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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Culinary School - Session 8: Lemon Curd, Nut Tart and Scandinavian Butter Cookies


Culinary School: Session 8 (09.03.14)

Lemon Curd, Nut Tart and Scandinavian Butter Cookies



We made it!

Mark the occasion: The SafeServ Food Handler exam is over - Sanitation classes are a thing of the past! And while this isn't a cue for us to start wallowing in our own filth (daily showering remains mandatory), it does mean that each and every class from here on out is 100% culinary.

...but wait, there's more.

And if that wasn't the most exciting news since the Cronut, we finally baked the Fig Newtons (it almost didn't happen - but yours truly, somewhat obsessed with the idea of finally getting to try these bars, brazenly noted the omission from the Chef's daily schedule).

How are they? Um, amazing! 

These Fig Newtons are similar enough to the packaged versions, so there's denying that they are the freshly baked versions of the classic lunchbox treat. However, a healthy dose of tawny port in the fig compote elevates this particular version to levels that a packaged product could never pull off.

Sorry, doormen... I'm not sharing these.

Baked Fig Newtons




- Ingredients Running Tally -



Thank you, French Meringue and Lemon Curd, for giving eggs and sugar a little bump in the rankings.

Ingredients used to date (09.03.14):
  • Flour: 3,140g
  • Eggs: 28x
  • Sugar: 2,025g
  • Butter: 1,910g
  • Milk/Cream: 1,330g



- The Recipes -



Even though half of the day was lost to the SafeServ Exam, we managed to bang out a number of recipes. That said, Chef clearly indicated it was our last day to crawl. It's time to pick up the pace.

If you're not moving, you're doing something wrong...



Item:

Lemon Curd (Appareil a Tarte au Citron)


Description:
A "stirred custard" prepared by mixing egg with sugar and flavoring ingredients (in this case, lemon zest and lemon juice), which is then cooked while stirring in a Bain-marie or water bath. 

Focus Techniques:
- Cooking a stirred custard in a Bain-marie.
- Testing the temperature of the custard to ensure the proper setting temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit is achieved.
- Increasing the stability of the curd by dissolving a sheet of gelatin into the pre-strained mixture. A more stable structure is best when using the curd as a filling that might otherwise spread undesirably.
- Straining the cooked curd through a mesh sieve to remove any remnants of lemon zest, set egg or undissolved gelatin.

A Lemon for Curd (Appareil a Tarte au Citron)




Item:

Nut Tart (Tarte aux Noix)


Description:
A rich, unmistakably nutty-flavored tart paired with the bright, acidic flavor of raspberry jam. This baked tart is made up of three layers: an initial, thin layer of raspberry jam, a textural layer of toasted almond slivers, and a primary cake layer composed of nut flours folded with a Common Meringue (i.e. French Meringue).

Focus Techniques:
- Making a Common or French Meringue, a raw-egg meringue preparation that requires subsequent cooking.
- Improving the stability of a meringue by: i) whipping the meringue at a slow speed to create many, smaller but more stable air bubbles rather than fewer, larger and more easily burst air bubbles; ii) waiting until the whipped egg whites take on a foamy, nearly opaque appearance before slowly incorporating sugar; iii) using cream of tartar, as an acid, to chemically stabilize the meringue.
- Using toasted almonds rather than raw almonds (as in the Tarte Bourdaloue) to provide deeper, more developed flavor. As a middle layer to the tart, the nuts will not burn.
- Creating negative space designs on the top of the baked and cooled tart by dusting powdered sugar over various shapes.



Nut Tart (Tarte aux Noix) - Raspberry Jam Layer

Nut Tart (Tarte aux Noix) - Toasted Almond Sliver Layer

Unbaked Nut Tart (Tarte aux Noix)

Powdered Sugar Decorated Nut Tart (Tarte aux Noix)




Item:

Scandinavian Butter Cookies (Spritskakor)


Description:
An almond flavored butter cookie that is piped into rosettes and topped with a raspberry baker's jam prior to baking. 

Focus Techniques:
- Shaping dough by piping, forming individual rosette-shaped cookies. 
- Using high-pectin baker's jam as a topping, which does not run in the heat of the oven. 

Unbaked Scandinavian Butter Cookie (Spritzkakor) with Raspberry Jam



Take a look at the full syllabus



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6 comments:

  1. Looking good. I made lemon curd and lime curd this week on my blog. I used the lemon curd to fill my croissants. Lovely blog and some great detail here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Angela. Would never have thought of the lemon curd and croissant combination, but they look delicious. And great blog overall!

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    Replies
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