Tag Archives: Strawberry

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


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


Strawberry and Mango Entremet

18 Jul

What a wonderful weekend. The skies are crystal blue and clear and everywhere is blooming….ahhhh this is how life is in the summer. Been so busy at work and with no time for baking, my appetite for baking was sky rocketing again. My little fingers agree with me as they wildly flip and tear through pages looking for inspiration. Heart beating with anticipation, it sings as I look through the delicious photos. I finally rested ton the tropical mango mousse cheesecake dessert again. Complimented by the succulent aroma of coconut, it truly reminded me of the tropics. This time I decided to add in strawberry to the mix as I found strawberries and mangoes go well together. DSC_0710 I first made the coconut dacquoise. Then I made the mango mousse. To make the mango mousse, I first softened the gelatin with cold water. Next I pureed some fresh mangoes. Once the mangoes were pureed, cream cheese and sugar were beaten together till softened and then the mango puree was mixed in. Beat until homogenous and set aside. By now the gelatin has softened. Squeeze out the water and heat to dissolve the gelatin. When the gelatin has dissolved, add it to the mango/cream cheese mixture and set aside. Whip up the cream and fold into the mango/cream cheese mixture. DSC_0712 Place a disc of dacquoise at the bottom of the cake pan and pipe in the mango/cheese mousse. Place the next disc of dacquoise on top. The Strawberry cheesecake mousse came next. The process is the same for the strawberry mousse cheesecake as the mango mousse. Steps are as follows: puree the fruit, soft and melt the gelatin, whip the cream cheese and sugar to soften, add in the fruit, combine the gelatin to the mixture and whip and fold the cream in to the strawberry cream cheese mixture. Once the mixture is complete, pipe on top of the second dacquoise and place in fridge to set. To decorate, I sliced up some mangoes and arranged them into a rose shape. Voila.


Coconut Dacquoise

Ground almond 57g
Dessicated coconut 55g
Icing Sugar 112g
Egg White 150g
Sugar 50g

Mango Cheese Mousse

Fresh Mango Puree 100 g
Granulated Sugar 50 g
Cream Cheese 150 g
Whipping Cream 150 g
Gelatin Leaf 6g

Strawberry Cheese Mouse

Fresh Strawberry Puree 100 g
Granulated Sugar 50 g
Cream Cheese 150 g
Whipping Cream 150 g
Gelatin Leaf 6g

Result:  OMG, this recipe was a keeper as everyone loved the combination of strawberry and mango.  The coconut suited both flavours quite well.  Next time one could try the combination of strawberry and litchee as summer was here.

Bon Appetit!!!!

Strawberry Mango Tart

6 Jun

Baking time again. Lately Vancouverites have been enjoying on some beautiful tropical fruits such as litchee, mango, watermelon etc etc. The weather certainly bodes well for picking them at their peak. With the strawberries and mangoes in season, I decided to make a strawberry mango tart. I first started to make the crust. As always I chose the pate sucre crust by Felder. I find that his recipe has the right levels of lightness and crispness to the pastry.

Key to a light and flaky pastry.

  • work the cold butter in with the flour until sand like texture than add the remaining ingredients

DSC_0720 Next I made the pastry cream to fill the tarts once the tart was cooled.


  • do not over cook the pastry cream.  Take it off the heat once the cream thickens and boils.  Whisk constantly as the pastry cream will burn.
  • To prevent lumps of cornstarch, mix the sugar with the cornstarch first prior to adding it into the milk

DSC_0721 Once the pastry cream has cooled, I then set to decorate the tart. DSC_0725 Pastry Cream Recipe

1 1/4 cups milk

1 egg

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup castor sugar

1 tsp. vanilla essence. ( I chose to use a vanilla bean)

Result: This recipe is a keeper. Both strawberry and mango complimented each other. The pastry cream was light, smooth and creamy and added complexity to the dessert.

Have a lovely weekend all!!!!

Ramping Up for Valetines-Linzer Cookies

9 Feb

Valentines is just around the corner and the city was certainly ramping up for it. From little red streamers to hanging cupids and hearts to gorgeous long stem roses, stores were getting ready for the 1 day of the year where couples express their love for one another. Apart from Christmas holidays, Valentines was the next biggest day. The weather hopefully will hold up for these couples as they take a lovely stroll around vancouversunsetthe beach.

To ramp up for Valentines I decided to make some Linzer Cookies in the shape of Hearts. Boy did I make the right decision. The powdered white fully complimented the red gleaming jewel in the middle. As a suggestion, in order to make the jam middle more smooth, heat the jam up with the cookie and then place the top over them.


Linzer Cookies (recipe found here)


3/4 cups butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups finely ground blanched almonds or hazelnuts
2 1/4 cups cake flour (can sub all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 ounces raspberry jam, or other red preserve (I used quince jelly)
Powdered sugar


These cookies are gorgeous and really create the atmosphere and mood for the occasion, Valentines!!!loula-pocoyo-valentine-card

Images of Fall, Festivities and Food

19 Oct

Fall is season full of colours stemming from golden yellows to vivid oranges and finally to stunning red. I always got a fiendish delight I visit Langley and its farms and nature. Admiration…doesn’t do much justice when it came to fresh air, food and nature. Because it was gobble gobble weekend, there were a number of festivities running. The Cranberry Festival would be one. Hundreds gathered in Fort Langley to see paddlers paddle down the Fraser River while others enjoyed a warm walk in the main hub, the festival. What was the theme of this festival? Well, kind of a no brainer since the title says it all. Up and down the main strip, one could see the little pinkish red berries show up everywhere. Yummmm..they were sweet.

I first hit Krause Berry Farms to bask in nature’s bounties….well…let the photographs show Fall in its finest form!!! 🙂






The Long Weekend wasn’t complete without baking so here we go…..Molten Lava Cake. Enamored by its rich, dense and chocolatey texture, I itched and scratched until I finally succumbed to making the deliciously rich cake. A typical question may be, “Why did it take so long?” Answer: Family not chocoholics. The molten lava cake in actuality is slightly under baked thus the oozing batter. While attending pastry school, we were taught an alternative method. Instead of underbaking the cake, a truffle was inserted into the cake. Emphasis was placed on leaving the batter overnight for the flavour to mature.

To make the cake, I first measured the ingredients and then whipped up the sugar and eggs until very light in colour. Next I melted the dark chocolate and butter together and then folded the chocolate mixture into the egg/sugar mixture. The final step was folding in the sifted flour. Leave overnight and spoon the batter into ramkins the next day. Bake at 360F for 15 mins.



Note: The cakes will puff up during baking but will come back down when cooled. For decoration, a scoop of raspberry and strawberry sorbet was placed on top of the cake. Pistachios were also used as garnish. Serve Warm.


There were virtually lots of recipes found on the internet. These were the ingredients I used to make mine.

Molten Lava Cake
Dark Chocolate

Happy Fall Baking.

A Cheesecake for a Sunny Day

8 May

I have been receiving orders for a year now from a department in a post secondary institute. Thanks to my connection with a friend whom we met at VRC, which is a sport club. Sole purpose was for extra practice for a varsity team in the beginning. Nonetheless, we have been friends for a good little while. In light of this, I made this cheesecake for the occasion. I would say, for myself, it would be one of the more time consuming cheesecakes as I needed to use leaves to make the petals.

Instead of a graham cracker crust, I opted for a pate sable crust, in my opinion, it was probably the most versatile one. Next I proceeded to make the new york cheesecake base by creaming the cheese, sugar, sour cream and eggs. To add a little more tang to the cheesecake, I grated some orange zest into it. I then topped it up with strawberries. I was quite careful not to over bake the cheesecake thus watched it carefully and baked it in a water bath. Once the cheesecake was done, I allowed it to cool in the oven prior to removing it. I then glazed the cheesecake with Valhrona Absolut and toasted some coconut as a garnish.

Next, came the petals. I melted some white chocolate, I used Valhrona but one could basically use any chocolate. I then brushed the melted white chocolate onto the leaves. To save time, I chose to freeze the petals a bit for easier peeling. As a tip, to not break the delicate white chocolate leaves, peel the leaf away. I continued making leaves until I had enough to arrange into a flower. Once the flower was done, I sliced up some mangoes and centered some raspberries to make the flower look more realistic. Using food colouring, I then painted the petals rose red and the leaves green. As a quick touch, I added a lady bug perching on one of the petals as seen in nature. The end product, well for me I knew I had pushed my boundary. Hopefully you’ll agree as well. DSC_0328

Berries and Berry Muffins for Berry Lovers

31 Aug

I guess I have been baking quite a bit these few days simply because I started working at a new assignment.  It’s part of the daily process, more like habit,  to make munchies and snacks to work instead of buying them outside.  While store bought snacks, or pastries look quite gorgeous, I find they are either too rich, sweet or fattening  which results in me nibbling a little bit here and there.  Rarely, do I finish the baked goods I buy outside.  When I do, they end up in my fridge.  😦  Because of this, I looked for alternative methods,  such as starting this blog, making my own desserts to my taste.

Having said that, I had fresh strawberries, frozen farm picked blueberries from this season and yoghurt handy;  thus decided to make some muffins.  I scoured the internet and found a decent looking recipe and decided to give it a try.  Although I can not speak for everyone, I found the muffins sweet with a tang from the strawberries and berries.  Quite refreshing and healthy from a fattening muffin.

Strawberry Blueberry Yogurt Muffins 
(spark people.com)

1 cup all purpose flour ( I used 2 cups all purpose flour instead)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar ( I used 1 cup sugar)

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 cup yoghurt

1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla (I substituted 1/2 vanilla bean)

1 cup fresh strawberries chopped

1/2 cup blueberries

pinch of cinnamon (I added for tasting)

  • Preheat oven to 375F.  Line pan with baking cups.  In a large bowl sift flour, sugar and baking soda together (dry ingredients)
  • In another bowl stir egg, yoghurt, butter and vanilla until blended.  Toss strawberries, blueberries into flour mixture.
  • Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and mix until flour just moistened.
  • Batter should be lumpy
  • Spoon into muffin cups
  • Bake 20-25 or until golden brown


The muffin came out tangy and had a fragrant fruity vanilla  aroma.  I think the tang came from the yoghurt.  The muffin was moist and light and not too sweet even when I opted for 1 cup of sugar.  Cinnamon was subtle if any.  For next time,  nuts  could be added on top of the muffins during baking such as walnuts or pecan.  A crumble could be done for added taste and texture to the muffin.  Overall the recipe produced a a nice moist and light muffin that is not too sweet.  A good recipe for individuals who like fruits and like their pastries light.

Picturesque West Vancouver, Doughnuts, Caramel and Choux Paste 2

27 Aug

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. 🙂

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