1A: Muffins, Scones, and Quick Breads

A lot of the first day’s activity involved learning how to be pastry students and where to find things in the kitchen. The class consists of six women, two of whom are only doing the first half (certificate program). A couple of them have actual kitchen experience.

The chef instructor has an assistant each night. Paul assists on Wednesday night and Jay assists on Thursday night. Paul and Jay did the professional pastry course last year, and I saw them in action when I observed a class. They’re excellent assistants because they know what they’re doing and they remember what it was like to be a student in this program.

The most exciting thing so far is the walk-ins. There are two walk-in freezers and three walk-in refrigerators, and you really have to walk in and let the door close behind you so the temperature in the walk-in doesn’t rise. The walk-in freezer in the kitchen has a digital thermometer on the outside, and it’s supposed to read 4℉. Chef Sharon opened the door, held it open for about 3 seconds, then closed it; the thermometer read 8℉. Obviously, walking in and holding the door open while you’re in there is a problem. But it’s scary at first to just walk in, let the door close, and believe you’re going to get out again. In fact, the walk-in freezers have a sign on the inside of the door that says “You are not locked in!” There’s no latch inside; you just push the door open. Now that I’ve done this a few times, my heart rate stays steady while I’m in there.

A reassuring notice inside the walk-in freezer

A reassuring notice inside the walk-in freezer

The first lesson is muffins, scones, and quick breads. The kitchen time is limited by all the orientation plus the lecture, and I guess a lot of people have made these sorts of things before. We broke up into three teams of two students and picked one of each type of recipe to make out of a total 22 possible recipes. My team didn’t have enough time to make muffins, but we made teacakes (creaming method) and scones (biscuit method).

Teacakes out of the silicone pan; most are intact!

Teacakes out of the silicone pan; most are intact!

Scones cooling on a rack; the warning sign is not about the scones

Scones cooling on a rack; the warning sign is not about the scones

It’s not enough to make them edible (or, preferably, delicious). Even in the first class we have to think about making them pretty. The scones got dusted with powdered sugar, but they could’ve been glazed.

Scones ready for their close-up

Scones ready for their close-up

Eventually we’ll have learned enough techniques that we can just go with inspiration, but right now I feel like I need lots of direction. The teacake recipe includes a glaze. Chef Delphin told me I could brush it on or drizzle it on and gave me a tutorial.

Drizzled on the left and glazed on the right

Drizzled on the left and glazed on the right

Then he suggested decorating the cakes with shaved chocolate and a fresh raspberry. I had to venture into one of the walk-ins for the raspberries; that’s when I started to feel comfortable with that. He showed me how to shave the chocolate using an idiotproof method: With a relatively sharp edge (e.g., of a spoon), scrape the block of chocolate. Proper shaving technique is taught later.

Raspberry almond teacakes with raspberry glaze

Raspberry almond teacakes with raspberry glaze

At the end of each class we split up the entire class’s output and we each take home some of everything. I’ll have to start getting photos of that. For now, here’s what some of the others came up with:

Plated teacakes

Plated teacakes

Muffins with a streusel topping

Muffins with a streusel topping

Slices of loaf cake

Slices of loaf cake

Making caramel-coated macadamia nuts for decoration

Making caramel-coated macadamia nuts for decoration

Loaf cakes decorated with caramel macadamia nuts

Loaf cakes decorated with caramel macadamia nuts

Muffins decorated with candied lemon peel

Muffins decorated with candied lemon peel

Muffins beautifully plated by a student who knows what she's doing

Muffins beautifully plated by a student who knows what she's doing

Advertisements

About linguina

For most of my life I've loved to read and to make stuff. My mother says I taught myself to read when I was 4, and I never looked back. I also liked fooling around in the kitchen, but my mother wasn't really into cooking, so I learned a lot of that on my own, too. My sister and I had the Betty Crocker New Boys and Girls Cookbook (1965), and naturally I had to make the Enchanted Castle Cake. I learned how to bake bread when I was 14, and I bought a copy of the Joy of Cooking when I was 17. My aunt and uncle gave me Mastering the Art of French Cooking for my 19th birthday, and the first thing I made was soufflé. I've always been more of a baker than a cook, though. When our niece used to visit us during her breaks from college, she'd get me to show her some cooking things (including soufflé, of course!), but I kept having to tell her, "This is just how I do it. I have no idea if it's the right way." Finally, I took a basic cooking class, and that changed my life. After that class, I signed up for a 4-day baking class at King Arthur Flour. That's when I knew I was really a baker. Now I'm taking the professional pastry program at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. With this training, I'll become a pastry chef.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s