Saturday, February 11, 2012

Culinary IQ: February 11, 2012; Plated desserts

For 120!

Two weeks into my new job, my first job out of culinary school, I have to plate desserts for 120 honored guests at an 85 year old member of the country club's birthday party! And no, not just any dessert but chocolate lava cake! 

Making chocolate lava cakes for 2 is stressful enough in the fact that you never know whether they are going to lava. Without any further baiting I will tell you that I had complete success, 120 chocolate lava cakes came cleanly out of the pan and they oozed!

So here is how I pulled it off. Immediately after arriving at work I began making the florentine cookie bowls for the ice cream to go in on the plate. While they baked I buttered the individual pans for the cakes. When I had finished the pans I started making the raspberry sauce to go on the plates for garnish. Then when all of that was done I started the batter for the cakes. First I melted the butter and chocolate, 5 pounds of each. Then cracked the 66 eggs, measured out the sugar (3 pounds, 11 oz.), flour (2 pounds, 7.5 ounces) and 2¾ teaspoons of salt. Then left the butter and chocolate mixture to cool.

I then began plating the components for the dessert, the florentine cookie cup went on first followed by the garnish of raspberry sauce and then mint tops.

Back to the kitchen to mix up the batter and portion it out into the pans and wait for the signal to bake them the short 10-12 minutes required to get the desired flowing lava affect.

Go! And in they went. I kept a watchful eye on them for just the right amount of doneness and when they were done I pulled them out of the oven to wait for time to plate them. And then it came, all hands on deck. I had help from every direction to get the cakes inverted onto the plates and the ice cream put into the florentine cookie cups.

Off they went to the tables for all to enjoy. Everyone was pleased, but none more than me as I had been nervous about this lava extravaganza from the moment I heard about it. And then it was time for me to go home and I left with the satisfaction that I had pulled off my biggest baking feat to date. I can sleep well knowing that I won't have to do anything like this again until Tuesday! Valentine's Day desserts for 140, flour less chocolate cake. 

I am knee deep in chocolate, who could ask for more?

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