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KateW

Desserts a la minute

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Well I have to write a dessert menu as part of the project for this advanced pastry class and I'm pretty happy with it all except the one that is supposed to be hot and made at the last minute. I had crepes suzette (yawn). The problem with this is that I also have to draw it and while I'm somewhat familiar with it I don't know how to draw it and photographs of it online are scarce. I also have a feeling everyone else in the class is going to pick crepes suzette. So, what else can I do?

No, I do not have to make it...simply write up a description, with a price, and draw a picture.

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Hey, if everyone starts asking for help on their culinary school homework assignments, no one will get any help! :wink:

I'll think about this. I would've picked crepes suzette too, but you're right, I bet everyone else will.

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For you advanced pastry class why are you picking such tired old classic desserts? Why not something newer like pear sashimi: slices of pear poached in red wine with ginger infused cream and a warm liquid center chocolate cake. mmmmmmmmmmm. Think fresh, think for yourselves and come up with something that you think you would like to eat. Not something that has been lurking around for 100+ years especially if anyone (never mind everyone) will probably be using that. IMAGINATION!!!!!!! Key ingredient to successful professional cooking - especially in pastry.


Edited by chefette (log)
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Well, I think "advanced pastry" is a misnomer; I'm a culinary major and I know next to nothing about desserts. Last year we had basic baking--croissants, rolls, brownies, etc. This year it's all about members of the creme anglaise family and how to plate desserts like that, using a sauce, garnish and crunch component.

Chefette the sashimi sounds intriguing but is that a last minute, hot dessert? And I'm not sure if something alluding to raw fish would really tempt me when dessert time rolls around.

Edit: Probably old school also, but how about something like cheese blintzes made tableside with a choice of fruit topping...and a sauce and crunch type thing...OH STOP YAWNING :raz:


Edited by KateW (log)

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No fish. It is slices of poached pears. After they have been in the wine a few days and you slice them up they look really cool "like" tuna. They go great with a scoop of velvety soft ginger cream (more body than an anglaise, less than a custard - soft melty. Naturalment anything involving a WARM cake and a COLD cream is necessarily a la minute.

I would suggest that you look through some popular pastry books at the book store and look at pictures, read recipe names, and think of a menu that sounds exciting. We did this at school too. We had to come up with a restaurant concept and name (or use an existing one) and create a dessert menu of our own that fit in with the theme listing the desserts complete with mouth-watering descriptions and prices.

I don't think that you are doing yourself any favors thinking so small and compliant with your program orientation. If you are going to do something kick ass, don't just go through the motions or say that this isn't really what you are doing. That attitude is part of the whole mega problem in the kitchens and schools out there. If you are just going to seek shelter in the safety zone of brownies and something crunchy with some fake strawberry sauce and a daub of whipped cream on the side---argh!

Before you asked about plating desserts and I asked you why plating desserts should be conceptually any different than any other component of a meal? If you were putting an Apps menu together what would be on it? How would you describe the dishes, what about the salads, or the entrees? Because you are studying culinary are you only enabled to be creative with steaks and chicken?

I am not going off on you personally, but I hear this sort of thing frequently and I want to know why people put on the blinders and sit in small dark boxes not thinking outside them. When you read about Adria and Gordon Ramsay and many of the other people most admired in the profession, you are reading about people who create an appetizer, or a first course, a main course, an amuse, or a dessert with the same passion, enthusiasm, and attitude. They are combining elements of flavor, texture, temperature, and color in ways to delight your senses: aesthetically, visually, texturally, and tastily.

Now, if you are going to put a crepe suzette on your dessert menu - what will it be? A couple of spongy eggy crepes sauteed in flaming grand marnier with a scoop of outsourced Ciao Bella Vanilla Ice cream, or will your Crepes Suzette be something that is about delicate thinness, orange essence, creamy vanilla, will the preparation be interesting to the customer because the waiter lights it on fire tableside and slops it onto their plates, or will it be exciting for other reasons inherent to what you tell them is on that plate? Challenge yourself to create something on this. Even if it isn't what you turn in to your teachers because maybe you think they want to see you recreate and color in pictures of some 1962 menu, you should still do a dessert menu - do an entire menu and share it here with us that shows some creativity and excitement. That is my challenge to you and we will help you refine it.

We have been talking to you for months, and are interested in your career development, we want you to succeed, and to succeed brilliantly. We have faith in your ability to do better than this.

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Quote Kate W: "I'm a culinary major and I know next to nothing about desserts."

And please, please explain this statement to us.

You are interested enough in food to go after it as a profession, to enroll yourself in one of the most highly thought of culinary schools. You must be about 20, so you have eaten several thousand meals in your lifetime. You read books and magazines, you watch TV, you read here - how can it possibly be that you know next to nothing about desserts?

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Ok, I know next to nothing about plating desserts? Or maybe I'm just trying to be modest?

I definitely know more than I knew a week and a half ago when I started this class. Which means I know more than the average person...

Ok so I know some pretty good stuff.

Yeah I know it's not really fish, but that is what comes to mind when you say sashimi, no?

I'll add to this later..time to make dinner.

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Well, I guess I'm sorry I asked. Instead of getting ideas I'm getting yelled at for the very thing I *said* was overdone and a bad idea.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think a warm cake with a cold cream indicates something created at the very last second. I could very well heat up a cold cake and pull some chilled cream out of the reach in and call it a la minute but that's sort of cheating, isn't it?

The idea of this project is not to wow her with some desserts that have never been done before. We haven't learned the first thing about creating original desserts. We are doing classical recipes and learning how to plate them with the necessary components for a dessert. I think she wants to see what we have learned, not what we can pull out of our ass.

Could someone just post a nice photo of crepes suzette so I can draw the damn thing?

I think I don't like this class because it's all about plate presentation and balancing things precariously and making it look gorgeous for about 2.5 seconds before the customer drives his fork through it...what a waste. The whole thing just makes me mad. It's sort of the same in savory foods but not quite so elaborate. And things don't BREAK so easily in savory food. :angry:

I'm not saying I want to put less effort into desserts but I'm just saying I have less of an imagination for it because I am inclined to do simple things. And I just know a bunch of people are going to pull a dessert menu straight off some webpage and get a 100 for it. That pisses me off when I am wracking my brain to come up with things and not getting anything.

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Like I said, this wasn't something personal. It isn't being yelled at, and I was trying to help you. If you don't see it that way, then that is fine. What can I say - thirsty horses, water, you don't chose to accept water when its offered, that is you choice.

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Chefette, I don't agree. I was a pastry teacher for three years and after tasting hundreds of weird, poorly executed, imaginative desserts, I would have killed for someone to hand me a plate of properly prepared crepes Suzettes.

I always think beginners, especially cooking students, should stick to the basics, then gradually work in some new ideas.

As for the cheese blintzes, no way! That's would fall in the viennoiserie section, not really a dessert. You have to understand the different categories of pastry products. For instance, you wouldn't really find a chocolate eclair on a dessert menu any more.

How about a sabayon poured over fresh fruit, either cold or gratineed?

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I did look at books, I read online, I looked for magazines, found *one* pastry magazine that didn't help me at all. I watched the pastry competition on food network. Amazing stuff but I couldn't help but think, what a waste! Especially when the guy dropped the thing he'd just been working on for 3 days. And none of it helped me with a la minute desserts...

I cannot find anything about a la minute desserts besides the old crepes suzette and bananas foster routine.

I'm not sure what you were trying to lead me to besides a suggestion to look inside my own mind and yet outside the box. Trust me, I've been searching myself and outside boxes for two weeks. We're getting down to the wire here and I thought you all might have some good ideas.

I saw the post about zilla being a pastry chef and someone cut and pasted a dessert menu from a restaurant to her for ideas. I am offended by this for two reasons--one, how is that helping her become creative, as you have so pressed me to do, and two, why can't you be so forgiving with me? :biggrin:

I think the word "original" has lost its meaning. No matter what I do it will be a spinoff of something else.

Me being "about 20" is almost right. I'm 24.

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How about a sabayon poured over fresh fruit, either cold or gratineed?

What's a sabayon? :biggrin:

Remember I have to write up a proper description and draw a picture.

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Hello Kate,

Believe me, I feel for you. I went to J & W in Providence several years back with NO baking experience whatso ever ( I was in Baking and Pastry, not culinary ). Almost didn't graduate, with my theoretical skills the only thing that saved me ( I could tell you what went wrong, I just couldn't fix it from a hands-on approach )

I believe you should try to get as much out of the advanced class as possible. 2 of my roomates sophmore year were culinary students, and they often came to me for advice.

How long is this class? 11 or 12 years ago ( I still can't believe it has been that long :sad: ) the 2nd year culinary baking class was only 6 days, which doesn't seem to be very long to get a grasp on what I would call "advanced" techniques. The basics are all that you probably will learn, and a firm grasp of basic baking and pastry techniques will help build a better understanding of more advanced stuff, should the occasion to learn more arise. Most culinary students don't WANT to learn pastry skills, although these skills could probably help them in their other cooking. I used to not even care about the other side of the kitchen, but soon realized that the knowledge that I could learn from them would and could be helpful to me in the future.

Now back to the question at hand:

Sabayon is a cooked sauce of sorts ( that is what I call it ) that is egg yolks, sugar, and usually some sort of liquid ( I believe the original recipe called for Marsala, but I could be wrong. I have used orange juice concentrate, Frangelico, lime juice, etc... in the past) The 3 ingredients are cooked over a double boiler until thick ( some say to 170 F, but I usually cook to the consistency that I desire) . This is then laid over fresh fruit or whatever you choose. Sabayon is best made to order, as it loses its thickness over time. I have made sabayon and cooled it completely, then folded in whipped cream and this enables it to have more of a sauce-like consistency and a longer shelf life ( although only 2 days or so ). This would be a good made - to- order dessert, although nowhere as flashy as Bananas fosters or Cherries Jubille ( which by the way, is SO old school, that a restaurant that does them doesn't rate very highly to me - just my opinion )

Anyway, good luck

McKay

( JASON McCARTHY )

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Whoops, missed something

The dish containing the fruit or whatever you choose with the sabayon spooned over can be browned under a salamander or with a torch ( sort of like what you would do to creme brulee ) I believe this is what is called gratinee style, but don't quote me.

McKay

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Wow, this thread has it's angles.

Kate your frustration comes in loud and clear. Believe me I do understand, not understanding something. You got to push your emotions away and take a deep breath while re-focusing.

You've been given some advice by some VERY very knowledgable people. Trust nature and understand that your elders may know what they are talking about.

This whole thing is about your inability to draw a crepe with sauce?............wow! I hope when you get a moment to slow down you'll re-read the help offered and wake-up and understand how lucky you are to have been offered it.

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Okey dokey:

From Fun food facts: A thin dessert pancake, flavored with a sauce of orange (tangerine) juice and zest (sometimes with lemon juice and zest also), Curacao or Grande Marnier, melted butter and sugar. Usually served and flamed tableside.

Crepes Suzette were unquestionably popularized in America by Henri Charpentier, a French chef who became John D. Rockefeller's chef in the U.S. Some sources, probably erroneously, attribute the actual creation of this flamed dessert to him, either at the Cafe de Paris in Monte Carlo or at La Maison Francaise in Rockefeller Center around 1896.

check out http://www.mrbreakfast.com/superdisplay.as...sp?recipeid=323 look behind the laughing chefs head

http://java.sun.com/people/jag/crepes/

http://www.crepecuisine.com/images/57104-c...pes-suzette.jpg

http://www.eggrecipes.co.uk/recipesection/...ec/crepsuze.jpg

http://www.cafecreosote.com/Recipes/recipe...pe.php3?rid=166

C


Edited by chefette (log)

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KateW maybe you should discuss your understanding - or more importantly, your teacher's definition of a la minute.

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Lesley, as Kate described it they are not necessarily preparing these desserts, but providing a menu with pictures. When it comes to standards and old classics I would expect that you would work those in class but that when it came time to do a project like this - your tastebuds and stomach aside, would you really encourage your students to just come right back to you with things that they just did? You would not prefer to see them apply that knowledge and come to you with concoctions (even if they are slightly disturbing) show understanding? At least they are demonstrating that they are doing what you taught them, that they have internalized that knowledge, and can use it. You can give them critical input on how they brought something together, why this does not work with that, or how something could have been re-thought or improved. It is just as possible that they would give you incredibly bad Crepes Suzette I think. What recourse have you then?

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Well, I had the best results having students repeat what they did in class over and over. I liked the method of aiming for perfection, over constantly coming up with new ideas.

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In response to how long the class is--9 school days of 6 hours a day. Although really, we only have maybe 2-3 hours of actual production a day, after taking the time for a quiz, lecture, dinner, and clean-up. Not a lot of time. Certainly not enough to grasp much anything since you really only make each thing once, if at all. Sometimes 2 groups will make creme brulee, 2 will make creme caramel and 2 will make bread pudding and the next day you'll be onto different recipes. Very frustrating because with this chef at least, if you are caught just standing around, even if you are watching someone, she makes you do something. I like to watch people doing techniques, but she says "Isn't there something you could be doing?" And I say well, I am watching to see how he does this, and she walks off with a sigh... But Whatever.

Ok ok I will be more open to advice. Whatever I end up doing I have to do it tomorrow. I may stick with crepes suzette and just play up the description and make a nice drawing.

Oh yeah, I will not be preparing any of these desserts. Just doing a description like on a menu, and drawing a picture. It's the drawing that is stressing me out, actually.

My understanding of a la minute is that something is made almost totally to the last minute, right after the customer orders it. Tableside or at the table, like the things where sauces were poured over something, would be cool. But I have to be able to explain it and draw it which can be hard if I'm just hearing about it for the first time.

Chefette, thanks for giving in :wink: I think I was just more obsessed with just seeing a picture of crepes suzette because I was so irritated that I couldn't find any after pages and pages of googling.

I'm sorry for my temper, if it came through at all. I've had a generally really bad day and it's my time of the month, and I usually cringe when people use that as an excuse but it certainly affects me.

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Dude, if you don't have to prepare it, run wild!

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