By Kaitlin Wayne
ICC Student, Professional Pastry Arts
Now that I am nearing the end of my Professional Pastry Arts program here at ICC, class is getting more and more intense. We are beginning to combine all of the skills that we have learned throughout the program and coming up with composed dishes that we make, plate and taste. Plating the contemporary desserts that we are doing is truly an art. Every class we are responsible for making all of the components of our desserts (example: sorbet, fluid gel, tuiles, cake) and we setting up our stations for plating. This takes a great deal of organization and cleanliness, everything needs to be in its place and easily accessible.
For example, one day my team and I had to make the components for a baba au rhum dessert. These components were the baba au rhum itself (which had to be soaked in a syrup of citrus and rum and then covered in apricot glaze), rum fluid gel, pastry cream tuile, crème chantilly, orange supremes and zest. The tasks were split up and then were all brought together to compose the dish. What surprised us most about this was that there were certain aspects of the dessert that seemed perhaps too strong on their own, but when combined with each element on the plate they were delicious. For example, when we first tried the rum fluid gel, we felt that the rum flavor was extremely strong and we were worried it would overpower the other parts of the plate. However, once we got a spoonful with the cake, cream, orange, and fluid gel, it all came together harmoniously.
Although I don’t always realize it at the time, going out to eat and ordering desserts is truly research! When given freedom to plate as we wish, I find myself thinking back to desserts I have ordered before and borrowing certain aspects of them in plating my own desserts. This portion of the program has been great in that we have to draw upon all of the techniques that we have been learning throughout the course and combine them to create a beautifully composed plate.