Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Bon Bombay

As promised, this post is all about our most recent and delicious assignment- create your own candy bar. Chef Marc had his plate full literally of all different kinds of flavors from the strange to the most appetizing. Many of my class mates took this opportunity to get creative with their flavors, for instance my friend Abby made a walnut brittle, candied bacon, and bleu cheese ganache candy bar. It was definitely what I would call an exotic treat, but for those of us that enjoy the unusual, we found Abby's candy bar to be a wonderful taste bud adventure! Others chose to go with a traditional combo like my friend Katy. She made a wonderful chocolate caramel with candied cashews and yummy dark chocolate delicious and definitely a classic! They were all wonderful and a great chance for us all to put our creativity on display. So, you may be wondering- what did I make?
Well, I decided to go for something off the beaten path, after all , unusual flavor combinations is kind of my style! Anyways, over the last couple of years I have come to love Indian food, the spices are so different from any traditional American flavor but seem familiar at the same time when combined with chocolate. So I created what I called the "Bon Bombay" Its four layers from top to bottom are : a curry gananche (that's white chocolate, cream and curry spices), a toasted coconut filling, cashew crunch, and sesame seed brittle all covered in a delicious dark chocolate shell. Although this candy bar is not your usual find in the supermarket check out line the sweet and spicy flavors combined with a bit of crunch and a lot of chocolate made for a winning combo- chef said it made a colorful presentation and was a well thought out combination of flavors. Needless to say I was pretty happy with the result of my "risky" choices. So maybe if your lucky I'll make you a batch sometime. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The beginning of the End... of classes!

Well, a lot has happened since I last posted on here. Cake block ended with our big wedding cake project and the last block has begun. This block is advance patisserie techniques including chocolate, confection and sugar work. So far we have been doing a lot of work with chocolate. While chocolate might seem easy its actually quite challenging work. Chocolate requires tempering ;a process that requires heating and cooling the chocolate to create a shiny and hard snap in the final product. In other words it brings chocolate to the peak of its own perfection. This might sound simple enough but a lot of factors can effect the out come, needless to say those with little patience might find chocolate work to be a very frustrating task! Personally, I find it more challenging than rewarding, but I'm thankful for the chance to get a taste of a chocolatiers profession.

After the first two assignments, we turned our attention to confection work or candy, which was a great relief to many of us in the class. We have dabbled in divinity and pate e fruit and fiddled with pralines and candied orange zest. I have really enjoyed the confection work and hope I can share some of the fruits of my labor in the future in the form of edible Christmas gifts!
On a personal note, I had the chance to see one of my oldest friends and her family for Easter; Noelle Preble and fam. They live just outside of beautiful Fredericksburg in a sunny house on a hill with a spectacular view. I love spending time out there, its so peaceful and the company couldn't be better. I was especially thankful to see the prebles just before I leave for my externship. Sometimes spending time with those that know your past make you feel even more confident about the future. I'm now less than a month away from moving to Washington and so many have been so encouraging about this externship, it makes me so thankful for those in my life and I know it makes me a better person personally and professionally.

This week in class will be inventing our own candy bar, so stay tuned for the next posting!