Tag Archives: Strawberries

An Eventful Summer and An Entremet

31 Aug

This year has been amazing. It truly has been a wonderful summer up till now with bountiful sunny days filled with warmth, glow, happiness and christian songs. I love the fact of venturing out to downtown and English Bay to see the beautiful scenery and it’s lushness. The weather this year in comparison with the last couple of years is quite a contrast. Unlike the haze Vancouver has been getting over the past few years due to forest fires, it is actually crystal clear with blue skies. Summer always involved berry picking and afternoons at Emma Lea Farms. Emma Lea or Krause will always be special to me as it is away from the city and as a result very peaceful and tranquil. To make it even more special, I had my friends two kids, Polly and Terrance with me. We went strawberry picking and I went blueberry picking there. Polly is such a sweetheart. Her sweet, vibrant and feisty personality always fills me with joy. I have know the little girl eversince she was 6 mths old and I thank God everyday or every moment for blessing me with this little girl.

This summer also marked my branching out into FB marketplace where I sold my passion too and thus far I am enjoying it quite a bit. I am excited about upcoming events where I get to showcase my passion. I finally had some time to make a cake again and as a result of my labours here it is!!!

White Chocolate Mousse Cake w/ Strawberry and Pistachio Insert with a layer of Pistachio Crunchy and Pistachio Chiffon

White Chocolate Mousse (Doubled the recipe)

200 g White Chocolate
2 Eggs
40 g Sugar
4 g Gelatin sheet
240 ml Cream

Pistavhio Cremeux

6 g Gelatin
188 g Cream
59 g Milk
125 g White chocolate
100 g Pistachio paste

Pistachio Crunchy Insert

75 g Wafer Crumbs
25 g Toasted Pistachio
100 g White Chocolate

Strawberry Insert

370 g Strawberry Puree
95 g Sugar
8 g Pectin NH

Results: Spectacular.

White Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Cake

8 Aug

Summer is in full swing now and it is gorgeous. I will always enjoy the beautiful sunsets around English Bay. Been taking a break from baking. Reasons for this break are primarily relatives visiting, working and relaxing. Been to Porteau Cove, Whistler and back this past long weekend with some friends. Porteau Cove was quite serene and beautiful. Life just slowed down as I soak in the beauty and peacefulness while listening to the tides crash upon the shore. Toss in a stone ahhhh….pure bliss. Whistler? Well Whistler will always be beautiful however this time I enjoyed the peacefulness and quiet beauty of nature more. porteau_0314-00hqld0005

This summer would the next milestone in my life as I embark on a journey back to school to finish up my degree in accounting. I have deliberated on this decision for a while and ultimately made the choice to go back. While it may be a hard and long journey, I am extremely happy that everything came together, both work and school.

As a baking project from the break, I decided to come back and make an entremet again. This time I made a white chocolate mousse cake.

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The key for me was the mousse.
To Make the mousse:
1. Soak the gelatin in cold water
2. Melt in a baine marie some white chocolate.
3. Puree some fresh strawberries
4. Combine the strawberry purree with white chocolate
7. Add in the gelatin
8. Fold in the whipped cream

To make the jelly:
1. Puree some fresh strawberries
2. Add sugar
3. Add gelatin

Voila

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Bon Appetit. Have a womderful summer!!!

Fresh Strawberry Eclair

2 Jun

Summer is almost here. With that being said, the market is full of seasonal delicious fruit again. What are those beauties you may ask? Well none other than fresh succulent and sweet strawberries. Yes I am a strawberry fan as it livens up any dessert with a beautiful red colour.

Today I am making the eclair again. Nothing can go wrong with fresh strawberry eclairs. I am using Keller’s eclair recipe and pairing it up with fresh pastry cream and strawberries.

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Ingredients

Thomas Keller Eclair

All purpose flour 175 g
Granulated sugar 33 g
Water 240 g ( I used a combination of water and milk)
Unsalted butter 120 g
Kosher salt 2.5 g
Eggs 250 g (approx 5 eggs)

Pastry Cream
500 ml milk
100 g sugar
40 g corn starch
2 egg yolks
1/2 a vanilla bean

Rsaults: Yum!!!! Bon Appeptit

Strawberries and Pistachioes-Pierre Herme

18 Jun

In light of recent events, I am making another dessert. This time I am making something from Pierre Herme again. A couple of years ago I bought his book on Pastries and have not regretted it since. The book was filled with stunningly beautiful photos of desserts and enough to make one salivate. Amongst the post it notes tagging recipes that I wanted to try was the Montebello. In his words it is the modern rendition of the Fraisier. The recipe was a combination of two of my favorite ingredients to use, pistachios and strawberries. It was composed of a dacquoise, pistachio mousseline and strawberries. Because my family is partial to all that buttery goodness, I am making a partial montebello. I am making the dacquoise and filling it with a creme patissiere.

To make the pistachio dacquoise, I toasted some almonds and pistachios after which I grounded them with a coffee grinder. Next I measured the dry ingredients and separated the eggs. I then measured the pistachio paste and left it to warm up. The icing sugar was sifted and combined with the almonds and pistachios. *Note: in the recipe, the ratio of almonds to pistachios 2:1 but because I preferred pistachios I changed the ratio to 1:1. Next I whipped up the egg whites and added in the sugar; whipping it till stiff peaks formed. Part of the egg white mixture, not alot, was used to soften the pistachio paste. Finally I folded in the icing sugar/nut mixture. Note: Fold until it is homogenous and you do not see the dry ingredients. Pipe into a 9 inch 3/4 inch deep ring and bake at 340F for 30 minutes.

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Once the dacquoise was baked and cooled, I poured the finish pastry onto it and decorated it with strawberries and pistachios.

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Montbello Pastchio Dacquoise (Adapted from Pierre Herme)

1/4 cup (25g) pistachios ( I toasted and grounded mine and altered the ratio to 1:1 Pistachios and Almonds)
1 1/8 cups (135g) Icing sugar (I used only 130 icing sugar)
1 1/4 cups (115 g) ground almonds
5 egg whites
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
4 tsp (20g) pistachio paste
Extra Icing Sugar for sprinkling

Creme Patissiere

500 ml milk
100 g sugar
40 g Corn Starch
2 egg yolks
.5 piece vanilla bean

Result: It was delicious. The dacquoise was perfect, soft and crispy. It had a strong pistachio flavour and complimented the strawberries well. While it was a bit sweet, next time readers can adjust the icing sugar to 100 g instead to reduce the sweetness. I believe one the sweetness is reduce, the nuts would be more pronounced and work even better with strawberries. Pierre Herme definitely knows his flavours well!!!!

Baking and HALLOWEEN

31 Oct

Trick or treat…smell my feet, give me something good to eat…. My favorite time of the year was when you see tonnes of children running around the neighbourhood dressed as witches, princess, swordsman and animals in order to get treats. I grew up trick or treating and it was deliciously fun.

I am sitting by here with my bowl filled with candy waiting for the first group of kids run to the door anticipating a large payout of chocolate…yum…. Not too long ago, I was also trick or treating. It was tremendously fun running around the neighbourhood, which was completely decked out in jack o lantern, asking for candy.

Since I am sitting around the computer and waiting for the banging door, I might as well write the next blog. This time it was strawberry friands. Friands were quite similar to financiers. They are mini cakes which when done had a wonderful aroma of strawberry and vanilla. It was a light cake and is the perfect little cake for afternoon tea with friands.

Strawberry Friand (Adapted from here)

125g strawberries, hulled, halved
6 eggwhites
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste ( I used vanilla extract)
1 1/2 cups (225g) icing sugar mixture, plus extra to dust ( I used only 200 g icing sugar)
1 1/4 cups (155g) almond meal (I used pistachio)
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour ( I used pastry flour)
150g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
Vanillin sugar, to dust

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I found it amazingly light. When eaten warm, the cake carried the aroma of berries and pistachio. IMHO, I think this cake would be a wonderful addition to afternoon tea.

Happy HalloweenHappy Halloween

White Chocolate Strawberry and Pistachio Entremet

4 Aug

What warm weather!!! As a vacouverite, I am blessed with good weather and as always, whenever there is warm weather, my garden laps it up. The peaches and cream corn I planted about a month ago has started to form husks. It was a joy seeing my labor and hard work come into fruition. Every Vancouverite loves the summer. For me, I concentrate my time to the berry farms. Nothing tastes like fresh barries from a vine and visiting a farm to rejuvenate. To blast the heat while savouring on a delicious treat, I decided to make another entremet. This time, I made a Strawberry and White Chocolate entremet.

To start off I made the jaconde cake first. As the second step, I made the strawberry mousse. To add a contrast to the light pink, strawberry jelly was made. I topped it off with white chocolate mousse.

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Strawberry Mousse

160 ml Strawberry Puree
1 lemon juice
60 g sugar
5 g gelatin sheet (Gelatin in this form tend to be more stable.
200 ml whipping cream.

Result. This entremet for me was fabulous. it was quite light and the flavours complimented one other. One can never go wrong with strawberries, pistachio and white chocolate on a warm sunny day. The pistachio and strawberry was the star of this entremet.

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Refreshing Ice Cream Sandwiches

24 Sep

In light of the spectacular ending of the Summer which happened over this weekend. I decided to make something to remember summer by. That is before I head out to volunteer at a local sports arena. I had some extra dacquoise left over from the mousse cake and instead of letting them to go to waste, I decided upon making some cool refreshing treats.

Ice cream sandwich and popsicles seem to have gained momentum over the summer months as one could see little popup stands selling them. A favorite amongst youngster or adults reminiscing about their childhood readily stand in the long lineup for cool refreshing treat to battle the scorching summer sun. Which prompts of my project of the day, ice cream sandwiches. It was rather simple to make considering I had the ingredients to make it with.

First things first, to make the cylindrical center of sorbet and ice cream I used a mold. Using acetate to line the mold for easier removal, I scooped the sorbet into the molds. Freeze the sorbet until firm. To assemble the sandwiches, simply unmold and arrange onto the dacquoise cookies.

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Enjoy!!!

Delicious Sorbets: Raspberry, Strawberry and Mango

28 Aug

As an ice cream conniseur that I am, one could see me 1st in the line ups at ice cream boutiques, wide eyed and longingly looking at flavours, on a hot summer day. My favorite was italian gelato. There would be smiles everywhere. Up and down the street, individuals would be licking their gobs of ice cold refreshing treat in the sweltering heat. Big surprise when I took an ice cream course. I was amaze at what one could do when making ice cream; there was virtually limitless combinations. The highlight was making an ice cream cake and bombe.

With the wonderfully warm sunny we have been receiving, albeit the rain today :(, it was the optimal time for ripe berries and better yet ICE CREAM ūüôā With the strawberries I chose at Krause Berry Farms and raspberries in the fridge, I took a chance at making Sorbet.

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Keys in making Sorbet:
-Make sure the fruit is ripe for better quality and taste
-Make sure to place the drum into the freezer for at least 24 hours
-Sugar content 1:1 ratio of sugar and water
-Alcohol improves the flavour and reduces the freezing temperature

Because I love both strawberry and raspberry, I combined the two fruits together to make the 1st sorbet. Wow the fresh strawberries were exquisite and aromatic. One could tell they were ripe as they produce a very sweet fragrance. The strawberries were first to be pureed and the raspberries came next. Sugar and water were measured and a simple syrup was created. Once cooled, I combined it with the pureed fruit and poured it into the ice cream machine to make sorbet. Giddy as a kindergarten, I was excited to see the syrup slowing thickening and becoming sorbet. Imagine my ecstasy when the I scooped out globs of the frozen treat. Next came the Mango Sorbet. Basically it was the same process as making the strawberry and raspberry sorbet. A tear may have rolled run my happy face when I saw the delicious golden yellow syrup thicken and form as Mango Sorbet was one of my favorites. Now I have two tubs of sorbet and more to come.

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Sorbet

500 ml Stock Syrup (1:1 ratio, sugar and water)
500 ml Fruit Puree
5 ml Lemon Juice

This was a basic recipe to use but guess what sometimes simpler is better. Enjoy your sorbet making days.

Strawberries and Cream Muffins

21 Aug

A few of my friends were also avid bakers; see the connection :). With their encouragement, I decided to take the Wilton cake decorating courses at Michaels. My friends had previously taken them and showed beautiful results in gum paste, fondant and icing. Enticed by my own determined will and undeniable thirst to improve, I went off to enroll in these lovely courses. This week we were required to make cupcakes to decorate with. Imagine my surprise, another excuse to bake hee hee.

Muffins have always been on my mind, and now it was my chance. Over the years, I tried some cupcakes with a cheese cake filling. It was like heaven in my mouth, yes I’m exaggerating, but it was very good. Luckily I found an amazing blog that had the perfect recipe. The recipe consisted of fresh strawberries, my favorite, and a cream cheese filling. Yumm!!!

Unlike the oringal recipe’s methods, which uses a hot water bath to do most of the prelimary steps, I chose the cupcake method. Frozen strawberries where then chopped up. These were actually the ones from berry picking. Next came the cream cheese filling. Once all the components were made, I assembled it and made sure there were strawberries on top as they were the stars of the recipe. Because of the dense middle, the cupcakes were baked longer then the supposed 18-20 mins as suggested by the blogger. Mine were baked at 350 for approx 30 minutes and then checked for doneness. I noticed that if they were not down, the tops would collapse. The results were excellent and I brought them for cupcake decorating class.

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As one could see, I used green and pink frosting. The pink coloured frosting was actually a flower we had learned and course the photo did not do it much justice. For an some added colour, I made some marzipan strawberries.

Strawberries and Cream Muffins (adapted from here)

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
2 large eggs
2 cups All Purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh ripe strawberries chopped into very small pieces

4 oz. full-fat cream cheese, very soft
1 and 1/2 Tbsp. of liquid from one whole egg that’s been beaten lightly
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Results: The cupcake was nice and light. It smelled fantastic with the sweet aroma of strawberries. Next time, I would maybe prebake the cheesecake part in a silicone mold and place it in the batter. This would reduce the amount of time to bake.

Strawberry Mango Mousse Cake

5 Aug

What a lovely weekend this has been, the temperatures hit the high twenties in Vancouver. Ever the beach lover I was, I lapped up the rays of sunshine and enjoyed watching beach vball. The city was always spectacular in the summer. I had been craving a cake again. As always, I have been hovering around the bakery department. Call it an addiction or the full moon as it was this time of month I start hmmmmm…itch???

With some strawberry puree (approx 1 cup) and mangoes in the fridge, I decided to perfect my skills and make a mousse cake. I first started off with a chiffon cake. Yes, I love chiffon cakes. Unlike the sponge and pound cakes, this cake was lighter in texture and more moist. Once the cake was baked until a golden brown colour, I cut out four layers of the cake. To increase the shelf life, one could saran wrap the cake to keep it moist. Next, the bottom to layers was spread with whipped cream and fresh mangoes. Strawberry mousse was done by boiling the puree and then adding the gelatin (approx 6 sheets). White chocolate (approx 1/2 cup) was then combined with the puree. To complete the mousse, cream was folded into the puree chocolate mixture. When the mixture was emulsified, I proceeded pour it onto the cake and covered it with the final layer for cooling. I chose to kept the cake simple by decorating it with strawberries, honey dew and whipped cream.

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One could made a modern version of a mousse cake by adding a white chocolate glaze onto the mousse. Its practically a fixture in most french bakeries these days. In order to make one, reserve some cake and mousse. The white chocolate glaze is a combination of white chocolate and whipped cream. To successfully apply the glaze, make sure that the cake was cold from the fridge. This would allow the glaze to set almost immediately. Overall, I found this a delicious and sweet combination of mangoes, strawberries, cream and cake. Both fruits were light and sweet and the cake accentuated the flavour.

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Enjoy both cakes!!! Welcome the sunshine!!!

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