July 5 and 6 I worked for Dessert Professional Magazine providing social media coverage of the World Pastry Team Competition. Eight teams, composed of the world’s top pastry chefs, with three per team, competed for two days straight. The teams were from Denmark, Singapore, United Kingdom, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Mexico and the United States. Overall gold medal went to Japan, Silver to Italy and Bronze to USA.
The Concept of the Competition
Each team will be required to complete all of the following elements:
- 1 Sugar Showpiece
- 1 Chocolate Showpiece
- 1 Chocolate and Sugar Tray
- 3 Different Types of Chocolate Bonbons
- 1 Entremet
- 3 Different Types of Petits Gateaux
- 1 Entremet Glace
- 1 Plated Dessert
The Sugar Showpiece
The showpiece must be constructed wholly of sugar products and with few execeptions: everything must be created and assembled in front of the judges.
Some of the skills that will be witnessed include:
Boiling Sugar – This is the starting point of all sugar work. When sugar is boiled into the proper temperatures, it takes on the characteristics of molten glass, which can be poured into an existing mold or molded by hand. Color is often added.
Casting Sugar – Boiled sugar can be poured into molds of all shapes and sizes. In this competition, only simple geometric molds are allowed. A team that wishes to use a more complicated mold must create that mold during the competition.
Spraying Color – Edible color can be placed into an airbrush or specialized tool and sprayed. Spraying is preferred by chefs to color small sculptures and can create beautiful effects on larger ones.
Pulling Sugar – Boiled sugar is pulled repeatedly to create elasticity and to give the sugar a silky sheen. The finished product can then be molded into any desired shape.
Sugar Blowing – Similar to glass blowing, pulled sugar can be blown with either a hand pump or by mouth.
Pastillage – Used for decorative purposes, pastillage best resembles a white smooth modeling clay. It can be colored, rolled and shaped to create numerous design elements. When dry it becomes hard and brittle.
The Chocolate Showpiece
As with the sugar showpiece, the chocolate showpiece must be constructed wholly of chocolate and cocoa products and with few exceptions, everything must be created and assembled in front of the judges.
Some of the skills you will witness:
Tempering – Melted chocolate will not harden at room temperature unless it is first heated and cooled to specific temperatures in the process called tempering. All chocolate bars, for example, have first been tempered.
Tabliering – A very traditional method of tempering chocolate, tabliering involves spreading a portion of the heated and melted chocolate onto a marble surface and working it until it has cooled. The cooled chocolate is then added back to the remainder of the chocolate, bringing the overall temperature of the mixture.
Seeding – Another traditional method for tempering chocolate, small bits of chocolate are added to the melted chocolate a little at a time. The chocolate bits both cool the melted chocolate and encourage the cocoa butter to crystallize.
Spraying – Using the sirbrush, chocolate can be diluted and sprayed onto dessert surfaces to create an even brushed texture.
Marbleizing – Melted light and dark chocolate are swirled together and poured onto an even surface to create a swirled effect that mimics marble.
During the competition, each team must create three different types of bonbons. Of these three bonbons, one must be hand-dipped, one must be a molded ganache and one must be a non-chocolate filling.
Terms to know during this phase of competition include:
- Molded bonbons – Chocolate candies can be formed in one of two ways. One classic method involves pouring chocolate into a mold to create the candy outer shell. Once hardened, a filling is piped into each shell, which is then sealed with additional chocolate. Chocolate molds come in all shapes and designs.
- Hand dipped – Candymakers will sometimes first creat the filling, then dip it into tempered chocolate, shaping the finished product by hand with deftness and dexterity.
- Ganache – Ganache is a combination of chocolate, heavy cream and flavorins (i.e. liquor) used as fillings or frostings in a wide variety of desserts.
As a requirement, each team must prepare three identical cakes with all of the components created from scratch in front of the judges. All the cakes must include chocolate as one of the ingredients but beyond that the chefs are free to let their imagination and taste buds take flight.
Of the finished cakes, one will be integrated into the sugar showpiece and the others will be reserved for judging.
There are dozens of varieties of cakes. Below are just a few:
- Genoise – A classic French cake all chefs hold in their repertoire, a genoise is traditionally made up of just whole eggs, sugar and flour. A sugar syrup is often used to flavor and moisten the cake before the layers are assembled.
- Biscuit – While they share the same name, a biscuit cake is completely different from the all-American buttermilk dinner accompianment. Moister than a genoise, the egg whites in a biscuit are beaten separately, then folded into the cake batter to create a light and airy tecture.
- Dacquoise – Made of beaten egg whites, sugar and ground nuts, a Dacquoise is light and crunchy like a meringue.
- Pound Cake – Traditionally made by adding a pound of this and a pound of that, pound cakes are richer than the above cakes due to the addition of butter and the fact that the eggs are not first beaten until foamy.
The English translation for a petit gateau is “little cake”. Each team must prepare 3 different types of petits gateau. Of the three petits gateaux, one is a fruit pteit gateaux, one is a chocolate petit gateaux, and one of the petit gateaux will be of the team’s choice. Each team will decide the shape of the petits gateaux. The sixe of each petit gateaux should be between 80-100 grams. Each team must prepare a total of 39 petits gateaux to be displayed on the buffet, for degustation, and for photography.
Each petit gateaux will be judged on the following criteria:
- Adherence to size restrictions
- Outside appearance and decoration
- Interior appearance
- Flavor of the individual components
- Balance of flavor overall
- Balance of taste (example: sweet, acidic, bitter, salty)
- Originality and innovation
As part of the competition, each team must create a frozen dessert containing the following components:
Ice Cream – cold, rich and creamy, ice cream is a perennial favorite among kids and adults alike. There is American-style (sometimes called Philadelphia style) ice cream that is made with heavy cream and French-style ice cream that is custard based. All ice creams must be processed in an ice cream machine that manually or electrically freezes the base while mixing the contents to produce a smooth and even texture.
Sorbet – Lighter than ice cream, sorbets are usually made of fruit purees and juices or wines and liquers. They contain no cream or eggs. As with ice cream, sorbets must be processed in an ice cream machine. A non-machine spun frozen component – Parfaits, semifreddo, frozen souffles and frozen mousses are all names of ice cream-like confections that do not require procession in a machine. These are all subtle differences amongst these treats but all contain some combination of eggs, sugar and cream.
Cake component – There are dozens of cake variations from which to chose. See “Entremets” for a more detailed description of some examples.
After working within some very tough guidelines, this is where the chefs get to “let loose”. The freestyle format of the Plated Dessert section of the competition allows each team to create from their favorite ingredients and recipes. There are no restrictions on the number of components or their shapes so each dessert is sure to be as different as the chefs themselves.
Please see this page for the Competition Judges.
Please see this page for the Competitors.