‘Sculpting in fruit’ was first published on bee-bakes.com, October 6, 2014
Friday turned out to be one of the best, funniest and worst days in the lab so far. We made the most amazing things—we sculpted with fruit! Firstly, we made a Tarte aux Pommes which is another classic French tart. It consists of a pastry base covered with apple compote and layered with slice after slice of thinly cut apples. This is a feat in itself. Each piece needs to be around 2mm thick—thinner and it falls apart; thicker and breaks on the curves. I somehow managed to cut all the apples the right thickness and did a pretty good job of layering them the correct way. We were all foiled by Chef though, who was appalled what happened to them in the oven (they looked ok to us) and got them out of sight when we weren’t looking. Apparently they were burnt and soggy? Anyway, on burning things he has a habit of coming and turning up my stove when I’m cooking and it’s twice resulted in me burning things—bad Chef. The last time it was with my apple compote and luckily I got the apples out of the pan before they actually burnt, and then he demanded “who’s burning something”. To which I replied “That would be me, because someone turned up my apples” and I eye-balled him! Opsie, supposed I should watch myself in preparation for the real world!
Next we made Tarte Multifruits—oh my yum. This is yet another classic and one which we made with a tasty Sablé Breton base (delicious and biscuity), a touch of crème pâtissière and multiple fruits stacked like a sculpture on top, then glazed to glossy perfection. Amazing. Apparently these days it’s the fashion to have the fruit arranged in abstract forms with some ‘height’, no sign of the crème pâtissière and no sign of symmetry. Therefore it wasn’t appreciated that I used the kiwifruit as a type of art deco scallop border with a chaos of fruit sticking up from behind. Cue head shaking from Chef. Apparently he didn’t like anyone’s…oh well the fruit stacking resulted in much hilarity so it was all good.
We had our first ‘buffet’ display for the course which was exciting. We displayed all of the pieces that had made it to the end of the week on one of the benches and had our pictures taken. It was great to see everyone’s cakes all lined up—so colourful and amazing to see some of what we’d achieved in one week.
The bad bit was that we received our grades. I’m not happy with my grade, but it’s not that bad. I’m more annoyed with myself as many of the things I’ve made before and I think I should have done better. I probably should have asked why I got that score, but I think it could be that I’ve been a bit slow, so this week I need to up my game! On the upside, I got told to continue to be funny…I think I’ve become some kind of class clown. It could have something to do with be pretending to be the dying orange during the demonstration of peler à vif which sounded like ‘peel alive’ to another girl and me, but I think actually translates to ‘peel quickly’. The Russian girls in the class are going to have amusing demonstration videos to play back when they go home.
Aside from the lab classes we had our first French language lesson. I didn’t really know what to expect from the class as I wasn’t sure what level the other students would be at. However, it turns out that most of the class speak at least the basics, with only a couple of the girls speaking nothing at all. The professor said that ours is the first international class that she’s been able to speak in French in and that normally it takes the entire lesson for the class to introduce themselves! She’s recommending that we speak French in the labs, which I’d quite like as I need to practice. Looking forward to a class in a few weeks where she will take us to the local market to tell us about the produce.
On to the weekend it was Oktoberfest in the Village. One of my fellow students was supposed to go to Oktoberfest on the weekend, but because French class was shifted to Friday she couldn’t make it. So we had it here! A few of us cooked German sausages, sauerkraut and potatoes at my place and afterwards we went to the one bar that opens after about 21h. It was fun and we had a good laugh, but on Sunday when I went out I found a note stuck to the front door saying, in Google translated English, “make no noise after 22h”—we had left at 22:30 and laughed on the way down the stairs…Tonight when I came home from general classes it had been removed and stuck to the internal glass door, just in case I hadn’t seen it.
Welcome to French village life.