Thursday, November 3, 2011


Hey everyone! Sorry it has been a while since my last blog - I actually went on a visit to Ithaca this past weekend to visit Cornell and my friends :) Ottawa is great, but to be honest I was feeling a bit homesick, and since Florida is so far away, I decided to visit my "home away from home" at Cornell instead! I had such a wonderful time at Cornell - it was soooo nice getting to see my friends and old professors. It also helped "ground" me and give me perspective (on everything from culinary school to life in general) that I felt I'd been missing the past week. I feel so lucky to be a part of the Cornell community, but also a part of all the smaller communities within it like my sorority and the American Indian Program. I really do feel like I got to go home this weekend - and I even brought my laundry with me! lol (Side note to my parents: nothing compares with actually getting to go to my "real" home, but this was a nice second ;) )

Annnnyway, while I was in Ithaca, I didn't have much time to blog, so I decided I would wait until I returned to Ottawa. So I'm back now - more rested and with a lot of positivity, both of which were needed today during....puff pastry production!

lol Sorry - that has absolutely nothing to do with puff pastries...or culinary school...Meet the Parents is just one of my favorite movies, and I thought that clip was funny ;)

Ok, getting back on track: today we did puff pastries! We made pithiviers (puff pastry filled with almond cream) and apple turnovers (also called chaussons aux pommes, puff pastry filled with apple compote). There were many steps in the processes of making both dishes, but I was really pleased with the turnout!

One thing I learned that I thought was interesting was that there seem to be hundreds of ways to seal and score a puff pastry! By "seal," I mean crimp the edges so that the filling doesn't escape, and by "score" I mean a technique to basically poke holes in the top of the puff pastry before it bakes so that air can escape during the baking process. Anyway, Chef told us that we could seal and score the pastries any way we wanted - he showed us a few techniques in class, but then he told us that it was completely up to us - the score-design on a puff pastry is like the pastry chef's signature on the dish. This "signature" mark on one's puff pastry is apparently an old tradition from the Middle Ages. Back then, since everyone didn't have an oven in their home, they would have to prepare their dough at home and then take it to the village baker to bake. The baker would have a bunch of puff pastries baking at the same time, and the only way to tell them apart would be the scoring marks on the top. Thus, everyone developed their own "signature" to mark their puff pastry. Now, everyone just does pretty designs for decorative purposes, but traditionally, the purpose of the scoring was more practical. I just thought that was interesting!

Here are some pictures from demonstration and practical:

Chef's early stages of pithivier production

Chef putting egg wash on his pithivier

Filling the apple turnovers!

Chef's final presentation!

These are some chocolate carvings I saw on my way to practical! I thought they were incredible! The advanced pastry class did them, and they were out in the hallway on display :)

My pithivier fresh out of the oven (and my "signature" design lol)! I was very happy with it - it took a lot of self control to refrain from cutting a big piece right then and there! ;)

My apple turnovers! Yum!

My final presentation :)

After class, I went out to dinner with my friend Rafi - we went to a nice Italian-type restaurant called The Grand (in the Byward Market area) and got beavertails after! Woohoo! lol That's one dish I definitely want to learn how to make ;) And then it was really nice because we were close to Parliament so before we went back home, we took a walk around the parliament buildings at night, and they were *beautiful*!! It was sooo incredible! Definitely one of the prettiest sights I have seen. I was upset though because I didn't have my camera with me :( Here is a picture from the internet thought that comes pretty close to what I saw. I definitely want to go back over there in the evening *with* my camera!


  1. Jealous of your visit to Ithaca. I miss it a lot too! I actually miss it more than home...but shhhh dont tell my parents that.

    The advanced chocolate looks awesome!!! When do you get to do that?

    I like your signature design. It is so pretty! And the story about how bakers had their own signature so their pastries didn't get mixed up with others was neat.

    Your apple turnovers look amazing too. I love how egg wash makes pastries look so beautiful and delicious.

    Looked up beavertail. Sounds delicious!!! Heres Obama getting one. It was on the wiki page.

    As always, I await the next Courtney posting.

  2. Courtney! There is a Catalan tradition for Eastern, it's a food called "mona", a sweet (,r:8,s:0). I made them some years ago with my grandma and we went to the town baker because our oven wasn't big enough for the huge amount of them that we made. We also had a signature for our "mones" because all the people from the town were doing the same and in the same bakery. :)