Happy weekend! Time for another sweet recommendation in San Francisco. The current golden age for bakeries in the town shows no signs of ending, to my sweet tooth's delight. My latest discovery is this very small, but very sweet little shop dedicated to one of my favorite French pastries, the cream puff.
It's been a non-stop parade of celebrations these couple of weeks. First Valentine's Day, then Isabelle turned 25 months (I know, once babies turn 2 you don't really do the month thing anymore, but it's still a milestone), we celebrated 4 years since we adopted Snickers (I need to do a post on that too!), plus it's Chinese New Year on the 19th! Oh, and I guess there was Presidents' Day on Monday, which really served as just a day to get caught up on all these other events!
One of my pastry goals for 2015 is to start making more Asian pastries. I grew up poring over the Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks on my mom's shelf, but I also remember the red bean and sesame-filled buns, flaky egg custard tarts, and fluffy breads from the Chinese bakeries and dim sum restaurants we would frequent on the weekends. For years I've meant to try my hand making these pastries myself, and this year I'm giving myself no more excuses. So here we go - I hope you enjoy this new side of Dessert First!
Kouign amann: this tongue-twistingly named pastry is also one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten, and seems to inspire such instant devotion wherever it pops up. Essentially an amped-up croissant with lots of extra butter and sugar added in, this pastry is not for those without a sweet tooth, or plenty of stomach space! Although kouign amann comes from France, its name is from Breton, which is a Celtic language. This pastry is a specialty of Brittany, where the Bretons settled after emigrating from Great Britain, way back in the 6th and 7th centuries. The name translates to “butter cake”; although the traditional form of kouign amann is indeed a large round “cake”, most of the ones I see today are individual-sized versions baked in small tart rings.
Things have slowed down here a bit here lately on the site. The reasons are myriad: summer vacation distractions, working on sated magazine issue #2, but really there’s one main reason I haven’t been able to show up as often as I like. I’ll let Snickers help me make the announcement: