For Valentine’s day, I came up with the idea of giving out cookies to customers when they got their bill. I didn’t know how many people would show up so I made 120 which is double the usual amount on a weeknight. At the last minute, I decide to have write “luv sux” for the anti-valentine crowd. The reaction to the cookies were great! And they also happen to be delicious. I used the candied ginger from my last post. A whole pound of ginger for all those cookies and I still needed more. I made these 3 times because the recipe that I found was only for 15. They taste like shortbread with a nice ginger flavour. I felt that the ground ginger in the recipe wasn’t enough so I doubled it. They’re a bit difficult to roll out. They fall apart a bit so you can get it too thin. I baked them for 15 minutes. Here’s the recipe:
I needed candied ginger for a ginger cookie recipe that I was planning on making for Valentine’s day at The Union. We gave out heard shaped ginger cookies to customers! I’m going to post my ginger cookie recipe another time. This is the first time that I’ve candied ginger and it turned out amazing! It’s delicious. It’s hard to stop grabbing a few and eating them. I placed them on this rack to cool overnight. I used the David Lebovitz recipe:
With Lebovitz, you can’t go wrong. Once they were dry, I sprinkled sugar and kept them in a container. They were all used a few days later. One pound of ginger for over 100 cookies!
The photos aren’t great and I’m going to photograph them again with better lighting and my slr. Last December I left my job at the pastry shop and started a new one on January 1st at The Union. A South East Asian style restaurant on Union and Main. These are some of the desserts I’ve made. Here’s the menu. I started on January 1st and a few days later, we were open for business. It took a couple of weeks of thinking and researching before I decided that these desserts felt right together. I’m sure there will be changes happening. That’s the fun part. Coming up with new ideas. From top to bottom: Pandan/coconut panna cotta with caramelized baby banana, brandy snap and tapioca pearls, lychee and mango crumble with orange custard and dark chocolate truffles which aren’t on the menu so you have to ask for it and see if it’s available. So far, it’s been so much fun. We’ve already had a good review last week!
Two of the most important factors for deciding on what dessert to make is how fast I can make it and whether I have most of the ingredients at home. I spend so much time baking at work that I don’t want to go back home and make anything very complicated. This dessert was made to go with an Israeli dish I made a few days ago. I make custard everyday at work so this took less than 15 minutes.
I was looking up information about using 2% milk in custards when I found this recipe which is the one I used.
I did use 2 % milk and whipping cream and my custard turned out great. If you’re going to use chocolate, I would melt it first on a bain marie. That’s something that’s not mentioned in the recipe. Also, I decreased the sugar a little bit because the chocolate was already sweetened. I used a combination of semi sweet, bitter sweet and dark. I didn’t have much chocolate left so I used whatever I had. Next time, I would use dark or bitter sweet only. I think it would taste better with a more intense flavour. The custard will harden after you’ve added the chocolate and it’s refrigerated for a few hours. I wouldn’t eat it right away. Another thing not mentioned in the recipe, that I think is important to do with custard is strain it. After you’ve mixed the milk/cream with the eggs and placed it back in the pot. You mix it until it thickens. Then you strain it in a bowl and let it cool. You have to strain it so you don’t get lumps. I’m not sure why it says to not let it boil because it’s going to curdle. I also wait until it bubbles and I don’t have it on low heat. It’s on medium.
There’s a few things I added after the photo was taken. I removed the custard from the glass and added raspberries at the bottom of the glass and small pieces of pecans on top. It’s a nice surprise when someone is trying it for the first time. I also love the combination of raspberry and chocolate as well as creating different textures to a dessert. I also added more custard on top so it’s level with the glass. If I had whipped cream left I would whip some and add it on top with a piping bag. Even without the whipped cream, my friend thought it was delicious!
I have a jumbo muffin pan that I bought last year and only used once so I thought it was time that I make muffins again. I wanted to make blueberry muffins but the grocery store near my house didn’t have any. I noticed that dates were on sale. That gave me an idea to make date muffins. I went home and searched online and found a good recipe.
I’ve made these twice already. I only made 6 because of my jumbo muffin pan. You also have to adjust the oven temperature and time if your pan is larger. I baked it at 350 F and baked them for 20 minutes. The picture I took was from the first time that I made them. They turned out so much better the 2nd time. They were too dense the first time. I mixed it too long. The 2nd time they turned out lighter and crunchy on top. I really love them. I love dates!
Speaking of dates. I had the other kind of date tonight. We went to see an amazing documentary about the war in Afghanistan called Hell and Back I’m not the type to be attracted by war films. I tend to avoid them. I don’t like violence. This is a documentary that feels so real. It’s about the story of a soldier who gets wounded during the war. It follows his life in a small town in N.C after he comes back from Afghanistan where he has to deal with his physical and emotional pain. At first you think it’s dramatized because it’s unbelievable to think that a cameraperson can be capable of filming during all the shooting. Here’s the trailer:
This recipe is from the book Berry Desserts. I was going to transcribe it here but then I googled it and found it online with a couple of good reviews too.
I made this cake last summer (when blueberries were cheap!) and I’ve been wanting to post it for a while but I’ve been procrastinating.
This cake is really simple and delicious. My whole apartment smelled like cloves after I made it. There’s lots of strong flavours in this cake. I wanted a cake that wasn’t predictable and boring and this was a good choice.
Not too much has happened since my last update. I’m still working at the same patisserie. It’s still busy there. at the beginning of next year, I’m going to start looking for another job. I need to learn new skills. I’ve been seeing so many films. Tonight I saw Gates of Heaven about a pet cemetery in California. It was amazing. Made by Errol Morris, one of the best documentary filmmakers in the world!
A few days ago, I bought Prince tickets. 12th row on the floor! December 16th! I’m so excited. It’s my dream concert.
I’ve been reading and speaking lots of French lately. And that’s because I want to be ready when I move back to Montreal. I still don’t know when that will happen yet, but I want to be prepared when it does.
It was my friend’s 30th birthday last Saturday. We used to work together at the Italian restaurant. I haven’t seen him since I left the restaurant and he now left as well. He’s going to Mexico for a while to work. He left the day after his birthday. I wanted to bring a dessert to his party so I asked him what he liked and he told me that his favourite cake was a Red Velvet Cheesecake which I’ve never heard of before. I searched online and found a few recipes. I chose the simplest one. This one. I only had a couple of days to make it before the party. It takes 2 days to make the cake. The cheesecake has to be refrigerate for at least 8 hours before the icing goes on top. I preferred this recipe but involves baking 2 cakes and I needed my 2nd springform pan for another cake. I added some almond extract to the icing. In recipes that ask for chocolate graham crackers, I’ve started using regular graham crackers (because i’ve never seen chocolate ones in stores) and I added 1/2 cup of cocoa powder. The cocoa powder makes it amazing! Better than it would be with just regular chocolate graham crackers. It has this strong bittersweet taste that goes very well with the cheesecake. I screwed up on my letters a bit. I’m not that great with my chocolate writing. I started writing it too low so I had all this white space on top which is why I put some hearts on it. It looks a bit cheesy. The recipe says that the cake is baked when the center is firm but it won’t be firm. It has to jiggle. The cake continues to be baked after you remove it from the oven. That’s when it becomes firm. It also might crack which mine did. It won’t affect the taste of the cake and if you cover it with icing, you won’t see it. James loved the cake. Now he’s in Mexico drinking margaritas.
Got this recipe from The Williams-Sonoma book on San Francisco that I’ve written about last year. The recipe says that you need one cup ramekins for this recipe which I didn’t have. My ramekins were slightly smaller so I used only half of the recipe which I thought would give me a total of 3 small cakes but it gave me only 2. So it’s ok if your ramekins aren’t as large. It took me 10 minutes to make these. They’re so delicious!!! And the chocolate flavour is so decadent. Next time, I’m going to add either an espresso flavour or Grand Marnier. A raspberry liqueur would taste good too. The outside is crunchy and the interior is very soft. You serve these as soon as they’re out of the oven or they’ll lose their characteristic moist centre. Take care not to overcook these cakes. All ovens don’t bake evenly, you may want to conduct a test run so that you know exactly how long it takes to bake the cakes. Mine took 20 minutes. It would have been good to serve this with ice cream but I didn’t have any. In the book, they’re serving it with espresso ice cream.
Makes 4 servings
2/3 cup unsalted butter
155 g. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large whole eggs and one large egg white
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the bottoms and sides of four 1 cup ramekins. Dust with flour then tap out the excess.
In a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter and chocolate.
In a bow, whisk together the whole eggs, egg white, and sugar until well blended. Add the chocolate mixture and incorporate thoroughly. Gently fold in the flour. Divide among the prepared ramekins, then place the ramekins on a baking sheet.
Bake the cakes until they are puffed and cracked on top. 26-28 minutes. Remove from the oven and, working with 1 cake at a time, gently invert onto a dessert plate. Turn right side up, let cool for about 3 minutes, and then serve with ice cream.
I just got back from seeing the Gainsbourg film which I thought was brilliant!!! This is one of my favourite parts of the film because I really like the song and Lucy Gordon who plays Jane Birkin does a great job at singing Jane’s part in the song. She doesn’t have much of a resemblance to her but her voice and facial expression is just like Jane’s! Unfortunately, this was Lucy Gordon’s last film. She committed suicide after the shooting of this film.
A friend of mine gave me Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen cookbook last year and I’ve hardly looked at it until today. My cupboard’s are full of various types of flour, sugar, cornmeal, and several containers of baking powder that I need to use before they expire. I decided to make corn bread again because it’s so easy and you have only a few bowls to wash.
Last year I made Deborah Madison’s Cornbread from her book The Savoury Way. Here’s the post. The amount of people who find this blog through her recipe is really incredible. I didn’t even know her recipe was special until I made it and until I made this one too. This recipe isn’t entirely bad but it’s not as flavourful. I’m not disappointed. There’s a few things I would change with this recipe. In the recipe the 2/3 cup sugar is optional. He says that you can make the cornbread without sugar but Cajuns like it sweet. I used brown sugar instead of granulated because I didn’t want it to be too sweet but I hardly tasted any sweetness with the brown sugar so next time I’m using granulated. Also Deborah Madison’s corn bread was baked in a cast iron skillet which I should have used but didn’t. The cast iron creates a crust on the sides and top. I had a hard time removing the corn bread from my pan and it broke which is why I cut it in small pieces. You can also make these into muffins.
You might have a hard time finding corn flour. It’s not available at my regular grocery store so I went to the health food store. I used Bob’s Red Mill:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar (optional)
1/2 cup corn flour
5 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups milk
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 small egg, beaten
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, corn flour, baking powder, and salt; mix well, breaking up any lumps. In a separate bowl combine the milk, butter and egg and add to the dry ingredients; blend just until mixed and large lumps are dissolved. Do not overbeat.
For bread: Pour mixture into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan and bake at 350 F. until golden brown, about 55 minutes. Remove from pan and serve immediately.
For Muffins: Spoon mixture into 12 grease muffin cups. Bake at 350 F. until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and serve hot.