Planet Pastry is a very different world than where I’ve been living for the past few months. We used a different knife and cut in a different way: placing the tip of the paring knife on the cutting board and dragging it backwards versus pushing forward with the weight of the lower end of the chef’s knife. Whereas in culinary we say things like “to caramelize the sugars,” in pastry we say things like “to caramelize the sugars by combining the hydrogen atoms with oxygen to create vapor while the carbon atoms stay behind and become more brown.” Don’t get me started on the digital scale that has measurements in tenths of ounces or even grams… There wasn’t a single ingredient that I measured on the practical exam yesterday. I may need a sherpa for this unit.
But at the end of the day you get to eat tasty things. Very tasty things. Things that are so tasty that you were inhaling them at a speed as to prevent picture-taking. And today we only messed around with fruit.
Speaking of that – go do this for yourselves very soon and thank me later. Take a quart of strawberries, hull and quarter them, and toss them around in a bowl with maybe 2T of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, and a couple of tablespoons of a chopped herb of your choice: basil, mint, or tarragon. (Equally good though different…) Let sit for about an hour then eat with a bowl of vanilla ice cream or maybe a slice of pound cake. You won’t taste any vinegar, only goodness.
PS – I think I may be the only person in the world right now sitting in a library and eating sweetbreads. (Veal glands, not cinnamon rolls.)