Category Archives: Original Recipes

Honey & Pink Peppercorn Brioche

Fact: writing recipes is hard. Perfecting them is even harder.

Not even the best of us kitchen people get it right the first time — I’ve read quotes from top chefs talking about how they’ve spent years developing and tweaking their signature dishes.

And recipes don’t happen in a vacuum, either — in the pastry industry, we walk a path that’s been largely paved for us, relying age-old techniques that allow us to experiment with new forms of presentation and flavours.

If you engross yourself in the work of others and you’re suddenly inspired, then that’s a gift meant to be shared and passed on, not horded and used to polish your own self image.

This issue is often on my mind, because I often see recipes online with no credit given to their original authors.

And it bothers me, because it’s ridiculously disrespectful.

I’m not going to finger-point, but I’m often disgusted by how some of the “big bloggers” out there fail to light the way for those ahead of them by dimming the lights on those behind.

You should never be ashamed to give credit or cite inspiration.

If a reader can flip through more than 5 recipes in a row on a pastry blog and not see a single “adapted from…”, then it’s likely you’ve been pilfering from somewhere (unless you’re David Lebovitz — but even he talks about his inspiration and the recipes picked up from colleagues).

In a nutshell: not giving credit — just don’t do it. Sheesh.

Anyways, with all that off my chest, I bring you an inspired recipe: honey and pink peppercorn brioche.

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Raspberry-Basil Lemonade Marshmallows

I love marshmallows — who doesn’t? Soft, luscious, melt-in-your-mouth morsels of sugar…

Until a few months ago (read: before pastry school) I didn’t even know they could be one of those things you made at home. Mind, blown!

Of course, like many other kinds of candy and confections, there’s a reason why people tend to not make their own marshmallows — they’re equipment and precision-heavy, and, while not beyond the reach of any home cook, they require a staunch commitment to measure, time, watch, and multi-task with very little margin of error.

It’s no wonder that most people think it’s just easier to buy ’em at the store!

But, here’s the greatest thing about making your own candy — especially your own marshmallows — they’re like a blank canvas for flavour!

These were inspired by one of my fellow bloggers, daisy. She made raspberry-basil Italian cream soda a while back, and it really got the gears in my head turning.

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Maple Fudge Brownies

Happy Canada Day!

Okay, it’s a bit early — but I’ve always kind of failed to see the reasoning behind posting a celebratory occasion recipe the day-of, simply because it doesn’t really give anyone time to actually make it, right?

Anyways, I love being Canadian.

I really dig where I live, despite the deary weather, high taxes, and reputation for overbearing politeness (we’re not all that polite to each other, really).

Can you believe that we’re among the top 10 most patriotic countries in the world? I guess a lot of us are flag-wavers after all!

I have this American friend who makes a hobby out of telling me all about how inferior Canada is all the time (it’s amazing to see how Canadian patriotism makes Americans bristle — oh, but guess who’s first on that list of most patriotic countries in the world?), but you can’t beat our poutine, our Timmy’s, or our insane penchant for busting windows and setting police cars on fire when one of our teams loses a Stanley Cup Final.

Yeeeah. About that last one… Canadians drink a lot of beer — that’s all I’ve gotta say that.

So, in honor of tomorrow being Canada Day, I bring to you my special “How Canadian Are You?” quiz! Let’s test your cultural knowledge!

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Passion Fruit & Lime Sorbet

First off: apologies. For reals.

I used to be one of those people without an ice cream machine — doomed to gawk in awe and envy of fellow food bloggers with the means of churning their very own frozen desserts.

So, if you don’t have access ice cream machine, I’m sorry whatever unwanted salivation these photos may induce.

Howeverrrrrr — if you can afford to get one, do it!

My recently acquired ice cream machine is one of the best damned things in my cramped and teeny-tiny kitchen — no joke! — and making ice cream at home tastes way better and ultimately costs a lot less than the chemical-laden stuff at the supermarket.

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I’ve been having tons of fun (and failures — cough cough) with coming up with my own recipes, too!

This passion fruit and lime sorbet is creamy and refreshing at the same time, and (who knows what sorcery this be!) the taste reminded me and my taste testers of key-lime pie filling. Seriously.

Convinced yet?

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Lemon & Thyme Tea Cookies

Sometimes pastry school doesn’t offer a whole lot of creative freedom.

A lot of pastry student time is taken up by making our daily quota of croissants, baguettes, breads, scones, and muffins, or by glazing chocolate cakes, fruit mousse cakes, or making tiny desserts for stocking the school cafe.

Every so often, though, I’ve got enough time to whip up a batch of these tiny lemony delights!

My excuse is always, “I’m making them to sell in the bake shop!” even though a good handful of these always end up in my stomach.

The flavourful nuances of these delicate, crumbly tea cookies hinges on using a rich, high quality olive oil (preferably extra virgin), fresh thyme, and, of course, beautiful, fresh lemon zest.

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Egg Noggies, for Charity

Big news! Big news! So much news!

Where to start — um, um… okay — so, first off, I’ve just come out on the other side of a round of practical exams.

I’m totally thrilled with my marks, mostly over 9+/10 on all my items (although I didn’t do a great job on my hand-rolled chocolate truffles), and my chef told me that I “set the bar” for the exam. Squee! How great is that?

Of course it’s my dream to become a truly skilled pastry chef — and of course I think I can do it — it’s just nice when someone I respect immensely throws a bit of fuel on the fire of my hopes and ambitions, y’know?

Look out, next semester, here I come!

On top of that, I was able to get a seasonal position (a second job, no less) helping out The Vancouver Club during their Christmas rush.

I recently had the luck of meeting their pastry chef, too, and she’s totally nice — she offered to let me come to the club one night and follow her around to see what she does for free, but this is even better.

Doesn’t it seem serendipitous that I’m able to work with her so soon after meeting her?

I don’t even know if I’m getting paid or not and I just don’t even care — money would just be gravy at this point — the opportunity of experience and the ballin’ reference on my resume is really all I’m lookin’ for!

Whoooooa shit — okay. Must calm down.

So, in other news, now that it’s the season of giving, my school is making cookie tins to sell and raise money for the local BC Children’s Hospital. Each pastry class has to produce at least 150 cookies to contribute to the tins.

I love the idea of baking for charity, and I was totally eager to participate no matter what kind of cookies my class decided to make, but imagine my surprise when my chef instructor asked me to make 150 cookies of my own recipe for the tins!

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