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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Culinary School - Session 71: Chocolate Molten Cake, Cheesecake and Fruit Galette

Culinary School: Session 71 (02.06.15)

Chocolate Molten Cake, Cheesecake and Fruit Galette

Good things come in small packages... and are served a la mode!

Time for some bistro classics: Chocolate Molten Cake... Cheesecake... and a Fruit Galette. 

Cue the eye rolls! 

Some menus have been running these items for decades. They feel about as inventive as a boiled chicken breast with a side of mashed potatoes. 

Yes, these desserts may be a little tired. There certainly are no cutting-edge molecular-gastro techniques being applied here. But you can't ignore decades of diner approval. There's no denying it... they taste good.

These three items served as a way to introduce multi-component dessert plating. No more sliding a piece of tart on a plate. Grab those sauces and garnishes!

Mixed Berry Galette Served with Creme Anglaise and Strawberry Coulis

340 degrees of sweetness...

Part of this plating activity involved some time working with sugar decorations. 

Heat sugar to 340 degrees Fahrenheit... toss the pot in an ice bath to halt the cooking... quickly shape the extremely hot caramel into your desired forms... and enjoy all of those second degree burns in the process. 

Admittedly, this was the very first time we tried our hand at the process. The end product was not so much elegant decor as it was a series of shiny mounds and loops. 

Sugar Spiral

Sugar Cage

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (02.06.15):
  • Flour: 24,020g
  • Eggs: 14,700g (294x)
  • Sugar: 17,985g
  • Butter: 15,250g
  • Milk/Cream: 14,805g
  • Chocolate: 2,755g (since 01.12.15)

    - The Recipes -


    Chocolate Molten Cake

    Have you seen "Chef"

    No? Then go see "Chef". You'll appreciate this Chocolate Molten Cake much more after seeing the film (and you'll have a craving for a Cubano Sandwich like you would not believe, but that's another story).

    As is ferociously argued in the film, a Chocolate Molten Cake is not an under-baked chocolate cake thrown on a plate. Single servings of Duncan Hines pulled from the oven five minutes before the box instructs? Not quite.

    In fact, a Chocolate Molten Cake is akin to a fallen Chocolate SoufflĂ©. After all, the batter is little more than a melted chocolate base into which a French Meringue is folded. 

    The truth is, even if you were to horribly under-bake a chocolate cake, that would not create a liquid, oozing center. That little piece of table side trickery comes from putting a piece of frozen chocolate ganache in the center of the batter. As the cake bakes and sets, the ganache melts, waiting to pool onto the plate.

    Focus Techniques:
    - Preparing the Cake Molds: To ensure that the cakes unmold cleanly, they are prepared with a solid coating of Beurre en Pommade and dusted in sugar ("chemiser"). A thicker coating of sugar may result in an exterior crust, which may or may not be desirable. After the molds are filled, they are frozen before baking. 
    - Filling the Molds: This thick, airy batter is not very fluid. If poured into a mold, it would not spread to the edges. Filling the molds with a pastry bag results in an even fill of batter from the bottom of the mold to the top. However, to avoid deflating the batter, a large hole should be cut in the bag. 

    Sugar and Butter Prepared Mold

    Folding the Chocolate Molten Cake Batter

    Practicing Plate Writing

    Plated Chocolate Molten Cake



    Fight! Fight!

    Several months ago when we made Bagels, I noted that few foods can engender such passionate reactions as those simple little rounds of bread. Battles rage over authenticity. Devotees have no patience for grey area. Black or white. Right or wrong. Your prized Bagel is my disappointing hunk of white bread.

    And so, too, do the fires burn when it comes to Cheesecake. Cream Cheese Cheesecakes... Ricotta Cheesecakes... California-Style Sour Cream Cheesecakes... There will be pistols at dawn!

    This Cheesecake recipe is the classic New York Style Cheesecake. It is rich, dense and tastes strongly of Cream Cheese. A Graham Cracker crust? No question. This is the Cheesecake you would expect to eat after a 24oz Porterhouse and a bottle of Malbec. 

    Focus Techniques:
    - Preparing the Crust: In order for the Graham Cracker Crust to hold up to the wet Cream Cheese Custard, it is best to first blind bake the crust in each mold. However, it is also important for the molds to be well coated with Beurre en Pommade before they are filled with the custard. As a result, the molds should first be blind baked, then allowed to cool, and finally recoated with Buerre en Pommade.
    - Keeping Air out of the Custard: Air is the enemy of a dense Cheesecake. Any trapped bubbles could expand through mechanical leavening during the baking process. As such, many steps are taken to keep air out of the batter during preparation. Having all of the ingredients well-tempered (i.e. at room temperature) will reduce the mixing time, lowering the chances of incorporating too much air. Mixing should also be done on a low speed. Lastly, before the molds are filled, the batter should be strained through a chinois to remove any air bubbles that may have sneaked in.
    - Aging the Cheesecake: Like a good soup, Cheesecake is often best served the next day. 

    Graham Cracker Crust Prepared Cheesecake Molds

    Unbaked Cheesecake


    Fruit Galette

    A rustic fruit tart, traditionally formed without a mold. 

    Focus Techniques:
    Preparing a Galette in a Ring Mold: While a Galette or Crostata is typically formed without a mold, using a ring mold to help hold the shape of the tart makes for a more attractive presentation.

    Mixed Berries for Fruit Galette

    Brisee Crust for Fruit Galette

    Unbaked Fruit Galette

    Mixed Berry Galette Served with Creme Anglaise and Strawberry Coulis

    Next - Session 72: Beignets, Bomboloni, Churros, Fritters... and Napkin Folding

    Previous - Session 70: Ice Cream, Sorbet, Granite, Caramel Syrup, Caramel Sauce, Fruit Coulis, Orange Butter Sauce and Sabayon Sauce

    Take a look at the full syllabus

    Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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