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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Culinary School - Session 53: Lemon Cookies and Cornet Piping & Glazing

Culinary School: Session 53 (12.19.14)

Lemon Cookies and Cornet Piping & Glazing

Small cakes... big plates...

... and so another unit comes to a close. And it's none too soon, seeing as I did not have nearly enough space on the final tray to plate all of my Petits Fours from the last two weeks. 

The exam will be next session. But seeing as there's only so much unique theory behind Petits Fours (psst... they're like any pastry, just smaller), we're being spared a written exam this round!

Next up, a return to the world of cakes for two weeks of advanced techniques. 

And then it's time for the midterm exam. Different from all of the practical exams to date, the class will be given several lists of ingredients without any process instructions. We will then need to be able to recall and execute the steps for any of our 500+ pages worth of recipes on sight. Should be fun!

But until then, some eye-candy (and real candy)...

Final Plated Petits Fours Tray

Swirl and Checkerboard Cookies

Domed Petits Fours Glace

Hippen Tuiles

Layered Petits Fours Glace


Russian Tea Cakes (Mexican Wedding Cakes)

Lemon Cookies

Overhead of Final Plated Petits Fours Tray

- Ingredients Running Tally -

I wasn't kidding when I said we wouldn't be flying through ingredients at the same pace when we took on Petits Fours. 

Well, I was almost correct on that one. Take a look at the ingredients used during Petits Fours.

Ingredients used for Petits Fours:
  • Flour: 1,030g. That's all, folks! A kilogram is little more than a single bread recipe. Weak...
  • Butter615g. Really?! Is that the best we could do? One Stollen used more butter... 
  • Milk/Cream510g. Now that's just sad. I'll consume more milk in my coffee over the course of a single day...
  • Eggs: 1,450g. (29x) Finally, a respectable figure that would make for a sick omelette. We have all of the meringue to thank!
  • Sugar: 2,810g. Rock star! Caramel Mou, Nougat and Pate de Fruits... maybe candy really is loaded with sugar. 

Ingredients used to date (12.19.14):
  • Flour: 23,030g
  • Eggs: 11,850g (237x)
  • Sugar: 13,615g
  • Butter: 13,175g
  • Milk/Cream: 12,105g

- The Recipes -


Lemon Cookies

A raspberry jam-filled, chocolate-dipped lemon flavored Petit Four. These miniature cookies are extremely tender with a very cake-like texture resulting from the high sugar content and the use of egg yolks rather than whole eggs. 

Focus Techniques:
- Piping uniformly sized cookies. Since this is a sandwiched cookie, every Petit Four must have an identically sized top and bottom.
- Glazing the cookie halves in Pate a Glacer (non-tempered chocolate glaze) before the cookies are filled. If the cookies are dipped in glaze after they have been sandwiched together, an undesirable "foot" of glaze will form where the cookies are rested. By glazing the individual halves seperately, the eventual inside of the cookie can be placed tray-side down. The "foot" will never be seen.

Piped Lemon Cookies

Glazed Lemon Cookies


Cornet Piping & Glazing

Practice makes perfect... and that seems to be doubly true with piping & glazing.

Creating decorative designs and text on 1" Petits Fours is the ultimate small-space-piping exercise. After this, writing on the top of a large cake will be... well, a cake-walk.

Glazing is also surprisingly challenging to do correctly. Techniques vary dramatically depending on the glaze being used, the size and shape of the Petits Fours, the composition of the Petits Fours themselves, and a whole host of random variables like room temperature and humidity (a Pastry Chef's favorite wildcards).

Focus Techniques:
- Maintaining proper temperature controls. Both Pate a Glacer (non-tempered chocolate glaze) and Poured Fondant are very sensitive to high temperatures. If either product is heated to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it can quickly dry out and will solidify with a matte finish. The glaze may also crack over time. Melting the glaze to a pourable consistency should be done slowly over a double boiler. 
- Thinning Poured Fondant with high-proof alcohol. Rather than over-heat Poured Fondant to achieve a sufficiently liquid consistency, adding alcohol is recommended. However, only clear, high proof alcohol should be used as it will evaporate quickly after the glaze has been poured. Simple syrup is also a possibility; however, it will make an already sweet product even sweeter.
- Glazing in a single pass. In order to achieve a smooth finish, it is critical that the glaze be applied in a single attempt. This means having enough glaze available to completely flood the product and ensuring that the glaze is of the correct consistency before beginning. If you partially glaze a product and then restart, even if only seconds later, the surface will not be smooth. Any small, unglazed areas can best be mended by using a small offset spatula to dab a little glaze in place.

Chocolate Glaze - Pate a Glacer

Marzipan Covered Cake

Unglazed Cake

Glazed and Cornet Decorated Petit Four

Next - Session 55: Buche de Noel and Fraisier

Session 54: Practical Exam

Previous - Session 52: Caramel Mou, Hippen Tuile and Petits Fours Glace

Take a look at the full syllabus

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