For the past two weeks classes have focused on cocktail and restaurant desserts. We’ve been making petits fours, verrines, and plated desserts, all of which I find really exciting and different to what we’ve learned thus far. There’s a bit more creativity and artistic freedom than before, which I find to be a fun challenge. Verrines and plated desserts are especially open to interpretation that during planning I’ve let my ideas run wild. However, 99.9999% of the time my ideas have stayed in abstract form. Time constraint and above all my lack of experience and skill are harsh road blocks to my fantasy presentations. I’m not discouraged (yet) though; I have years of practice ahead of me.
During this class we worked in groups to make four different types of petits fours: macaron chocolat, moelleux au thé vert avec crème au chocolat blanc, viennois aux arôme de jasmin, and diamants chocolat. My favorite was the green tea cake with white chocolate cream. My group member upped the green tea powder, which I loved, but the chef didn’t appreciate.
I really enjoyed this class because I think verrines have so much potential. Although the shot glass may seem like a constraint, I find that it allows for even more possibilities than a cake. A verrine can hold anything liquid or solid, stiff or supple. They are “see through” but can also have an element of hidden surprise. I love their purpose: for cocktail parties and chic affairs which means they can be as extravagantly adorned and as playfully colorful as possible. We made two types: pomme et cassis and fraise en croustillante et pétillant chocolaté.
I thought both were quite tasty. I loved the freshness of the blackcurrant mousse, which worked well with the butter cooked apples. The strawberry cream was also great and worked well as a backdrop for the crunchy crumble which were coated with white chocolate and pop candy. I had initially wanted to create some diagonal lines in my verrines, but ran out of time in the end, thus the overflowing strawberry cream. It’s hard to have a steady hand when the chef is screaming to get hurry up and get moving!
Our first plated dessert involved making a quenelle with ice cream. Much harder said than done, especially in patisserie because we use only one spoon instead of two. By the time I took these photos, my ice cream had melted, but I think I did an ok job for my first time. One of the most difficult part of plating desserts for me is doing applying a swish swatch of sauce on the side. It never looks natural or swift enough.
I had a bunch of ideas for this plate but only one made it into fruition: the meringue cup. I wanted to do something with all these alternating layers and quenelle on the side, but my citron cream was too soft and my meringue cups were two different sizes, so this is what I came up with on the fly. I like the way the piped citron cream and sugar crisp look together. The meringue cup is nice, but I wish I had done something a little more interesting with the berries on top.
I’m still trying to figure out if I think the holes in the dome are aesthetically pleasing or not. I think the concept is cool and knowing the delicacy involved also makes it more precious, but it kind of looks like that mouse running ball to me! In any case, the flavors in this dish are amazing: a super moist chocolate cake with milk chocolate cream, praline crisp, mango-passion fruit coulis, and hazelnut-muscavado crumble. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I don’t really like chocolate desserts, but I think I should correct that and I say I don’t like chocolate-chocolate desserts. Chocolate accompanied with other flavors and textures ie. mango and hazelnut crumble, is to die for.