Its official. I have started pastry school. Bring on the sugar, butter, flour and chocolate… its going to get messy. My program is 30 weeks long and we cover everything from simple sauces such as coulis, ganache and caramel to master sugary and tiered cakes. Throughout the course of the program we are going to have guest instructors from different areas of Los Angeles come in and teach us their specific pastry craft. Needless to say its going to be amazing…
There is no doubt that I am going to be able to share with you numerous recipes from school, something that I wasn’t allowed to do during culinary school, so get ready for some fantastic tips. In the second week of class we are focusing on how to make the PERFECT cookie. We are going to experiment with internal temperature, different ratios and baking temps to see what makes that delicious moist cookie that we all love!
The first week in class was quite a bit of review from culinary school, lots of rules and procedures and generally getting to know my fellow classmates. 2 of my friends from culinary school are taking the course with me which is wonderful and makes the classroom feel like home. Its also going to be great when I have a complete brain fart and I can’t remember how to make something as simple as a caramel sauce and I can secretly ask them without having to embarress myself in front of the whole class. After the talking was over and we all gave a little speech about ourselves we dove right into making simple syrups, caramels, ganaches, tuiles and different coulis…
The one difference between pastry school and culinary school is that in pastry school we are doing a lot by ratios. Which means… no full page recipe handouts for me at all times of the day. Total bummer! But once I get these ratio’s down, I will be able to make anything on a whim without having any notes in front of me! So here are a few for you to start playing around with:
Simple Syrup –> 1 : 1 for sugar and water.
Simple Syrup (For Coulis) –> 1 : 1 : .2 for sugar, water and corn syrup. The corn syrup makes all the difference in the world when you want to make a coulis. It gives it a little extra flexibility so you can work with it more easily and make designs etc.
Ganache –> 1 : 1 Chocolate to Cream
Coulis –> 1 : .5 for fruit puree to simple syrup. A coulis is a strained and pureed fruit sauce. You can make a mango, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, whatever you want coulis! They are delicious! You can even add a touch of flavor liquor… for example a Chambord for a Raspberry Coulis. To make a mango coulis you simply combine 1 lb of pureed mango with 1/2 lb of simple syrup (use the ratio for the coulis simple syrup), strain and then use!
So after school was over, I came right home and wanted to use all my new skills! I ended up making a buttermilk pudding with a blueberry coulis. Heaven.
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 cup buttermilk
1¾ cups heavy cream
¼ cup superfine sugar
Soften the gelatine in 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk and set aside. Heat a separate small saucepan over low heat. Place the remaining buttermilk, cream and sugar in the saucepan and stir until dissolved. Stir through the gelatine mixture. Pour 1/2 cup servings into molds and refrigerate for 4 hours.
For the Blueberry Coulis, I simply used the ratio above:
1 lb fresh blueberries
1/2 lb simple syrup
Combine both in a food processor and puree. Strain mixture through a sieve and use the smooth sauce as a coulis.