meatless meatballs roasted porcini with gremolata gluten-free chocolate chip cookies venison with morel sauce

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Last week we spent a lot of time making frozen desserts and then wrapping them in plastic, labeling them, and popping them in the freezer. We all went home empty-handed and I’m sure Jeremy wasn’t the only one looking at the empty tupperware container with sad puppy dog eyes. To make up for that, we had a veritable overload of cakes/desserts to take home tonight. I filled my cooler and then some – racing up the canyon in the hopes that things wouldn’t melt and start running together.

We first unmolded the frozens, decorated them, and returned them to the freezers. Then we began making petits fours. I think my general concept of a petit four was always a small bite-sized layered cake covered in frosting. A petit four is actually any confection that you can eat in one or two bites. Each team would make one filling and roll out their pâte sucrée for the shells. I wasn’t allowed to make the buttercream or mousse because I had done those techniques last week. So I picked pastry cream, which everyone seemed to shy away from because it’s hard to do well.

unmolding the petits fours shells

piping crème patisserie

petits fours

Making petits fours is fun – really fun. I just find a great deal of satisfaction in making individual servings. I suppose if I had to crank out 1000 of them, I might hate the little bastards – but we only did 10 each and so I’m still blissfully ignorant. While we were waiting for the swiss meringue buttercream to whip, Shan took us into the classroom to go over the business side of pastries. Wow and wow. Utterly informative and I learned that NSF doesn’t mean National Science Foundation in the culinary world – it means National Safety Foundation, as in food safety and all of that good stuff that tries to prevent you from getting the shakes after eating spoiled food in a dining establishment.

After the discussion and the assembly of our petits fours, we took our frozens out and set out a slice of each for all to taste. Thoughts: 1) My chocolate espresso semifreddo is better than the white chocolate espresso semifreddo because of one thing – that I used all mascarpone at home when I had to substitute 75% cream cheese in class (because we didn’t have enough mascarpone). 2) The Almond Florentine Torte is freaking amazing! Must make one at home. 3) The strawberry semifreddo was delicious. 4) I didn’t care for either the triple chocolate parfait or the chocolate dome torte. 5) Meh on the cherry cocoa bombes.

carmen’s lovely strawberry semifreddos

white chocolate espresso semifreddo

to die for: almond florentine torte

chocolate dome torte

There was so much food by the end of class that it was Obscene. Shan yelled, “Take everything home!” We were all slicing, divvying, and wrapping up sweets and fillings and cakes to take home. Our two dishwashers are always inundated at the end of class because everyone is cleaning up and dumping loads of dirty dishes on them. I really like the two ladies. They are, not surprisingly, latinas and this is their second job. So I always offer tastes of the goodies we make. I mean, what a crap job to have to wash all of those dishes and never get to eat any of the delicious projects. I asked if they wanted any and saved out three slices of different cakes for each of them. Even after giving away all of my semifreddo and most of my petits fours, I still drove home with a cooler stuffed full of buttercream, chocolate mousse, half a chocolate dome torte, pastry cream, more petits fours, and a lovely strawberry semifreddo. I felt like Santa Claus when I came home tonight, and Jeremy sampled some of the petits fours while he finished making dinner for me.

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