Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Italian for the test. It was our first exam this week and I have to say I am a little disappointed in myself I got a 26.75 out of 30. Why I am not sure because they only gave us a score and not any sort of comments from the judges. But I am told that I should not be worried this is a good score anything over 25 is a good score but I thought I still did better that what I got. I was the final course and was handed the recipe for a duo of, drum roll please, cookies. Even in this damn country I cannot escape the clutches of the pastry world. I have also been assured that i will not have to cook another dessert, Yay.
The Two cookies were Meringhe and Biscotti di Melinga. Both desserts are from the piemonte region and neither catches my interest much but according to my peers and even some of the teachers I did a really good job on my cookies. This bolstered my confidence but made my final score more disappointing.
The Meringhe is a Mirangue(Egg Whites, Sugar, and a touch of cornstarch for stability) Which I piped into little circles and baked at a low temperature for about and hour and a half until they become hardened and have a texture similar tho that of an after dinner mint. If it was available in the kitchen I would have added mint to it but there was no mint so I took too cookies and sandwiched a whipped cream flavored with a reduction of strawberries sugar and water and studded with a perfect brunois(16th of an inch by 16th of and inch cube, I measured for god sakes) of strawberry. This was about as many different skills as I could shove in this simple little cookie. The Whipcream was light and had a hit of strawberry which was intensified when the consumer encountered one of the carefully cut bits of strawberry. I thought it was pretty good.
The Biscoti di Melinga, is a cookie which is made with flour, softened butter, sugar, Polenta flour a whole egg, puls a bit of egg yolk and baking powder. It is formed like a lady finger and rolled in more polenta flour. Needless to say it is sweet but tastes a bit corny. For my bit of flare on this cookie I tempered chocolate, without a thermometer (not an easy feat), and stripped the cookie with bittersweet dark chocolate. The color contrast was pretty neat.
When I got to the Judging table. I served my dish to two chefs and two reporters. One of the chefs was quick to notice that the filling of the meringhe, was flavored with Fragole(strawberries) and seemed pleased with it. The rest of the conversation was led by one of the reporters who just asked me about where I was from and what kind of wines we are produced, if any, in Washington. So I told him that I lived north of Seattle, not Vancouver, and then gave him the rundown on the wines and producers I knew about from over 80 different vintages and 300 plus producers the state. The Geography and Climate differnces around the state a regurgitation of what I learned in school.
Afterwords we had a small celebration and the shortcourse was given their diplomas. At about 11:00pm we returned to Cascina (Cash-ee-na) our home away from home exhausted. Ciao for now, Stay tuned.