Continuing with the theme of last week's post (Nobody Ever Tells the Pastry Chef), here's another unfortunate, far too common theme in my line of work. I'll call it Lies We Tell Our Pastry Chefs.
What follows is a list of lies that myself and fellow pastry chefs have been told. Some are merely exaggerations or overly optimistic concepts to lure hopeful pastry chefs into less than ideal situations, others are lies told by owners to executive chefs to pass down to pastry chefs.
"Just look at this kitchen! You'll have so much space here." The truth? The space was shared with garde manger and pastry was stuck working out of the corner of the service kitchen. See also: "This is your world down here! So much space to yourself plus one prep person in the morning. And that lowboy is for pastry." Up to four prep people in the morning, three quarters of the lowboy were filled with housemade pickles.
"My daughter (the old pastry chef) used to make a wonderful [insert pastry here]..." Nope, that was the current pastry chef, to whom they were speaking at the time.
"Raises based on performance!" Enough said.
"But everyone makes their own puff pastry!" Sure, in a perfect world.
Some lies, however, are fairly harmless. For example: "I'm still looking into getting you an ice cream machine." That's one lie that doesn't matter. Why? Because you don't need an ice cream machine to make Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches.
Yes, two slices of extraordinarily moist carrot cake holding a slab of fluffy cream cheese semifreddo lightened with whipped eggs can be yours without an ice cream machine. Ice cream sandwiches can be a tricky thing to get just right because your filling needs to be soft enough to bite through but not melt on contact, and your "bread" needs to stay firm but not be rock-hard straight from the freezer. Luckily, the cream cheese semifreddo is so airy from the whipped eggs and so creamy from the cream cheese that it's scoopably soft straight from the freezer. The carrot cake is so moist that it thaws almost immediately. I've never found it necessary to macerate the raisins, but feel free to soak them in rum or whiskey for an hour or so before making the semifreddo.
If you have two loaf pans, the carrot cake and semifreddo can be made simultaneously and chill at the same time. If you only have one, I recommend doing the cake first because the semifreddo needs to set up in the pan.
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About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna.