Editorial Assistant, Lauren Katz, has enrolled in the part time Baking & Pastry Arts program at New York City's Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experience!
After a month of classes, I finally feel adjusted to my new schedule and the pastry school curriculum. I'm becoming more comfortable working in an industrial kitchen, cooking sugar, whipping egg whites and chopping fruit. I've already noticed a difference between baking at home and baking in a professional kitchen: we weigh all of our ingredients to the gram, a clean station is a must and we're not just baking delicious treats-- we're developing an understanding of the science behind each of them, as well.
When I hear the word, 'gelatin,' the first thing that comes to mind, of course, is Jell-O. But we quickly learned that gelatin is used in all sorts of desserts, like panna cotta and marshmallows. Gelatin is essential to these desserts because it is a hyrdrocolloid, or stabilizing agent. Hydrocolloids are added to heated water to influence a dessert's texture. Lucky for us, rather than just understanding what gelatin does, we got to see it in action.
Our Chef Instructor, Jenny McCoy, pouring freshly whipped marshmallow batter into a sheet pan to set.
I was a bit intimidated at first to try my hand at homemade marshmallows, but I'm so glad I got the chance to learn how simple it is. You just let the gelatin bloom and soften in cold water, boil a mixture of corn syrup and water, combine it with your gelatin, whip it until room temperature, add your flavor and color and pour into a pan to chill. They come out beautifully.
They taste delicious, too! My class whipped up some fun flavors including vanilla, coffee-cinnamon, lemon, orange and almond. These sweet, fluffy pillows are nothing like what you can find in the store: they're flavorful, chewy and delicate, and oh-so addictive. Then my favorite part of class comes: when we get to take home all that we've made. Marshmallows for days!!
My team's vanilla bean marshmallows
Be sure to check back next Friday for a new sweet story!