Friday, April 30, 2010

day 25

These always sell out the day they're made. Who could possibly resist a pink macaroon stuffed with fresh raspberries? The bigger version has strawberries, blueberries and blackberries in it as well so it's even more delicious.

A classic napoleon with layers of puff pastry and pastry cream, topped with a layer of fondant (a type of sugar substance used in pastries or candies, like Cadbury Creme Eggs). Too much fondant, but otherwise delectable.

the shop
Thought I would finally post some pics of the shop itself. The counters run in a u-shape around the perimeter of the room. In the center, there is a high table with bar stools for customers to sit at and enjoy lunch.

The pastries above are full-sized versions of the individual sizes I've been taking pictures of. Clockwise from the top: Diamant Rouge, Mille-Feuille, Piedmont (haven't made individuals of this one actually), Caranougat, Strawberry Tart. You can also see the edge of a Fruit Tart on the right.

...and in other news
It was slow for a Saturday. There was a last minute scramble right before we left because Alexi forgot yesterday to make an 8 person Fraisier cake that was needed for today. Everyone pitched in and got it assembled in no time.
Also, Chef brought around flowers for the ladies because it was May Day today, a holiday that celebrates worker's rights in France.
And that's about it. It's raining again so I am going to lay low for now.

day 24

strawberry verrine
Layers of strawberry "salad", crumble, vanilla mousse, berry glacage and fresh fruit. The strawberries are fantastic, but the crumble most certainly is not. It becomes a soggy mess because of all the strawberry juice.

vanilla and chocolate verrine
Layers of chocolate mousse, vanilla chiboust, chocolate glacage and chocolate decorations. Not my favorite again---too much gelatin for my taste. In case you've picked up on it, verrines are a convenient way to use up extra product. Cake scraps, leftover mousse, odd pieces of creme brulee, over ripe strawberries, extra chiboust----it all gets used up in the verrines. Nothing goes to waste here if they can possibly help it.

No, it's not a historical sight. I had to do laundry today and it was raining, so no exciting tours around Beziers today. I cannot wait to get back to my own washer and dryer. And Tide. There's no Tide here and I really miss the smell.

...and in other news
Anthony, I tried the giant beignets! I came in fifteen minutes early today and there they were---seven giant doughnuts with their glistening sugar coating. David grabbed one, too, and slathered it in nutella before eating it.
It was busy today. I made pastry cream and ganache for the Carmela tarts. I helped assemble a giant Fraiser cake (a full sheet pan size) and filled 100 raspberry macarons. Chef has an interesting technique for this. He uses his thumb to indent the flat sides of the macarons, then pipes the filling into the hole and up. He then indents the flat side of the top and puts the two pieces together. He said it was to get the maximum amount of filling inside. It's a good idea because the sugary macaron can easily overpower whatever filling you use if you don't use enough of it.
I also got to try the cheesecake from yesterday. David glazed it with passion fruit glacage and Chef had him cut it up for the staff to sample. It was almost too light. I wanted more cheesecake flavor and more passion fruit flavor----more tang in general. Chef asked me what I though and I told him that and he just stared at me. I guess I was supposed to just say it was delicious.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

day 23

verrine au citron meringuee
YES! This is what it looks like! More heavenly lemon curd! Layers of lemon curd, meringue, crumble and a little squeezy thing with a lemon syrup in it. This was very sugary and very delicious.

verrine de chocolat et caramel
Layers of caramel mousse (same as from the caranougat pastry), caramel, chocolate mousse, chocolate glacage and candied almonds. I really thought this would be better than it was but I didn't like the texture of the chocolate mousse. Too much gelatin.

basilique saint-aphrodise
Today I visited another church and this one was closed to visitors as well! I'm on a roll here. The church is named for Aphrodise, a bishop and martyr who rode into Beziers on a camel. Chef said that there's a festival in the summer in his name where they still parade a camel around the streets.

...and in other news
I was very bored today. I had a brief moment of action where they let me mise en place recipes for cream cheese bavarois and vanilla chiboust. Did they let me make the recipes? Of course not! Idiots. I did get to make 20 liters of pastry cream at least for the mille-feuille that they had to assemble. Chef saw me at loose ends and had me help out for a bit with a catering event for tomorrow. I threaded pieces of foie gras onto wooden skewers then drizzled a garlic, oil and parsley marinade on top.
Yesterday they started making components for a French-style cheesecake. It's layers of chopped up sucree dough (in the style of a graham cracker crust), cheesecake, genoise soaked in passion fruit syrup, cheesecake bavarois and a glacage. Alexi and David haven't made this recipe for a while it would seem because they have had spectacular arguments about the assembly. They argued about the sucree crust and whether it was chopped up finely enough. They argued about the cheesecake and whether it was over baked or not. Today Alexi nearly ruined the bavarois and David yelled at him for that. They've been using Philadelphia cream cheese, which they clearly don't like the look of. Alexi kept mumbling about how they should use creme fraiche instead.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

day 22

gateau foret-noire
chocolate genoise, chocolate creme chantilly, vanilla creme chantilly and lots of chocolate shavings. I think all that whipped cream must soften the genoise because I think it actually tastes good in this cake.

eglise st. jacques
I wish I could have gone inside St. Jacques but all the doors were locked. They had a small garden to the back of the church where you could look down at the river Orb and the Midi Canal or up at Cathedral Saint-Nazaire.

roman arena
On the way back from St. Jacques, I walked by the Roman Arena, which was built in the first century A.D. It had a sign saying do not enter because of renovations, but I was able to slip in through a gap in the gate and get a picture. The arena is now surrounded by houses and there wasn't much left of the structure except for a few pillars.

...and in other news...
It was a busy day. We finished the Madisons, made the vanilla cream for the Diamant Rouges and piped the lemon cream into tart shells. We would have finished by 12:30 except that Chef held an hour long meeting to review food safety rules. Ug. When I walked back to the hotel, I couldn't get in the front door because my access code wasn't working. It's a small hotel so there's usually no on at the front desk. Instead, they issue guests access codes so they can come and go as they please while the front door stays locked at all times. I banged on the door for an hour, to no avail. I tried calling the main hotel number but no on picked up. I called Chris at his office and had him try calling and still no one picked up. Afer two hours, someone finally picked up the phone, but I got disconnected after a few seconds. After another hour, someone called me back and said that they had changed the code on Monday, but hadn't told me. I've only been staying at this place for THREE WHOLE WEEKS. How could not tell me something like that?