day eleven - custards and puddings

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

It's well-known that talking about the weather is boring. We all feel the weather. We all know that it's raining or hot or snowing or whatever the weather happens to be. We all know that extreme weather is not fun. Nobody likes to have rain fall on their head and important button-up work shirt on their way to the office in the morning. Tornados are dangerous always.

Yet we still keep talking about the weather incessantly. If not more, now that we have the additional social media avenues of Twitter and Facebook. "Dear hot weather, cool down!" Great. Good conversation. Good evolving, human race. "Heat Wave 2011!" Oh brother.

Anyway, sure was hot in the kitchens last night. Last night was custard and pudding night. Yay! That's a good night to have! We started with Indian Pudding. Indian pudding is so-named because the pilgrims called corn meal "Indian meal," and Indian pudding is made with corn meal, molasses and brown sugar, among other things. It used to be a very popular American pudding in all of the cookbooks all across the country, sea to shining sea, Redwood forests to the gulf stream waters, but now it's relegated to the Northeast for some reason. It's easy, but it takes forever to cook. We had it in there for three hours and it probably could have taken another 30 minutes (although I'm pretty sure our oven was too low, but the last thing we need is another post complaining about the ovens).

We also made pots de creme, which is like chocolate creme brulee without the sugar top. Very smooth and creamy! And we made Julia Child's chocolate mousse. Very rich yet airy! 

While we waited for it to cool, cook or not cook, we went through the old books in the gastronomy library for an assignment we have in which we have to choose four pre-1900 recipes to make and then make their modern equivalents and write a paper about them. I found recipes for toast coffee (burn toast, mix with salt and boiled water, let sit and serve to invalids) and sea moss jelly (mix sea or Irish moss with milk, let set, serve) and squirrel (squirrel and parsley are perfect accompaniments) and banana pudding which was really more like a scavenger hunt (Banana Pudding: See Lemon Pudding. Lemon Pudding: See Pudding. Pudding: See You Get the Idea). I think I'm going to make popovers, although the recipe says the best way to make them is to separate the eggs but don't separate the eggs. Sure.

Tonight: cake, including lamingtons, Victoria cake and Indian pound cake.