Thursday, March 18, 2010

Strudel and Strawberries and Chocolate, Oh My!

These past couple days in class have been fairly intense to say the least.  Yesterday we pulled fresh strudel dough.  It's something I had always wanted to do, but never really had the capability on my own in my kitchen.  We made a soft high gluten dough, which was perfect for stretching.  After covering the work benches with large tablecloths and some flour in the center, we started stretching the dough using the backs of our hands, as to not tear the dough as much as possible.

It stretched pretty quickly, starting to get thinner and thinner...

And before we knew it, we could stretch it over the entire table!  Pretty insane!

We brushed the whole thing with melted butter and then spread chopped apples, a mixture of raisins, sugar, spices, in our case the candied-spiced walnuts we had also used in our ice cream (the other groups used plain walnuts), and also in our case some crushed graham crackers (the others used breadcrumbs) to help absorb some of the extra juices the apples would release while cooking.

We then tore off the thick dough edge and lifted the tablecloth, using it to roll the strudel down the length of the table, and then finally tore off the thick dough edge at the opposite end.

We pinched off the extra dough at the ends and ripped them off, tucking the dough under the strudel to seal it.

The result was a beautiful, perfectly rolled strudel made with fresh strudel dough as opposed to the easier alternative of phyllo dough!

Brush it with melted butter and it's ready to bake :)

And here it is baked!

We made some sugar cups to serve the spice and candied walnut ice cream we had made the day before.  To do this we lightly caramelized sugar and then poured it on a silpat, covered it with another silpat, and rolled it out with a rolling pin to even out the sugar layer while it was still warm.  Once it cooled, we removed the top silpat, placed the silpat with the rolled out sugar on a sheet pan and heated it up in the oven again to soften.  We used a round cutter to cut sugar circles and then while they were warm we molded them over the backs of small brioche molds to get a nice fluted shape.  After they cooled, we used a squeeze bottle with caramel sauce to line the edges to give it a more refined look, and then served these ice cream-filled cups with our strudel.

Here we have begun plating our strudels with a swirl of caramel sauce beneath, and some candied spiced walnuts to add an extra crunch element to our dish.

The dollop of caramel sauce to the right was there to keep our lovely ice cream-filled sugar cups from sliding around the plate.  Here is our final product.  We finished the whole thing off with an apple chip stuck right into our spice and candied walnut ice cream!

Yesterday we also worked on some strawberry sorbet that we would be serving today with our molten chocolate cakes.  It was really delicious and incredibly fresh-tasting!

Today we of course made the molten chocolate cakes that would be the main element going along with our strawberry sorbet.  Since we had chosen strawberries, a perfect pairing to chocolate, we decided to work on some chocolate-covered strawberries to adorn our plates.  Instead of going the traditional route (which is awesome in its own right), we made tuxedo strawberries, which were really cute and fun to make!  We started by dipping the strawberries in melted white chocolate and allowed them to set on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Then we dipped either side in melted dark chocolate to create a deep "V" in the front.

Finally, we made small parchment paper piping bags and piped three buttons and a bow tie on our strawberry tuxedos to finish them off.  Be sure to cut a very fine tip on your piping bags or else you can't correctly master the detail of the bow tie.

These were so much fun to make and a great (and shockingly easy) alternative to either dipping them in plain melted chocolate, or even drizzling them with another color of chocolate (dark or milk chocolate with white chocolate drizzles, or white chocolate with dark and/or milk chocolate drizzles).

We weren't even close to done prepping all the elements for our plates.  We also made some tuile cookies shaped like forks, bent them around a ring, and then dipped the tongs in melted dark chocolate.  In addition, we brushed some flex molds with white chocolate, in which would would serve our strawberry sorbet.  We filled them with sorbet using a piping bag.  Then evened out the sorbet, refroze them to set the sorbet a little better, flipped the cup upside-down on the plate, and spooned some strawberry sauce with fresh chopped strawberries into the indentation of the cups.  And then of course there were the molten chocolate cakes.  Can't forget about those!  We piped a little chocolate mousse into them also before flipping them over onto our plates.

We dusted powdered sugar along one edge of our now-chocolate-mousse-filled molten chocolate cakes (can't have enough chocolate, right?) and then used some additional chocolate mousse to help secure our tuxedo strawberries to the side of the cakes.  The bent chocolate-dipped fork tuile cookie finished off that side of our plate.

And after adding our sorbet-filled white chocolate cups, and a touch or two of chocolate creme Anglaise and strawberry coulis, our plate was ready to serve!  Bon appetit!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful plates! I'm dying to know how they all tasted - esp the strudel. Seems like a lot of work. I hope there was a tasty payoff!

Victoria K. said...

Thanks, Anonymous, haha! They were all really good! My waistline can attest! So can my family as I've managed to steal tastes of a few of the dishes for them to try, including the strudel and they were all blown away :) If it didn't require so much work, so many people to stretch the dough and so much work space, I'd be okay with doing it again on my own, but it requires more commitment than I think most people are willing to provide.

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