Friday, March 6, 2009

I am officially finished with pastry school!!! This last week has been a whirlwind; I can't believe it is really over.

My class with Elisa Strauss was great! She is so nice and is an amazing teacher. I learned so many new tricks and methods, I just hope I can remember them all. We made the sushi cake from her book, Confetti Cakes. The cake was actually quite simple to make I am just so slow that I didn't have time to work on the details, which are the things that make this cake so incredible. I completed only 4 sushi rolls (they are pretty thrown together), but I didn't have time to start on the sashimi or the base. Oh well, I still had a great time and am pretty proud of what I did.

The rest of this week I had the opportunity to assist in a class taught by Jacquy Pfeiffer, owner of the French Pastry School in Chicago. It was such an honor to assist in his class, and he is an amazing teacher as well. He has such a great personality and sense of humor; he made the class so entertaining and fun as well as highly educational. I was pretty excited when he taught his methods for French macaroons because I am obsessed with them right now! I could be really selfish and just tell you that his macaroon tips were very helpful, but I wont.... I'll share his tips with you because I guess I like you since you are reading my blog :)

Jacquy Pfeiffer's French Macaroon Recipe and Tips:
(he gave the measurements in grams, so you'll just have to convert them, sorry)
170g egg whites
45g sugar
1g salt
190g almond powder
340g confectioners sugar
25g cocoa powder (if you want chocolate macs... if not just leave the cocoa out)

Whip the egg whites, sugar and salt to medium-stiff peaks. Sift the remaining ingredients and gently fold into the meringue. Keep folding until the mix becomes slightly runny. You will know you are finished folding when you do a peak test (like you do when making meringue) and the peak slowly disappears into the mix. Place mix in a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe small discs onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a 300F oven for 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and continue to bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the macs are no longer tacky when touched lightly.

*Let eggs whites sit out over night at room temp to let all of the water in the whites completely evaporate.
*Process your almond flour to as fine as possible and sift well.
*The flavor is always in the filling, never in the base recipe except for chocolate. The same almond base recipe is used for all macs.
*Use food coloring to show flavor (green for pistachio, red for raspberry, pink for strawberry, etc.) Always add color to the meringue before combining with the dry ingredients.
*Allow the macs to sit on the sheet pan for about 30 minutes to let a crust or light skin form over the top.
*If your macs are not puffing up at all when baking, vent your oven with a wooden spoon during the last 5-10 minutes of baking.

Hope these tips come in handy, I know that they really gave me some new insight. Also, I would like to wish a HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my roommate, Danielle, and my friend Melissa (tomorrow)!! Love you both!!


Sophie said...

How fun, the little sushi cakes are very sweet. Congrats on being able to help out a cool pastry chef :)! I want to see those macaroons, I remember you said you wanted to make them (I still haven't ;).

Anonymous said...

BYE Haley! It's been a pleasure having you in Pastry Class! Best of luck to you and your career. Keep in touch! Chef Heather

Carly said...

Ok can I just say I am so jealous you took a class from Elisa Strauss! It is my dream to go to New York and take a class from her. Can't wait to see what you start creating!