Entries from August 27th, 2013

Olallieberries and Shortcake

July 23rd, 2012 · 9 Comments · Cakes, Fruit, Recipes, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

olallieberry shortcake

Olallieberry is just such a fun word to say. Their rarity and relatively short season also mean there are few chances to utter the word. So when it gets to around this time of year, Mike and I take great delight in saying to each other, “Do you think the olallieberries are in season yet?”

Last weekend we decided to take a trip down to our favorite berry u-pick farm and find out. Unlike other years where it was brilliantly sunny, this year found us driving down through a chilly fog. The weather didn’t matter though, as long as there were rows and rows of berry-laden bushes waiting for us!

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{Cookbook Review}: Alice Medrich’s Sinfully Easy Desserts

July 9th, 2012 · 10 Comments · Cookbooks, Fruit, Recipes, Reviews

balsamic cherries 2

When a great deal of your personal and professional life revolves around baking, you forget how much of the vernacular you’ve absorbed over time. When I taught a few enthusiast classes at Tante Marie’s, it was a reminder of how easy it is to take all I’d learned in pastry school and over the years for granted. That you need to have butter at room temperature before attempting to cream it. That you use the beater attachment for creaming and the whisk attachment for whipping (doesn’t sound quite as obvious when spelled out that way, does it?)

Although I try to gear most of the material on my site towards home bakers with at least some baking experience, it’s always good to have a reminder to look at the craft through a neophyte’s eyes, and refresh my perspective. Sometimes I get asked how I come up with the recipes for my site. Well, of course, when I started, I made recipes straight out of cookbooks I admired. It wasn’t until I became more confident in my baking skills that I became brave and curious enough to experiment. To me, if a recipe is tricky or difficult, it doesn’t necessarily turn me off. It means it’s a challenge to see if I have the skill to execute it. But I realized for many people who aren’t perhaps as baking-obsessed as me, that baking can seem like a stressful, dry venture where if you don’t have your ingredients in exactly the right amounts or the oven at the right temperature, you’ll end up with a flat cake, tough crust, burned custard – or worse. Being creative? Who knows if you add that extra ingredient to a cake, that it won’t deflate? or explode?

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