When I last wrote, I was about to go into Day 2 of the exams and was concerned about the sweet pastry that I made the day before. Despite crossing every appendage it didn’t help as what I predicted came true. For the first time in ages my tart filling leaked as my pastry had a few small cracks in it. If I had enough time, I would have relined my tarts and made them again but I couldn’t risk the potential knock on effect that this would have on the rest of what I had to produce. As a result I had to present tarts that I was less than happy with. Tarts which unfortunately are unlikely to pass.
The other jobs of the day were to make, assemble and present two Szechwan creme brulees and to make a white chocolate mousse and blackcurrant gel to set up in white chocolate coated mousse moulds for spraying with chocolate spray on Wednesday. As I had baked the Schezwan creme brulee and made my compressed pineapple on Monday, my jobs on Tuesday were to make caramel squares (one of my two nemesis – the other one being chocolate tempering), select 4 equally sized raspberries for each brulee, cut my compressed pineapple into brunoise and assemble the creme brulees.
My caramel square making went as predicted i.e. I managed to make a caramel and sort of create two ‘thinnish’ sheets of caramel but when it came to making my 5.5cm x 5.5cm caramel squares, as usual I took too much time to cut them and as a result the continual cutting and heating in an oven of 170 degrees Celsius meant that my edges got a little irregular. A couple of my thicker caramel squares had better edges, but I had to weigh up putting thin caramel slices on top of my creme brulee or being told that I could crack a tooth on a thicker caramel square. I also forgot the fundamentals of using a hot knife to neatly ease a creme brulee out of a square pastry ‘ring’. As a result my ‘square’ creme brulee did not have the neatest of sides and once again my end product was not how I wanted it to look.
While my products were less than desirable, I did manage to make my jaconde sponge, which meant that there was one less thing that I had to do on the Wednesday – a good thing as my mis en place for Wednesday was looking very busy.
Feeling despondent and with my tail between my legs I went home on Tuesday night with the weight of the world on my shoulders and a real concern that I wouldn’t be able to return on Wednesday for Day 3 of the exams. So embarrassed am I of what I produced on Tuesday that I can’t even face posting a photo of my products to accompany this blog post – I have therefore chosen a photo to depict how my end-products look instead.