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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Culinary School - Session 10: Bavarian Chocolate Tart, Chocolate Ganache Tart and Candied Lemon Cookies

Culinary School: Session 10 (09.08.14)

Bavarian Chocolate Tart, Chocolate Ganache Tart and Candied Lemon Cookies

Seeing is believing...

Talk about an amazing perk of culinary school: front row seats to small session demos with some of the most amazing chefs in the industry - once in a lifetime opportunities turned into bi-weekly events.

When I originally toured at ICC, posters announcing the litany of upcoming cooking demos were not lost on me. Even before enrolling, I made a mental note: sign-up for all of these events!

Wasn't I the lucky culinary student to catch Jacques Pepin, one of the founding deans of the school, as my first demo session.

Jacques Pepin Cooking Demo

Jacques Pepin...

Some celebrity chefs are big personalities who happen to be able to cook: Look at me! I'm a wild and crazy guy who can make toast! I smoked a wild boar using the carburetor from my restored Cadillac! I can consume my body weight in sriracha!

And some chefs become celebrities because they are so awesome: Jacques Pepin falls into the "awesome" category.

Yesterday, Chef Pepin held a very simple, very casual techniques demo before class. It was 90 minutes of fundamentals: tying an apron, sharpening a knife, cutting an onion, making a mayonnaise, deboning a chicken (a Pepin speciality)...

No flash, no spectacle... just the basics. So why did the demo elicit multiple rounds of applause scattered with audible gasps and the occasional smattering of nervous laughter?

Chef Pepin made everything seem impossibly easy. He could pick up an artichoke and, as if commanding it with only his focused gaze and the threat of the paring knife in his right hand, transform it within seconds into a ready-to-cook heart.

I felt like I was watching a slight of hand magician when he deboned a chicken. Wait! I'm pretty sure he just hid a second knife up his sleeve while he was distracting us with that tomato!

The entire demo highlighted one major point: the necessity of fundamental technique. It's what I had realized immediately before I enrolled in culinary school. Cooking is 5% recipe and 95% technique. Add to that some ethereal qualities and you find yourself in the company of the truly great, like Pepin.

Jacques Pepin Cooking Demo

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Today's chocolate tart focus had the milk and cream flowing in heavy volumes...I felt like an oompa-loompa during creaming and sugaring time and the Wonka factory.

Ingredients used to date (09.08.14):
  • Flour: 4,210g
  • Eggs: 1,950g (39x)
  • Sugar: 2,785g
  • Butter: 2,490g
  • Milk/Cream: 1,860g

- The Recipes -


Bavarian Chocolate Tart (Tarte Bavaroise au Chocolate)

A surprising light chocolate tart topped with slightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream (Creme Chantilly) and shavings of gianduja, a chocolate spread containing 30% hazelnut paste invented in Turin during Napoleon's reign.

Focus Techniques:
- Making a Bavaroise: a dessert cream, similar to a pastry cream, that is thickened with gelatin rather than a starch (e.g. flour or pastry cream powder). A bavaroise is comprised of a base (typically a Creme Anglaise or a fruit), gelatin and lightened with whipped cream (Creme Fouettee).
- Preparing a Creme Anglaise:stirred custard made of cream, sugar and egg yolks. A Creme Anglaise may be serve as a dessert creme or as the base for other pastry items, such as a bavaroise or as an ice cream base.
- Evaluating the Nappant: when you pass your finger along the back of a spoon dipped in a Creme Anglaise, it should leave a distinct line. This is a sign that the custard has sufficiently set.
- Using gelatin as a thickening agent. Gelatin sheets must bloom in cold water before they are used. They are then squeeze of excess water and stirred into warm mixtures until they devolve. Mixtures set with gelatin should be strained to remove any undissolved gelatin. The mixtures will take one hour to start to set and 18 hours to fully firm. 
- Cooling a Creme Anglaise and melted chocolate mixture over an ice bath of 50% ice / 50% water until the gelatin begins to set. The mixture should be cool and starting to firm before it is folded with Creme Fouettee.
- Decorating the top of the tart with rosettes of Creme Chantilly. A classic French tart will only line the rim of the tart with the cream.

Chocolate Bavarian Tart (Tarte Bavaroise au Chocolat)


Chocolate Ganache Tart (Tarte au Ganache Chocolat)

An extremely rich chocolate tart that is decadence defined. The tart is little more than chocolate and cream, making it perfect for the chocolate purist.

Focus Techniques:
- Making a Chocolate Ganache: a mixture of chocolate and cream. The thickness of a ganache depends on the ratio of chocolate to cream, with a 1:1 ratio used in this dessert.
- Stirring the melting ganache mixture with a spoon in a single direction to minimize the amount of air incorporated in the mixture and to optimize the emulsification process.
- Using a wet, soiled side towel to create a base for a mixing bowl when mixing a ganache without a work partner.
- Using Trimoline, an invert sugar, to soften the tart. Invert sugars impede the crystallization process in chocolate (and other confections), producing a softer consistency.
- Using a blow torch to pop any bubbles in the surface of the ganache as it sets.
- Making Cornets, small piping bags used for drawing intricate designs, from sheets of parchment paper.
- Piping with Cornets, focusing on working with a continuous flow for smooth designs.

Hand Formed Piping Cornets

Chocolate Ganache Tart (Tarte au Ganache Chocolat)

Chocolate Ganache Tart Close Up(Tarte au Ganache Chocolat)


Pate Sablee / Candied Lemon Cookies

The third of the three primary pastry doughs (Pate Brisee, Pate Sucree, and Pate Sablee). Pate sablee is thought of as a sandy dough and is frequently used to make shortbread cookies. 

The dough can be made using the creaming or cut in method and is more forgiving than pate brisee or pate sucree. 

Pate sablee is more similar to pate sucree than it is to pate brisee as it is a dough that has been enriched with both egg and sugar. Pate sablee has a higher ratio of egg, butter and sugar to flour than pate sucree, which leads to the more crumbly texture (i.e. there is less flour in the mix to form structure enhancing gluten bonds).

Focus Techniques:
- Monitoring the dough carefully during baking. The higher sugar content means it can burn quickly.
- Making rolled cookies with the chilled dough, as opposed to drop, molded and piped cookies. 
- Using cookie cutters of relatively similar size to ensure equal baking times.
- Cutting inverted shapes with cookie cutters to maximize dough yield.
- Adding scraps of unused dough to new batches of dough to increase total product yield without sacrificing quality.

Cookie Cutters

Candied Lemon Cookies with Pate Sablee

Take a look at the full syllabus

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