I Love Summer!!!! There is so much to do and as always Vancouver seems to come to life in the hot fun-filled days of summer. This past weekend, I went to the Steveston Farmers Market, Emma Lea Farms and Folk Festival at Jericho. Mind you, I did this in a days worth of car dodging and scurrying around the farm grounds madly picking berries :). Whenever I thought of Steveston and its Farmers Market, warm memories filled my mind. I enjoy walking around the market, breathing in the aromas of fresh baked products and admiring the mouth watering array of fresh vegetables and fruits. The market really was a showcase of what the farmers and artisans had to offer.
Emma Lea Farms was my next destination. Another favorite hideaway of mine and my new found hobby, berry picking :). Pleasantries always came to mind as I berry picked and sipped away at an ice cold refreshing strawberry milk shake. MMMMM….Course my hands and feet loved me as they were pricked and poked at by the long thin strands of grass which stood in the way between the little blue berries and me. Nothing was more satisfying when I saw the freshly picked plump berries in my bucket. Venturing out to Emma Lea Farms was like a little piece of heaven. Life slows down and you could really rest, relax and bask in the tranquility of the farm while the sparrows and dragonflies fly about. It was all about re-energizing as evident by the number of berry pickers, their toothy grins and jokes. One lasting memory were the jokes arising from fellow berry pickers, pick one eat two.
Folk Festival was the next stop. Nothing beats the festival with beautiful Locarno Beach and Downtown Vancouver in the back drop. I simply strolled around savoring what music had to offer. I saw a tuba too 😉 The main attraction of Natalie Main. (Pictures to come)
After a fun loving whirlwind weekend, its back to baking again. Yippee!!! First of the list was the Gougeres. I found a recipe from Alain Ducasse and really like the cheese addition to the choux puffs. Once done you get a light airy pastry with a hint of caramelized cheese.
Alain Ducasse’s Gougères (recipe found here)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
Large pinch of coarse salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
3 1/2 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (1 cup), plus more for sprinkling
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
With the extra dough, I made Mango Cream Puffs also!! Being a cookbook bookworm that I am, I could be easily caught at Chapters with my nose buried in recipe books. Captivated by a newly shelved pastry cook, Paris Pastiserrie, I happily hunkered down and flipped through the book. A cream puff photo really caught my eye and it was by Carl Marletti. It had a modern twist. Quite similar to the choux puffs in the Gateau St. Honore which were dipped in sugar. Marletti created cream puffs with the same idea which served as a inspiration for me to make it.
I first made the dough, and baked it. Once the choux paste dough was thoroughly baked, I then made the caramel to dip the choux paste in. The silicone mat was the best surface for the dipped sugar choux puffs. Making of the creme patisserie came next. Last came the whipped cream and the assembling. The texture was a marriage of crunchy, creamy, fruity and sweet.
Bouchon Bakery Pate A Choux (I used the Eclair Recipe)
175 g All Purpose Flour
Granulated sugar 33 g
Water 240 g
Unsalted Butter 120 g
Kosher Salt-I opted out
Eggs 250 g (adjust based on the stiffness of the dough)