The Sweetest Crumb

A Week of Stay-cation (Part 2)

Happy weekend, friends!

Since my last post was dedicated to the Canadian Food Experience Project, I still owe you guys the second part of my stay-cation food adventures. Anyone who knows me well, will know that a week of stay-cation could not possibly be complete without some type of baking and sweet treats. So here is what I got up to:

Grapefruit Ginger Meringue Tarts

First I decided to experiment with the lemon meringue tarts I had made a few months earlier, tweeking the recipe a bit. I stuck with the amazing pâte sucrée tart crust recipe I used last time (from the Bouchon Bakery book). This tart crust is perfect – crisp, rich and sweet (perfect for pairing with citrus fruits). The dough is made using a “fraisage” technique which essentially involves smearing the dough with the heel of your hand. This yields a dough which is incredibly well mixed and makes the tart less prone to cracking.

Next, instead of sticking with the traditional lemon meringue tarts, I decided to spice things up and make grapefruit ginger meringue tarts. Grapefruit curd gave the filling a strong tart flavour which paired well with the sweet meringue. I added fresh ginger juice (thank goodness for our juicer which made the job way easier!) to give the curd a bit of a kick. Overall, the tarts were tasty, just as beautiful as last time and a great alternative for when you aren’t in the mood for traditional lemon meringue.

Baker for a Day (Night)

Another highlight of my week was getting to spend one day in the life of a professional baker. The owners of a local bakery were gracious enough to invite me to join them on one of their shifts when they found out about my passion for baking! So here are some things I wanted to share about the experience:

  • Baking professionally involves waking up at crazy hours and often working through the night. I arrived from my shift just before 3am and worked until about 9am! This is something we often forget as at home bakers and definitely something we should appreciate when we’re picking up our fresh bread first thing in the morning.
  • Baking is incredibly demanding physically. Bakers often lose a lot of weight when they start working in their trade which is not surprising considering how much physical labour is involved. You are constantly using your body to lift heavy items, work with huge mixers and knead countless loaves of bread.
  • When working at home, you can easily spend hours, sometimes days, creating and perfecting one batch of pastries – not so in a professional kitchen. I was so impressed with how quickly the bakers work to ensure everything goes out in time. I felt like before I even had a chance to learn the shaping technique for a given loaf, it was finished and whisked away to rise. It was truly like an assembly line of dough :)

Overall, as an avid baker, I loved the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at how the professionals do it. And I got to take away these pretzels that we made that night.

Date at Duchess

Lastly, I ended my week off with a date with Sean at Duchess Bake Shop. I know I always gush about how awesome this place is… but its hands down my favourite place to acquire dessert in the city. We’ve seen some new desserts there lately which appear to be summer-inspired like this delicious strawberry mousse we scarfed down. If you haven’t been to Duchess and are in the Edmonton area, definitely make your way over for an unforgettable treat.

Hope you guys are all inspired to take a stay-cation now.

As always, thanks for reading!

 

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