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  • 46 The NaTioNal CuliNary review • oCTober 2014

    pastry arts molding a masterpiece

    this white-chocolate mousse with pomegranate and candied lemon comes from scott green, pastry chef at travelle, who uses a wide variety of molds, from basic geometric shapes to those that are more ornate.

  • acfchefs.org 47

    he elaborate molded cakes, chocolates and custards that dominate pastry menus and bakery cases today were not possibleorrealisticeven15yearsago,accordingtoMichael

    Joy,who,withBeatriceSchneider,foundedtheChicagoSchoolofMoldMaking,OakPark,Illinois. About12yearsago,JoyandSchneiderrefocusedthe25-year-old business on culinary molds and phased out most other product lines after a Chicago pastry chef/instructor expressed a need for high-endmoldsforculinarypurposes.“Thecheftoldmethatnoonewashelpingthemshapefood,”Joysays.“Westartedworkingwith his teams to create molds for pastry competitions, and the teamskeptwinning.Then,westarteddevelopingartisansiliconemolds for chefs, to save them time.” JimmyMacMillan,executivepastrychefatJMPurePastry,Chicago,workscloselywithJoytocreatecustommolds.“Every-body uses molds, because a sheet pan and cake pan are actually molds,”saysMacMillan.“ButwhenIwantacustomdesign,toget what’s in my mind on the plate, I need different sizes, shapes andtexturesthanwhat’sonthemarket.MoldsareimportantsoIcan make something that hasn’t been made before.” Scott Green, pastry chef at Travelle, Chicago, notes thatany item on his menu that has not been made using a mold is the exception rather than the rule. About 15 years ago, he says, it was a lot more challenging to make molded desserts, and chefshad tofigureouthow to create a certain formon theirown.Today,withmolds,chefsfocusmoreonwhatgarnishto

    useandhowtocomposethedishontheplate.“Thecreativityhasn’t gone away, but the application has changed,” says Green. RobinRichardson,CPC,executivepastrychef/generalmanageratTheBakeryatSullivanUniversity,Louisville,Kentucky,usespremademoldsandalsomakesherown.“Peopleeatwith theireyesfirst,”shesays.“Whensomethingismoldedinatriangle3-Dpyramid, people ask about it and are drawn to it more than they are to a slice of cake.”

    Premade molds AtOakRestaurant,Dallas,pastrychefLuciaMerinousesmoldsthroughout the dessert menu, with the exception of macarons. She primarily uses Flexipan molds, and likes the round savarins for blueberry mousse, the oval for banana bread and the tarte tatin for upside-down strawberry cake. “Molds help you bemore creativewhen it comes time toplate a dessert, giving you different shapes and sizes,” she says. “I use them for almost everything, such as baking cakes, setting mousses and making fruit curds and ganache.” Green also uses Flexipans, particularly gang molds that allow for a large volume of a molded element to be made at the same time in multiple cavities. He uses a wide variety of molds, from basic geometric shapes to those that are more ornate. “I don’t want to create a product people see everywhere and that’s too trendy,” he says. “Half spheres, tubes and half tubes are classic shapes that will never go out of style.

    Pastry molds shape the way to creative desserts.

    KBy Kathryn Kjarsgaard

    Molding a Masterpiece

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  • 48 The NaTioNal CuliNary review • oCTober 2014

    “In the restaurant, the molded component is one part of a greater whole. Organic plating is now the thing, and it’s less about just using a standard mold for the entire dessert. We’re now trying to hide the fact that parts are molded, and try to balance it out and soften the dessert with other elements.” He says molds are durable, inexpensive and a good investment, and adds that for a large party or banquet outside the restaurant, they are absolutely necessary. JoynotesthatthemostpopularmoldsattheChicagoSchoolofMoldMaking,allofwhicharehandmade from food-contact-safe silicone, are geometric shapes and showpeels, small textured mats withembossedpatternssuchasleaves,butterfliesorseashellsusedtocreatedecorativeelements.Thecompanyalsoofferssignaturelinesofmoldsdevelopedinpartnershipwithtop-tierpastrychefs. Richardson uses sphere-shaped acrylic molds for decorative spheres that top her chocolate cake.Thespheresarehollowandpouredasthinlyanddelicatelyaspossiblewithouttheriskofbreaking.Shefirstsmearsdarkchocolateonthemold,thenpoursonwhitechocolatetocreateamarbledeffect.Shealsousespyramids,rectangles,squaresandflowers.

    Custom casting MacMillancommissionsmoldsandalsomakeshisownfree-formmolds.Helikesdewdropsandtinyleaves.HisYunnanTeaDessertisamoldedbrown-butterbananacake,abrowniebar,honeyspunsugarandYunnanteagelatomoldedinhissignatureshape,anobeliskbubble.“Manythingshavebubblesandcarbonation.Thismimicsthatandisfun,”hesays. He tries to create molds he can use again, but wants to be sure desserts look new and interesting each time. “I don’t want molds to be a one-trick pony, because they are an investment.” AnotherofMacMillan’sdesserts—vanillacustardwithcherrytuile,lime-infusedcherries,cherry sauce, blackberry fruit chip and Ovation chocolate cake pieces—uses a custom s-shaped mold with dewdrop embossments in which the vanilla custard is molded. “Curves are attractive, andan‘s’isacontourthatispleasingtotheeye,”hesays.“Theeyedoesnotmovearoundabunchoftrianglesorjaggedlinesaseasily.Thisisnotatypicalpresentation,butisbothfunandserious at the same time, which customers like.” RichardsonusesacetatesheetsandsiliconestripstomakeanarrayofmoldsforTheBakery.Sheusesacetateformoldsforcakesbycreatingamold,fillingit,bakingitandthenremovingtheacetatejustbeforeserving.Siliconeisflexibleandcanbeusedtomakeanyshape,Richardsonsays. Green,whohasafine-artsbackground,hasmadehisownmoldsbycarvingclayandchocolateand then creating molds using pourable silicone. He also makes his own tube shapes by rolling up a sheetofacetate,pluggingtheendwithplasticwrapandfillingit.

    pastry arts molding a masterpiece

    pastry MolD care

    Pastry molds require an investment, not only of money, but of the time and effort it takes to create custom-made pieces. While many molds can be used over and over, they are typically useless once they become scratched. Following are tips on caring for and extending the life of molds.

    • Wash in warm, soapy water. Do not use chemicals or anything with a rough surface, such as a sponge.

    • Do not fold or crease molds awkwardly. Store flat with parchment paper on top to keep debris out of cavities.

    • Buff with cotton balls to maintain a smooth surface.

    • Only molds approved for baking should be used at high temperatures; not all silicone is heat-safe.

    Jimmy MacMillan uses a custom s-shaped mold with dewdrop embossments for this vanilla custard with cherry tuile, lime-infused cherries, cherry sauce, blackberry fruit chip and ovation chocolate cake pieces.

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    PVCpipecanbeusedtofashionamold,accordingtoMerino,whousespipetocreateamoldforherchocolateganache.“IgotoHomeDepotandbuythePVCpipesandacutterandcutthemmyself,” she says.

    Competitions TheChicagoSchoolofMoldMakingmakescompetitionshowpieces,uniquecustompiecesin all shapes and sizes to mold elaborate designs made of chocolate and sugar. According to Green, almost all pastry chefs use molds in competitions, but it’s a major point ofcontention.“Therearetwoschoolsofthought.Somethinkusingmoldsisgoodbecauseyoucan create more expressive artistic creations. Others think it takes away from the necessity of hand skills–beforemoldswereprevalent,wehad to shape thingsbyhand.The industry andjudgesaretryingtobalancethesetwoviewpoints.Weneedmoldstofulfillourcreativevisions,but we also need to showcase our hand skills.” Green,whowillbecompeting in theCoupeduMondede laPatisserie Jan.25-26,2015,in Lyon, France, says chefs train for a year for these competitions, and molds can be elaborate pieces,suchasatreebranchorafemalefigure. MacMillanproducesanannualonlinevideoseries,“ChicagoRestaurantPastryCompetition,”featuring four top pastry chefs competing in various challenges. Each season includes a casting challenge, and this year, participants had to use a 4-inch sphere-shaped mold. “Ittakesthecompetitionuptoanewlevelofdifficulty,”MacMillansays.“Moldsneedacertainamount of time in the freezer, which is tricky in a competition. Also, people think if you use a mold, you automatically get great results. But properly using them is a skill that has to be developed.”

    blueberry MouSSeLucia Merino, Pastry ChefOak Restaurant // Dallas

    YIELD: 24 SERVINGS

    3 cups fresh blueberries (to yield 500g blueberry puree, divided)4 gelatin sheets250g sugar 125g egg yolks 225g heavy cream

    1) Rinse and drain blueberries. Puree in food processor or blender until smooth. 2) Place gelatin sheets in ice water to hydrate. Set aside.

    3) Put sugar and egg yolks in bowl on double boiler over medium heat; whisk constantly to 85ºC. Put in bowl of mixer with whisk attachment; whip to 30ºC. Set aside. 4) In separate bowl, whip cream by hand to medium peaks. 5) Remove gelatin from ice bath; squeeze out water. Put gelatin and 125g blueberry puree in small pot; warm over medium heat just enough to melt gelatin. Fold in remaining blueberry puree; mix in sugar/egg yolk mixture. Gently fold in whipped cream.

    6) Pour into piping bag; pipe into desired molds. Allow to set in refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.

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    pposite: Anthony Tahlier; above, left to right: A

    nthony Tahlier, Lucia Merino; bottom

    , left to right, Beatricess

    top, left: yunnan tea Dessert—brown-butter banana cake, brownie bar, honey spun sugar and yunnan tea gelato—is molded in Jimmy MacMillan’s signature shape, an obelisk bubble. top, right: the blueberry mousse in this dessert from lucia Merino is made in a round savarin mold. bottom, left, Michael Joy brushes silicone over a carved model to make a custom mold for, right, luis robledo richards, tout chocolat, representing Mexico at the 2013 Cacao barry world chocolate Masters in paris.

    KATHRYN KJARSGAARD IS A FREElANCE FOOD wRITER BASED IN FOREST PARK, IllINOIS.