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Entries in blueberry (18)

Thursday
Aug152013

Blueberry Braided Bread From Emma of Poires au Chocolat

Blueberry Braided Bread | Emma of Poires au Chocolat on Pastry Affair

I discovered Emma's blog, Poires au Chocolat, soon after starting my own. The French name drew me in, validating my equal love of chocolate and pear cake, one of the recipes that inspired me to begin blogging. Emma's photography mixes simplicity and honesty with ease and grace, making it feel as if I am in the kitchen alongside her. Her voice is so real and truthful that I feel like I've gotten to know her well, despite living an ocean away. Simply put, her blog is lovely.

I'm honoured to be writing for Pastry Affair today. I've been following along for a few years now, watching Kristin's path weave side to side, just like my own.

Blueberry Braided Bread | Emma of Poires au Chocolat on Pastry Affair

In short (if only life was this simple and factual), I started out studying medieval literature (Old and Middle English, Old French, Chaucer, Julian of Norwich and so on). In my final year, after two years of blogging, I decided to train in pâtisserie. I spent six months at Cordon Bleu. A few months later, I left pastry and my first cookbook proposal to return to Oxford and medieval literature.

Yet my path soon twisted again and last Christmas I chose to return to food instead of pursuing a career in academia. I've stayed in my favourite city and as well as working on my blog (supplemented by tutoring, much like Kristin did), I'm now developing another book idea. It's a book that will be all the better for the twists and turns of the past few years.

As Kristin said in a post last year, "my path may be riddled with curves, but I've learned to embrace the zigs and zags of my road."

Blueberry Braided Bread | Emma of Poires au Chocolat on Pastry Affair

Just like the braids of this bread, sometimes our dreams can be multiple and interwoven, each one taking priority at different times. One strand is at the front, then the next. Neither one ever goes away and both are always connected to the centre.

I'll always have my studies in the background, nudging me every now and again - is it my turn yet? I don't know at the moment if it will ever get a turn again - but then maybe it will, in one form or another. I've learnt that I never know until I hit the peak - that glorious, heady moment as a child when you reach the top of the swing, legs kicking to get higher, before you hurtle backwards again.

It's that moment when you realise you have no choice but to change, to pull the next strand on top, creating your braid. It repeats until you reach the end and the final strand is tucked under. How do I know if I have reached that point? I can only trust.

Blueberry Braided Bread | Emma of Poires au Chocolat on Pastry Affair

Though the braiding technique can look a bit intimidating, it's not bad once you've got your head around it.

There are lots of different ways to fill these braids. The first one I tried used lemon curd along with the creamy filling. I've also made a version filled with salted caramel, walnuts and meringue and a different bread recipe, which was pretty amazing (I made it for a challenge, I don't think I'd include meringue again). I like the creamy-fruit type for breakfast or brunch. I made a simple blueberry compote here but you could use other fruits or possibly use a not-too-sweet jam.

Blueberry Braided Bread | Emma of Poires au Chocolat on Pastry Affair

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Sunday
Jun302013

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake Tarts

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

The Fourth of July is one of those holidays that I hold close to my heart. It may not have the magic of Christmas or the table spread of Thanksgiving, but it has its own charm. Laughter, love, hot plates of grilled food, the boom of a good firecracker, and the glow of a flickering bonfire—these are things that define the holiday for me. During the long days of summer, taking a break, even for a day, to start up the grill or enjoy the warm sun with friends and family feels like a blessing.

This year I can't wait to lay beneath the stars and watch the fireworks explode brilliantly above.

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

For celebrations and get-togethers, I like to challenge myself to come up with a new dessert to serve my loved ones. In the case of the Fourth of July, when potlucks and picnics are plentiful, the dessert should be portable and require no special dishes so they can be quickly snatched from the table and enjoyed on the run. While I debated between popsicles and pies, ultimately the decision made itself when I spied the red and blue berries at the market.

Though these do need to be kept chilled, these festive no-bake cheesecakes fit the holiday just right. The cheesecakes can be whipped up in less than an hour, making them an easy dessert to prepare (and an even easier dessert to devour).

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

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Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake Tarts are a fantastic way to celebrate summer. A soft sugar cookie crust is filled with a heaping helping of vanilla cheesecake filling. The filling is whipped, which gives the tarts a light quality. Topped with fresh raspberries and blueberries, the tarts play between sweet and tart, never swaying too far in one direction. These tarts make for a lovely end to a vibrant summer meal.

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Sunday
Feb242013

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes

Weekend mornings are meant for a little luxury. Sleeping in until the morning sun gently wakes me, slowly bringing up the radiant light through the bedroom windows, instead of the sharp, loud beep of an alarm clock is bliss. Lazily scrolling through internet pages and listening to the morning news in pajama bottoms and a wild case of bedhead is indulgence. The smell of coffee and a small stack of pancakes with a drizzle of maple syrup is joy.

If weekends were not meant for luxury, then when?

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes

When I was younger, my mother often made pancakes for Sunday morning brunch. Eggs were scrambled, bacon was sizzling on the stove, and the maple syrup was warmed in preparation of the feast. Yet, for some unspeakable reason, I had decided I did not like pancakes, lifting my nose up at them until my mother grew exasperated. Looking back, I cannot quite understand what exactly was going on in my mind, but I do feel I owe my mother an apology. I feel a little silly now, inventing my own pancake recipes, when just years ago my mother could only get me to try a bite if she sprinkled chocolate chips over them.

I am thankful my taste buds have grown up with the rest of me.

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes

One winter weekend morning, when the sun was shining and the windows were frosted with snow, the mood felt right to stay in and have a warm breakfast. I whisked together the ingredients for blueberry lemon pancakes and heated up a frying pan. Typically, I make large pancakes, simply because they are easy to cook and I have to spend less time hovering over a griddle. For these pancakes, however, the lazy feel of the morning had spread from my head down to my fuzzy sock covered toes and I decided a true short stack was in order. I cooked the pancakes one at time, patiently trying to flip them at just the right moment (and failing, most of the time. It is still a skill I have yet to master).

A secret of the food photographers trade: hide the too dark pancakes in the middle of the stack and perhaps no one will notice. Browned or not, these pancakes punctuated the morning with just the right amount of luxury.

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes are destined for weekend morning breakfasts. The pancake batter has a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour to give them an extra heartiness. Speckled with fresh blueberries and lemon zest, the flavor is bold and pronounced. For true lemon lovers, you may add a tablespoon of lemon juice to give the pancakes a bit more punch. With a drizzle of maple (or blueberry) syrup, these pancakes become the weekend breakfast of champions.

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