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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best of 2015: Top 10 Photos

- Best of 2015 -

Top 10 Photos

Feast for the eyes...

It's hard for me to believe that this is the second year-end, photo round-up. Has the Blog really been going that long? With over 250 posts now in the archives, I suppose it has! 

Thank you for another great year! And what a year it has been... graduating from culinary school... working for Chef Michael White's Alta Marea Group in NYC with some amazing chefs.... and of course, a baby boy (our little sous-chef-in-diapers).

Here's to a great 2016!

And without further ado, the Top 10 Photos of 2015! I must say, the world loves a good Soufflé... and Chocolate!

#10 - Chocolate Espresso Ganache Tart

What characterizes a perfect Chocolate Ganache

... an almost impossibly smooth texture and a mirror-like finish. So it's not at all surprising that the Chocolate Espresso Ganache Tart was a fast favorite. And I'm sure bonus points were won for that extra caffeine kick!  

Chocolate Espresso Ganache Tart

Proving that it's fun to play with your food, the Toasted Marshmallow Brains were a huge hit at Halloween. Perhaps the popularity was best explained by the fact that these Marshmallow confections provided an excuse to pull out the culinary blowtorch. Then again, maybe we all share a slightly twisted sense of humor.

Toasted Marshmallow Brains

A culinary school project from early in the year, this abstraction of Nougatine (Caramelized Sugar and Sliced Almonds) and sculpted Marzipan Fruit caught many an eye... and probably could have poked one out. 

Unlike most pastry showpieces, this one eventually went to good use. The Nougatine was broken into a crumble that served as an amazing topping for Ice Cream Sundaes for weeks to come.

Nougatine and Marzipan

The first of three Soufflés to make the 2015 Top 10 Photos, this homage to Cheese was the only savory offering to make the cut. 

Who says pastry is all about dessert? Pastry chefs need to eat dinner too. It's just that, when we do, we eat something like this (actually, that's a total lie... we eat cold pizza or Hot Pockets at 3am before collapsing).

But I still get hungry looking at that perfectly browned top. 

Cheese Soufflé

#6 - Chocolate Bowls

More playing with our food... and this time, it's Chocolate!

Demonstrating the power of well-tempered Chocolate, these bowls were made simply by dipping balloons several times in massive vats... Extremely simple and lots of fun. 

Side note... I just may have tried to make a Chocolate helmet. That effort was slightly less successful (i.e total disaster).

Chocolate Bowls

Part of the extensive Sugar section in 
culinary school, while this Sugar Paste Rose may look beautiful (and certainly good enough to eat), you would probably want to find something else to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Like many elements of Sugar showpieces, while this Sugar Paste Rose may technically be edible, it was designed for form over function. You'd probably chip a tooth... or have an extremely upset stomach.

Sugar Paste Rose

#4 - Über-layered Birthday Cake

Your little sister only turns 30 once... so a Chocolate Cake layered (...and layered and layered and layered) with Raspberry Buttercream was the least I could do to help celebrate. 
When it came to finally eating the Chocolate Ganache enrobed monstrosity, it was a true test of gastronomic endurance

How many more layers are there?

Uber-layered Birthday Cake

As part of the first Plated Dessert section in 
culinary schoolthis individual Seasonal Fruit Galette proves that simple is often best. It was literally the favorite dessert from the unit, beating out a multitude of "elevated" and technically much more difficult creations.

So let that be a lesson to you!

Seasonal Fruit Galette

#2 - Raspberry Chocolate Soufflé

It's Soufflé number two!

Prepared as a holiday treat for the family, these Raspberry Soufflés filled with morsels of Chocolate have become one of my favorite recipes. Looking at them, you'd think they were technically challenging, requiring a skilled hand and more than a touch of luck. But made from a folded mix of Pectin stabilized Raspberry Puree and whipped Egg Whites, these towering creations are far from the wilting Soufflés of pastry lore.

Raspberry Chocolate Souffle

A Chocolate Soufflé in the number one spot?

Yep! Don't underestimate the power of an enduring classic, because it probably earned that reputation for a very good reason. And when something tastes like warm Brownie Batter, who are we to complain? 

Chocolate Soufflé

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