My ricotta from lesson 16 isn’t a huge success but a solution is found and the dessert is superb in the end. The cheese is very runny and while it tastes good, it might not hold together well when it’s taken out of the dariole mould and the muslin is removed. As luck would have it my bench mate Lucy’s ricotta is really firm, too firm. My eyes light up. “What if we combine them, Chef?” He agrees and we give it a go. We add softly whipped cream and icing sugar. It’s a much better texture but still quite soft. We both hope it will firm up once it’s been in the fridge a while. As well as making creamy mounds, we are given carte blanc to be creative by piping the mixture into a martini glass and decorating with fruit. We’re serving them with raspberry coulis. There’s a trick to getting great coulis. If you push the berries firmly, really firmly through the sieve, you get more pectin out of the seeds and the result is a much thicker coulis. You’ll be left with very dry matted looking mounds of seeds in the sieve. And if you’ve ever wondered, cooked coulis lasts longer but uncooked coulis tastes better.
I have the chance to redeem my pork cooking skills in this lesson. We’re poaching a trussed pork fillet to 85 degrees and the meat thermometer doesn’t lie so it should be straight forward. I’m blanching the cauli and broccoli in preparation for the mornay sauce dish when flames erupt from under the pot. The cord from the thermometer has wriggled its way to the element. Chef’s way down the other end of the kitchen but he still sees the event. Nothing gets past him. It’s not a big deal – just a bit embarrassing to be so careless. I’m hoping it will still work but can’t be confident so I borrow Lucy’s just to be sure. At 55 degrees I whip it off the element to rest while I finish the sauce Lyonnaise and vegetables. It’s almost ovecooked. The slices in the middle of the fillet are only just pink. The outside pieces aren’t. But Chef is satisfied that I now know the difference between pink and uncooked pork.
The irony of the lesson is that the only dish that doesn’t get top marks is the cheese sauce which I make all the time at home. The veges are slightly too el dente and the sauce doesn’t quite cover all the veges.
Overall, there have been more ups than downs this week. I’m thrilled that I can make a glassy jelly for cheesecake. I can’t wait to redo the poussin dish. And I feel confident that I can cook pork so that it’s just right.