07 August 2015

Desserts to go

I just can't believe how fast this year went. I remembered when I first started this course in September and now it's already finished and things have turned back to normal. 

The last two school days were for us to prepare for the competition. The assignment was to make up your own company and design a menu or an assortment list. This list has to include five items from which you'll have to actually make one. Anything that we've learned in the past year could be used.

My company would be a dessert bar named "My mini Bites". And this is my menu:

My Mini Bites dessert bar menu
“There is always room for dessert”

Death by chocolate:
chocolate cheesecake
chocolate lava cake

One apple a day:
- apple crumble pie
- cinnamon bavarois with apple confetti

Just a lemon tree:
- lemon curd pie
- lemon cake bar  

Don't be blueberry
- blueberry tartelet
- blueberry crumble

On a stick:
- red velvet cake pops
- tiramisu pops

Classics to go:
- carrot cake
- upside down pineapple cake
- Schwarzwalder kirsch cake
- no bake strawberry/cherry cheesecake

As I didn't want to make it too easy for myself I wanted to make the "classics to go". My desserts should be portable so you could bring it home and enjoy, either by yourself or with someone else. And if you couldn't finish it in one go, you could easy store it for the next day. I had plenty of Nutella jars which had a lit so these were perfect for this. I would use the ingredients needed for the desserts and layer them in the jar so that it would look nice.

I worked out the recipes and made a mise and place plan. Since we had two days I divided the work I had in "need to make now" and "can make later". I figured I had to make the things that would take more time first and on the last day I would only make the stuff that couldn't be prepared upfront. 

So my to do list for day one was:
- make carrot cake
- make coconut biscuit
- make chocolate biscuit
- make cookies
- make cherry cremeux

On the day of the competition (day two) I had to make:
- crème pâtissière
- cherry and strawberry quark
- caramelized nuts
- cherry whipped cream
- caramelized pineapple
- cream cheese frosting

I came at around 9 am that day so I could start early. I stared with making the carrot cake using this recipe:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons dried coconut
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 eggs
- 1,5 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup pecan nuts
- 1/4 cup raisins
Oven temperature 175C 

I mixed the oil with the sugar and eggs. Then I shifted the flour with the baking powder, the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger powder and mix that with the oil. Then I incorporated the carrot, coconut, nuts and raisins and spread the mixture on a baking tray. I baked it for about 20 minutes and used a cookie cutter to cut out circles so they could fit in the jars. Then I left them to cool.

Then for the upside down pineapple cake I used the recipe for a biscuit, but this time for a tropical feel I added some dried coconut:
- 300 gr eggs
- 150 gr sugar
- 100 gr flour
- 50 gr dried coconut
- splash of coconut/pineapple liqueur
- pinch of salt
oven temperature 170C

I started with heating up the eggs and sugar till about 40C. Then I mix this on high till the mixture was light yellow and tripled in volume. In the end I added a splash of liqueur and   carefully incorporated the flour, salt and coconut. I spread this mixture out on a baking tray and baked it till it was done. I also  used a cookie cutter to cut out circles and let them cool. 

For the Schwarzwalder Kirch dessert I wanted to make a chocolate biscuit using this recipe:
- 200 gr dark chocolate
- 125 gr butter
- 3 eggs separated in whites and yolks
- 125 brown sugar
- 80 gr self rising flour
- 50 gr almond flour
- pinch of salt
oven temperature 200C

I started with melting the butter and the chocolate. In the meantime I mixed the egg whites with 100 gr sugar till stiff peaks. I mixed the rest of the sugar with the egg yolks and mixed this in with the chocolate mixture. To this I incorporated the flour, salt and almond flour. Last I incorporated the egg whites and spread this mixture on a baking tray and baked it till it was done. Again I cut out circles with a cookie cutter and let them cool.

The last part of the baking was the cookie bottom for the non bake cherry/strawberry cheese cake. This recipe is pretty straight forward as all I did was mix all the ingredients together and bake till in a muffin tin till it was golden:
- 100 gr flour
- 50 gr almond flour
- 100 gr butter
- 50 gr sugar
- 2 tablespoons of dried coconut
- 1/2 egg
oven temperature 180C

The last thing I had to do now was making the cherry cremeux. I used:
- 350 gr cherry puree
- 120 gr egg yolk
- 120 gr sugar
- 5 gr gelatin powder (soaked in 25 gr Kirch liqueur)
- 100 gr butter

I heated the cherry puree with 60 grams of sugar and added the soaked gelatin. I mixed the egg yolk with 60 grams of sugar and heated it for about 5 minutes on 85C and then I added the butter. I combined both mixtures and poured it in a mold so I could freeze it. 

It was a crazy first day but I manage to get everything on the list done. Everything was wrapped, packed and ready for the freezer so I could start putting things together on the competition day.

The week after I had a ton of work to do before I had to present the desserts to the judges. It was very helpful to have a to do list. So I just started with making some crème pâtissière using the same recipe:
- 500 ml milk
- 100 gr sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 35 gr custard powder
- vanilla sugar
- 50 gr dried coconut
- pinch of salt

While this cools off I cubed some fresh strawberries and soaked them in some strawberry liqueur. I also cubed some fresh pineapple as well. Part of it I soaked with some pineapple/coconut liquor and the other part I caramelized in a pan with some butter and sugar. Since I had quite some caramelized pineapple I put some in a blender to make some pineapple puree.

I wanted to start with the dessert that needs the most time to set so I stared with the cherry and strawberry no bake cheese cake (quark). For this I used:
- 500 gr quark
- 200 ml whipping cream
- 100 gr sugar
- 16 gr gelatin powder (soaked in 80 gram water)
- vanilla sugar
- 50 ml cherry puree
- 50 ml strawberry puree

I whipped the cream with the sugar till it was as thick as yogurt. I dissolved the gelatin in some hot cherry juice and let it cool for a bit. I mixed the gelatin with the quark and carefully mixed this with the whipped cream. To half of this mixture I added the cherry puree and to the other half the strawberry puree. Since the quark will set I had to pip everything in the jar. 
I started with putting some of the cubes of strawberries in liquor on the bottom of the jar. On this I placed the cookie and the strawberry quark followed by a piece of coconut biscuit and topped it with the cherry quark. I decorated it with some fresh strawberries and cherries. One dessert down, three more to go. 

Now it was time for some caramelized nuts. I love pecan nuts so I used those:
- 200 gr pecan nuts (already roasted in the oven for more flavor)
- 60 gr butter
- 100 gr sugar

I put the sugar in a pan and let it melt till it has a nice golden color. Then I added the butter and when that was well mixed I added the nuts. I made sure the caramel coated most of the nuts before I poured it on a baking tray so it could cool. After they cooled I kept the pretty ones whole and chopped the rest in smaller and bigger pieces.
Now it was time to put together the Schwarzwalder Kirch dessert. I had to make the chocolate mouse and the cherry whipped cream. I started with the cherry whipped cream. I used:
- 2 gr gelatin (soaked in 10 gr Kirch liquer)
- 200  ml whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 100 gr cherries

I dissolved the gelatin in some hot cherry juice and let it cool a bit till it starts to thicken a bit. In the meantime I whipped the whipping cream with the sugar till it was as thick as yogurt. To this I mixed in the gelatin and the cherries. I had to pour this in the jars before it was too thick so I stared with some cherry cream on the bottom of the jar. On top of that I added a piece of cherry cremeux and topped it with a piece of chocolate biscuit. On this I sprinkled some caramelize nuts.

Now for the chocolate mouse I used:
- 110 gr whipping cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 30 gr sugar
- 180 gr dark chocolate
- 375 gr whipping cream

I heated 110 ml whipping cream with 10 grams of sugar. The other 20 grams of sugar I mixed with the egg yolks. I add both mixtures together and cooked it till it thickens. To this I added the chocolate and let it melt and cool a bit. The 375 gram whipping cream was whipped till it has a yogurt thickness and I used it to incorporate it with the chocolate mixture. I piped this in the jars, added some sliced cherries and let it set.
Two more desserts to go. 

Now it was time for the carrot cake dessert. I had to make some cream cheese frosting. One of my class mates had this recipe and she told me it was very good so I decided to give it a try:
- 500 gr powdered sugar
- 150 gr butter
- 250 gr mascarpone cheese

I mixed the powdered sugar with the butter till it was light and fluffy and then mixed in the mascarpone. Then it has to be mixed till it was light and airy. 

Now I could put together the carrot cake dessert. On the bottom I put some crème pâtissière then a piece of carrot cake. I spread a thin layer of pineapple puree on the carrot cake to keep it moist and added another layer of crème pâtissière and carrot cake with a layer of pineapple puree. Then I sprinkled some caramelize nuts, covered it with some cream cheese frosting, added another piece of carrot cake and ended with some more cream cheese frosting. For decoration I used some whole caramelized nuts and some chopped pieces.
For the last dessert, my upside down pineapple cake I wanted to make some butter cream. Luckily my class mate had some white chocolate butter cream left so I added some pieces of pineapple and some pineapple and coconut liqueur to get the butter cream I wanted to have.

I started with putting some pineapple marinated in liquor on the bottom of the jar. Then on top of that I put a piece of coconut biscuit, spread it with some pineapple puree and added some caramelized pineapple pieces. Then I put in some butter cream, topped it with some more coconut biscuit, butter cream and coconut biscuit and I topped it with some cream cheese frosting. For decoration I used a piece of fresh pineapple and some chopped caramelize nuts.
I had a slightly different idea of putting the desserts together but in the heat of the moment I forgot and this is what I ended up with. I manage to make four very tasty desserts and well in time for the judges to do a taste test. 

Although I didn't win the competition, I was very pleased with the results. It has been a great year, with lots of first times. I've learned a lot and I enjoyed every moment of it. The sky is the limit!

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