Category Archives: Pies & Tarts

Flan Parisian (Vanilla Custard Tart)

It’s a cheese wheel! It’s a moon! It’s a flan Parisian!

Yes, a flan Parisian — not Parisien. Why? Because I’ve Americanized it… err, anglicized it… err, you know, made it less French. Sorta.

It’s not entirely a bad thing — at least not in this case.

While authentic flan Parisien is rich in sweet vanilla and milk, it’s also loaded with cornstarch and has this texture that’s not amazingly appetizing.

The French like it well enough (you can buy it at nearly any coffee shop in Paris), but, unless you plan on building a bouncy ball empire out of rubbery custard, I think this whole chewy flan thing could use a few improvements.

My version of flan Parisian (adapted after following what seemed to be a fairly authentic recipe to the letter and not enjoying the results anymore than I enjoyed flan in Paris) is a little more creamy, a little more eggy, and a little less caramelized on top than the real thing, but, well… I like my version a lot better.

Oh, and I baked it in a fluted tart shell, but gimme a break here — some people don’t bake it in a shell at all!

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Minty Mojito Freeze

If you haven’t heard of the Mojito cocktail, then I can’t imagine what rock you’ve been living under.

And, if you’ve never had a Mojito, then you don’t know what you’re missing!

It’s like lime and mint and sugar and rum have a party inside a Collins glass springform pan and your mouth is invited!

I love lime and mint together, but I make a point of not drinking pop, so when a coworker of mine was kind enough to drop off a pile of her old Kraft magazines, I got excited when I spied this recipe for a “Mojito Freeze” in one of the summer issues.

There were a few problems with the original recipe of course — I had to replace the Cool Whip (what is that stuff, anyways?) with real whipped cream and then I added some rum flavour to make it more cocktail-like!

But I was still a little skeptical at first — as someone who works in a liquor store and thinks that drinking is serious business, whether or not it was possible to capture all that awesome refreshing taste of a Mojito in a frozen pie seemed questionable (so glad I was wrong on this one).

Also, I had never made a frozen dessert.

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Roséy Strawberry Cream Tart

Once upon a time, I only wanted to get drunk on fruity, girly cocktails.

I ate a lot of instant noodles, played a lot of video games, skipped a lot of school, and was content in my adolescent lifestyle.

When I went back to school and got serious, though, everything changed — I started out at Langara College, where I actually began to fit in, feel respected, and succeed (all at the same time!) for the first time in my life.

It was me on my path to becoming a proper adult.

Anyways, because I’d always liked reading and writing, I took a lot of English classes while collecting enough credits to transfer to UBC.

It didn’t take too long to notice that one of the many things my much-admired English profs were always talking about was wine.

Reading and drinking wine. Getting nice bottles of wine. Giving nice bottles of wine. Even the characters in the classic literature I read always seemed to be drinking in luxurious wine.

I knew what I had to do to be a proper adult, an adult like the English profs I aspired to emulate: I had to drink wine, too — even though I hated it!

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Black Plum & Bing Cherry Galettes

It’s August already… whew.

Seems like yesterday I was in my last semester of school, then I was getting scorched in the Mexican sun, then I was standing on stage during my graduation convocation, then I did a whole whirlwind of Japanese desserts while neck-deep in full-time work.

And, yet, I expected to do more this summer!

The countdown to pastry school has begun, but I’m still racing towards my goal of posting 100 recipes on my blog before mid-September, and working to drop another 10 pounds before class starts.

D’ya think eating fewer treats and drinking less beer would help?

The secret to losing weight it pretty easy, actually — all you need to do is eat less and move more.

Trouble is, with it being a lazy summer n’ all, half of the time I swear I’m only moving to either go to work or grab another handful of berries! Or cherries.

I’ve been eating Bing cherries ’til my stomach hurts ever since a friend brought me a bucketful from her road trip through orchard country.

Anyways, in other news: one of my recent posts was featured on Epicute! Squee!

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Lime Crime Pie & Raspberry Coulis

Where does inspiration come from? Recipes don’t make themselves.

I’ve often heard people say that there’s “nothing new under the sun” — which is something I’m usually inclined to believe.

If you make something, chances are someone else has made something similar; if you have a thought, chances are someone else has had that thought before you.

Back-dropping your less-than-flattering pie photos with an IKEA curtain?

Been done befo’ fo’ sho’.

Now, I’m not trying to be negative here — just realistic. Just because someone else makes something just like something you’ve drawn, something you’ve written, some recipe you’ve created, doesn’t mean that your creation is any less special — it’s yours, after all.

One of my favourite authors, Philip Pullman, once said that if he had a dæmon (a spirit animal of sorts), it would be a magpie. This is because magpies are thieves, and all writers, to one extent or another, “thieve” ideas from other writers and other books.

And this is okay, he said! In fact, it’s a good thing.

You can make many good things by taking inspiration from what you see and have around you — by using the work of others as a springboard for your own.

That said, this recipe is kinda mine, and it kinda isn’t.

To a baker, raspberry coulis (sauce) is so basic that I didn’t need a recipe — but is there another one out there almost exactly like it? I bet there is.

The lime pie is from a newspaper recipe I copied down eons ago. I’ve made this pie about 10 times or so over the years — no joke — and each time it gets a little different, since I’m mostly working from memory.

How much of this pie is mine? How close is it to the original?

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Apricot-Almond Cobbler

One of my most favouritest cooking guides of all time is The Flavor Bible.

It’s not a recipe book, though, but rather a massive compendium of ingredients and their flavour pairings.

My boyfriend got it for me a few months ago (it was a really sweet, here’s-a-present-just-for-no-reason sorta thing), and it’s seriously one of the best gifts that anyone has ever given me.

Whenever there’s some fruit on the counter and I’m in need of a little inspiration…?

I just flip through the good book, pick out a few other ingredients, double-check to make sure I’m not heading for a kitchen disaster, and get crackin’.

That’s how I was inspired to take a warm, heavy cobbler recipe and change it to suit summer — by using sweet apricots, lightly toasted almonds, and vanilla bean ice cream.

Now, if only I had a porch, a rocking chair, and a mosquito swatter… then my life might be complete.

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