Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Lesson 11: Belle Hélène

Bonjour everyone!

I think I mentioned before that at the start of the whole programme, I was super excited as I knew that we were going to be making entremets. I’d basically ‘memorised’ the entire table of contents for the course and was really looking forward to this lesson’s entremet – the belle hélène.

The belle hélène has a total of 7 components, a clear signal (to me, at least) that the difficulty of the course would probably increase steeply from this point. Chef began the demo by explaining to us how we’d assemble this cake. Entremets typically have an ‘insert’ component and the one for the belle hélène has a chocolate streusel, pear coulis & of course, the classic chocolate biscuit. 

Given that there are so many components to the cake, it was imperative that we worked quickly in the practical. Chef himself didn’t manage to finish the cake within the 3 hours of demo (granted, he spent time explaining techniques and all along the way) and that kinda set the stage for how tough we’d be.

We got Chef Verger for this practical and from the start, everyone moved super quickly to ensure that we would not be late. The whole way, Jianhua and I split the work & tried our best to keep ourselves clean (chocolate stains are a pain to remove…). So continuing from what the entremet is made of, the insert is surrounded by some luscious chocolate mousse and then glazed with a dark chocolate glaze. Additionally, we had to make a creamy chocolate spiral to place on top of the cake as well as temper chocolate to put around the cake and as decorative pieces on top. Just repeating what the cake is made of makes me feel exhausted haha.

I think the cake turned out pretty fine 🙂 Gave Jo the cake to bring back to Lyon when she was here over the weekend & her colleague said that it was a “real luxurious cake” – hehe huge compliment and boost to my cake-making abilities 🙂

Looking forward to trying to recreate this cake when I’m back in Singapore, possibly with other fruit purees apart from pear *slurps*

Wished that I could share the goodness of this cake with all of you 🙁 – hopefully these pictures will help satisfy any cravings though!

Till the next post!

xx,
Eug

More

Lessons 9 & 10: Chocolate Bonbons & Heavenly Chocolate

Bonjour!

This week was all about chocolate, something that’s a key focus for the Intermediate course!

Prior to making my decision on whether I wanted to do the IP, I looked through a gazillion pics on the Le Cordon Bleu location tag. Of course, being in school to learn more about something I really love was the key propeller to making me register. But what really confirmed that decision was the exposure to chocolate work and entremets. With that, I was super excited for this week of lessons – lots and lots of tempering (something I’d never done before & was sure would be super challenging).

We started off demo with a new chef – Chef Fabrice Danniel, Assistant Culinary Arts Director
Head of Le Cordon Bleu Pastry Department. He’d just flown back from Bangkok, where he is the Technical Director, and was going to be taking us for most of the demonstrations to come. As it was his first lesson back in Paris, he had Chef Park as his assistant, rather than the usual alumni assistants. It was quite a sight to see 4 chefs in our demo – Chef Danniel & Park up there and Chef Guillaume & Verger watching the class as well.

Chef went through the basics of tempering chocolate, something that seems really simple in theory but extremely difficult to achieve. He completed 4 different kinds of chocolate bon bons, with us having to complete 2 of them in practical. Initially, we thought that it was rather strange that we’d only be doing two of the bonbons. But when practical came, it was clear why this was so.

Tempering chocolate and making bonbons by hand is no easy feat! We had to table the chocolate which is a lot more messy and complicated than it seems! Firstly, you need to closely monitor the temperatures of the chocolate at each stage. Secondly, you have to be super clean. Dirt & water are huge enemies to chocolate & any of these could spoil the temperage of your choc.

It seems really simple – melt the chocolate, cool it down, heat it up. At least that’s what I thought! When my chocolate finally set (after a mad rush of a practical), I realised that I’d not tempered it well at all! There were white streaks in my chocolate (cocoa butter, I’m quite sure), meaning that I did not temper the choc well. Furthermore, I was not neat at all. My apron had some chocolate stains at the end of it = more washing for me! The positive was that the choc was super yummy haha (supposed to be yummier if it’s tempered well haha). The difficulties I faced tempering choc in this class helped me realise why we were only doing two bonbons and scared me for the next practical – the heavenly chocolate.

As the name of the cake suggests, this is one that is heavenly. Created first by Pierre Hermé, this cake is super decadent, hazelnuts, milk chocolate, praline, basically a giant ferrero roche *slurps*.

What really scared me during the demo was how we’d have to create two circle discs of chocolate by tempering the milk chocolate, spreading it evenly on a plastic, and then assembling the cake. Chef Danniel made it seem so easy (again) but I had a bad feeling about how practical was going to be.

Again, I followed the temperage curves and tried my best to replicate what I’d seen during the demo. But many many many things went wrong this practical >< Firstly, I didn’t manage to get my dacquoise out of the ring smoothly. If you see the pic below, the sides of my cake aren’t so pretty 🙁 Secondly, I followed the curve but alas, my chocolate still wasn’t well tempered! Jianhua’s one turned out PERFECT, shiny and all, while mine had those beautiful white streaks again haha. Was so frustrated with myself as I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, and neither could Chef Guillaume (oh yes, we got him for the prev practical too), because chocolate is such a finicky little thing~ This propelled me to buy a laser thermometer from Amazon hahaha. Going to have like 3 thermometers the next time I temper my choc!!!

Still, the cake was yummy and being able to give it away and hear that people still enjoyed it was awesome.

Things I took away from this week of chocolate:

  1. Tempering is a pain in the butt
  2. I love chocolate. A lot.
  3. Tempering is a pain in the butt

Next week’s cakes are all gna be about mousse and entremets – super super super excited for that 😀 Till my next post!

xx,
Eug

P.S. pls pardon my shaky pics – I keep rushing to catch sunlight to photograph the cakes + my hands are always trembling after practical (with all that whipping) :'(

 

More

Lesson 8: Dome aux Marrons

Salut!

So after an amazing weekend in London chomping down all that Asian goodness for Lunar New Year, I was back in school, ever ready for an awesome week ahead.

I’d seen the cake that we’d be making this week (Dome aux Marrons –> Chesnut Dome) on Instagram (via the LCB location tag) before and was super excited to work on it. The aesthetic of the cake, in my opinion, is simply amazing. It also reminds me of the Esplanade back home in Singapore – kinda like a durian haha.

I really enjoyed the demo, with Chef Verger showing us how to use the spray gun for the first time ever! I’ve always been very intrigued by this effect that’s commonly used by pastry shops so knowing that I was going to be repeating it in practical was very exciting for me.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take too well to the taste of the chesnut (the cake is three layers of halzenut dacquoise, chesnut mousse and piped all round with chesnut cream). Although I’m a fan of freshly roasted chesnuts, these canned/candied ones were too sweet for my liking (probably the same reason why I’m not a fan of mont blanc).

Practical was awesome – we got Chef Park again 😀 Class is always very organised and calm under her watch. As usual, Jianhua and I split up the recipe and got cracking. Really enjoy working with her! The best partner I could ever ask for :*

Ended up with what I think I can call a pretty decent chesnut dome 🙂 Excited to try this again when I’m back home, albeit in another flavour (will also have to buy myself a spray gun hehe).

The next few posts are just going to be about chocolate and more chocolate so I’m thinking of lumping them all together. But we’ll see, I’m getting slower and lazier in my post updates haha :p

xx,
Eugenia

More