I have loved spending the week learning better how to handle and temper chocolate, how to fill an decorate the molds, and create delicious fillings. Today was the final day of filling a few chocolates and then we were back on to baking. Here is a photo of what the chocolates look like when they are all filled in the mold and ready to be closed. It can be very beautiful at each step if done right. And what is also beautiful is the array of chocolates that you can create that make the candies look magical.
|Gianduja chocolates with their peaks of filling that get tamped down with a finger dusted in cocoa powder
|Here is the spread of chocolates for the week.
We used 40# of chocolate to make all of these.
I still have much to learn, but this was a fabulous beginning and enough to unleash my creativity.
We now move on to baking for the next week and I am very excited. Today we started with apple strudel. This is a mysterious pastry that I have long been interested in. You make a dough and then stretch it so thin that you can read a book through it. You then roll it up around the filling with crumbs and butter separating the layers and bake it. It is an amazing treat and I am glad to add to my repertoire. The filling can be apple, cherry, poppy seed, or savory items like mushrooms….yum yum.
|Here is the strudel dough all pulled out with the filling on it|
|The dough is brushed with butter and sprinkled with bread or cake or praline crumbs|
After you have the strudel prepped with the butter and crumbs…you roll it up with the bedsheet that you have been working on. You use the sheet to lift and roll the strudel because it is so thin and tender. Once it is rolled up you can leave it straight or turn it into various shapes and freeze it just like that and bake it later.
We baked off one strudel yesterday and here it is, dusted with powdered sugar and out of the oven. It is very flaky and delicious, and I am ready to try this again.
|Slice of Strudel|
Apparently my teacher learned to make strudel in college when her Hungarian professor that lived upstairs was having a sleepless night, she would call Marda and say “You vanta make Strudel?”
We had another magic baking moment yesterday as my Marda taught me to make Pita bread. One of her life’s projects was helping the Chinese government make a pita factory that could produce one million pita breads per day. The dough is very unique and the magic in the oven comes when you place this dough in, and the entire thing pops up into a flattened ball (then you know that the pocket has been created). It takes only one minute and then you get them out of the super hot oven in and let them cool and deflate them later as you package. If you have pita breads that do not inflate, you slice them up and make pita chips out of them.
These were awesome to make as you stand there watching through the oven window encouraging your breads to pop up and do what they are supposed to do. We had great success yesterday, and I was glad to learn these. After a good day of baking, I was invited to dinner with Marda and some of her friends here in Bend. We had a delightful meal at a Peruvian restaurant and I cam home and flopped in bed. A day of rest tomorrow will be wonderful. I am still in baking heaven.