Classical- Week 6

Saturday, February 19, 2011

This week we were Southern Italy. I took dessert back over and got to make the Chocolate Almond Torte. This dish is made with finely ground almonds (almond flour) instead of all purpose flour. Egg whites are folded into the mixture of melted chocolate, egg yolks, and sugar, and is then baked in a round cake pan. Once the edges are set but the middle is still “chocolate-y”, you remove it and let it set. After unmolding the torte, you sprinkle cocoa powder over it and you are done. Well, that’s what the recipe says, anyways. I can never just stop there, so I made a chocolate ganache to coat the entire cake with, as well as chocolate ganache hearts to put in the center. I had printed out an awesome design to cut out and use when I sprinkled the cocoa powder. You could kind of see the design, but it didn’t come out with the WOW factor I wanted. I think if I had sprinkled powdered sugar in the parts of the design that weren’t covered in cocoa powder, it would have looked closer to what I was going for. The texture came out perfectly, though, and literally the ENTIRE cake was devoured. Quickly.

I also made the Focaccia Bread. This was frustrating to me because focaccia bread is supposed to be made with a sponge that has set for 24 hours ahead of time. I MEANT to make the sponge the day before, but was rushing to get things done for my bag cake, and forgot. Somehow I managed to make the bread in 2 ½ hours instead of the day and a half that it is supposed to take. The texture turned out alright, but I know it definitely would have had a better flavor if it had had time to mature. We served the bread with the Caponata, and the mellow flavor of the bread really balanced out the spice and tang of the Caponata.

Ian’s mirror looked fabulous, and his Tuna tasted amazing. The only thing that I would have to say is that some of the veg wasn’t dressed.

My favorite moment of the week, though, was when Natane and Chef got into a battle of “Yes.” “No.” It was like a ping pong match. It started with her Stuffed Pork Bundle platter. They were made correctly and tasted like they should, but when plating them, she laid them in a line and spooned the sauce over them.

Chef tells her she should have cut them in half so you can see the pretty spiral in the center. Natane simply shakes her head and says, “No.” Chef looks at her and chuckles slightly and says, “Yes.” Back and forth it goes…no additional words being spoken, no reasons being given either way to persuade the other. Finally one of them cuts into a bundle, Natane sees how pretty it is and concedes, “Ok. Yes. I guess maaaaaaaaaaaaaybe you know a little about what you are talking about.” Highly entertaining to watch.


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