Duchess Bake Shop: My first experience

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Before I moved to Edmonton, I had never heard of Duchess Bake shop. Now let me tell you, I was not disappointed on my first trip there.  Not only had I never been to a bakery like this, but I had never tried a macaron before, a love for them started on October 21st, 2016 when I tried several from Duchess ( Vanilla is my favorite).

Everything about Duchess intrigued me, from the vintage tables and chairs, fancy chandeliers and giant display case filled with cakes, cookies and pastries.  The smell of sugar and coffee filled the air, the chatter from customers and clanking of dishes from busy employees surrounded me, making the experience a vision for how I wanted my own bakery to be one day.  I am now a regular customer there, usually going in for the vanilla macarons!

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Taken from: duchessbakeshop.com

Not only is Duchess one of my favorites, but it seems to be a favorite for many others as well.  In 2015, Buzzfeed put Duchess in the number 4 spot of ” 23 BAKERIES AROUND THE WORLD YOU NEED TO EAT AT BEFORE YOU DIE.”  With the Duchess philosophy of using “no mixes, no preservatives and no shortcuts”, it’s easy to see why they made the list.

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://globalnews.ca/news/1942890/edmonton-shop-makes-buzzfeed-list-of-best-bakeries-in-the-world/&ved=0ahUKEwid1I7k3OPSAhUK1GMKHaKgAtkQFgiaATAd&usg=AFQjCNGp6NntZDwIuXdW9FBjHBz3zY9MNw

Every month they have a few new flavors of macarons, using flavors that compliment the seasons or holiday.  Pumpkin pie macarons were definitely one of my favorites.  This month they are featuring blueberry lavender, sour cherry poppy seed, and chocolate banana.  Looks like I’ll be making a trip there this week!

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Cherry Sour Cream pie

I love that you can go into this shop and buy a large pie or cake for sharing or just buy a smaller version to enjoy by yourself. I mean really, I could go on and on why I love Duchess Bake Shop, but to put it in simple terms…MACARON!

Duchess Bake Shop

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Photo taken from yellowpages.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pi Day vs. Pie Day

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As a baker with six too many university mathematics courses behind me (only three of those made me cry), Pi Day is one day of the year that would be blasphemy to forget. A couple years ago was the coolest Pi Day of the century: The first five digits of pi are 3.1415… the date was March (3rd month) 14th, 2015. While this year’s Pi Day wasn’t quite as awesome, it’s still a fantastic day to celebrate both mathematics and baking. (Incidentally, it also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday.)

Pi is an irrational, and infinitely long value – its decimal places never repeat itself in a pattern, and it never ends. (Here’s pi to 100,000 decimal places [1] and to 1 million [2].) It has been calculated to several trillion decimal places, but one source states that only 39 decimal places are needed to calculate the circumference of the visible universe [3].

The history of pi extends back to ancient times, when scholars of various cultures attempted to calculate pi. Biblical approximations put the value of pi at 3. Babylonians estimated 3+ 1/8 (=3.125), while the Egyptians thought it was 28/34 (=3.1605…). Of all the incorrect values of pi, the Greeks were the closest to the actual value, with 22/7 (=3.1428). Only the Chinese managed to calculate the first 6 (accurate) decimal places of pi (3.141592) [4].

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The history of pie starts at a similar time to that of pi. Ancient civilizations developed the first forms of pie and pie pastry, of which Greek and Roman bakers produced the first products that fit into a recognizable definition of pie. Using fat (likely olive oil), water, and flour, they made a pastry shell which surrounded a meat dish. A more modern version of pie was developed in the Middle Ages, along with the origins of the modern name, ‘pie’. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that it was “Middle English: probably the same word as pie, the various combinations of ingredients being compared to objects randomly collected by a magpie” [5]. Substituting lard for the olive oil used by the ancients, pie crust was used as a dish in which to cook other savoury or sweet items. The first forms of lighter pastry dough appeared first in the 17th century, with short paste, and puff paste [6]. Sweet pie varieties, however, did not become popular until 200 years later. In the span of 150 years, from approximately 1800 until the mid-20th century, sweet pie varieties increased  from 8 recorded recipes to 65 [7].

Regardless of whether you prefer pi or pie, there are a ton of cool ways to celebrate Pi Day – even NASA and the American Mathematical Society join in the festivities [8] [9]. And now, in honour of this sweet holiday, it’s time to bake some pi themed pie (or plan ahead for next year, since I’m a few days late now… oops).

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Saskatoon Berry Crumble

Have you ever had 3 huge banquet serving trays full of Saskatoon berries and not know what to do with them? Make Saskatoon berry crumble! Simple recipe but still tastes delicious. You start off by boiling the Saskatoon berries with a little bit of water (if frozen), sugar, and corn starch. While that is coming to a boil in a mixer you take oats, brown sugar, flour, and cut in your butter as it mixes to a crumble. Put the Saskatoon berries into the greased pans and the crumble lightly packed on top and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top.Picture1

See link to reference steps and to see measurements of each item

http://tabletalk.safeway.ca/saskatoon-berry-crisp

Easy Lemon Curd

The saying goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” but that is so predicable. When I get lemons, lemon curd is the first thing that comes to mind. This recipe for lemon curd is so simple that you could do it in your sleep (but don’t actually do that. I can’t be held responsible for what happens to your kitchen)

What you will need:
4 lemons
200 grams granulated sugar
100 grams unsalted butter
3 whole eggs, and 1 egg yolk
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Step 1: 

In a heat safe bowl (glass is best) grate the zest off of one lemon. In the same bowl, add the juice from the 4 lemons, sugar, and butter to the bowl. Grab a pot with water in it, place on your stove top, and bring water to a gentle simmer. Put your glass bowl on top of the pot with water in it, and stir your mix until your butter is fully melted. *Disclaimer* Make sure the simmering water in the pot does not touch the bottom of the bowl with ingredients in it

16731475_1233157136779727_1404266576_o16735073_1233157143446393_1357673773_o16731668_1233157196779721_1311660207_o16734994_1233157223446385_4274541_oStep 2: 
Once your butter is fully melted, whisk up your eggs and egg yolk, and add them to your lemon mixture. Begin stirring mix over the pot of simmering water, for 10-15 minutes until thick, or until curd coats the back of a spoon without immediately running off the spoon. If you get white chunks in your curd, don’t worry. That is just the egg white, and it’s normal. We will strain that out anyways so a little bit doesn’t hurt. If you get a lot however, check your water level in the pot of boiling water, it is probably too high. 
16667184_1233157290113045_38898343_o16709589_1233157280113046_303947343_o16735489_1233157303446377_1356839653_oStep 3:
Grab a fine strainer, and into a separate bowl, run your lemon curd through it to get a smooth curd. Once run through, place in the fridge to chill! It’s best when served cold. 16731457_1233157316779709_1618169413_o

And you’re done! This lemon curd is one of my favorite recipes, because it is super simple, and it goes well with most deserts! You could mix it with cream for a filling for cream puffs, or just as a filling inside a cake. Hopefully you give it a try, and enjoy it as much as I do!
Best wishes!16731351_1233156910113083_1392264283_o