On the last cooking day of summer quarter, the school hosts a Grand Buffet in the Atrium at Seattle Central. It's the same format as the daily small-plate service we've been running all summer, where plates are set out on long white-cloth'd tables, and patrons buy tickets (50 cents each) which they trade for whatever catches their fancy. The Grand Buffet is on a larger scale, however, and for this one day, each student is allowed to make one item of her choice (within reason, and using stock on hand). I chose to make Gâteau Breton aux Pommes using a Bon Appétit recipe. I baked this according to the recipe, except I also made the crème fraîche from scratch (much easier than it might sound: it's just whipping cream spiked with a little buttermilk and left out overnight to get slightly sour).
Here is the cake, just cooled, on a cake stand waiting to be sliced. By the way, these cake stands are wonderfully useful especially when slicing or decorating tarts and cakes. The base is very heavy cast iron, and the top rotates. I plated the slices of cake on a small pool of salted caramel sauce, with a spoonful of whipped crème fraîche on the side. Here are the slices on the buffet table:
Does a cake with a French name really taste better? I can't answer that for certain with this cake, as I did not get to taste it. It certainly smelled wonderful! Everything went out to the buffet and this cake disappeared quickly. I did get to taste a bit of leftover caramel sauce (deliciously brown-buttery stuff) and the crème fraîche (very rich and slightly tart, a good balance for the sweet cake and sauce).
Here's a view of the pastry tables at the buffet. This was just before the buffet started. The tables were refilled at least twice as items sold and new treats were plated. These plates were all sold for two tickets, i.e. for one dollar. No wonder the buffet is popular.
The day after the Grand Buffet was the last day of school for summer, and we spent it, as usual, deep-cleaning the kitchens. Now I have a month off until Fall Quarter. I'm going to spend a week of my summer break at Qullisascut Farm in Rice, WA, at farm school. Goats! Chickens! Cheese-making! Baking in a wood-fired oven!