Today we have two topics: Nog and Camille. Let’s start with my friend, Camille. Camille is one of my classmates at pastry school, and you’ve seen several pictures of her on here already. This is a picture that I took of her when we were partners together during plated desserts. She likes to torch, too.
Camille is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. She has a good soul. She has the best attitude of anyone I’ve ever met. Years (months?) down the road, I know she’s going to be the executive pastry chef of a five star hotel.
She also likes to eat. She told me once that she’s a person who really enjoys her food. I like people who have a good appetite.
Where is home?
Home is Puerto Rico. Spending a whole day at the beach laying under the sun with a Medalla beer on hand, playing paddle ball (or frisbee, softball or volleyball), laughing hysterically with my friends. Ideally surfing and watching the sun set. Home is rice. With beans or without but hopefully with plantain and avocados on the side. Home is pineapple soda and Malta. Home is dancing salsa for three hours straight on a Thursday night with a Medalla beer on hand without a care in the world. Home is cleansing my soul under the a waterfall at the rainforest whenever routine life becomes too overwhelming. Home is watching movies with my mom and laughing ourselves silly over a scene we've seen too many times. Home is also my classmates here in the French Pastry School. Their silliness and selfless care always makes me feel at home.
I have a degree in Comparative Literature, though I never was employed in the field. Five years of reading and writing were more than enough for me...
What made you come to pastry school? Ever since I decided that pastry was indeed a great profession (a real palpable, viable one), it was evident to me that I wanted to study it. I knew I wanted to study abroad so it was just a matter of choosing a destination, a school and save towards it. For me it was about five years in the making but I made it, all in due time.
Do you have any secret talents? I shall never tell...muahahahahahaha (evil laugh)
What has been your favorite week in school so far and why?
I loved plated dessert weeks because I knew I would like it (redundant?). Being restaurants and hotels my main interest, I was able to absorb a lot. Of course, being taught by a world champion didn't hurt. That being said, I have to admit that Sugar and Chocolate Sculptures amazed me in a surprising way. I went in thinking I wouldn't like them because I didn't have an interest in it. How many sugar and chocolate sculptures will I truly make in hot and humid Puerto Rico? Probably not many jejeje. So, there I was, thinking I would not benefit in a large scale of these lessons. Nonetheless, after being submerged in it, I felt something like “Hey! I can do this!”
Least favorite? I can't recall a week I didn't enjoy. Perhaps I may not end up using some of the lessons learned but it's nice to know that I'm having a rounded education as a foundation for the future.
What do you want to do after graduation?
I want to work in my field in an awesome job that lets me grow in my craft allows me to travel . So, basically, I want to make sweet things around the world. Learn about the craft through others while learning about other cultures and seeing other places. It is a small world after all, so I'm optimistic...
What’s your favorite dessert to eat?
Such a difficult question. It really all depends on mood. However, it basically comes down to two things: flour and sugar. So, I'm prone to eat cakes and cookies. What’s something you have learned in pastry school? For me it has been more about confirmations. I confirmed that people, indeed, are awesome (shout-out to Stella), no matter age, gender, race or place of origin. Diversity rules! I confirmed that I can do anything I set my mind to and dreams can come true (enter “When you wish upon a star” music)...
Thank you, Camille! Now I’m craving pineapple soda and rice and beans. Someone take me to Puerto Rico!
Today’s recipe is pretty self explanatory. I love eggnog, I love pumpkin. I combined the two.
I made a pumpkin eggnog that’s perfect for sipping during the months of November and December. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas! This recipe makes a fairly small batch so if you need to serve a lot of people I would probably double or triple it.
2 cups half-n-half
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a small saucepan, whisk together half-n-half, pumpkin, half of the sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon; bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining sugar and yolks until combined. Gradually whisk half of hot cream mixture into yolks until combined; whisk mixture back into saucepan with remaining cream. Whisk and cook until mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Strain into whatever container you'll be serving from. Whisk in vanilla and salt until combined. Serve warm or chilled.