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June 26, 2010

Sugar Showpiece Exam

Today our skills on sugarwork were once again tested. Contrary to what I have said before, I now enjoy sugarwork and was able to make better looking flowers and sugarballs for my showpiece. I wish we had more lessons on this as I have come to take pleasure in doing it.

The decorations for the showpiece are made from water, sugar and glucose heated at 160-162 degrees Celcius. Tartaric acid is added when the syrup reaches 155 degrees celcius . To stop the temperature of the syrup from rising, it is plunged in ice water. The syrup is poured into SILPAT to let it cool a bit. When the edges have cooled off, the folding starts. When it has stabilized ( this means it doesn't spread out easily) , the cooked syrup is rolled and pulled many times until it becomes shiny. This process is called Satinage.

The base is also made from the same mixture but without Tartaric Acid as this will soften the candy syrup if added. It is cooked at the same temperature as the pulled sugar.

The syrup being cooked.

Workshop 27

Workshop 27 - Pulled and Poured Sugar

A total of five hours were given to us to finish our decorations (pulled sugar) and base (poured sugar). I was in high spirits today that I was able to make more pulled sugar decorations than last time. Today's workshop is just to assess our skills on sugarwork in preparation for our sugar showpiece exam tomorrow.

I wasn't aiming for pink but many drops of red dye and a few of blue turned my cooked sugar to this. You can't exactly know how the shade might turn out but try to experiment with different colors until you acquire the color you desire.

Here's the base before I stick the decorations. Nice eh? 

Practicals 24-26 Sugarwork

Practical 26 - Blown Sugar

On the third day of sugarwork, my arms began to strain. I would say sugarwork is my least favorite as I have to deal with heat all the time and exert double efforts to get things done. I have no complaints on cooking the syrup. Handling and blowing the sugar are what make it wearisome.

I kind of enjoyed what we did today because it reminded me of my childhood. As a child, I loved blowing plastic balloons and creating them in different shapes. Blown sugar is somewhat similar with plastic balloons in a sense that air gives its shapes.

How to blow a sugar? Cut off a small amount of sugar/ cooked syrup with scissors. Shape a ball by folding the edges towards the center.Press the edges slightly together. Be sure to leave a small hole where you insert the metal part of sugar blowing pump. Wrap a small piece of sugar around the metal part and heat it with blow torch. (This will stop the air from escaping when pumped.) Insert the metal part and close the edges, pump air into the sugar SLOWLY or it will explode. While pumping, push the bottom side of the sugar up with scissors. This will expand the sugar. For other shapes, pull the opposite side of sugar and expand it while pumping until you form any shape you can imagine..

My class during presentation.

Practicals 22- 23 Pastillage and Marzipan

Practical 23 - Pastillage

Pastillage is a mixture of icing sugar, cornstarch, gelatine and a bit of vinegar or lime juice.

The mixture becomes a hard and dry block. Kneading it a bit to make it nice and smooth is necessary before use. To ease the kneading and to moisten it, just add lard (We used duck's fat) until it reaches the right consistency.

The finished product. The chef actually liked the idea.

Practicals 19 - 21 Chocolate Showpiece and Chocolate Box

Practicals 20-21 Chocolate Showpiece

Two days were given to students to make and assemble this Easter-themed Chocolate Showpiece. Here's mine.

Front view

June 15, 2010

SP Practicals 17 & 18 Chocolate Bars and Chocolate Bonbons

Practical 18 -Preparation Des Interieurs De Chocolats ( Preparation of Chocolate Interior)

A series of lessons on chocolate made me appreciate it more. Not only because I learned the methods of tempering all kinds of chocolate but also because I got the first hand experience of making this wonderful food most of us can't live without.

Today's practical was a continuation of yesterday's. Both recipes yield good "eating" chocolate due to the fact that majority of the ingredients are of the best quality transported from afar.

Here are my chocolate bars

June 6, 2010

SP Practicals 15-16 Berlingots and Mielina

Practical 16 - Berlingots and Mielina

We have finally started with the lesson I dread the most. Sugarwork. This is the part where we will get ourselves burned. Gob bless us all!

SP Practicals 13-14 Restaurant Plated Dessert

Practicals 13-14 Restaurant Plated Dessert

This was a combined practical to make up for the classes we missed because of the chaos in Bangkok. I will be writing more about these recipes later. I have a project I am working on (related to my exam cake) and it takes much of my time.

Light Cream Cheese