bonjour à tous!
nearing the end of week 4 at le cordon bleu, i am quite happy with the amount of french i have been able to pick up! even though i still freeze up when trying to make conversation with the chefs (especially the grumpy pastry ones), i am starting to understand them quite well during demos and practicals. i have started to attempt to jot down my recipes in french, and force myself to ask the chef questions in french also. i have decided to take learning the language very seriously as i am set on landing an internship at a restaurant or patisserie (or both!) after the attainment of my grand diplome! so yes. down to busi-nazz.
"bien observer! bien regarder!" chef nicolas jordan stresses, as he told us the story how he spent the first year of his apprenticeship not touching one grain of flour.. he just watched his teacher work. he lined two tart rings so effortlessly with fragile pate sucree without saying a word, accusingly looking up from time to time to make sure we did not blink at all. the third and fourth time he explained every single stroke he made with the rolling pin, every single turn of whisk and cut of knife that the whole class was reduced to a whimper of collective panic.
later on at the practical, we learnt the hard way that the chef was dead serious when he says that the pate sucree has to be BIEN FROID when you work with it, or it becomes a living sticky-oily-cracky hell of a mess. so that means your every move with the rolling pin has to be swift, filled with conviction, yet precise, so you touch the dough AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE with your clammy warm hands. the whole class got there in the end, but man. who knew so much stress goes into a foodstuff that looks so sweet and unassuming.
so without further ado.. we present to you:
la tarte meringuée aux poires caramélisées!
this tart has three main components:
1) buttery biscuit base (sorry i couldn't resist)
2) caramelized pear and sultana filling
3) piped meringue/almonds top
spot the difference..
the bright side of learning pastry..
no matter how turbulent or stressful the practicals get..
YOU ALWAYS GET YOUR REWARD.