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Friday, June 5, 2015

Culinary School - Session 118: Final Exam Practical - Day 3

Culinary School: Session 118 (06.03.15)

Final Exam Practical - Day 3

Day 3 of 5....

Chocolate day! ...and the Showpiece (l'sigh)

If the early lessons in working with Tempered Chocolate taught me anything, it's that having a clear, clean workspace is critical. And yet, when working with gallons of melted Chocolate, a certain level of mess is inevitable (I grabbed an old apron for occasion).

Faced with this messy reality, I carved out a period on my itinerary to work exclusively with Chocolate. I didn't want to be multi-tasking, having half of my work station dedicated to an entirely different project that could accidentally get splattered with Ganache.

The other focus for this session was the Showpiece. Despite having secured a head-start on the Poured Sugar pieces during the previous session, I still had many more to pour. And the Pastillage, which is not drying well in this humidity, needed to be painted.

Despite one broken piece of Pastillage (that's why we make back-ups!), the day went surprisingly smoothly. 

Just two days left!

Chocolate Spice Bonbons

Chocolate Bonbons

Chocolate Bonbons are one of the four main projects for the final. Each student is required to make some form of these Chocolate Ganache-filled candies.

My lottery pull was for Spiced Chocolate Bonbons

The spiced flavoring is part of the Ganache filling. For the Ganache, I started with a cream infusion, steeping toasted Cinnamon and Glove with some freshly minced Ginger and Vanilla Bean. After the infusion sits for 30 minutes, it is brought to a boil and poured over Milk Chocolate. The Cream and Chocolate are gently stirred until they emulsify into a Ganache.

For the outer shell, I used Dark Chocolate to cut some of the sweetness of the Ganache. The Bonbon molds are decorated with yellow Cocoa Butter Colors and metallic red Luster Dust mixed with Vodka. The color gives the Bonbons a visual pop that ties into the bright colors of the Showpiece.

One of the highlights of making this particular batch of Bonbons was how easily they unmolded. If the Chocolate used for the outer shell of the Bonbons is poorly tempered, the Bonbons will stick or break. But not this time! Every single Bonbon slid right out of the mold. 

Nice time for things to go so right!

Mixing the Spice Infusion into the Chocolate Ganache

Tempering Dark Chocolate

Preparing Bonbon Molds for the Initial Coating

Bonbon Molds Filled with Chocolate Spice Ganache

Close Up of Bonbon Molds Filled with Chocolate Spice Ganache

Overhead View of Chocolate Spice Bonbons

Chocolate Spice Bonbons


It would appear that all of the disaster planning was well worth it. As expected, humidity is making working with Pastillage extremely difficult. Even after 48 hours, the larger elements of the Showpiece were still pliable, having not dried completely. I'm not alone. Everyone is having the same problems.

Unfortunately, in order to paint the Pastillage pieces in time for some preliminary assembly next session, they had to be painted today... while still slightly damp. While moving the pieces, one of the main elements broke into thirds. I'm glad I made the back-up, but I will need to be extremely careful going forward. Given the drying time required for Pastillage, there will be no way to make another piece at the last minute should this last piece break.

Aside from the Pastillage, I had to set the remaining Poured Sugar pieces. Poured Sugar is delicate, but not nearly as fragile as Pastillage. The process went smoothly, leaving me with multiple sheet trays of garishly colored sucrose circles.

No it's all a matter of putting it together.

Major Structural Showpiece Pastillage Pieces

Poured Sugar Cooling in Molds

Multicolored Poured Sugar "Feet" for the Showpiece

Multicolored Poured Sugar "Feet" for the Showpiece

Various Poured Sugar Elements for the Final Showpiece

Various Poured Sugar Elements for the Final Showpiece

The next (and second to last) session will be for finalizing the components for the Seasonal Tart: Tart Shells, Goat Cheese Mousse, Rhubarb Tuiles and Balsamic Meringues. I will also need to finish making the Petits Fours Glaces, portioning the layered cake into 1" squares and coating them in Poured Fondant. 

Next - Session 119: Final Exam Practical - Day 4

Previous - Session 117: Final Exam Practical - Day 2

Take a look at the full syllabus

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