When I was in high school, I wanted to be a pastry chef. I planned to take classes at the CIA and then apprentice with Thomas Keller, then work towards becoming a pasty chef for The French Laundry.
At some point, however, the dream fizzled. Making pastries is a huge time commitment, and desserts can require a lot of obscure culinary instruments. When I was in college, I was poor, and I couldn't afford anything except the most basic ingredients. Needless to say, my pastry chef aspirations were put on the back burner, and now making pastries is just a hobby.
I still have the French Laundry cookbook, however, and every once in a while I'll break it out and make something. This week I tried Îles flottantes, which is a four day process. I cheated on a few steps (cupcake pan instead of meringue molds; wrong size tuile cutter), and the result was imperfect. My favorite part of the recipe was the chocolate mousse, however, and since there was a lot left over I ended up eating it all in one sitting.