Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hey, I became a pastry cook! A confectioner!

Hello Guys! :)
Finally my confectioner school ended, I passed the final baking exam, and now I have my pastry cook degree in my hands! :D

In this post I am writing about the exam, which was nearly 10 hours long. 
We knew that it would be a tough day, and it really was...

OMG I am so happy that I am over this big exam now. :D 
I even get tired just thinking of that day. 

Usually, on a working day I get up at 6. That day, I was already in the school at 6:15, with 2 travelling bags, and 2 cakes. 

Everybody came like Santa Clauses with big sacs, with full of stuffs, kitchen gadgets, ingredients, one or two cakes, mixers, spatulas, someone even brought a hair dryer. Yes, for a pastry exam!

It needs some explanation, our school has two pastry kitchens, with ovens, stoves, counters, and gadgets. Only one problem that in the two rooms, there are only 2 Kitchen-Aids, and we were 15 examinees.

During the lessons, sometimes the school didn't have enough money to buy proper, good quality ingredients, however we paid for this course quite a lot, so when we didn't got like good chocolate for bon-bons, we brought those from home. 

So as we didn't know what to expect at the exam, we brought ingredients as well. (And hid them in our sacs, to have the opportunity to use them if necessary.) Fortunately, for the exam we got good ingredients, so we didn't use ours.

But for the gadgets, everyone brought their own mixers, blenders, spatulas, etc.. Because we were really short in time, we needed to bake 3 products and decorate one cake with fondant/marzipan in 7 hours, so we didn't have time for standing in a row to a kitchen aid, or to push away people to open a drawer to get a knife. So we packed our kitchen and carried everything to the school.
(The hair dryer was for drying bon-bon molds, because even one small water drop can dirty a shiny chocolate bon-bon)

Ok, so we were there early morning, we dressed into our cook uniforms, we panicked about 15 minutes together, and at 6:45 AM we were all in the pastry kitchen, listening to the three outsider examiners to start the exam.

To my surprise I knew one of them, she was my lovely hotel management teacher from University, I liked her courses very much, so I was happy to see her again. Which was even better, that she remembered me as well, and wished me good luck. :) 

After this beautiful moment, there came the worse.

I picked the only line item that I didn't want to pick. (You know we had 15 items, with 45 products to bake, each had 3) 

Usually the 3 products are: one baker's product (scones, crescents) , one cake, and one bon-bon/ice-cream/cream in cup) 

But there were two more difficult ones, where the last one is not that easy, they were plated dessert with mini-cakes.  A bon-bon or a cream takes about 30 minutes, now a mini-cake takes exactly the same time, like a regular cake, and you have to decorate the plate as well, with at least 3 ingredients. 

So I picked number 15, so I had to bake cabbage rolls, indiáner creamy donuts, and lúdláb (goose leg) plated desserts.

Why I didn't like these?

1. Cabbage rolls: 
- You rasp the cabbage first, which takes a lot of time, make huge mess on your table, and you already get tired in the first 15 minutes, because it needs a lot of pressure to make it fast.
- It needs a well-kneaded, and 4 times folded , and rolled out pastry.It's again a lot of time, because after each folding, you have to pack the pastry and put to the fridge for 20 minutes to let it rest. (and you get even more tired of the rollings, it's a hard pastry that needs strength for rolling out) 
- You have to caramelize cabbage, while continuous stirring, that means you have to stand near the stove for 20 minutes, when you can't do anything else at the same time.

2. Indiáner creamy donuts
-This dessert needs way too much hustle.   First, you bake 2 hemispheres, from sponge cake. Then, you make holes on their bottoms, you stick these twos with boiling hot jam (which is simmering, so burning danger is on) then you dip this donut in this hot jam, and let it dry. Then in the exam we had to dip these into chocolate fondan, which is a thick sugar syrup, the same like on the mignons. I prefer these to be dipped into real melted chocolate. You can easily unmake the fondan, it is hard in room temperature, and it is liquid over 40 degree Celsius. The only problem, that if it is hotter than 50 than you can through it away, it never will be liquid again. 
After dipping, you let them harden, then you cut the upper 1/3 part down, fill the hole with whipped cream, and put the upper part back on. 
My question is why? Why are we doing this fuss, when the taste of the result is the same like you brush a flat sponge cake with jam, cover it with chocolate, and decorate the top with whipped cream? Ok, the little bun looks way much better, but is it worth it?

3. Lúdláb "Goose leg" plated dessert

- It's a Hungarian cake, with fluffy chocolate cream, and sour cherries. Only now, I had to make it in one portion. The fun part, that I had to bake and make it with the amount of ingredients of a whole 16-piece-cake. So it needed a lot of time.
-I really love decorating plated desserts, but I had so little time, I could only make a chocolate spiral, and sour cherries custard. 
I drew a picture of my plate, because in the photo, the examiners ruined the decoration while tasting it. :D I could have made it prettier with drawing with melted chocolate if I had more time.
For the fondant cake I practised at home, I decided to make a fountain cake with swans. 
First, I made this, I was enthusiastic, but I made some mistakes, the waterfall became too thick, and it looked a little bit messy, because I painted on the white part some places.

2nd. This is my favourite. I decorated it as much as I could, but for that I needed several hours.

3rd. I knew that I would get only an hour to decorate my cake on the exam-day, so for this one only the time mattered. It was just a practise, it much more simple than the previous.

4th. I made this during the exam. In 30 minutes!!! I brought 2 cakes, and I only could decorate 1. But tw
o have a fountain at least, I placed a giant marzipan in the middle, and I had time for only one swan. But I think it still looked nice and an origin idea. . And it was only me who knew that the middle part is not a mini cake but marzipan, so I was glad I could finish the cake in time.

There was a funny part in the exam. We had to present the recipe of one of our products in English/German, during making/baking them. It was interesting, as we had so little time, we spoke in foreign language, while stirring a cream, or rolling a dough, where the main point was the baking. So thank God I can speak English fluently, it wasn't a big challenge for me, but it was strange for the others, an extra task to pay attention to.

After we finished, we cleared the counters and did the washings for 1,5 hours, then we waited for the jury to sum up the day, and they gave us the marks.

My desserts weren’t perfect, I knew that, because I was in a rush, I got a 4, which is „good”. 5 is the maximum grade here. I was content with it.

We could bring home the fondant cake, which I baked at home, it was a carrot cake. We ate it at home with my family to celebrate.

After that day I was soooo tired for days, I couldn’t move my arms, because of the rollings, and after the exam I didn’t bake for 2 weeks. :D

This weekend I baked 2 cakes and little scones for my fiance's birthday, so I am back into baking. :D

So from that day, October 16, I am a pastry cook, that I can prove with a certification,too. :D

Thank You for reading. I will post recipes, soon! ;)

xoxo: Hajni

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