Monday, March 8, 2010
Pastry Cases and Childhood
Do you remember ogling over a pastry case when you were small? Or going on "fancy" day shopping trips with your Grannie and coming across the most magical delights in the window of a local bakery? Christmas always promising delights that you looked forward to all year? Then Easter bringing the bunny and signs of spring, gorgeous eggs and the freshest most uplifting pastry cases you have ever seen, kind of like everything is coming alive again? Hallowe'en bring on pastry and cakes that brought that special haunt to your ghoulish delight! Special holidays and going to pick your Birthday cake, spotting sprinkled sugar cookies in the case and not budging till you got one?
I have never outgrown the magical whimsy and extravagance a pastry case has to offer. The cases will still take me to the most magical and tantalizing places my mind can go from fun and colourful to elegant and posh! To me it is not just looking at a pastry, it is much more. It is who made that, how did they make it and most important who taught them.
I had the great fortune to come from a long line of incredible bakers so was awarded a gift of the pastry chef o naturel. Still obsessed with the visual delights pastry and cakes have to offer I find myself for hours reading baking books, pastry chef books, pastry chef bios, you name it I want to learn it.
I cannot go to the online book stores without buying at least a couple at a time. Some are fantastic and some meh.
The promise of sweetness and a happy smile is what keeps bringing me back to a the ovens with the trials and triumphs of being that perfect pastry chef. You know the one, the one doesn't scrimp and be scroogie with ingredients, the one that has a passion to do the hard work it takes, the one who if fails moves on and tries and tries until his/her minds eye has been perfected. Well those are the pastries that danced in my head like the promise of sugarplums at Christmas. So mystical as I still do not even really know what a sugar plum was or is. I know my idea of a sugarplum and make them every Christmas bringing my family and friends and customers the same delight I felt as a child and still do.
I am going somewhere with this.
The Macaron! Oh yeah! Those tiny little puffs of magic and colour are not as easy as they look or promise to be... Anyone who has tried, has had maybe 1,2,3,6, 10 trials and then TRIUMPH! They are not for the weak at heart by any means!
After a whole weekend of Macarons burned, dry, too wet, too drab, and just all around disappointing I though I better put this on hold. I have a gazillion fillings at this point all perfected to my minds eye and my palettes memorable taste, those will go on hold too I figured.
But alas to my rescue this cloudy Paris kind of Monday ... a book ... yes a book! How did I not see this before?
I have to share this book with you and if you do by chance take my advice and buy it or take it out from the library and bake, I want to know about it!
So I close now with the title of this most magical book "Paris Patisseries History* Shops* Recipes" Tonight I bake the MACARON!