Monday, October 13, 2008

Fancy Desserts

Monday we made Creme Brulee, Creme Caramel, cheesecake, and souffle.

Creme Brulee:

Whip together egg yoks, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Scald heavy cream in a pot, gradually whisk into yolk mixture. Be careful when you do this - you don't want bubbles floating on the surface. If there are, you can pull them out withh a paper towel. Fill ramekins to the top and bake at 300 in a bain marie (water bath). Bake until set in center - shake to make sure it doesn't jiggle. Cool. Remove from cooler and spread a thin layer of sugar on top. Caramelize with torch in an even, steady movement, being careful not to scorch the sugar, which will create a bitter taste.

Creme Caramel:
Pour 1/4" layer of caramelized sugar into prepared ramekins. (I will explain how to make this on my practical day - Master made the creme caramel this day). Whisk eggs and sugar together. Scald milk and gradually mix into egg mixture. Stir in salt and vanilla. Use the same tactic as with the brulee to get rid of bubbles. Pour custard base into ramekins (once caramel is completely set) and bake at 300 in bain marie till custard is set in the middle. Allow to cool. Using a paring knife, separate custard edge from sides of ramekins and invert onto serving dish.

We made a flat cheesecake - this is how they do it in catering and restaurants in order to cut out bite-sized pieces. Fancy restaurants of course do not serve gigantic triangle slices - having never been to one, I can't vouch for this, but I've seen photos...

Make a graham cracker crust out of a combination of graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar. Bake for about 8 minutes.
Paddle cream cheese until lump free (must be completely lump free!), then add sugar till smooth, then bread flour until smooth. Add eggs and yolks a little at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Scrape well between additions and afterwards. Add in cream, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Blend well. Pour over crust. Bake.

Now, to do what I have on top, those are different step.
From left to right:
Before cooking the cheesecake, draw thin lines with thinned out jam or chocolate. Then pull the paring knife gently down through the lines all the way down. In-between those lines, pull the paring knife in the opposite direction.
Marbeling, drop dots of color in a random formation. Take your paring knife and gently swirl the dots.
Hearts, drop dots of color in order. Pull your paring knife through the dots in one direction.

Combine bread flour and butter to form a paste. Combine milk and sugar, bring to a boil then remove from heat. Temper a portion of the hot liquid into the flour/butter mixture, and then add all of this back into the pot. Beat vigorously to ensure there are no lumps. Return mixture to the heat and bring it to a boil, beating constantly. Allow to simmer for several minutes until it is thick and no starchy taste remains. Tranfer to mixing bowl, cover and cool 10 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
Prepare souffle dishes by buttering and dusting interiors of ramekins.
Prepare meringue, whipping to soft peaks and then add sugar, whipping until firm and moist. Fold meringue into souffle base, 1/3 at a time.
Portion into ramekins. Flatten top with offset spatula and clean the edges (pinch edge between thumb and forefinger - circle the edge). bake for about 15 minutes for small dishes.
This is a sweet souffle - other flavors are chocolate, lemon and coffee.
Clearly, these are supposed to rise straight, but we were kind of rushed. We just barely got them in on time - Chef kept shouting if we didn't have them in the oven, not to bother, but I refuse to listen to that. As far as I could calculate, we had just enough time to have them in the oven and clean out space, and pull them out right before class ended. I was right, but clearly we messed up on something.
But she said they looked good on the inside. I sampled the tiniest bit, but really could not stomach any more sweetness.

Lessons Learned:
I lost track and almost ruined my cheesecake, but it turned out okay! I've made a lot of cheesecake for my boyfriend in college, but never this way. I also like this recipe better.
Also, people always think souffles are really hard, but you should expect them to start to fall almost as soon as they come out of the oven. In kitchens, the saying is, "people wait for souffles, not the other way around."

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