Baguettes, pain de mie, and rye bread
We finished Intermediate Pastry with a bread baking class to relieve some tension and nervousness leading up to the final exam. The breads we baked were baguettes and pain de mie, traditional French sandwich bread. The baguettes were irresistible when they were warm with a crunchy exterior, but by the next day they lost the crunch and were thoroughly soft – ick.
Since I lugged so much bread home, I ended up using my round loaf of pain de mie by making them into crunchy crostini-like bread slices for holiday appetizers. The only bread we didn’t make in practical class was the rye bread, but it was deeeelish. When the chef made all of the breads in demonstration, the rye bread was my favourite. It had a perfectly crusted exterior with a soft, dense, but pillow-y inside. Yummmm. I think I’m going to hold on to that recipe and try it again some time!
We had a few days off to prepare for the final exam, but I didn’t make use of them as well as one might’ve imagined. The trouble with practising recipes from Intermediate Pastry is that the recipes require a lot of whipped cream. Here in Paris, at most grocery stores, I’ve only been able to find 30% whipping cream. No matter what I do, I just can’t seem to whip 30% cream the same way I could whip 35% cream! I even checked at school – we do indeed use 35% cream at school, which is why it has never been an issue at school. I tried a couple of times at home with the 30% cream anyway, and at one point I even managed to whip the cream into butter…but sadly I never reached any “peaking” stage with the cream during all that time. Bah. No practising, then.
On the day of the exam, we found out what the three choices were about an hour and half before the exam. The Passionfruit & Raspberry Tart, the Vanilla & Raspberry Treasure, and the Plaisir were the topics of the day. I would’ve been okay with all three, I think; they were all among the topics I stressed least about. As luck would have it, I was strategic enough when picking my coloured chip (denoting the dessert) before the exam that I ended up with the easiest one of them all! I took my time and made the tart methodically. Then I finished by doing my chocolate writing, and that was it! Intermediate Pastry – finito!
We booked a vacation to tour the German Christmas markets, and left the morning after my exam. Stay tuned for some vacation pics!