Wednesday, 22 May 2013

"Its All About Squares!"

After a long break, I had an order last weekend for cupcakes with the Minecraft theme by Jesrina Arshad. I have heard of the minecraft game as my kids are absolutely nuts about this game. I do know that everything in the minecraft world is square and is made of square blocks. So, when Jess told me that her niece, Zahra wants the minecraft theme for her 9th birthday bash, I thought to myself, this should be easy enough.

Well, I was quite wrong as its not that easy to make the gum paste to be perfect squares or cubes. Thus, the sugar modelling took longer than I anticipated and I ended up pulling an all nighter as I didn't take the day off from work that Friday. If I had done so, I probably won't be so rushed for time. I started out making the square like boy and girl characters. Its fairly simple enough but when its scaled down to fit a cupcake, all the parts are going to be small!! So, its a very tedious process!

I felt that by the time I had all the sugar characters ready for the cupcakes, I was turning square too!!! 

Lesson to self: Never procrastinate and always take time off work if the order is quite challenging!!

I actually don't enjoy making cupcakes with sugar modelling as it is very time consuming and very tedious especially when I'm such a detailed person. I much rather do a big cake and have the modelling done on a slighlty larger scale. I ended up making these characters and things for the cupcakes: 4 pieces boy characters, 4 pieces girl characters, 5 TNTs, 5 square rose plants, 5 creeper faces, 4 diamonds and swords and lastly, 3 sheeps. 

The overall view of the cupcakes... The square and stiff world of MINECRAFT...

The cute little square sheep and the girl character

The boy character and the square rose plant

The sword and diamond and the creeper face

A closer view of my sugar work
 I hope Zahra was happy with the cupcakes and thanks again Jess for the order...

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

"A Lesson in Chocolates"

I've always wanted to learn how to make chocolates the correct way. I mean the real way not those chocolates that people sell online made from compound chocolates!! I've always wanted to learn the process of tempering chocolates and also how to make the variety of fillings that are used inside these delectable sweets.

I've already hinted to Soon Ching of Artisan, a few times, to conduct a chocolate class at her center. So, when the opportunity to learn more about chocolates was given to me, I was very excited. The chocolate class was conducted by Chef David Lee of Epicurean Cuisine & Patisserie. This would be my third class with him. Prior to this, I've attended his macaron and choux pastry class.

Chocolates are very temperamental. That's what I learn!! You have to handle them with great care! Just like how you handle a woman, I guess. Hehehe.... The chocolates need to be melted at the right temperature, then cooled down to the right temperature and then bring it back up to the ideal temperature. See, what I mean about chocolates being temperamental! Different type of chocolates would have different kind of temperature reading. Dark chocolates are more hardy as compared to the milk and white chocolates. So, we need to be very careful when working with different types of chocolates. That being said, the rest of the class was actually quite easy.

First step, to melt the chocolate

Then, temper it to a lower temperature - 27-28 C for dark chocolates

The dark chocolate at its ideal temperature and ready to be worked on!

I learned to make three types of filings, the sea salt caramel filing (which I so love!!!), pistachio ganache and raspberry ganache. The caramel filing was paired with dark chocolate, pistachio ganache with milk chocolate and raspberry ganache with white chocolate. Of all, my favourite was the caramel and dark chocolate pairing. We also learned how to make truffles.

Coating the base of the chocolate mould before piping in the filing
The base all coated with chocolate
The sea salt caramel piped 3/4 into the mould
Our chocolate all beautiful and ready to be eaten
The truffles were relatively very simple to make. Chef David prepared the chocolate ganache first, then had it piped and cooled in the refrigerator. After its cooled and has harden a little, the ganache is coated with dark chocolates and then coated with good quality cocoa powder. I don't quite like the truffles made with dark chocolate as its quite bitter for my palette. I am going to try making it with milk chocolate instead. Hopefully, I can try making them soon rather than later!!

 The ganache is piped into a cone like shape
 Then, dipped into the dark chocolate for coating

Then coated with a good quality cocoa powder
The truffles are then put into a sifter, to shake off the excess cocoa powder
Walaaa... our handmade truffles!
All in all, it was a fun learning experience. I learned so much about chocolates and am quite excited to try my own handmade chocolates. Its always good to learn something new and for me, I always look forward to gaining more knowledge and to explore more new things especially in this culinary line.

I end my entry today with 2 photos taken at the end of our class with our instructor/mentor, Chef David Lee.. Until next time, cheerios ;)

Our treats for the day
Group photo with the instructor
Elinna Bahrin
Pink Ellies Novelty Cakes