It’s definitely been a busy couple of weeks here in beautiful Providence! Fall is clearly in full swing, and even though it’s been cloudy and rainy for the last few days, I’m still loving it! The temperature’s been hovering around 55 this week, and it hasn’t even felt that cold to me. Just pleasantly not hot. And I’m sorry, but I just don’t get how people can complain when looking at a view like this.
My cookies and petit fours class is a ways behind me (YAY), and so is Pies and Tarts. I really did enjoy my last segment, and it was a really nice change from the cookies class that never really got better after dropping my sheet pan of cookies. I learned that Petit Fours glace’ (almond cake sandwiched with almond cream and covered in some sort of glaze, for my non-culinary readers) are no fun to make, and glazing with poured fondant is not my specialty.
I moved on to pies and tarts, and had a lot of fun. Even though I wasn’t fond of my group members, I learned so much. Every day flew by as we made two or three kinds of pie each day. We moved so quickly, but I never felt rushed.
Probably the most important thing I learned in this class is that turtle pie is the best pie in existence. With its freshly-made Oreo crust, layer of caramel sauce and pecans, chocolate mousse, and finishing of Chantilly cream with a garnish of toasted pecan brittle, why would you ever choose to make anything else for Thanksgiving? That being said, I also made a pretty stellar pumpkin pie, if I may say so, with some cinnamon Chantilly to finish it off.
Toward the end of the class we got away from pies and began focusing on tarts. These are a little bit less rustic and more decorative, so to me they were more fun. I’ve made tartlets many times for friends and for school meetings back at Valencia, but never properly. These are the real deal, and they’re so good!
We made fresh fruit tarts – short dough shell (like a sugar cookie!) with the inside brushed with chocolate, a filing of pastry cream, and fresh strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi on top. We also did chocolate ganache tarts, lemon meringue, and almond filled with raspberry jam. We did a similar assortment for our practical, and other than being just a little short on time, I was really happy with them.
Besides for class, I’ve done some pretty fun things this month. I flew to Orlando on the tenth to spend the weekend of my 21st birthday with my twin and best friend Emmy and brother Travis. It was so nice to be home again! We definitely got spoiled by Cala Bella, the fine Italian restaurant we went to for dinner. Em works there so most of the staff knew we were celebrating.
The pastry team at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort where we were are top notch – I definitely don’t remember ever having such an elaborate birthday dessert platter! I don’t even like cheesecake, and their take on cheesecake with a sugar cookie crust, mascarpone cheese and a lemon glaze was amazing. Executive pastry chef David Ramirez is a JWU Providence alumnus, and his success is something to aspire to.
I’m busier than ever with the Campus Herald lately and I’m loving it. The amazing night I had on September 28th covering Johnson & Wales’ Centennial Showcase got lost in the shuffle during my rant about my cookies class, but it was probably the best night here to date. I met Emeril Lagasse and asked him a few questions from the paper, and I got to sample some of the delicious food that JWU alums and current students were serving up. Chef Petrone, a chef that always says hi to me in the halls when he sees me, fixed me my first plate of raw clams and oysters. I tried beef tartare, home-brewed dark beer from our JBrew brewing club, and a creamy passion fruit panna cotta. The networking I did and the contacts I made were invaluable. I’ve always loved schmoozing with people at big events, and this night was no exception.
I’ll be leaving on a new adventure next Thursday morning to Philadelphia! I was chosen for one of four spots to go to the Associated Collegiate Press with the Campus Herald, and I can’t wait to go have fun and learn as much as I can. There are so many seminars I want to go to! Many are about blogging and food writing, so I’m sure they’ll benefit me greatly!
This post is getting way too long, but that’s what happens when I haven’t posted in forever. It’s now week seven already, and I’m still feeling like I’m living a dream!