It’s been a while, oops! A week and a half ago, on the day that Terence left, I made the pear charlotte. It is something completely new to me, and I’ve decided it’s a cake I definitely enjoy eating, but not making.
The pear charlotte is basically piped ladyfingers arranged beautifully into a round “box”, filled with pear mousse inside. It is consumed cold, and is a delightfully light dessert. The ladyfingers are airy and lightly sweetened, and the fruity mousse is anything but rich. It’s very different from the typical desserts we’ve made, and I really appreciated the change.
The “big mama” bulb at the side is the result of an accidental run-in with the top of my obnoxious piping bag. Oops!
For demo, we had Mr. Silence chef. He is good at what he does, but his demos are really very quiet without a lot of interesting information. Therefore most of the time people are a little distracted while he’s doing his thing up at the front of the classroom.
We had the nice old man chef for this practical. He told us to pipe the ladyfingers sideways for a prettier look. I’m not sure I like the ladyfingers on a slant – it doesn’t seem to agree with the symmetrical “lid” of the cake at the top. However, as one of our translators once said, it’s the rule of closeness when it comes to chefs’ instructions. Whichever chef is closer to you wins the debate. So I piped my ladyfingers on a slant. Except, I’m not without disaster these days, and so with my not-so-great folding skills with egg whites and dry ingredients, my batter was getting pretty runny. The chef looked aghast when he saw my work. The whole time the ladyfingers were baking, I was really worried about having something that had no definition when the pieces came out of the oven. I wanted to just pack everything up and leave before being confronted with the end result.
Luckily, things came out OK. Other than a couple of small gaps between the ladyfingers because I piped them a little too far away from one another, it wasn’t a complete disaster. The pear mousse was delicious and not too difficult to whip up (literally). Once filled, I was happy enough with the end result. By then though, I was also emotionally drained from the large range of emotions I had just gone through in 2.5 hours, from worry to denial to stress to relief.
The chef was in a pretty good mood. He fed us the rest of the pear halves because he didn’t want to put them away, and he also let us torch the pear slices on top. It was the first time I had tried torching, and it was a lot of fun! My pear slices weren’t spread open enough, though, so I think the whole decoration with the leaves and the pear half made the top of my cake look like a golden snitch from Harry Potter. The chef agreed it wasn’t exactly what he had in mind, but whatever, I made a snitch.
It’s easy to eat a lot of this cake because it’s so light! The next day I dug out all the mousse and we just ate the ladyfingers – harmless enough with egg whites and no fats. I loved eating the whole cake with a spoon, though (definitely good as a wallowing food too), but I’m still on the fence if I’d like to attempt this recipe again. Maybe when I get better at folding egg whites, I’ll give it another go :)