It’s been a few weeks since I last updated you with what is going on at college. I’ve had a lot on with class, finishing the monster assignment (done and submitted), Easter break with visitors and house guests, as well as the seemingly never ending house repairs. In Lesson 5 we produced Danish Pastries, requiring Creme Patisserie, and Tiramisu (non-traditional recipe below), requiring the making of the sponge biscuits (savoiardi/lady fingers).
The yeasted dough was the first task, but I didn’t get to make it as I was caught up for 2 hours in a traffic jam, due to a horrific accident which threw the north of Sydney into grid lock. I called ahead to chef explaining the situation, so he was fine to give me half of his dough when it came to making the Danish. One of my lovely friends had already set up my workstation and had also weighed out my ingredients. When making this pastry, first you make the yeasted ‘paste’ then you incorporate the butter as you would if you were making puff pastry. Here are a few photos of chef preparing the dough.
I made the creme patisserie and was able to assist one of the other students in rolling out the finished dough. We used a template to cut the dough into squares ahead of making the various types of Danish; Cherry Diamonds, Apricot Windmills & Bear Claws.
The sponge fingers are very easy to make, simply 2 eggs (separated and the whites whisked until soft peak), 100g of castor sugar, 85g of plain flour and vanilla essence. Whisk the egg whites, add the sugar in 3 amounts, carefully fold in the yolks and lastly gently fold in the sieved flour. The batter is then piped onto baking trays and sprinkled with a little castor sugar and baked until golden (@ 8 mins in 220C preheated oven). Unfortunately, all the sponge fingers were left a little longer than required, so they were over done slightly. Not to worry, they weren’t burnt so once they were smothered in the Tiramisu mix all was forgiven.
The traditional method of making Tiramisu (translated as ‘Pick me up’ due to the inclusion of coffee) is much more straight forward, calling for uncooked eggs and no gelatine. However, due to concerns re salmonella, the college doesn’t advocate for the traditional method. I’ve only ever previously made it using the traditional method, which is dead easy, and I’ll probably continue to do so at home, but I’ve provided you with the alternative method below. We assembled the Tiramisu’s in takeaway containers, liberally dusted them with cocoa powder in readiness for sale at the college shop.
The final lesson of the Cakes, Pastries and Bread module was the review/assessment, in which Chef observed the students making a number of items taught in previous lessons. The only guidance was we were finish all cooking and present our items for assessment by 1.30pm. We divided ourselves into groups of four so as to share one of the three large commercial ovens. We agreed which recipes we would make in what order which was important because sharing the oven meant we had to cook the same items at the same time. The items to be produced were; 4 fruit tarts filled with creme patisserie, 12 white bread rolls, 6 eclairs and 6 profiteroles filled with creme patisserie and glazed and a Genoise Sponge, filled with jam, Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries. HUGE!
My group decided to make the Genoise Sponge first as it needed to rest in the fridge before assembly. We then made the bread dough, as it needed to be rested before baking, followed by the sweet pastry for the tartlets. Next came the creme patisserie, the chox pastry and finally the Chantilly cream and fruit preparation for the tarts and the sponge. In readiness for this revision lesson I did some practice at home, for which I was glad as I realised I was making my eclairs and profiteroles far too small.
Given the number of items to make, I didn’t have time to stop and take photos, except for the sponge, which was smaller than the one I made in lesson one (the cake tin was a lot smaller) but turned out well. The only issue I had was with my creme patisserie, which I’ve never had issues with before. It had an identity crisis and thought it was Creme Anglaise 😳! It was far too thin as I didn’t take it far enough on the heat. Do you ever make such silly mistakes with recipes you have made perfectly many times before? The Genoise could have done with more creme but I was sharing the mixture with another student and didn’t want to be greedy….still it looked good and the texture was perfect.
I passed the assessment, even with too thin creme pat, and am now only one module away from completing the course work of the certificate. Next week we start the final module, Desserts, I hope you drop by to see how it goes.
Meaning “pick me up” in Italian, this classic dessert features luscious mascarpone cheese layered with coffee-soaked sponge fingers, a touch of liqueur and dusted with cocoa.
- 20 units Savoiardi biscuits (Sponge fingers)
- 2 units Egg yolks
- 2 units Eggs, whole
- 100 gm Caster Sugar
- 2 units Gelatine Leaf
- 15 ml Lemon juice
- 250 gm Mascarpone Cheese
- 250 ml Cream (35%)
- 200 ml Espresso or Coffee essence & water
- 50 ml Masala or Tia Maria
- 150 gm Sugar
- 10 gm Cocoa powder (garnish)
1. Dissolve sugar in coffee
2. Add liqueur
3. Dip sponge fingers in syrup – but not too long or they will fall apart
4. Whisk cream to soft peak
5. Soak gelatine in cold water until soft. Warm lemon juice and dissolve gelatine
6. Whisk eggs & sugar over a bain marie until ribbon stage. Cool slightly & add mascarpone that has been creamed to a soft consistency.
7. Add gelatine mix and fold in the cream.
8. Place a layer of the soaked sponge fingers in a suitable container and spoon over half the mascarpone mixture.
9. Place another layer of sponge fingers over the top and spoon the remaining mascarpone mix over the fingers.
10. Place in the fridge and allow to set – at least an hour.
11. Before serving dust with cocoa powder.