Category Archives: Pudding, Mousse & Custard

Frozen Limoncello Parfaits

Surviving the weekend: brought to you by sore feet, bruised knuckles, and burnt finger tips.

Yeah — I just started a new job.

Other than a few mishaps here and there, everything is going well — it’s not my ideal type of work (their pastry is very “homey” and everything gets garnished with a gooseberry), but I work with friendly people and I stay pretty busy on dessert station most of the night.

That said, having the last two months off has definitely been nice.

As a person who’s almost always had kind of employment (and school) going on since age 15, finally being able to afford some downtime has been unreal.

I went to the beach, slept in, caught up with friends, did nothing, made sketches of desserts and played around in my tiny kitchenette on more productive days.

Sigh — going back to work is always bitter-sweet…

On one hand I love working and being busy, but on the other hand I like being able to sit around with a glass of wine whenever I want.

Oh, and making tasty things whenever I want, like frozen limoncello parfaits.

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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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Eggnog n’ Orange Rice Pudding

Not to sound like a broken record, but my life has been totally nutters lately!

Between school and work, I’ve been volunteering my time and meager pastry-making skills in a high-volume kitchen in downtown Vancouver these past few days.

Walking into the place, I was definitely nervous — cuz when I say “high-volume”, I’m not kidding around!

They have a frying contraption that’s the same size and shape of a bathtub, a cooking pot that looks like a coffee cup for the Jolly Green Giant, too many ovens to count, and a whole crew of hard working staff.

I’ve been piping a lot of chocolate mousse, making cheesecake batter and tiramisu cream, torching rows and rows of crème brûlée, rolling yule log cakes, scooping Christmas pudding, and helping take some pressure off a really kind and experienced pastry chef.

Just having the opportunity to get a foot in the door at a place where so much is happening so fast has been incredible.

I was thinking the other day that I wasn’t ready for this type of intense work, but then I read a good quote: “Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises, because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.”

There have been some moments when I’ve totally felt frustrated to tears and just wanted to go home (like when I almost ruined a bunch of roulade because I forgot to sugar the top of the sheet cake and then it stuck to the pan when I flipped it over), but sticking things out and overcoming frustration builds character!

I can do this!

Anyways, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while working in a real kitchen is that “real world” pastry isn’t really complicated after all.

I mean, it is and it isn’t — making cheesecake is still making cheesecake, it’s just that you’re making cheesecake for 500 people instead of 5 people, y’know?

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Christmas Recipe Round-Up

I have to confess — while recipe round-ups are not normally my style, I felt like there was too much of a gap between my stöllen and my next post, so a wee bit of filler was in order.

Coming soon: cookies and big news!

So, I’m currently bogged down with cramming and exams — that just means that some of the delicious treats I made last Christmas get an extra minute in the spotlight — like these rich and velvety Mucho Mocha Shortbread.

That’s win-win, right?

Especially because I think some of these creative recipes, like Mandarin Cupcakes with Clove Buttercream, definitely deserve a second look.

I did crazy, mad, frantic, enthusiastic baking during my first few weeks of blogging, and it just so happened to be over the holidays!

xmastime08

It’s bitter-sweet to think about the lovely Pear & Cranberry Cake with Orange Buttermilk Glaze that hardly anyone ever looked at, simply because I hadn’t yet learned about networking, making fellow blogging buddies, or the glories of photographing with natural light.

Sad, but true!

I mean, these Cranberry-Pecan Sandies are the type of cookie that my coworkers pestered me to make again over and over (I just indulged them this last weekend — and they’re good as ever), but I just didn’t know how to make them shine in front of a camera.

Especially since I didn’t know anything about food styling or adding props to photos either.

The gold star embossed tissue paper behind these Toasted Coconut Icebox Cookies was about as complicated and intricate as it got with me.

Maybe a sad piece of shriveled holly bush managed to sneak itself into the frame when I photographed these Chocolate-Dipped Marzipan Cookies — but adding props like that didn’t happen very often!

Behold — a whole dish, napkin, and spoon! I had started to branch out!

A bowl full of nutmeg-dusted Cranberry Syllabub aside, the last year has been a serious learning experience for me — there’s more to making a blog work, to making food work, making writing work, than just churning out recipe after recipe.

You’ve gotta have a story to tell, a life to share, and a love of food to impart to the world!

This funny-looking Rum-Spiked Brownie Bits with Candy Cane Frosting has a story to tell, too — one about how half my coworkers wouldn’t touch these chocolately morsels because of the sluggish, speckled grey frosting on top.

That is, until someone had the guts to try this odd-coloured creation and declared it delicious!

Sometimes food blogging can be made pretty and easy and neat, like these Perfect Gingersnaps, and sometimes it’s so much stress that you want to tear all your hair out and sleep for an entire month!

I know that in my last post I said I fear the impending holiday rush — and, well, it’s still true.

But all your kind comments (and some like-minded facebook statuses from my friends) made me realize that it’s best to meet things head on!

Here’s to the holidays — the stress, the joy, the festive food, the amazing baked treats — and keeping your head screwed on as tightly as possible from now until the new year!

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Cappuccino Bavarian Cream

Now that I have to wake up at 5:30 am at least five times a week, you’d better believe my caffeine addiction has kicked into high gear!

Stumbling into the ye-that-shall-not-be-named-global-coffee-chain and getting my drink of choice (a small quad-shot Americano, touch of cream and sugar) is a vital part of my morning routine.

As they pass me that steaming cuppa joe from behind the espresso machine, I always feel like Barney Gumble in that episode of the Simpsons, the one where he kicks his alcoholism until he’s presented with a massive amount of Duff beer for winning a short film contest and he shrieks, “JUST HOOK IT TO MY VEINS!”

Yeah — that’s me and coffee.

The only real downside to having that much espresso during the week is that I turn into such a grumpy bitch if I don’t get it on the weekends, too.

That’s okay, though — I don’t care if I’m addicted. Sweet, sweet Americano, you’re so much safer than cocaine!

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Pumpkin (Honey) Bourbon Cheesecake

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving, people!

If there’s ever a riper opportunity to stuff yourself silly and chow down on pumpkin, then you’ll have to tell me what it is — cuz I totally can’t think of one.

This is going to be a quick n’ dirty recipe-only post, just because… well — once you get to adulthood, you realize that there’s really no such thing as a real “holiday” anymore.

Whether it’s working or cooking or studying, I find that holidays, while fun, have just become a chance to catch up on chores and social obligations and business you’ve been meaning to get done.

Like, reading the chapter on cookies in my lovely baking textbook… Ohoho — not that I would ever neglect my studies. Not me!

Anyways: pumpkin honey bourbon cheesecake! Totally silky, rich, and divine!

And, after seeing a million-billion commercials for Jack Daniel’s honey infused bourbon, I finally got my hands on a bottle.

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