Sunday, January 13, 2008

Desserts at work

I started my externship at a major hotel in town back in September. The first few months were spent simply figuring out where everything was, trying not to make too many disastrous mistakes, and trying to work as efficiently as possible. All this was especially challenging as I started right at the beginning of the holiday rush and because we suddenly became understaffed in October when we lost a team member. While I haven't had much time to blog, I've been taking some pictures along the way. Now that things have slowed down a bit, thought I would share.

Yesterday afternoon at 3:00 we got a call from the restaurant manager asking for a custom chocolate birthday cake for a dinner guest. With a banquet of 400 arriving that evening and preparation for Restaurant Week madness to complete as well, no one really had the time to make a custom cake on such short notice. As I had been asking to be allowed to make and decorate a cake, the chef asked me to take care of this request. Luckily we make lots of cakes in frames - metal frames that one places inside a sheet pan and cake batter, mousse batter, etc., gets smoothed into it. The result is a large cake rectangle that can be cut as desired. Usually we cut them into 2"x2" squares for mini pastries, but on occasions like this, we just take whatever we need. This cake has a chocolate sponge base, a caramel mousse layer, and a chocolate mousse layer. All I really had to do was cut the cake, spray it with chocolate spray (thus the velvety look to the surface), and stick some chocolate shards in it, but it was still fun to get to decide how to dress up a dark rectangle! The guest ended up sending his compliments to the chef, saying that it was the best cake he'd ever had. Even though I had nothing to do with making the cake itself, it was still nice to know that one of our desserts made a guest happy.

The three desserts shown below were made for the New Year's Eve menu at the hotel. I think the chocolate box (also sprayed) was filled with a tropical fruit or raspberry mousse...can't remember now. The macaroon was filled with a silky dark chocolate ganache, and the exotic-looking ball is a solid ball of crunchy meringue on the top half, vanilla ice cream on the bottom half, and a chocolate ice cream core. Oh, and there was coconut sprinkled on top of the meringue.

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