Module 7: Candies
I don’t think any of us much cared for this particular module when compared to some of the spectacular things we have achieved during this whirlwind month.
How could jam possibly compare to entrements or a plated dessert?
Well for two and a half days we focused on making jams, fruit jellies, caramels, nougat, marshmallows and confit fruits.
Now writing about our experiences it sounds as if I am being unfairly unsupportive but it really was so simple when compared to what we had already achieved.
To the credit of our chefs, the nougat we made was absolutely delicious, the marshmallows had a greet flavour and texture but most importantly weren’t overly sweet, and the jams constitute an invaluable skill!
We were all exhausted by this point having just completed our exams and so we were more interested in discussing other topics and asked lots of great questions from the chefs.
We had a long lecture on the history of sugar and how it was intertwined as usual with war and civilisation itself. Only this time the death of Alexander the Great and the crusades played a huge part instead of just the discovery of the Caribbean and Central America!
We played with cooked sugar at it’s wide range of cooking temperatures making the honey nougat and jams and pate de fruit.
We also made raw almond paste and marzipan of varied colours together with pralines of all sorts including hazelnut, almond and my favourite mixed.
Macaron were just second hand nature and to see how fast we produced this huge selection was really special.
Making fondant from scratch was extremely simple yet such intensive work, as such it was revolutionary but will likely never happen again.
The thermometers played a huge role in this module and we also had a little fun with the pectin and citric acid!
But by Friday afternoon we all felt like a manufacturing line having to hand-wrap hundreds of soft caramels and exotic passionfruit caramels in individual wrappers, as well as package hundreds of marshmallows and nougats.
The highlight of our module was an unexpected delight – an unforgettable experience. The chef organised a little detour with a very specific task. There was a huge junket in the Ritz for the French Press as an advertising drive for the school. They were treated with tours, cooking demonstrations, gift bags and a lunch on the terrace.
But dessert was truly special – having been conceived by Chef Didier, prepared together with the class, and assembled by us à la minute in the terrace kitchen before being taken by the waiting staff to the waiting guests.
It was brilliant – so simple, so full of the best flavours and textures – a hazelnut meringue, strawberry jelly, tart strawberry gelato and champagne emulsion – so light and summery!
We worked like a united force and it all went smoothly, for our first, professional ’employment’.
So for your perusal, here is the selection of candies and confitures now available at my modern Candy Store.
Confit Pink Grapfruit and Orange Rind – for your candied pleasure
Fruit Jellies – Passionfruit, Mango, Raspberry and Blackcurrant
Nougat Blanc with Honey, Roasted Hazelnuts, Almonds and Pistachios
Chewy Caramels with Roast Almonds
Soft Exotic Caramels with Passionfruit and Mango Puree
Confitures including freshly made Strawberry and Blueberry, Raspberry and Pineapple ‘Bachelor’ Jam with rum steeped raisins and vanilla
And don’t forget the almond marzipan, praline pastes and macaron….
And so finally at 5pm after a month of intensive Advanced French Pastry when the champagne was popped and we all toasted passing our course and our success in the exam.
Sadly two will be leaving us and not joining in on the third level.
Whilst I’m going on holiday for a week the others are all doing boulangerie and vieronesserie.
But four of us are ready and waiting for the intensive week of Perfection in French Pastry.