Blind baking
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We began the day with art class, taught by winner of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France pâtissier in 1979, Pascal Niau. Chef Niau was actually an artist before becoming a Pastry Chef. He stressed to us the importance of being able to visualize your final product and sketch it for your clients.

For our first art class, we learned about perspective drawing, as well as how to use our watercolours. I felt like a kid again with a paintbrush and mini paintkit. We had to sketch an object during class which was a disaster for me. I guess I will have this week’s homework assignment to make up for it.

In the labo this afternoon, we made more sweet dough and used it to make a Tarte Citron, Tarte Chocolate, and Tarte Amandine. For the lemon and chocolate tart, we had to blind bake the crust before filling. I raised an eyebrow when Chef taught us how to blind bake the shells. Apparently, you can bake seran wrap. Isn’t there something about plastic poisoning in food safety?

Moving on. To blind bake, we lay the plastic film over the tart, pour sugar in until full and cover with the plastic film. After baking, you can see that the plastic wrap was clearly deformed and had changed colour, though the sugar did not melt.

Blind baking the tart shell with saran wrapped sugar. I made sure not too eat too much of this tart in fear of plastic poisoning.

For blind baking, remove the weight (saran wrapped sugar in this case) once the dough is cooked and continue baking until golden.

Slightly deformed tart shell after baking.

Chef shows us how to make perfect looking tarts with an apple peeler.

To keep the crusts crunchy for a few days and to prevent leakage of filling, we applied egg wash to the partially baked tarts before returning them to the oven to brown. After baking and cooling, we shaved the top and sides with a fruit peeler to get perfect edges. An even better tool for this would be a micro-plane grater if you have.

For the lemon filling, we cooked eggs, lemon juice, and sugar until thickened, similar to a lemon curd. Butter was whisked in afterwards. Then the mixture was poured into the tart shells and baked just until set. To decorate the lemon tart, we candied lemon slices by soaking them in a sugar syrup overnight.

Today felt especially long, having started early with an art class. We all noticed that Chef began to rush us, encouraging us to work faster and faster. Good thing I saved 2 macarons from yesterday’s trip to Sadaharu Aoki to enjoy after a long day.

Sorry for the lack of pictures today. I’ll make up for it in tomorrow’s post. For now, here’s a picture of our cafetaria lunch.

Here's our typical cafetaria lunch. We always have 3 main proteins to choose from, 3 veggie sides, and all you can eat cheese, fruit, salad, yogurt, baguette. It's quite healthy, except that they completely overcook all the food. The salmon is the only safe and always good choice so far. But I'm not complaining, it's included in our tuition!

Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!