Temper in the Kitchen

The past two days have been super-saturated with candies, confections, nuts and chocolates. Infrared thermometers, sugar-laden bubbling pots, and double boilers of tempering chocolate occupying all twenty-two gas burners transformed our kitchen into the sweetest science lab in Boulder County.

Tempering chocolate involves carefully bringing chocolate up to certain temperature, cooling down to another heat point, and seeding with properly crystallized chocolate to yield a perfectly tempered product that has a coveted shine and snap when broken. I actually think it tested the tempers of the temperers :).

And though I’m sure we’ve learned some valuable sugar and chocolate technique this week, I think the larger point to be made is the importance of a well-trained pastry chef.

homemade vanilla bean marshmallows


homemade honey marshmallows

We produced some winners for sure, but we also made plenty of candy that was too soft, ganache-based truffle fillings that were too runny to hold shape, brittle that wasn’t cooked quite long enough, caramel that went those few dreadful degrees too far…

For my colleagues planning to open restaurants in the future, I think the mental budget has been revamped to include a patissier, or pastry chef. For me, it confirms the decision to enter Pastry Arts training this fall.

And I think we’re all probably just a bit better for those decisions. I hope you have enjoyed la dolce vita today.


41 thoughts on “Temper in the Kitchen

  1. I just want to know who eats all of this food? Btw, I’ve made the buckwheat granola twice — I really like it!

    • Haha, Lynn πŸ™‚ I eat a tiny bit. And we share with the administrative offices, other classes, other businesses in the area. Most things disappear pretty quickly. I’m so glad you’ve made the buckwheat granola and that you like it!! I make it about every other week… sometimes with variations according to what I happen to have πŸ˜‰ That makes me so happy!!

  2. I love pastry but I’ve never had the patience, and so, never continued with pastry arts training. 😦 I so admire those who can create delicious art with pastry. I look forward to seeing what you bake up next!

  3. I agree with Karista – I really admire pastry chefs! It is amazing work! Loving the look of those marshmallows….they are *kind of* my favorite πŸ™‚ Happy Friday Deb!

    • Pastry is definitely challenging, but fun. I would totally send you marshmallows… I think they keep a looong time πŸ˜‰ Hope your weekend has been absolutely wonderful Shira, more and less.

  4. I would be so exhausted if I did what you do Deb. I just get tired looking at this stuff. I used to cook so often and for such large groups. I think it aged me πŸ™‚ You are the queen of stamina my friend. Kick those 20 year-olds in the ass!

  5. I love it! And I’m so grateful to those of you who do the public service of producing fabulous chocolates and pastries! I agree with the others who are looking forward to hearing about that next adventure of yours!

    • Such a torturous public service but someone has to do it πŸ˜‰ I will definitely take one for the team here! I hope you’ll enjoy the adventures with me… thank you so much for coming along πŸ™‚

  6. Every Christmas I try my hand at tempering chocolate for one particular cookie recipe. Some years it works. Some years it doesn’t. I’m glad to hear that it was a challenge for your class – makes me feel a little bit better. Probably only trying it once a year is part of the problem. Good for you doing the pastry arts course. Keep having fun! I love seeing what you’re cooking! Terri

      • Oh so kind of you to shelter me this way Deb!

        Seriously difficult to adapt nice sweet recipes to diabetic friendly alternatives.

        The marshmallows look fascinating, by the way.

        • I believe you on the adapting… that has to be quite a challenge. I love that you can still love and appreciate food as you do despite limitations. That speaks volumes.

          • I am of Mediterranean decent. Food = love. Its how I express feeling, motive, emotion. It transcends speech and is so important in my life. If someone cooks a lovely meal for me, that speaks volumes for me. And by lovely, I don’t mean it has to taste great. Its the effort.

    • You are too kind giaff. I don’t know about the top pinnacle, but we’ll see. Half my classmates thing it’s awesome I’m continuing on, and the other half think I’m nuts, haha πŸ˜€ Might be a hybrid of both. Really hope you’re enjoying time with your family! I love the glimpses into more of your life- it’s fun! I’m realizing where you’re getting such incredible kitchen talent!

      • Thank you Deb! Still enjoying time away so definitely look forward to cooking & blogging again soon. I think it’s great that you have a true passion for pastry, I really lack those technical skills but (as you’re obviously) excelling in this field) I think you might be my go-to gal!!! Plus I’m only 3 months into my studies, got another two yrs to go yet! Ha ha!

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