This page is a little buggy in IE and more than a little clunky in everything. I'll make it more elegant sometime, maybe. Sorry.
Actually from 2011-12-08. I think I finally figured out how to make the rose on these apple tarts: keep using full-sized slices right up to the center. (I used to switch to smaller slices after the first couple layers on the outside, but then the center would always be too low.) The crust is ugly, but it tasted good.
Faubourg Pavé. Cocoa cake soaked in a caramel syrup and layered and covered with caramel ganache that's been dotted with poached apricots. Kind of like a sachertorte, but with caramel, lots more cream, much moister cake, and lemony, peppery apricot dice instead of jam.
The horribly uneven layers of my Faubourg Pavé (but the apricot dice make them look worse than they are). Ultimately, I was pretty pleased with the result. The caramel ganache is nice—even with some milk chocolate, it's not horribly sweet—and the cake was a nice complement to everything else.
Pierre Hermé's rice tart impératrice, almost finished. Rice pudding, mint, and strawberries at this point. The rice pudding contains a bunch of golden raisins and is made with jasmine rice, which remains "toothsome after forty minutes of cooking." This was taken before the top was glazed (and before I accidentally demolished the rim of the crust because I was in a hurry).
The rice tart impératrice again, glazed, with fresh-ground black pepper and more mint. This is after I accidentally demolished the rim of the crust because I was in a hurry. Looks kinda like pizza, especially with the lighting.
Making this cake yet again, this time without the ganache on top (because I won't be there to cut it, and cutting through the ganache is a little bit of a hassle). For (deep breath) my advisor's daughter's best friend's birthday, a day before my advisor's daughter's wedding. (Congrats, Jen!)
Experimenting with the decoration. It turned out well enough, although this picture highlights a couple mistakes: The slant on the lettering is inconsistent (I noticed even as I was doing it that I changed the angle every time I wrote a t; I'll have to keep an eye on that the next time around), and the arc on the dots is a bit off. Oh well! Still looks pretty good.
Simple but fancy-looking chocolate sides. Turned out well. Made on a rectangle of mylar, then pressed into the mousse. Next time I'll use a slightly taller rectangle so that the chocolate reaches the edge. I might also try to make it a little less dense. We'll see.
I kind of like this lighting and angle on the lettering. Except it looks like Megan is not quite parallel with the other two lines. Oops! Oh well; it shouldn't be too noticeable in the time it takes to start cutting the cake, and once you start cutting it, all the decorations will break and fly all over the place anyway, and then no one will know!
Rhubarb is in season! And the store had raspberries! So I finally got around to making my mom's raspberry rhubarb tart. So good. Also, this crust is probably the nicest and smoothest I've done (the broken section notwithstanding).
Actually from 2010-04-08. Yet another lemon and mousse cake, this time made for Edu's last party in Ann Arbor. The ganache top was a bit of a mess, but of course it still tasted fine. The only real reason for posting this is the lettering, which turned out pretty well for a first attempt.
Pierre Hermé's caramelized cinnamon tart: roasted apples (instead of the recommended but out of season figs and raspberries) covered with cinnamon caramel chiboust (pastry cream made with cinnamon and caramel and then lightened with meringue) and a thin layer of caramel (like crème brûlée). The picture is blurry enough that you can't clearly make out all the things I want to do better next time, and I'm satisfied with it as my first real use of a torch.
Actually from 2010-02-14. Caramelized macadamia nuts covered with chocolate. Thanks to Mom for the idea and Edu for the great picture.
A reprise of an earlier cake whose interior I didn't get pictures of. The lemon cream is clearly not flat across the top, the mousse layers have different heights, the rim of the ganache topping is rough, and the ganache itself is thick (and uneven because the mousse was uneven.) But I'm probably the only one that noticed any of this. Anyway, I'm not complaining; there's room for improvement, but it turned out well. Made for the 2009 Linguistics and Philosophy Workshop at the University of Michigan.
Pear and blackberry tart. This is as easy as a tart gets: crust, chopped-up pears, blackberries, a little sugar, a little cornstarch. But it's also the prettiest the rim of my crust has come out, so I was pleased. Also made for the workshop.
One of my first two cakes. Two layers of genoise (sponge cake, flavored in this instance with a slightly minty and very slightly peppery simple syrup) with strawberries and chiboust (lightened pastry cream, usually done with meringue but here made with whipped cream). More (whole) strawberries inside. Definitely room for improvement, but I'm happy with it as a first try. Made for Ivan and Andreea's wedding.
The other of my first two cakes. Not much to see here; this cake looks much prettier on the inside. Unfortunately, it had to sit out too long before I cut it, so the slices were kind of droopy and there was no way to get a good picture of the layers (see below for an idea of what they should have looked like). Again, plenty of room for improvement, but I'm pleased with the result. Also made for Ivan and Andreea's wedding.
A slice of the above cake that my mom made a few years ago. That's two thin layers of flourless chocolate cake, a thick layer of lemon cream, and a whole lot of mousse, with a very thin layer of ganache on the top. Happily, mine came out pretty similar (not quite as nice, but not terrible), but, again, it was too droopy to get a picture.
Plain croissant. This was the first time I was relatively pleased with the dough—nice and close-to-French (likely assisted by learning my oven a little better). Even the shape improved, though it still needs work.
Apple and rhubarb tart. The rhubarb is hiding, but is betrayed by the bumps in the apples. This is the happiest I've been with the apple slices—there's some depth in the flower that I haven't gotten in the past. (Sorry about the ring; this shot was the best of the apples.)