Went for a stroll this weekend on my never ending quest for fresh baked goods and beautiful nature. First stop was doughnuts. Yes…I know I have an obsession with doughnuts especially, when they are fresh, but I can’t help that right 🙂 A friend had posted some photos of a recent addition to the Vancouver scene for doughnuts, Lucky’s Doughnuts on 2902 Main St. Here is their website for those doughnut lovers http://www.luckysdoughnuts.com/ No it’s not mini donuts nor your typical chain produced donuts places like….well I think you all know 🙂
This place sells fresh daily baked doughnuts. Right off the bat when I walked into this joint, I saw a line formed by customers already all waiting to get their little paws on them. As if the shelves filled will scrumptious doughnuts don’t tease one’s taste buds, they also have a in store production facility complete with a viewing area. What a sight it was as I saw the staff decorating the doughnuts in front of my eyes. It made me want to declare, “let me help as well.”
Next stop Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. West Vancouver has developed much ever since I was young. The streets were now littered with condos, which overlook the inlet, boutiques and restaurants. It is the place for folks who reside in North Vancouver and West Vancouver to go to but it also drew crowds from surrounding areas alike. People congregated there, including me, for strolls around the beach, build sand castles, hang out with friends or walk along the 2 km seawall to the Dundadrave Pier.
It is a good location for picnics, gatherings, sailing and fishing. In terms of scenery, Ambleside is both peaceful and beautiful because you get the view of Stanley Park, Burrard Inlet, UBC and the mountains. As an added bonus to attract locals to visit the beach, the Vancouver Metropolitan band played at Ambleside. The band performs plays at Ambleside once very year and I could tell it was well appreciated by the crowd gathering to listen. The serenity of it all when one pieces together the beach, sand, water, moutains and a band playing all at once; definitely takes one away from the city life. Quite charming I would say. I must remind myself more often to take strolls in West Vancouver.
I decided to make choux paste again since it well received by family members as a light dessert. Taking in what I absorbed from class, I tried the recipe at home; using what materials I had at the time.
Choux Paste-Paris Brest and Eclairs
This was my first try attempting the Paris Brest at home ever since making at Pastry school. The recipe for the Choux Paste could be found here https://evasbakingpassion.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/cream-puffs-and-cakes-on-a-summer-day/. I wanted to try the recipe I learned from school and see if it is successful at home. This time I substituted water for milk.
After making the paste, I pipped out six Paris Brest and then placed some water in the middle of the pipped brest. Water prevents the choux paste from closing during the baking process. Almonds were then added on top. They resembled like little bagels don’t they lol 🙂 As the our instructor preached during our baking session that our ovens may not be calibrated the same as his, I paid extra attention to the oven temperature and baking time. Eclairs were the next thing on the list. By referring to my notes, I then pipped my eclairs. I found that good results come from pipping carefully and slowly as it was obviously visible in the quality of the end product.After baking the products at a high temperature first, I then lowered the oven temperature for the choux puffs to dry out. As I found out on my first batch at home, the key really was the oven temperature. This is how mined looked when baked. Not bad ehh?
Next came the decoration of the puffs and eclairs. For me I like my desserts quite light hence I decided to make a light custard. Once the custard was done, I pipped the custard on the bottom half of the Paris Brest. Next came the strawberries and pipped rosettes. Finishing touches was icing sugar on top of the Paris Brests.
The eclairs were filled with custard as well then coated with chocolate. Making the caramel was the next step in decorating. I made the caramel using the dry caramel method. I stirred the sugar until golden brown colour was achieved. Cream was then added to the caramelized sugar to stop the cooking process. As mentioned the eclairs were dipped in chocolate and then sprinkled pistachio. Cooled caramel was then drizzled over the eclairs and cooled in the fridge. This was how it looked like….well, only a bit caramel but enough to make it gooey looking. I was also proud of the outcome of the Paris Brest as well and thus have included a photo of how it looked like when the Paris Brest was finished. Not bad for at home experience 🙂 I guess success does come to those who wait and have patience. 🙂