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Danish

30 May

It has been a while which I posted. School is over and work is done. I am relaxing these days getting over a nasty cold. The weather was gorgeous over the past week that I went out to bask in the warmth of it. Now with some free time I decided to blog again.

I have been taking a baking course called Basics 8 at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. My intention was to home in my skills with tips from the instructors there. Indeed, I did get some tips. On the second week we made danishes. Danishes were quite similar to croissants in which it is a laminated yeast dough but richer as it contains eggs and sugar. They are time consuming to make but well worth the effort.

Keys to Laminating the dough:
-make sure the beurrage is pliable and at the same consistency with the detrempe
-3 turns is optimal
-Resting the dough for 1 hour in the fridge between turns or 30 minutes in the freezer. This allows the gluten to relax
-once shaped allow to relax again prior to proofing, 45-1 hour
-proof at 84F in the oven
-preheat the oven to the 400F to 425F this allows butter to melt creating steam and puff up the dough
-create steam when placing the danishes in the oven by spraying water on the bottom of the heated oven



Danish

Detrempe
650 g all purpose flour
80 g sugar
13 g salt
40 g fresh yeast
20 g butter
345 g milk, cold
70 g eggs

Beurrage
310 g butter soft
25 g flour

Pastry Cream
500 ml whole milk
120 g egg yolk
100 g sugar
2.5 g salt
30 g cornstarch
4 g vanilla extract

Result: When baked you do see layers in the danishes. Resting was crucial in laminating the dough. The baked product was nice, light and buttery and perfectly paired with pastry cream.

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Brussels Waffles Part 2

14 Mar

Life is creeping back into Vancouver as spring is almost here. Everywhere I go, I can see flower buds, blooming flowers and chirping birdies. Vancouver is once again pretty in pink and white with all the cherry blossoms blooming.

I have been hanging out with friends again for coffee and dessert. Coffee and dessert is a popular culture in Vancouver as friends gather to socialize and mingle. On the weekend a couple of friends and I went to Nero Belgian Waffle Bar on Robson. They have amazing waffles. They serve the Liege and Brussels waffles with all sorts of combinations ranging from fruit to chocolate. Since I have a waffle maker, I decided to make use of it. Initially it was a bit intimidating as I was not sure how to use it but after making the Liege Waffles I was hooked. I began searching the net for recipes and found a perfect one from Chef Eddy Van Damm. His recipe was perfect.

To make the waffles,
1. Combine the sparkling water, milk, yeast, Vanilla bean paste, yolks sugar and salt.
2. Sift and add the flour and whisk until smooth.
3. Add the melted butter.
4. Whip the egg whites to medium firm peaks and fold into the milk mixture.
5. Cover and let rise will double about 40 minutes.
6. Use a well heated iron.

Voila:

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Recipe found here
3/4 Cup Sparking Water Room Temp
3/4 Cup +2 tsp Milk at 120F
2 Teasp. Dried Yest
1 Teasp. Vanilla Bean Paste
2 Large Eggs
1 Tablesp. Sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
2 Cups Pastry or All Purpose Flour
6 Tablesp. Butter
3 Table Mandarine Napoleon Liguor (Optional)

Result: Very Tasty. The batter was light and fluffy. A dusting of icing sugar is sufficient or pair it with fruit.

Liege Waffes Take I

13 Mar

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Liege Waffles

1 cup whole milk
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs room temp
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour
6 oz pearl sugar

Apple Cheddar Scones

6 Apr

Spring has already sprung and what a lovely Spring it is as the weather is warm and sunny. It’s Easter weekend and all the families are out celebrating Easter Festivities with their young children. As for me a quick and relaxing trip down to the states.
For this Easter, I decided to make something I had tried recently. An Apple Sharp Cheddar Scone. I first bought it at Thomas Haas Patiserrie and had liked ever since. I then indulged on these scones once again at Creme de la Creme, yummmm! Now its my turn to make it.

The key to making this scone is the sharp cheddar cheese used. Once you obtained some then its a go!!! Like most scone recipes, I combined the dry ingredients first and then the wet ingredients. Dry ingredients included flour, butter,sugar and baking powder. I first combined the flour and butter and made it into crumbs then added the sugar and baking powder. Next I added in the egg, milk, cheese and apple. The dough was then rested for 10 minutes and then rolled out.

Voila!!!!

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Ingredients:

500 g flour
95 g sugar
25 g baking powder
125 g butter
2 eggs
100 ml milk (of cream)
1 1/2 cup cheese
1-2 apples.

Happy Easter!!!

Classic French Toast and Coffee Competition

10 Nov

Long weekend at last. This weekend allowed me to catch up on tasks I had set aside. Like a sloth, slow but steady, I soon gained momentum. First off the list was an event I visited during October. Told you I am slow. This event was in the first few years but brimming with optimism. Apparently each year baristas locally and internationally enter a latte art contest to win the coveted championship title. The event was held at VPL and drew in crowds, all silently waiting in eager anticipation of what the baristas will create next. Hot steam and whisping sounds of bubbling milk filled the air as baristas busily created their masterpiece. Next came cheering and camera flickering as each little creation of latte art made its entrance into the competition world and were warmly welcomed by spectators. Amongst the event were little stations set up to catter to the younger crowd. Little kiddies eagerly sat on chairs and happily painted away at their cups compliments of Blenz Coffee. There were even stations for the tea lovers. Here are some highlights of the competition:

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After a day of hoping around in the cold, moist air nothing tastes as welcoming than a bite out of a steaming warm french toast; add some maple syrup and berries and that definitely hit the spot.

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French Toast (adapted from here)

3 eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
cinnamon (to your preference)
1/2 stick butter
agave nectar (or honey)
4 slices thickly sliced bread

Happy Long Weekend!!!

Savory Walnut and Cheddar Cheese Scones

14 Sep

A local grocery store recently had a great and affordable sale on cheese. Ever the cheese hoard I was 😛 I decided to stock up on my favorite cheddar cheese. Cheese was so versatile, one could include it into almost any savory goodie. In light of the wonderful scone recipe I found on the net, I decided to incorporate cheese into the recipe. Mmmmm mmmmm…hot and soft scones with delicious cheddar cheese aroma raising from it. Add on melted butter or jam and I am in heaven. This time I added in some toasted walnuts to add a nutty flavour in addition to the cheese factor.

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Savory Scones Recipe (adapted from here)

500 g flour (Used a combination of all purpose and organic flour)
95 g sugar
25 baking powder
125 g butter
2 eggs
100 milk (I used cream)
60 g walnuts
1 1/2 old fort cheddar cheese

Cranberry Blueberry Scones

6 Sep

Everyone seems to be catching social media fever these days. I never really paid much attention to online marketing brands such as living social, groupon and social shopper until I worked in the retail industry. As a great way to motivate team members, build team work and productivity, groupon came into play. Still I was not convinced; however, when friends started posting tasty photos of food thus a dangling carrot, I quickly hopped and pounced at it. Drat!!! Like a mouse to cheese I was lured into purchasing a online special with more to come :). The first of these outings was afternoon tea at the Vancouver Airport Hotel. There was a certain ambience and grandeur to the hotel. Fairmont definitely spent a shinny penny to pretty up the place. From over hanging brilliant translucent lights resembling a wave in the lobby, to the sophisticated yet modern decor in lounge and tea area, I really was amazed. You could definitely relax while sipping away at smooth tea and savouring delicious delights. (photos to come shortly)

The highlight of the whole experience were the scones for me. I really liked the crumbly texture. It was to die for when served warm with jam and devonshire cream. Well, I liked the scones enough that I decided to make some at home. Unlike biscuits, scones actually contains eggs and higher amount of sugar. IMHO, this added to the richness of the scone. There was a saying in Chinese, one hits the iron when hot to form something. With this in mind, I surfed the net and came across a beautiful blog created by a pastry chef. I really liked his recipe for scones and thus decided to try it.

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To make the scone batter, first combine the cold butter, flour, sugar and baking powder. Work the dry ingredients together until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add in the eggs and milk/cream. Although the recipe called for raisins, I opted to add dried cranberries and blueberries. I found that berries added complexity to the flavour of the scones. Once combined together, let the dough rest for approx 10 mins. Roll and cut into cirlces and brush the tops with egg wash. I baked mine for approx 20 mins at 390 F.

If you find the dry add bit more cream and milk. The results were superb. I really liked warm baked pastries and with jam… well….you can decide….

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Scones (recipe also found here)

500 g flour (I used all purpose and organic flour)
95 g sugar
25 g baking powder
125 g butter (I used approx. 115)
2 eggs
100 ml milk (I used a combination of cream and milk)
60 g sultanas (I used dried cranberries and blueberries)
Bon Appetit !!!

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