Friday, February 25, 2011

Tea Party

In Petit Fours on Friday February 18, we made products that could be served at a traditional tea party, since tea parties are one of the most popular events for putting out different platters of savory and sweet petit fours. The products we made also have tea components to them so the tea theme is doubly infused. We made an opera cake, matcha dacquoise fingers, scones, and madeleines. Because there were four recipes and there were four group members, we each began executing a different recipe to divide and conquer the workload.

I had the recipe for the opera cake, which was flavored with earl grey tea and mango. The first thing I did was prepare a genoise cake with earl grey tea. In a food processor, I combined cake flour, cornstarch and the tea in order to get the tea into fine particles. I then warmed eggs, yolks, vanilla, salt and sugar over a pan of simmering water to 100 degrees F. After this hit the temperature, I placed these ingredients into a mixing bowl and whipped them to ribbon stage. This is called the warm egg foaming method. The flour mixture was folded in, and the batter was spread onto a sheet pan to bake.

In the meantime, I prepared a mango mousse using gelatin, mango puree, sugar, and heavy cream. I also located vanilla buttercream and vanilla simple syrup. After the cake cooled, the opera cake was assembled: genoise layer, simple syrup, mango mouse, cake layer – freeze for 20 minutes – simple syrup, mango glaze – freeze again. Mandy had the pleasure (sarcasm noted) of cutting this into 1 x 1.5 in rectangles for service. I say sarcasm noted because the cake was quite spongy and slightly uneven, so the rectangles wouldn’t always stand upright. Madness.

Matcha is green tea powder, and it was a component for a dacquoise finger, which is basically a piped meringue. These were topped with buttercream ropes and raspberries. The scones were made with the traditional flavor of currants, but we used a portion scoop to make rounded scones instead of the more traditional triangles. And finally, the madeleines were prepared using a brown butter base (deliciousness) and the traditional molded pan. After baking, these were dusted with powdered sugar.

For this week’s plating, we had to prepare four identical smaller plates instead of two larger platters. And here’s what we came up with for our presentation:

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