I joked to my boyfriend this weekend that this might have been the first time since I’ve started working that I got a day off to celebrate Chinese New Year. Okay, so it was really Presidents’ Day, but given that they practically get a whole week off in China (yes, that means they are still reveling over there!) I’ll take what I can get.
Besides, I needed the extra day to recover from simultaneously celebrating Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day. And a very important Valentine’s Day at that.
This was my last Valentine’s Day as a single girl.
It’s taken me a while to decide how to share this milestone with you all: although I’m joyously eager to post up my latest sweet creation, I’ve always been shy to divulge the particulars of my personal life. It’s likely a combination of my own introvertedness (would it surprise you that one of the reasons I started this blog was because I was too self-conscious to talk pastry in front of others?) and the internet environment when I began Dessert First.
Back then (gosh, that makes me sound so old!) people wrote under pseudonyms, behind shadowy profile pictures. I was warned not to give away anything incriminating about my real identity, or else I’d get hunted down by crazy stalkers.
Well, it seems that crazy stalkers will be an unfortunate fixture of the internet, but a better balance between commonsense privacy and personal sharing seems to have evolved. I’m sure most of you read personal blogs not just for the recipes, or the technical information, but for the personality behind the words. And as I’ve let more of myself pervade this site, and shared my stories with you, I’ve found it more and more rewarding, because it becomes a truer reflection of me. And in return, I’ve gotten the most wonderful stories from you readers. Just the other week I got an e-mail from someone who had read my old Linzertorte post and wrote to tell me how it reminded him of his younger days spent in Germany eating pastry at cafes. Anyone who’s ever written anything knows this is one of the most precious gifts you can receive: to know you’ve communed with someone, a stranger, across the vast ineffable ether. It makes every minute I’ve spent on Dessert First worth the while.
So while I enjoyed sharing snippets and tidbits from my life here, I hesitated to post up the news when I got engaged. I guess…I was afraid that broadcasting it to the world might seem too immodest, that I might be jinxing myself by reveling in my good fortune. The odd mental contortions one goes through when a fundamentally shy person starts a public blog…
But it’s too hard to keep this secret under wraps, too difficult to conceal that my universe is tilted on a new axis. I was thinking of revealing all after the whole deed was done, but given my increasing rate of distraction these days it might have ended up being a seriously belated revelation! And I’m kind of tired of keeping all this frothy happiness down – I think it’s time to let it bubble over just a little bit.
So! To answer the most relevant questions, in order of importance:
1. Yes, there will be cake. No, I am not making it. A wonderful local wedding cake artist that I’ve done some product photography for will be doing it, and I’m so thrilled.
2. Yes, there will be more dessert besides cake. I cannot tell more so as not to ruin the surprise for the guests.
3. Yes, I have my dress. I went over my budget in buying it, but it was at a sample sale, where somehow it’s easy to convince yourself that 50% of really expensive is somehow not expensive and in fact a fabulous bargain. Ha! However, if I get one photo of me looking awesome in my dress it will all be worth it.
4. It will be this May. In San Francisco. And as I have not sent out the invitations yet I think I ought to stop here or you’ll know more than the guest list!
Oh yes, and I love my fiance Mike. Hopefully this will appease all my blog-girlfriends who have been telling me to stop calling him my boyfriend. Well, to me he’ll always be my boyfriend, and in a few months he’ll be something more:)
To celebrate my(our) last Valentine’s Day as single(s), I made these rose and strawberry parfaits. Bits of vanilla-scented dacquoise are covered with strawberry coulis and then layered with rose mousse. Very pink, very romantic, very fitting for those in the mood for love.
Thank you to you all. I’m so honored and happy to be sharing this happy news with you!
Rose and Strawberry Parfait
adapted from Dessert for You by Rachel Yau
6 ounces strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons rose syrup
2 1/4 teaspoons gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
For the coulis: Combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until strawberries are liquid.
Pour in a medium saucepan and heat over medium until sugar has dissolved and mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and let cool.
For the mousse: Beat egg yolks and sugar together in a stand mixer until pale and thick.
Place milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Pour the milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking the mixture constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
Stir in the rose syrup.
Add in the gelatin and stir until combined. Let sit until it cools, but do not let it set up.
Whip the cream in a stand mixer until soft peaks. Fold gently into the milk mixture. It may appear liquidy but it will set.
To assemble: Fill glasses with alternating layers of strawberry coulis and rose mousse. Chill between pouring layers for about 10-15 minutes to let the layers firm up slightly before pouring the next. Once you have finishing filling the glasses, chill for another 2 hours to let the mousse finish setting.