, I set it in a bowl of ice that I kept at my station.  It worked rather nicely and the effect, beautiful!  Using the scraper, I made half-moons and formed petal-like pieces that I placed on top. 

Chef also wanted to teach us how to paint with chocolate.  He made another chocolate concoction that we used in an electrical paint sprayer.  This technique resulted in a somewhat of a suede-looking texture.  I used the sprayer on all of my desserts except one which I decorated with Chef's luster dust.  He had a beautiful gold color that I used to emphasize the tips of each petal and with a small brush I pulled the color inward allowing it to fade half way down.  It was a striking dessert!

Chocolate-banded Japonaise and Dark Chocolate Bavarian

Another View of the Luster Dust

The Suede-looking Texture

Asian Inspired Pears

Our Challenge: Create two identical plates celebrating the main item--poached pears.

The Ensemble

This project evolved as each element came together one by one, starting with the pear.  Chef demonstrated the technique of poaching pears well before each of us was left to create our twin plates.  I knew I did not want to use the typical white or red wine poaching liquid so I was left with the option of purees to use at my disposal.  I flirted with the idea of using grape juice, but something about made it seemed so expected.  Being the unexpected culinarian, I decided to try something completely out of my comfort zone.  Going back to my roots, I chose to make an asian-inspired poached pear by using lychee puree as the base of my poaching liquid.  Adding a variety of citrus juices and a minimal amount of sugar, just enough to balance the tartness, I finally came up with a great creation.  It was, however, missing something.  As I spoon-tasted the liquid, waiting for some burst of inspiration, it came to me.  Ginger!  It needs ginger.  Somehow, everything I need is always in Chef's refrigerator.  There was a mound of ginger.  I've only ever seen my mom cook with ginger a handful of times so I asked Chef what would be the best way to prepare it.  He suggested boiling sliced pieces of ginger for about 5 minutes in water to release the bitter taste in the root.  After doing so, I added the pieces to the delicious asian-inspired liquid and started poaching.

I made a ginger-infused creme anglaise to accompany the pears and further play on the root's bold flavor.  It didn't take long to realize that the dessert seriously lacked in color.  Going back and forth between ideas on how to include color in my height or crunch elements, I eventually decided to sleep on it and make my final decisions the next day.

Seriously robbed of a good night's rest, I kept waking up in the middle of the night to new ideas that would leak out of my subconscious.

1:37 AM - "Use Chinese dried noodles for your crunch."

2:15 AM - "There needs to be red on your plate."

3:28 AM - "Stencil pear blossoms with chocolate and fill it with your two sauces.  What do pear blossoms look like?"

4:00 AM - BEEP.  BEEP.  BEEP.  Argh, time to get up.

As I showered, I mentally listed off the inspiration received throughout the night and decided on a more cohesive execution for the dessert.  At the beginning of class, I penned a rough sketch of my vision and discussed my ideas with Chef who suggested a hollow disc rather rather than a large overbearing disc of isomalt.  I changed my mind and instead envisioned a delicate, thin ring of tempered chocolate sitting upon an abstract, bright red net of isomalt for the needed color.  I dyed the isomalt with burgundy and red before placing it in between two silpats and melting it in the oven.  Deeming the crunchy noodles rather chinese-buffet-esque, I decided to dip them part way in chocolate to make them more appropriate for the dish.  I tempered the remaining dark chocolate and spread a thin layer on narrow acetate stripes to form a standing ring similar to those found in oriental architecture.  The poaching liquid was my second sauce, so I reduced it and added pomegranate to add a new depth of flavor and color.  Lastly, I made the necessary spiced creme chantilly before starting to plate my desserts.

I used dark chocolate to pipe a branch with two hallow blossoms that I deliberately filled with the sauces to appear like two-toned flowers.  I broke off pieces of the isomalt and placed them in the lefthand corner of the plate.  The pears were set on top--two pieces divided by a canel of chantilly.  The ring was placed behind and the noddles were used as a garnish for the cream.

 The Main Item

The Two Sauces

Close-up of the Isomalt 

One last look at the plate

With a great critique from Chef, I came from this project having learned a lot.  Although I am pleased with the experimental effort, there are definitely changes I would make to this plate.  For one, I would lose the secondary fanned pear to simplify the plate.  Chef didn't care much for the chocolate dipped noodles so in lieu of them I would use some type of nut (maybe candied) to garnish on the creme chantilly or somehow incorporate into the choclate ring.  I could completely lose the chantilly altogether and instead, fill the standing pear with an ice cream for a hidden cream factor.  Ooo, that actually sounds nice.  The sauces (sigh).  They were delicious and although they looked really neat on the plate, I could not get enough of them--literally.  There needed to be more sauce.  Chef suggested a more abstract yet functional design allowing the sauces to play a more significant role.  Well, needless to say, I am learning!


Mint with a Little Bit of Sophistication

Our Challenge: Individually create two identical plated desserts containing mousse, a tempered chocolate vessel for the mousse, chantilly, and two different kinds of sauces. 

Mint Chocolate Mousse

None of us was prepared for this challenge simply because we were under the impression that we would be tempering chocolate all day.  Thinking first about the mousse, I knew I wanted to try something new. As if from nowhere, the thought to use mint immediately seized my mind.  Luckily Chef had a stash of fresh mint in the fridge--a serious blessing since I definitely did not want to use oils or extracts.

I decided to use a bird-nest-like chocolate bowl made from tempered milk chocolate piped onto a blown-up water balloon.  For the chocolate mousse, I infused the mint into the heavy cream  folded in to the chocolate mousse base.  I scaled a portion of the cream and threw in a generous amount of fresh mint.  After 20 minutes, I strained the cream, cooled it, and whipped it before folding it into my base.  While the mousse cooled in the fridge, I started on the sauces.  I created a clear caramel sauce by following our class recipe for thick caramel, but substituting water for milk to create a more translucent, runny sauce.  Before adding the water, I decided to flavor it with mint and a little bit of cayenne pepper.  The result was parfait (that's French for perfect).  The sauce turned a beautiful amber and the taste was superb--warm and minty with a surprising kick from the cayenne.  For my second sauce, I chose a tart berry gastrique to complement in color and flavor.  

Starring at my dessert, I knew I needed a garnish that would give me more height.  Isomalt?  No, too much work (at this stage in the game) and somewhat ill-fitting.  Tuile?  No, boring.  Mint leaves?  No, predictable.  I asked Chef what I could do to the mint leaves to make a more attractive, yet unexpected garnish.  After mentioning a few options, I decided to deep fry them.  The first few mint leaves I fried turned brown, but Chef came to the rescue teaching me that I cannot fry them beyond 350 degrees otherwise they lose their greenish hue--duh!  Ha!  Once the oil cooled, I was able to fry the mint leaves for about 30 second or so resulting in a crisp, gorgeous, and somewhat transparent green leaf.  It was awesome!

I hurried and made creme chantilly to which I added finely chopped mint leaves.  With five minutes left before presentation, I quickly assembled my dessert gluing down the chocolate cage with a bead of mousse, filling the cage with more mousse, garnishing the mousse with a canel of chantilly and the fried mint, and drizzling the two sauces in a fancy design around the main item.

Close Up of the Cage and Mousse

The Two Sauces

I took the leftovers home and replated two more desserts for photographing (I wasn't prepared with my camera at school) and sharing with my family. The 30-minute process of photographing was interrupted every two minutes by my nephew's request for a bite.

"Some?  Some?  Can I have some?"

After capturing the shot I gave in and after his first bite I asked,

"So, do you like it?"

"Uh huh."

"What exactly do you like about the dessert?"

"Uh, chalk-wit."

He refused to share the dessert with anyone so I, being the push-over uncle I am, allowed him to down the entire plate--all the while thinking, this child has been spoiled rotten with the most elegant desserts!  The poor boy will have a more refined palate than anyone his age.  A blessing?  A curse?  I don't know.  One thing is certain, he's definitely a Wing.  He LOVES chocolate (or should I say chalk-wit?).

So Sweet!  Yeah, he finished it all!


It's Never Too Early for Chocolate

I have to admit, I was looking forward to this morning the entire weekend.  Today was chocolate taste testing day!  Before watching Chef's demonstration on the tabling method of chocolate tempering, we were introduced to various kinds of chocolate--seventeen to be exact.  I had to take little samples home to photograph, document on the blog, study, and of course re-taste (just in case they taste different here at home--ahem).  All of the names and descriptions are listed from left to right.

Chocolate Components
Cocoa Nibs - Dry roasted pieces of the cocoa bean from which cocoa butter and cocoa solids are extracted.  Ground up, it is known as unsweetened cocoa powder.
100% Cocoa Butter - Separated fat from cocoa nibs.
Cocoa Liquor/Mass/Solids - Unsweetened chocolate.
 Dark Chocolate
Callebaut Semi-Sweet Chips - 52% cocoa solids.
Bakels Dark Coating Chocolate Disk - Chocolate mixed with shortening.
*Cacao Barry Dark Disks - Bitter chocolate containing 70% cocoa solids from St. Dominique.
Valrhona Manjari Pistol - 64% cocoa solid chocolate with a bitter cherry/berry taste.
Milk Chocolate 
Callebaut Milk Chocolate Chips - Incredibly sweet and balanced milk chocolate taste.
*Valrhona Lactee Pistols - Caramel tasting milk chocolate containing 40% cocoa solids.
Cacao Barry Lactee Disks - 35% cocoa solids milk chocolate with somewhat of a powdered milk taste.
White Chocolate 
Bakels White Coating Chocolate Chunks - Waxy tasting white chocolate.
Callebaut White Chips - White chocolate with an intense sugary zing.
*Valrhona Ivoire Pistols - Soft, smooth, and almost buttery tasting white chocolate.
Specialty Chocolate
*Gianduja Cubes - Utterly delicious, soft, Italian combination of chocolate and hazelnuts. 
Cacao Barry Chocolate Coffee Beans - Chocolate flavored with coffee and shaped like a bean.
Cacao Barry Orange Lactee Chunks - Surprisingly incredible combination of milk chocolate and orange.
Ibarra Mexican Chocolate Chunk - Grainy chocolate with a heightened cinnamon taste with a similar effect as cinnamon gum.
*My personal favorite chocolate choices

The rest of the day we learned the basics to chocolate tempering.  Basically you melt chocolate, pour a portion of it on a workable surface (marble or stainless steel), work the chocolate with a spatula and pastry scraper until it thickens, add it back to the unworked chocolate to bring down the temperature, if properly tempered, the chocolate is ready for use.  We blew up mini water balloons and used then as molds for chocolate cups.  We dipped them in the chocolate and also piped on the balloons for a more bird's nest effect.  We also used acetate and chocolate transfer sheets to create different designs.  I'll take more pictures as the week progresses--there will be a lot more chocolate tempering in the coming days.  I returned home very much pleased with the morning's events but perhaps a little too sugar rushed.


Apple Confit

Our Challenge: Create nine identical apple desserts in a team of three utilizing phyllo dough.

Well let me start by unveiling the final product.  I know everyone wants to see what it actually looked like before they read (or not read) about all the minute creational details.  So, here it is--our Apple Confit.

The Plated Dish

The Team of Creatives

I learned quite a bit during the evolution of this dessert.  Once Mirtha, Laura, and I found out we were going to work together, we quickly met up and threw around some conceptual ideas.  I haven't worked much with phyllo dough so I listened carefully as Mirtha described some interesting characteristics of the dough.  She really wanted an organic-style bowl made of the phyllo filled with apples.  As far as flavor, all we really had time to discuss was how we wanted to shy away from another fall-type, warm apple dish and veer towards a more light and summery dessert with a citrus complementary flavor.  We decided to ponder the dessert individually overnight and come to class the next day with ideas.

Before leaving for class, I researched different types of apple desserts.  The one that caught my eye was a dessert called Apple Confit.  I had never heard of it before, but from what I could gather--comparing a handful of recipes--it is thinly sliced apples cooked in a bain-marie for many flavor-enhancing hours.  I discussed with Chef the feasibility of making the dessert and with his approval decided to approach the group with the idea.  They loved it.  So we decided to change the phyllo-basket to a more asian-esque design using the confit as our main element.  It was easy to make a flavor profile after deciding to go with the confit.  Apple.  What goes with apple?  Butter.  Ice cream.  Why not a brown butter ice cream?  Sure.  Hmmm.  Nuts?  How about pistachio, for taste, but more importantly color.  Sounds great.  Well, how about we just break down the dessert for you by taking a closer look.

Apple Confit:  Looking through the various recipes, I obtained a pretty good idea about what ingredients would work for the confit.  I couldn't find any recipes that were more citrusy so I decided to just make up my own recipe.  In class I whisked together lemon juice, orange juice, sugar, and vanilla bean (can you see it on the confit?).  This combination of ingredients made for the best apple enhancing marinade--if you will.  I melted butter and whisked it in--butter being the necessary ingredient to qualify the dessert as actual confit.  Chef brought his du Buyer mandolin so I could slice the apples into very thin slices.  After the slices soaked in the absolutely delicious concoction overnight, they were stacked and baked for two hours in a low heat oven.  After cooling, we cut them into cylindical pieces.  Utterly magnificent taste and look.  The citrus really didn't overpower the taste of the apple, but rather it made a more apple au naturel flavor. 

Apple Crisp:  These were made by using the sliced apples that contained a little too much of the core (not suitable for the confit.  The suggestion was made, by chef, to soak them in simple syrup and dry them out in a low heat oven.  We decided to make it into a mini-dish for the confit.

Isomalt Pistachio:  Isomalt tinted with a proportion of yellow and green dye was used to dip our pistachios and furnish this chic garnish.

Raspberry Cider Gastrique:  Nice and tart, the raspberry added a very nice tangy flavor to our overall dessert.  The color was gorgeous.  To further tie into the apple theme we used an apple cider vinegar.

Phyllo Dough:  We played around with different ideas for the shape of the phyllo dough, but in the end we decided to go with a long, narrow plank with an asian-style curve on the left-hand side creating an asymmetrical design.  We experimented different ways the phyllo cooks in the oven and how we could manipulate it so it could have the right shape and thin as cardboard look.  With the help of foil and an extra pan, we got exactly what we were hoping for.  Mirtha made a tasty seasoned pistachio mixture that she layered in between the layers of phyllo creating a flakey dessert within itself almost reminiscent of baklava.   

Pistachio Creme Anglaise:  After making the regular vanilla creme anglaise, we mixed in pistachio paste which resulted in an anglaise with perfect flavor.  We originally wanted to have this sauce complement the gastrique and serve as one of the main sauces, but it wasn't working.  We decided to drizzle the anglaise on the phyllo and use a caramel sauce instead.  Brilliant choice.

Caramel:  Laura's Aegean Sea Salt was the perfect addition to our caramel sauce.  So why three sauces? The gastrique was for the apples, the anglaise for the phyllo, so the ice cream needed its own, or so we felt.  The three sauces combined with all the elements of this dessert was truly quite a delight.

Brown Butter Ice Cream:  Just before cooling the vanilla base for the ice cream, we added some browned butter to infuse a more interesting flavor and more exquisite mouth feel.  We froze the base and then piped the soft ice cream into cylinders made from acetate.  Sprinkled with some finely chopped pistachios, this cool treat best balanced the apples in aesthetic appeal and flavor.

Pistachio Isomalt Garnish

Brown Butter Ice Cream in Acetate

Our Presentation of Nine

Yeah, we love it!

In the words of Chef Rocque, "It's perfect, I wouldn't change a thing!"  I pretty sure that none of us has had that kind of critique since we arrived at Le Cordon Bleu.  So, needless to say, lots of smiles today.  One thing is certain, I made it through my first week of getting up at four in the morning.  It's a good thing I love what I'm doing!  


La Reine du Paradis

What happens when you combine six driven students and a brilliant chef?  Magic in the kitchen!

Our challenge:  As a class, create 15 identical desserts using pineapple.  Sounds easy enough eh?

Of course each of us came prepared with ideas when we held our first powwow.  We knew we wanted something with an island flare so we decided to combine five key elements.  (1) Spiced pineapple pan-seared in citrus and brown sugar, (2) something coconut, (3) a cake, (4) two incredible sauces, and (5) an out-of-this-world garnish.  As we further considered texture, temperature, and flavor we decided to go with pineapple rings, coconut mousse, soaked orange chiffon cake, caramel and a vinaigrette blackberry gastrique, and some sort of tuile cookie for height.  Mirtha immediately seized the task of creating an original coconut mousse, while Laura and Michael started on the cake.  En started to prep the pineapple leaving Bianca and me to finish the aesthetic concept and sauces and garnish.  

Originally we planned on a round dessert, but Bianca and I soon realized that the pineapple pieces were much too large for our concept.  After much deliberation and many sketches, we decided to cut the pineapple into three small disks that we would lay on top of a miniature plank of mouse and cake.  For more embellishment, some macadamia nuts were toasted to sprinkle on top of the pineapple.  The gastrique was prepped and the caramel mise-ed.  After consulting with Chef Rocque, we decided to go with a custom designed tuile cookie garnished with shredded coconut.  Chef gave me some rubber-like material, 1/16" in thickness, which I used to cut the shape we desired for the tuile.  We spread the batter into the handmade mold to create the cookies on a silpat-lined pan then garnished them with the shredded coconut.  Once out of the oven, we grabbed the searing hot cookies--browned to perfection--with our hands to curved them over a mise cup with a slight slant to the left.  After they hardened, we had our out-of-this-world garnish.  The mousse and the cake were cut to the appropriate size, the cake was soaked in the remaining juices from the spiced pineapple, and all 15 plates were set out--ready to go.  

We worked in an assembly line as we constructed our dessert.  Cake, first.  Mousse, second.  Pineapple trio, third.  Macadamia nuts, forth.  Clean check and wipe down.  Garnish, in (Chef had the great idea of tucking it under the dessert instead of just placing it over for a more stable structure).  One more clean check and wipe down.  The finished the plated dessert with our two sauces just minutes before our 8:45 AM deadline.  We decided on the name, "Reine du Paradis" translated Queen of Paradise for our incredible dessert.  Chef gave us his kind critique after which we photographed and then enjoyed the fruits of our labor.  It was delicious--the combination of flavors was superb!  You know, with the little experience each of us has, we really came together on this and created something magnificent.  I'm so proud of our teamwork!  There's no way we would have been able to come up with this creation without all six of us (well, seven of us--sorry Chef).  Enjoy the pictures!

Reine du Paradis

Our Fifteen Identical Desserts

The Team

The Final Product

A Closer Look