Cakes on cakes on cakes!

I recently completed this 3 week course entitled “Basic and Classical Cakes”. I was very fond of my instructor, Chef Welker, who was always so attentive and helpful. We made a lot of products in this class, so much so that the more pictures I shared on facebook the more comments I got asking to stop because I made so many people hungry!

One of the very first things we made in this class was pithivier, something I had never heard of before walking into the class. Pithivier, is a french specialty that is made from puff pastry dough and filled with a frangipane filling. The top view is meant to look similar to a wagon wheel or sunflower. On a side note this dessert reminds me of that country sound- Wagon wheel, “so rock me mamma like a wagon wheel, rock me anyways you feel…”

ImagePuff Pastry Dough:

Ingredients

Bread flour     32 oz

Pastry flour      8 oz.

Salt                  1 oz

Butter, soft       8 oz.

Water, cold      21 oz.

Roll in

Butter      2 lb.  4 oz.

Bread flour       4 oz.

Directions:

1. Flatten your butter block (roll in portion) into a 1/2 ” thick rectangle. Wrap and refrigerate.

2. Mix together water, flour, salt, and butter on first speed until a smooth dough is formed.

3. Shape dough into rectangle (twice size of fat) – cover and rest in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Lock butter into dough portion with a book fold and then rest for 30 minutes in fridge.

4. Roll dough out and give it a 4 fold. Again rest for 30 minutes.

5. Make a 3 fold and rest.

6. Make a 4 fold and rest.

7. Make a 3 fold and rest.

8. Roll out 2, 10 ” rounds of puff pastry dough (one is 3/8″ thick for the top and the other 1/8″ thick).

*This recipe yields a large portion of puff dough but the convenient thing about puff dough is it can be frozen and pulled out again for a variety of things such as a jalouise, apple strip, etc. Just think as puff dough as your base for any filling you wish. You’ve already done all the folds so whenever you want to use it again just roll it out to whichever shape you desire!

Frangipane filling:

1/2 C. almond paste

1/4 C. sugar

1 egg

3 T. butter, softened

3/4 t. vanilla extract

1 T. cake flour, sifted

Directions-

1. Blend together with a paddle the almond paste and sugar. Add the butter and cream until smooth with no lumps.

2. Slowly add eggs, scrape as neccessary.

3. Add flour and mix until combined.

And to assemble the whole thing…….

Fill a pastry bag with no tip with your filling. Pipe filling in the center of your bottom round of puff, leaving a 2″ border. Egg wash your border and seal with the second circle of puff dough. Press together firmly.

Take tip and cut half circles around the rim of your dough.

Using a paring knife, cut a spiral pattern in the top portion of dough. Chill the dough, chill the dough, chill the dough before baking!

Bake at 375 F until golden brown.

Brush with simple syrup immediately out of the oven.

“There’s only one cuisine for me. The good one.” -Paul Bocuse

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Pie fan

Pie DayWho doesn’t love pie? I mean honestly it is just so good! And there are so many different flavors of pie one can try! This is a picture of me on pie day, it is quite obvious how excited I was to try all the pies.

We made pecan pie, apple pie, banana cream pie, lemon meringue pie, quiche (which isn’t really a pie but somehow it snuck it’s way in there), and a coconut cream pie.

Chef Coppedge was our instructor that day and he is just awesome. He’s one of the funniest chefs I’ve ever met. One time during lecture, I kid you not, he just went down into a split. I almost freaked out because I thought he fell over.  One creative tip he told me was to melt cheese and put it on top of the apple pie; I was the only person in the class to try it and it was so delicious.  Chef Coppedge, I am forever grateful!

pies

“Just eat pie.” – Chef Coppedge

Baking Fundies!!

So as some of you may know I am currently enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America as a baking and pastry student. The first bakeshop class I took lasted 15 weeks and was called “Baking and Pastry Fundamentals” or more commonly known to us students as baking fundies. I honestly learned so much in this class. To be completely honest before going into culinary school I didn’t even know what the creaming method was. I know some of you are probably freaking out in your seats right now reading this but it’s not like I never baked before!

It’s an understatement to say I was less-experienced; but that was my motivation to do the best I could each day with all my products. I was grateful for all the mistakes I made; I hate being embarassed about them because without my mistakes I wouldn’t learn anything. Better yet, I wouldn’t know how to fix the problem if it happened again. We went through a lot of chefs during our 15 weeks, and each had something different to offer. Here’s a collage of a few things we made during our first few weeks: cookies, corn muffins, blueberry muffins, eclairs, and pound cake.

Image

“This is the foundation to your house.” -Chef Adams