CSCA AB lesson #5 – Sauces & Review

It’s our last lesson today and we are on to sauces and based on what we have learnt from the Basic course (I did not attend) and the Advanced one, all of us are to chip in to make a part of individual Saint-Honores.

Saint-honores are made up of Pate Sable or Quick Puff Pastry as the base. Pate a Choux will then be piped out to form the rim on the base before they are baked in the oven. Next, using caramel, the ‘crust’ is dipped in the caramel and 3 balls of  pate a Choux are placed on the rim before it is dipped again in caramel. After the caramel is cooled, Pastry Cream Mousseline is piped out in rosettes and then a final piping in the middle.

Confusing? Yep, you are right. This item has all of us working real hard. I was paired up with another classmate and we did the Pate a Choux. This was not before Chef E gave a short lecture of sauces that are in the notes given to us. I’m not sure what was wrong with me but I wasn’t able to concentrate. The mind was not absorbing. I blame it on the early rising of the sun that causes me to wake up automatically at 5-ish nowadays. I was…lost in her rattle.

It’s not my first time making Pate a Choux but you know what, I made a mistake in the initial stage and was made to discard the entire batch. I felt awful and disappointed with myself, that I landed my classmate into trouble (we had to redo again). Clearly, the recipe wasn’t clear but this was not a valid reason. After all, I had made this before. I should have known better!

The second attempt was a success, under the watchful eye of Chef E. Though encouraging all ALL times, she is also firm and when something is wrong, she will not be reserved about it and point out our mistakes. It’s good that these mistakes are made. We can learn from it. Well, I can totally understand that. Actually in a culinary class, we learn more from the mistakes.

It was a tiring process making Saint-Honores. 3/4 through and I could see my classmates shrinking away. My palm incurred blisters from stirring the Pate a Choux dough and it doesn’t help that we were making double portion. Oh gosh! No more exercise for me for today!

So we bade Chef E goodbye. I absolutely love this class. Though there are some topics I have learnt before ( mostly self-taught), I gained more by going through this class. It also made me realise that there are some things that I might have done wrongly and these were highlighted when Chef E showed us the proper way to do it and alternative methods of doing things like gauging the ‘doneness/readiness’ by other means other than the thermometer! Although this is a recreational class, I must say it is less than leisure. The chef makes sure you get the concept (tries) and everyone really works their arse out. I wonder how a real class for culinary students would be like.