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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Best of 2014: Top 10 Photos


- Best of 2014 -

Top 10 Photos



Feast for the eyes...

Good food should always look good... and taste good... and look good.

As 2014 comes to a close, I'm jumping on the "look back" bandwagon.

First up, your top 10 favorite Instagram photos from the year.

Assorted Petits Fours Tray




#10 - Beehive (Ruche)

It's the marzipan bees, right? Everyone loves those marzipan bees!


This meringue-circled, honey-drizzled tower of brioche was the final Bread Level I recipe -- perfect for those who find a standard loaf of Brioche to be boring.

Beehive (Ruche)




A thousand layers (you'll need to take my word on that one) of Chocolate Puff Pastry with layers of Vanilla Pastry Creme and rich Creme d'Or (a whipped, chocolate ganache) -- this dessert scored a perfect 10 on the Choc-o-meter, causing even the most fervent lovers of all-things-cocoa to take pause.


Chocolate Napoleon (Mille-feuilles au Chocolat)




An early favorite -- there's no resisting the allure of Lemon Curd and Meringue. As one of the first tarts tackled in culinary school, this photo is a good reminder of how piping skills can improve with time and practice.

Lemon Tart (Tarte au Citron)



May honesty prevail - it looked amazing, but this sugar-dusted tart was no favorite of mine. As far as traditional French recipes are concerned, it was just a little dull (and a lot dry). So wouldn't it figure that this recipe appeared on my first practical exam. 

You can't love them all (if you did, you would be as big as a house). Lesson learned -- everything looks better when it's dusted with powdered sugar and a couple of utensils.

Nut Tart (Tarte aux Noix)




Brioche makes its second appearance on the top 10 list. No marzipan bees this time -- just straight-forward, golden-brown deliciousness. As part of the pre-NYC marathon dinner for my sister-in-law, this may not have been the most athlete-friendly of carbo-loading options.


Brioche Nanterre




Gateau Pithivier, Vols-au-vent Carre and Papillons were all part of the practical exam for puff pastry - an unequivocal, Frangipane-filled, sugared-dusted success.


Puff Pastry Judging Tray



#4 - Eclairs

It seems as though everyone loved this photo -- a testament to the unifying power of a good Eclair

Was it the glaze? The promise of a rich, pastry cream filling? Regardless, it proved we all have a sweet tooth.

Eclairs




No secrets here -- the world goes crazy for a good chocolate glaze (or in this case, a mediocre chocolate glaze... I've gotten much better at it since!)


Too bad no one could tell that there was a moist, mint Schnapps soaked Chocolate Genoise hiding under there.

Chocolate Ganache Cake (Genoise au Chocolat Glacee)




Pastry as spectacle -- this caramel-coated, tower of Choux was designed for presentation, not practicality


(not in picture - caramel-burn covered hands)

Croquembouche




Just one Swan shy of "Seven Swans a Swimming"...


A little Pate a Choux... a little Creme Chantilly... and some delicately piped necks -- this classic Swan Cream Puff caught the eyes and appetites of thousands to become the most liked photo for 2014. 

Maybe a round of Chocolate "Black Swans" in celebration?

Swans (Cygnes)



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