Garden Bakery – An Introduction to Asian Pastry and Sweets

Hello and welcome to my food review! Today we will be going through some Asian pastries and sweets you can find in a lot of Asian bakeries. The specific bakery I will be reviewing today is Garden Bakery located in West Edmonton Mall. I have been here many times before and even though I buy a ton of pastries they seem to disappear by the next morning. Before these ones disappear let’s get started!

 

Coconut Cream Bun: This bun is one of my favorites. This pastry is characterized by it’s line of butter cream down the center and shredded coconut on top. The bread is enriched as all of the rest of the buns to come are. It can come on different shapes however this is the style you will most often see. Sometimes coconut is mixed into the butter cream, in these ones however there aren’t any. You can taste the coconut on the top which is very subtle. If you go to the bakery near the end of the day, some of the bread can be a bit dry. This one is slightly dry due to the time I dropped by for a visit.

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Coconut Custard Bun: This bun edges over the Coconut cream bun for me as I love the custard filling. You can tell this bun apart from the others by it’s round shape and the coconut on top. I find that sometimes this bun can be what I like to call a “Happy Sad Bun” due to not having custard in some bites. This one in particular is filled nicely. The filling is an egg custard, which I would compare to an egg tart, which I unfortunately did not purchase today, but it is smooth, sweet and creamy, sometimes you can taste a slight egg-like taste. Like the Coconut Cream Bun you can taste a faint hint of coconut from the top of the bun.

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Barbecue Pork Bun: This bun is savory. Filled with a Barbecue pork mixture. If I could compare it to something it would be a pulled pork sandwich, except the sauce is arguably sweeter and the pork is roughly cubed instead of pulled. Sometimes it can be hard to tell this bun apart from the Coconut Custard Bun due to the shape, however if you read the sign and see a lack of Coconut it is most likely this bun, unless they have other savory buns. Most Asian bakeries I have been too have fairly good labeling so if they don’t have good signage you can play some sort of food roulette.

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Red Bean Bun: This bun is filled with a sweet red bean paste. I personally love red bean and I would highly recommend someone who has never tried it to give a try, even just a nibble. This bun can come in different shapes, however I like this one because you can see the filling inside. They can be baked or steamed, the one I have today is baked. The filling is smooth and not too sweet, it pairs well with the bread.

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Red Bean Pastry: This pastry is filled with the same sweet red bean paste as the Red Bean Bun, however instead of bread it is encased in a thin flaky pastry. I like this pastry, however it can get messy as it flakes into several a mess really easily. You can tell this pastry apart from others with the same exterior but different filling by the red dot on the top. Before eating, make sure there isn’t a piece of parchment paper wrapper on the bottom! I find the ratio of filling to pastry to be 30%-70% or 60%-40% respectively.

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Winter Melon Pastry: This pastry is filled with a winter melon paste and sesame seeds for texture. I first tried this pastry many years back and at first I wasn’t really a fan of it, however I tried it more and more often and eventually it grew on me. Since my ability to distinguish flavor is fairly weak, I suggest trying this one, as to me it has a really faint sweetness and the texture of the paste is smooth.

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That concludes my review and introduction to Asian pastry and sweets. Of course, these do not encompass all of the baked goods you are to find in Asian countries, this is only just a glimpse. I really hope you all give foods you have never tried before a chance, and even if you do not like it, at least now you have experienced it and have a story to tell or suggestions to give. I hope you apply an openness and willingness to not just try different cultures baked goods but also their non bakery related cuisines as well. Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

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The Sesame Banana Bread

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Did you know that February 23rd is regarded as a National Banana Bread Day? I can’t believe I missed it! But, in honour of the national day, today’s baking is dedicated to the banana bread.

Banana’s are actually quite popular than what we could imagine! They’ve beaten apples and oranges to claim the title as world’s number one fruit, and also are the world’s fourth biggest food staple, after rice, wheat, and corn (The Telegraph). 

Besides the obvious delicious taste of banana bread, it is also very beneficial to our health. Banana’s are an excellent source of vitamins such as vitamin B6, and vitamin C, which helps us in treatment of neuritis, anemia, and also helps us develop resistance to pathogens respectively (Nutrition and You). They are also an excellent source for instant energy, as they contain a lot of carbohydrates within them (Livestrong). Additionally, the incorporation of nuts and olive into the bread, helps provide our bodies with healthy monounsaturated fats that aid in lowering cholesterol levels, and stable blood sugar levels (Livestrong).

If you want additional healthy recipes of banana bread, to pleasure just not your taste buds, but your health as well, then click here!

There are certainly different recipes to bake your own banana bread, and trust me when I say this…all of them are great! Some recipes incorporate oil to add in the lighter texture, where as others use melted butter to bring out that extra richness within the bread itself (The Telegraph). 

The recipe that I’m going to share with you on here, incorporates sesame seeds, which add a tinge of savouriness along with extra crunch to the already sweetened banana bread.

 

To start off this recipe, you would need:

  • ⅓ cup raw white sesame seeds, divided
  • ¼ cup raw black sesame seeds, divided
  • ½ cup roasted white sesame seeds
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1¾ cups cake flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups (lightly packed) dark brown sugar

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Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Meanwhile, blend the bananas in a food processor, to obtain a smooth purée. Swift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk eggs, oil, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Add in brown sugar and banana purée to the large bowl until well blended, and then whisk in your dry ingredients to combine the mixture. Fold in the toasted sesame seeds, and half cup of black sesame seeds into the batter.

 

Pour in the batter into a loaf pan, and sprinkle with remaining white and remaining black sesame seeds.

 

Bake the bread for approximately 60-70 minutes, until the tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the bread. Let the bread cool in pan, slice it, and serve!

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Nothing better than a blue sky with fluffy clouds…a cup of hot coffee…and a slice or two of sesame banana bread, that makes a perfect evening!

Thank you for reading the blog!

Hope you all have a delicious experience!