Like Intermediate cuisine, Intermediate patisserie has also been similarly more challenging: additional components, multiple layers, various types of mousse and gelées. By far, my favorite has been the fraisier, a fancy version of strawberry shortcake. It has a hidden layer of genoise cake, imbibed with a kirsh syrup, layers of sliced strawberries and vanilla mousseline, then topped with a brûléed swiss meringue. It was also fun to finally make macarons. Not to be confused with coconut macaroons common in America, French macarons are basically sandwich cookies, but oh so much better. The “cookies” have a thin crisp shell with an al dente interior, sandwiching a filling of some form of ganache, crème, or confiture. Usually they are small and dainty, but the ones we made in practical were of the large, fit-in-your-hand sized variety.
In terms of the layers and mousse, I referred to above, we made an exotic tarte passion-framboise with a layer of raspberry gelée, topped with a passion-fruit mousse and a passion-fruit glaze. Then later that week we stayed in the tropical realm with Jamaïque: layers of coconut-pineapple and mango mousse ringed in a chocolat genoise that is studded with dried coconut, pistachios and almonds.
We’ve also began to delve into the world of chocolate. We made bavarois aux trois chocolats, which has hidden layers of genoise and three layers of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate mousse. We also took a stab at the revered opéra, a cake our chefs have been talking about since the beginning of basic, instilling a fear of the requisite decorative chocolate scrawl “opéra.” I made sure to prepare before the practical, sitting on the tile floor of my apartment (because my counters aren’t level) using countless cornets of nutella to practice writing “opéra.” However, when it came to the practical, despite my rehearsing, I found that I cut the hole in my cornet a little too large so the decoration wasn’t as delicate as I would have liked, but I still felt that my third-grade teacher Mrs. Rusk would have been proud of my cursive.
Next up in Patisserie: tablage du chocolat au lait et chocolat noir, préparation des intérieurs et trempage (aka we’re making chocolate candies).