Sunday, February 15, 2015

But y'all, Chicago!





























So I live in Chicago.

In winter purgatory.

Where rational people move when they mistakenly think that mid-western winters will be a slight price to pay for the metropolitan experience. Clomping through those impossible snowy-ice combos that you can both slip on and sink into in one of the most incredibly efficient physical fails known to our species. It's a beautifully embarrassing thing to witness: the swift slide forward in one step and the downward, unexpected near face plant into that muddy heap the next. I've heard it's a great way to attract men, you know. That clutzy, doe-eyed, anti-feminist, "oh please sir, - no, no the sir in the sharp, fitted suit, thanks - oh sir, I just can't even support my own weight on these two bambi-like limbs of mine, will you please help me walk? I just can't seem to do it on my own. Oh my heavens, thank you!" It's a wonder I'm single, folks.

But onto more important things other than my ongoing antipathy towards the post-Christmas chill.

I live in Chicago! Despite the weather - which really is a slight price to pay - the city is genuinely lovely. Forget your West Side Story-esque visions of suited teenagers fighting in the street. Or possibly your cheesy Marky Mark studs and your Good Will Hunting Ben Afflecks (all of which are not really associated with chicago specifically, but it's all inter-city crazy anyway) - this city is cultured. This city is artistic. This city has a beach! Unique architecture, a river walk, a shore line that any Californian could mistake for an ocean, and enough restaurants to ensure you have enough blubber to make it through the aforementioned winter. And there's a giant ferris wheel. So my London obsession has been somewhat subdued. For the time being.

It's great.
























Also in Chicago... my life, my love, and the source of my most recently acquired 5 pounds: The French Pastry School.

The best decision I've made to date. (I'm only 23, but this definitely beats the time during my undergrad that I ate beef jerky and brownies before skydiving).




A few of the projects we've worked on during our first two modules: Entremets and Wedding Cakes... 

1) The Chocolate and Hazelnut Mousse Cake. Aka, the "World Cup Cake", as it won the Pastry World Cup 2007.

Layers of hazelnut dacquoise, candied hazelnuts, hazelnut mousse, chocolate biscuit (pronounced "bis-cwee), chocolate mousse, and a chocolate glaze.

2) The Raspberry Silk Cake: almond dacquoise, feuilltine, white chocolate mousse, and raspberry gelee.


3) The Passion Fruit Coconut Cake: coconut dacquoise, passion fruit mousse, coconut mousse, and a  marbled glaze.  
Looks a bit like water color, doesn't it?

  

4) The 'Summer Love' Cake: lady finger sponge cake, vanilla bavarian cream, and a mixed berry gelee. Simple and elegant. Topped with fresh fruit and french macarons. 

5) The Croquembouche: the traditional French wedding cake. A tower of cream puffs assembled with caramel and topped with gumpaste flowers (made during the Wedding Cake module). 







Exams this week, and then next on the baking rainbow: tarts. Have a nice Sunday y'all.

5 comments:

  1. GEEZE! I just gained 5 pounds looking at the pictures :) Looks like a school I would truly love though.

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  2. Years, oh many years ago, when Sebastien & Jacquy were only starting out, I attended their French Pastry School classes. We had 12 or fewer students and both gentlemen were in attendance teaching us for week-long classes. I can't think of a better place for you to learn their magic! Enjoy your time there; it'll go by too quickly.

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  3. I was planning on taking a photo of my croquembouche, but I had to stage Saturday and decided it could wait until this morning - and then it collapsed in on itself!

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  4. I came across your blog when I was looking for pics of decorated cookies. I live in Chicago as well and attended Kendall College (many moons ago). Your blog is lovely and your pics are beautiful. When do you finish your degree? Does FPS have a restaurant or a store where they showcase the students' work?

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