Oh my word, did I get a shock the other morning!  We were given a surprise assessment and had to make fruit tarts, apple pies, favourite biscuits, lemon merangues and quiches.  If I had known beforehand I would have practiced (and practiced) and probably stayed up late worrying about it.   But there’s something to be said for being put on the spot!

I found out a whole lot of things about baking (and myself)  in those few hours.

Firstly, working under pressure is a blessing in disguise.  It short-circuits your inner critic and allows you to let go and trust yourself completely (there’s no time for second guessing and there’s no calling a friend).  Secondly, you can often do so much more than you think you can and when you prove this to yourself it’s a huge confidence booster.  Thirdly, time flies when you’re fully engaged – you’re nowhere else but in the moment which brings about a sense of calm.

Finally, I realized that baking isn’t (always) as scientific as it’s made out to be – mistakes don’t (always) lead to flops and there is space for experimentation.  Hooray for that.  I put the short pastry’s water into the sweet pastry dough… oh horror of horrors… it became sticky and soft and GOOEY which sent me into a 5 second panic.  I just didn’t have the time to worry about it so I threw in a whole lot more flour and put it into the freezer.  And it came out…um, rather well.

I finished later than most because I’d never made a meringue before… and HAD to call a friend.  So when Chef Gretel did my crit, her words ‘very good, very good’ were music to my hip hop ears.


10 thoughts on “Yikes – a SURPRISE ASSESSMENT!

  1. That was a joy to read. And a big “Wow” to you for having managed to cook all of that. I would break into PMS if I had to do it in the privacy of my own home, yet alone with critic Greta Chef around…

    1. Cath… wait until you hear what we have to do in 6 hours for our practical exam coming up soon:

      Fruit tartlets (with sweet pastry & creme patisserie)
      Quiche (with short pastry)
      Vol-au-vent (french puff pastry)
      American apple pie
      Eclairs & choux a la creme
      Favourite biscuits
      Lemon Meringue pie
      Genoese sponge
      Strawberry bavarois
      Tresse breads

      And we have to come to class that day with a showpiece – a gateau birthday design.

      This is what it reads on our hand out: Please do not feel daunted by the number of items to be assessed. Good Luck!!!

      YIKES again, I say 🙂 !!!

    1. Funny that it was Dorreen who inspired me to do the Zevenwacht course! And YOU who inspired me to start blogging at TST x

    1. Hi Rob… I found your comment under spam which I never normally check… so wondering if you’re REAL 😉 … thanks for your kind words!

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