Thursday, August 28, 2008

Introduction to Egg Foam/Sponging Methods

Wednesday we made Almond Macaroons, Chocolate Brownie Cookies, and Baton Marechaux. These were hard! Each involves some level of meringue, and I haven't made that since 7th grade Home Ec because the procedure scares me off - you have to do it exactly right or your cookies fall. And fall mine did...

When using the foaming method, everything should be room temperature when whipped together (eggs and sugar). Then fold in the rest of the ingredients, taking care not to lose too much air. If you lose air, you can't fix it once the dry ingredients have been added - you just have to start all over. Make sure to fold, not mix - this will knock out the air.

Almond Macaroons: whip egg whites until foamy, then slowly add sugar. Once have medium stiff peak but still glossy, whip in vanilla (although this can also be folded in). Don't whask whisk against side of bowl, or you will lose air. Sift dry ingredients, then fold in, a little at a time. Folding should be done quickly and gently. Then pipe out into quarter/half-dollar size, using medium plain tip. Set aside to dry before baking (when touched with finger, should not pull away any batter). Bake at 350F convection.
As you can see, mine are way to runny. Chef helped me whip it, and he said it was the right stiffness, but I must have messed up when folding in the dry. Practice Practice Practice. Except it's on the practical tomorrow. Oh well. Tomorrow I'm whipping mine by hand instead of the machine - it just didn't work!
Chocolate Brownie Cookies: Heat chocolate over double boiler. Whisk eggs and sugar, add vanilla. Fold in cooled but still runny chocolate, then fold in dry. Fold in nuts (optional), and set aside covered for 5 minutes. Can either be scooped or piped. 325F convection 8-10 minutes. These turned out pretty well.
Baton Marechaux: Sift dry. Double boil egg and sugar, whip. Fold in dry. Pipe 3 inches long. Sprinkle almonds on top. Bake 325 convection. Also too runny.
We were there late today - it took forever to clean the kitchen. There were so many dishes! I don't know if our class ditched them, or the class next door (we share a dishroom), but oh man was it a mess. We always get stuck doing the final clean in the dishroom. Even if we weren't the last ones in there - they must tell their Chef it was us. I heard some of them complaining loudly while we were all in there that we had made the mess - but our people doing dishes said it wasn't our stuff. I mean, of course some of it was, but not all of it. I don't know. When I had taken stuff in there for the first and second recipes, I did mine and put them away, and there was nothing else in there. But when we finally finished our third, there were several stacks of a couple feet. Just like in the cartoons. And then Chef reviewed for the test tomorrow for fifteen minutes. I was very tired this morning when I got up.
Chef expressed some frustration with our class last night - he said some people had been done an hour and a half before the last people, so some people need to pick up speed. And then that people standing around doing nothing instead of helping made our cleaning take longer than it needed to. Again, I don't really understand what happened, but I don't doubt that some people who finished early didn't bother helping clean. Some partnerships are starting to break apart at the seam due to frustrations that people aren't pulling equal weight either in gathering ingredients, mixing, or cleaning. Tennessee continues to pick me, so I hope I'm doing my part like I think I am.
I'm at work, so I'll upload pictures when I get home. Speaking of, time to go meet some more case management kids, and then it's time to leave!

Lessons learned:
In a commercial microwave, you can put in stainless steel bowls. But it must say "commercial" on it!
Pistoles are small coin-sized chocolates
To make meringues fluffier, heat egg and sugar to 11-120F in double boiler before whipping. Stir while over double boiler. This does not take long to get to this temperature.

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