Sunday, December 1, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Le Cap d'Agde

Since deciding to take the Paris patisserie up on it's offer to intern there for almost a month, it was time to head back to Le Cap d'Agde, finish out one last week of classes, pack up and say goodbye.  I was pretty excited that this week was plated desserts, my favorite...and even more excited when I found out we were playing with molecular gastronomy.   The combination made for some pretty amazing results!  Since each plate is made up of several different recipes, this time I'm going to give you the recipe for my favorite element of each dessert.  Think of it as a starting place...and you can always ask for more!

Pomme, pomme, pomme....
Apples as far as the eye can see!  The dessert was, technically, the simplest of the week and yet the most time consuming.  See those itty bitty squares on the plate?  Those are small cubes of apple cider jelly.  They started as large squares, cut very small that then had to be carefully separated.  They were very delicate and only the perfect squares could be kept for plating sake.  It took 4 people almost 3 hours to complete this task.  Good thing they were pretty!

Best part of this dessert?  The apple chips!  I could make these and eat them all day as a snack.  In fact, none of the "scraps" went to waste.  We ate them all!

Apple Chips
granny smith apples
powdered sugar
non stick silpat
butter spray

1- Slice the apples very thin.  It helps this process to have a mandolin.  You want to almost be able to see through the slices.
2- Spray your silpat with butter spray and put on a sheet tray.  If you don't have a silpat, well buttered parchment paper should do the job.
3- Line the apple slices on the silpat.  You can put them as close as you want, just make sure they don't touch.
4- Sift powdered sugar over top so the apples are lightly covered.
5- "Dry" out in oven at 160-180 degrees Celsius until apples are slightly wrinkled and crisp.
I didn't put any measurements in the recipe since it depends on how much you want to make.  If I had to guess, I would say you could get 40-50 chips out of one apple if you slice them thin enough.

Cremeux Au Chocolat 
As far as combination of flavors goes, this was my favorite dessert for the week.  Inside that chocolate tower are layers of toasted lime rice krispies, banana and crème brulee cream.  Top it all off with Bailey's ice cream and it's a dessert you can't go wrong with.  The only thing I would change is the amount of chocolate mousse we put around the plate.  It really masked the other flavors for me and became more chocolate than a balanced dessert.  This was not a problem for the chocolate lovers in the class...and after all, dessert is all a matter of personal taste.

Favorite element here?  Bailey's ice cream...hands...down!

Bailey's Ice Cream
*Note - Due to when the Bailey's is added in this recipe, it still has it's full alcohol content.  It's not enough to matter...but still something to mention
1036 g whole milk
450 g cream
280 g egg yolks
250 g sugar
6 g ice cream stabilizer (it can be made without this element, just won't keep as long)
360 g Bailey's

1- In a saucepan, combine milk and cream.  Warm to almost boiling.  Add in half the sugar and the stabilizer, if using.  Mix well.
2- In a small bowl, mix yolks and remaining sugar.
3- When milk mixture comes to a boil, add half of the hot mixture to the yolks.  Stir well.  Return everything to the heat at cook to 83 degrees Celsius. 
4- Remove from heat and put into a bowl.  Cool mixture down quickly by putting in the freezer or over an ice bath.  Once mixture has cooled, add the Bailey's and blend in an ice cream maker according to the directions.

Last but definitely no favorite of the week...

Declinaison Autour De La Mandarine
This was such a fun plate to play with and the flavors of the dessert were light and refreshing!  It was my favorite by far and one I intend on making for family and friends when I return home.  Whose coming for dessert???

Coolest thing on this plate?  The mandarin spaghetti!!  That's right, that lovely curved line running through the middle of the plate is mandarin spaghetti!  If you ever have an opportunity to play with molecular gastronomy, this is a good place to start.  It's one of the "easiest" and coolest techniques I've seen and can be done with any pulp you wish!

Agar Agar Spaghetti
250 g frozen mandarin pulp (or any pulp you like)
2.5 g agar agar
2.5 g gelatin powder (prepared according to package directions)

1- Melt pulp over medium heat.  Add agar agar and gelatin powder.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
2- Pipe mixture into small plastic tubes (these can be found in hardware stores).  Make sure they are as full as possible without any air bubbles.  Allow tubes to set in ice water.
3- Once set, carefully remove spaghetti from the tube.  You can do this by carefully blowing air into the tubes, using canned air or blowing yourself.

Aside from desserts this week, I had to say goodbye to some pretty cool people.  Hopefully, our paths will cross again one day but I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them!

Now to get all our stuff to Paris...


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