Cute Little Pies

Well I have finished my employment at Wimpy’s.

I really am going to miss working with such a great group of people. There was days that the shift would fly by as we readied the fridges and cooked the dishes, just because we were chatting so happily. It will be a very fond memory.
Right now though I am free and felt like baking. Gathering a few ingredients with the help of my mother, and by help of my mother I mean she bought everything, I started up a quick project.

First off was mixed berry pie. I always make the dough first when I am making any sort of shell recipe, it’s great to get it prepared then chill in the fridge so the butter isn’t in too soft a state when you begin rolling it out. Next was the filling. We had grabbed mixed berries with cherries, I’ve always wanted to make a straight cherry pie with fresh cherries but they are very expensive even on sale. Anyway, using the frozen blueberry pie filling recipe from the textbook, I converted it down from needing 2000 grams of fruit to just 600. I’ve actually gotten very used to making fillings like this that require boiling the juice and thickening it with cornstarch so this process only took a few minutes to complete.
From there I mixed the thickened syrup in with the berries and popped it into the fridge to cool while I rolled out the pie dough. I had left over 6″ pie tins from Christmas, they’re very dinky, I mean these things make a two person pie. So to start I rolled out four shells with lids and proceeded to fill them with the berries, which was actually a great estimate since it was an exact fit.
My next concern after adding the lids was if I should cook the pies as long as a 9″ pie requires. I put it in the oven for the required 30 minutes and constantly checked through the glass while I rolled out shells for later use. Once the 30 minutes was up I was pleased to see it came out fine, then added a little icing sugar to the lid for decoration.


BerryPie Mixed berry pie complete.


I ended up with four of these little guys, and tried out the completed product once it had cooled down a little, I’ve burned my tongue way too many times. The pastry was flaky and soft, so I knew I hadn’t cooked it past the point that it would become hard and crunchy. Now I cannot say enough about the filling. I’m not a huge pie fan, give me cake any day. I find some fillings for pie are just too sweet, but this one came out beautifully. The berries gave the needed sweetness, but the combination of lemon juice and cherries helped add a tartness that complimented the dessert very well. I was quite pleased how it came out and proceeded to my next project.

By now my mother had come home from work and I proceeded to make cabbage rolls for supper. At Wimpy’s they had decided to make them for the Sunday special a few times just because the roast beef was losing popularity, so I asked my boss if she could show me how to make them next time and being an awesome lady she proceeded to show me the next week. It was actually a very simple recipe; cabbage, ground beef, cooked rice, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and pasta sauce.
What she had shown me and what I did this time, was boil the cabbage until the leaves were pliable to come off. And carefully using tongs take a leaf off at a time, when you come across a leaf that won’t budge, just let it simmer for a while longer until it can.
It ended up being a very quick process, and half a dozen cutely wrapped cabbage rolls later I was playing Euro Truck Simulator while they cooked in the oven for an hour. I myself am not a cabbage fan, but my mother said they tasted good and proceeded to eat three, with coleslaw..
Way too much cabbage.


CabbageRI apologize for the photo, I didn’t realize it was blurry till I uploaded it. Just don’t click for a better view.


Since I had pie shells leftover I went about making a lemon meringue pie. I’ve never done it before, not even the meringue, but felt quite confident I could pull it off.
Using the lemon filling recipe I found online I quickly went about making the pies. By now it was probably 10 p.m, but I was determined to get it done before going to bed.
Like the berry pie filling, it was a matter of boiling and thickening, the longest part was just zesting the two lemons. After the pie shells were done baking I filled them with the lemon which also was only going to make four. My assumption from now on that a recipe for one 9″ pie will make four 4″ pies.
Next came the meringue. I’ve done plenty of recipes that require constant whipping but I was quite surprised at how long it took to get the egg whites to foam to a hard peak. My mother even came over to give me some tips about when she had made meringue from scratch. Once it was finally complete with the added sugar I proceeded to spread the mixture over the pies. At first I was a little worried that the warm lemon mixture might melt the egg, but after completing one I realize it wasn’t going to happen and happily finished up.
So into the oven it went for the required ten minutes, which ended up being longer since the meringue hasn’t firmed. Once they came out I was happy to find they had a nice golden colour to them and came out fine. My mother even had one and said it tasted great.


LemonM2LemonM1


Funny enough I don’t eat any of these things, so yes, my mother is my constant tester. If my husband was here I would be forcing him to eat them too. Ever since school, baking has become more fun for me and I end up with better results. I feel the chefs have given me a better understanding of what I was doing

I imagine this will be the last food experimentation I post until I finally move. The fridge is packed full of pies and my equipment needs to get into a box.

Fevers and Food

Well this week went a little better than the last. I went to the clinic Monday for my sciatica and got some lovely pills that made the pain go away, but while there I suspect I caught something because during my Thursday morning class I was in agony. So after a painful two hour trip home I got into bed and had my high fever taken care of by my husband and mother. I am still feeling pretty bad but my fever has gone down and I wanted to tell you all that I did this week!

So I’ll first begin with yesterday’s class since it is more fresh in my mind. We were required to make carbonnade flamande with venison, rabbit with mustard, and bison short ribs.

The rabbit needed to be deboned, the venison shoulder cut into one-inch chunks, and the bison short ribs cleaned up and cut individually. As I worked on the prep for the carbonnade and mustard, my partner took apart the rabbit and cleaned up the bison ribs. After we finished we ended up switching recipes. I continued on to make the rabbit while she started the ribs.

By then I was feeling pretty ill and didn’t notice she had finished searing the bison quickly and vac packed them for the immersion cooker. It was quite interesting since our chef told us they would be in there for 20 hours and had some from the class on Wednesday for us to try.

After some help from chef I browned the rabbit, added the additional ingredients of herbs, wine, and chicken stock, and began to let it braise as I continued on to the vegetable cooking for the meal.

A few of the things we needed were kale, sunchoke, and carrots. The kale was easy enough and was to be cooked like spinach, while the sunchoke we boiled like a potato and mashed it with butter and cream. I’ve never tried sunchoke before but it was actually pretty good, the flavouring was similar to a potato with a hint of turnip.

After those were ready the rabbit had reduced enough to be moved to take-out containers and all we needed to wait for was the carbonnade. It had only been an hour since we had put it in the oven so we ended up tidying up and taking a small break.

By then I was feeling worse and had to refuse the different recipes we had just made, but everyone said the food was tasty. There was comments that the rabbit tasted like chicken and that the venison was hard to describe.

In the end everything looked great. We sent down a container each of kale, mashed sunchoke and carrots, with carbonnade to be sold in the pantry.


MousseCake


 Wednesday was baking and I actually did really well. Baking has never been my strongest subject so to follow the instructions of a pastry chef has really helped improve my work. This week we made blueberry mousse cake, chocolate mouse cakes, and chocolate roses.

For the blueberry cake our chef wanted to show us a simple egg free version because so many people have egg allergies these days which meant we would be using gelatin as a stabilizer.

To start we cut out a circle that was slightly smaller than the pan we had with the chocolate cake we had made a few weeks prior. And then using a ruler cut out lines from stripped cake to place around the edge as you can see in the picture above. Once everyone at the table was ready we then moved on to making the mousse. It wasn’t too difficult since we used a mixer to whip the cream, melted sugar with puree and gelatin, then folding the mixture into the cream to keep it fluffy. Afterwards we divided it up and filled the cake rings until it reached just below the stripped cake top.

From there we moved everything into the blast freezer and began to cut circles out of the mango gelee they made the week before. As I was not there last week my friend let me use some of hers. By the time we cut circles and tidied up we were able to grab the now frozen cake and move to the next step. With the gelee circle we placed it in the centre of the cake and then added the rest of the mousse and again put it in the blast freezer. I love that thing. Whoosh, frozen.

The next step was to melt what was left of the gelee and begin the next mousse cake. Again we did an egg free mousse but instead of needing gelatin, the chocolate itself would be the firming agents as the mixture would cool. Once we finished folding the chocolate into the cream we divided it up into two piping bags with no tips. Using round silicon moulds we filled most of it with mousse then the centre with caramel. On top we added a small chocolate cake circle and also added it to the blast freezer. From there we grabbed our blueberry mousse cakes and added a layer of the melted gelee to give it a decorative top plus it also helped protect the mousse from drying out.

By now chef was moving us on over to making chocolate roses. If you were finished with your cake she suggested you should started trying to warm up you pieces so they were moldable. I’ve never felt anything like it food wise. The chocolate didn’t feel normal since it was so hard, and when becoming pliable in your hand it didn’t melt. It was also entertaining as chef gave us a demo on how to make the roses and all the students were needing chocolate in their hands as they watched.

The instructions she gave looked simple enough and seemed to just require patience. First we were to make a teardrop from a marble sized piece, and then continue with petals by smoothing the chocolate on the counter until it was petal shape and begin wrapping it around the top.


ChocolateRose


As I worked on mine I was happier and happier with it. I personally think it came out lovely and still have it in my fridge. As for the chocolate mousse cakes, while working on the roses we also needed to take time to come up front and put on a chocolate glaze chef had made. Some of the things she was looking for in marking our products was that the cake came out round and smooth, meaning we had properly piped it into the mould.

Well mine came out beautifully and after I added the glaze they looked quite delicious. I was so happy that we got to keep half of them while the others were going down to the pantry to also be sold.


ChocMousse


(The one on the right isn’t a bite mark, I accidentally booped it as I was trying to put the other one in my take home box. There was three in total plus half the cake I made.)

I must admit I really enjoyed the class. Chef said my cake was beautiful, her only comment was that the top layer of gelee was a little thick, but other than that everything went great. Also I really clicked with the modeling chocolate, it seemed most of the class had a hard time putting together their rose. I wouldn’t mind trying it again with other shapes and maybe trying to perfect the rose making.

By the way, if you’re ever in the Whitby area you should check out our pantry. Parking is free if you’re a customer and tell the cashier from what I understand and the food we offer is pretty cheap for what we’re actually making. The other week we were selling two frenched lamb racks for $14.00 while I found just one for sale at Metro for $23.00.