Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first"

Today in my brit lit class we somehow got onto the topic of nun hats and their shape.  My professor went off on a tangent about these pastries he had in France called religieuses which means nun's hat in French, that was the connection between Hopkins and this delectable French pastry.  He jumped on google images, showed us a picture, then took a good portion of time telling a detailed story about how one goes about eating a religieuse.  Brother Bruggar's stories are so fun.  The tangents make that class so worth it.  I guess the literature is pretty good, too.  I discovered this week that I really like Christina Rossetti.

Anyway, earlier in the semester we were told we would get extra credit if we used British recipes and brought in British desserts, such as figgy pudding and other delightful treats.  Unfortunately, the idea of making a religieuse is much more appealing than whipping up some mediocre pudding.  It wouldn't really be that hard, it's just pastry cream and  pâte à choux.  Essentially, it's a giant cream puff with a smaller cream puff on top.

See?  Not that hard.  I've got experience with  pâte à choux and I've watched a pro make it. We had a guest chef (from France!!  I wish I remembered his name) come and teach us the proper method for making it.  It's a slightly difficult dough to work with, but it's not the hardest thing to do.  I haven't made it since culinary school, but my professor told me he'd give me extra credit if I made religieuses for the class.  He also said he'd pay for the ingredients.  Awesome?  Awesome.

I'm going to do a test run this weekend, just to make sure the method I've come up with is going to be appropriate for making my own religieuse.  I've never had one, so I'm being daring and making them my way. I'm really excited.  This is the kind of thing I live for.  If I could just drop out of school and experiment and create desserts, I would.  But then I would get fat.  And be uneducated.  I don't want either of those.

Hurray for religieuses!

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