Exotic Passion-Ksenia Penkina

8 Aug

Feeling the scorching heat of summer. Vancouver has been experiencing a heat wave with temperatures hitting the mid 20’s in the lower mainland. Good for people who like to tan, bike and swim in the beach but bad for individuals whose homes do not have fans. It feels like a furnace inside except you can’t sweat it out. With those heave waves and summery temperatures comes an abundance of fresh fruit. I love my fruit. I have been making tarts and cakes in the last few weeks and it does not look like it is stopping any time soon.

My birthday just past and with that came celebration with friends although this year I felt a bit sad during that celebration. A little less than a week ago, I witness the guy I liked flirt with another girl. To make things worst I was sitting diagonally across from him. It was tough to swallow and felt like a someone had stabbed me with a knife. The pain was excruciating but I had to bear it. Otherwise make a scene in front of friends. As we left the restaurant I just stayed mum about it but it was obvious I was affected. I sometimes thought I would be strong enough and it would not bother me but obviously this was not the case. Once outside I cried. I was upset for a week or so. It really hurt. I guess everyone has experienced that gut renching feeling once in their life time and can relate. In many ways, I am still healing but learning to cope with it. After all the sun will keep on raising and setting no matter what and you choose to either hold onto the pain or let go.

On a side note, previous to this incident, I had enrolled an a pastry making class. I had always been a fan of european pastries noted for their intricate work so it is no surprise that I would eventually purchase a So Good Magazine. The one I had purchased was #19. Once received I flipped through the pages with eyes aglowing. I stopped an a few pages and marked them as my projects to do next. To my surprise, one of the chefs in the magazine beknownst to me teaches Master’s Pastry Class in Cakes in Vancouver. You can see the excitement in me. No surprise, I registered. It was a two day intensive course in which we made 6 cakes, worked with chocolate and glazes. It was an amazing experience and I could see my skill level rising a notch. The cakes were not only stunning to look at but delicious as well.

One of my favorites is the Exotic Passion. It is stunning and delicious.

Exotic Passion

Coconut Dacquoise
180 g egg whites
100 g fine sugar
1 g albumen
60 g almond flour
40 g pastry flour
135 g icing sugar
100 g dry coconut shreds (toasted)
1 lime zest

Coconut Crunch
10 g grape seed oil
35 g white chocolate
30 g crumbled feuilletine
9 g toasted coconut
1 lime zest

Passion Fruit and Mango Coulis
6 g pectin NH
60 g fine sugar
95 g mangp puree
40 g mango pieces
105 g passion fruit puree
50 g whole passion fruit (yellow passion fruit) seeds

Strawberry Insert
370 g strawberry puree
95 g fine sugar
8 g pectin NH

Coconut Mousse
145 g coconut puree
160 g heavy cream (1)
56 g gelatin mass
400 g white chocolate
30 g Malibu white rum
360 g heaving cream (2)

Passion Fruit Decoration Confit
149 g passion fruit puree
48 g passion fruit seeds
150 g water
66 g sugar
4 g agar agar
6 g gelatin mass

Voila!

Result: Sublime!!!! The flavours compliment each other very well. It was very light and delicate.

Enjoy!!!

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Blueberry Liege Waffles w/ Blueberry Sauce and Whipped Cream

3 Aug

Liege Waffles

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole milk luke warm ( I used 2% milk)
1/3 cup water ( I used 2% milk)
3 teaspoons fresh yeast
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoon light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
3 2/3 cup bread flour ( I used 1/2 bread flour with 1/2 all purpose)
2 sticks or 8 ounces butter cubed and at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pearl sugar
2 cups blueberries

Blue Berry Sauce

Ingredients:

3 cups blueberries (I used fresh blueberries)
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved into 3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Voila!!!!

Results: The sauce compliments the waffles beautifully.

Liege Waffles-Take Two!!!

7 Jul

Liege Waffles adapted from here

1/2 cup whole milk ( I used 2%)
1/3 cup water ( I used milk instead)
3 teaspoons instant yeast (I used fresh yeast)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla (Can opt for vanilla beans)
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
3 2/3 cups bread flour (I combined the ratios to 1/2 cup bread flour and 1/2 cup all purpose)
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups pearl sugar

Key: The key is the proofing and punching down of dough as well as amount of time for proofing.

Results: Delicious recipe. It can be coated with chocolate to have amazing results. For those who list matcha. Combine the matcha with the milk. As an alternative one can add orange zest.

Happy Waffle Making!!!

White Chocolate Pistachio Mousse Cake w/ Pistachio Crunchy Insert-Bachour Inspired (Green)

25 May

Finally I have time to write in my blog again. As I am typing away I remember how at peace I am. The past few weeks have been quite busy and with work in full steam, well I got stressed out. A walk with a friend today solved the problem as it helped me unwind. There is nothing more peaceful than walking at the beach and around the neighbourhood on a warm spring day. Walking around beautiful surroundings definitely let me vent out and voice my frustrations allowing me to relax.

In the wake of the last few weeks, I also had a friends birthday to make a cake for. I wanted to surprise her thus made the cake extra special. In the last few months I went on a splurge buying baking books to try new recipes. Of them I bought Bachour’s recipe books. Apparently he is America’s 10 top pastry chefs and his works and recipes are to die for having mastered his art. As I was flipping through his recipe book, my eyes fell on GREEN. The reciped combined different elements of texture which was creamy and crunchy. Bonus it had my favorite ingredient pistachios. So off I went to make it and in the process challenged myself.

To make the cake, I first made a chiffon cake. I choose this cake as it is a favourite to my family.

Pistachio Crunchy Insert-I then made the crunchy insert. To do this, I toasted some sicilian pistachio and grounded into a fine powder. Next, the white chocolate was melted. Once the chocolate was melted, the ground pistachio, wafers, and chocolate were combined and mixed into a smooth paste like consistency. I then used a 6″inch ring and serran wrapped the edges and spooned the mixture into the cake ring to create a crunch disk.

Pistachio Cremeux-While the disk was setting, I then made the cremeux. To make the cremeux, the gelatin needed to be bloomed in cold water. I then boiled the cream and milk, added the bloomed gelatin and poured the liquid onto the white chocolate and pistachio paste and mixed until homogenous. Once the mixture had cooled, I spooned the cremeux into a silicone mold and froze the cremeux.

Pistachio White Chocolate Mousse-As with most mousses, gelatin needs to be bloomed. While the gelatin was blooming I boiled the milk and added the bloomed gelatin onto the chocolate and pistachio paste. As the mixture was cooling, cream was whipped until soft peaks. I then folded the whipped cream into the white chocolate/pistachio mixture.

Assembly-To assemble the cake, I placed the chiffon cake on the bottom and laddled the mousse onto the cake. Next I inserted the crunchy insert onto the mousse and laddled some more mousse. The cremeux came next and finally more mousse was laddled on top to finish the cake. When the cake setted, I made some white chocolate disks to surround the cake with, pipped whipped cream on top and decorated with strawberries.

Voila!!!

Pistachio Cremeux (Note these recipes make 3 6″ cakes)
12 g gelatin sheets
375 g cream
100 g milk full fat (I used 2%)
250 g white chocolate
200 g pistachio paste

Pistachio Crunchy Insert

150 g wafer crumbs
50 g toasted pistachio
200 g white chocolate
100 g unsalted butter (I did not add the butter)

Pistachio White Chocolate Mousse
26 g gelatin sheet
500 g full fat milk (I used 2%)
150 g pistachio paste
810 g white chocolate
750 g cream

Result: Fabulous. You got the creamy and nuttiness of the pistachio cremeux and mousse which is offset by the crunchy texture of the insert. This recipe is a keeper!!!!

Apple Vanilla Custard Brioche-Bachour

25 May

Wow it’s May!!!! The days are longer and warmer. Been busy making chocolate. Just recently I had taken a brave step in participating in 2 craft fairs. The first being a fundraising one while the other was a school fair. Prior to both events, I was worried on whether I would sell anything as selling was not my strong suite. Furthermore I was worried about breaking even and connecting with people but with certain individuals encouragement I pushed on. In preparing for the craft fairs, there was late nights and panda eyes but it was well worth it. In the school fair, I noticed I did not need to do hard selling. If people are interested in your craft they will buy. I enjoyed it immensely as I got to promote how I made the chocolates and the process in which I made it and could see people’s reactions. At the end of the day, several boxes of chocolates were sold which was good to cover the supplies cost. Perhaps it is easy to please me but at the same time I was not aiming to make a huge profit as building, connecting and promoting my craft to people was what I was aiming for. Hopefully it will generate interest amongst individuals with sweet tooths. In terms of this experience it was a good one and one I would like to try again.

Aside from preparing for craft fairs, I spent the time honing in my skills on baking. Recently I had taken a 2 day weekend courses in laminating at Mon Paris Patisserie. In that class we made croissants, canneles and brioche. It was an excellent class as we covered the basics of lamination as well as got helpful tips

Brioche is a french style bread in which the key ingredients are eggs, flour and butter. The consistency is almost like a cake as it is very light and soft.

Vanilla Brioche

Brioche
780 g bread flour
70 g sugar
15 g salt
300 g eggs
150 g egg yolks
56 g invert sugar
30 g whole milk
40 g fresh yeast
350 g unsalted butter

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
480 g whole milk
2 vanilla beans
120 egg yolks
120 g sugar (I only used 90 g)
57 g cornstarch
56 g unsalted butter

Apples to place on top.

Voila-fresh baked Vanilla Brioche!!!!

Result: MMMMMMMMM…..

Pistachio Rum Creme Brulee

3 Apr

Pistachio Rum Creme Brulee (recipe adapted from here)

6 egg yolks
2 cups heavy whipping cream ( I think I will have a coronary here-substitute 1 cup milk less fat)
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided use
1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon rum
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (I used pistachio paste)

1. Preheat oven to 330F.
2. In a medium sauce pan, heat whipping cream and vanilla pulp scraped from the bean until almost boiling over medium heat.
3. While cream is heating, take a medium mixing bowl and beat egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar and pistachio paste until light in color
4 . When cream is about to boil, remove from heat and pour 1/2 cup hot cream to eggs and mix quickly
5. Pour the rest of the cream mixture into the eggs until combined
6. Add rum
7. Pour into 6 ramekins and place onto baking tray
8. Pour warm water into pan to create hot water bath and bake for 30 minutes until slightly set
9. Take out from oven to cool.
10. Divide remaining sugar on top of each dish.
11. Brown sugar using a torch.

Result: Delicious, rich and lightly sweetened.

Finding Equilibrium

24 Feb

It has been a week since Valentines past and has definitely been an interesting ride. To begin, I first started to promote my chocolate hobby again on facebook. Little did I know I would get enough orders to keep me on my toes for about two weeks. If there were two words that could describe how I felt, it would be exhilarating and exhaustion. Yes, I was happy to do the chocolates as I saw it as an creative outlet; however, it was also tiring on the same side to meet the orders, work, family and friendship all at once. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the4 experience as people liked them, a comforting thought. As an experience, next time I will stagger the production while keeping an eye on quality.

It is during this time, when I realized how much I really liked baking. It is comforting, peaceful, therapeutic and liberating. To me I see things like a blank canvass and I just go crazy in creativity. This may well be in terms of combinations of flavours or appearance wise. Just a thought for now, I may continue taking courses in Baking/Pastry Arts in the future to home in my skills but to find balance in my life. More importantly, I realized something and it includes focusing back on me…..equilibrium. Over the years I noticed that I have been focusing more on people, not that it’s a bad thing, but less on myself. I grew up looking towards certain individuals for approval. Does obedience ring a bell…. and consequently neglected myself. I felt an ant, toiling away with X amount of weight on its shoulders and as time rolled on, it strained my emotions and eventually relationships. I felt as if I was being torn apart in all directions. Stressed for lack of better word. A friend from church hinted that to me,“You don’t need others for approval”, in other words trust in oneself. I have drastically forgotten about that. I contemplated about it the last a few days and reflected on what is important in my life, peace and self-acceptance. The only thing I came up with was baking or nature,except with nature you can’t bake. Like an artist who uses the brush to make strokes to build a masterpiece, I use ingredients and utensils to bake the cake or product. It is something I am happy with. Friendship and family are also important but without me in the equation, it is unsuccessful. From now on I will try a new experiment by add new variables into the equation, me. I am hopeful it will lead to a positive resolution.

Which brings me to the next page. I had originally wanted to share a recipe from my chocolate making course. With chocolate making, temperature and tempering is the key in making a successful chocolate but that is for another post. Voila!!!

Salted Caramel Ganache

Cream 240 g
Glucose 120 g
Inverted Sugar 60 g
Sugar 220 g
Milk Chocolate 240 g
Coco Butter 40 g (optional)
Butter 120 g
Salt.

Results: Very Creamy and chocolatey.
~Bon Appetiti~

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