Like on facebook Follow on Twitter Subscribe to Posts! View Instagram Feed Pastry Affair on Pinterest
RECENT POSTS




subscribe
Subscribe to posts! Connect on facebook! View flickr page! Add to google reader!

To receive RSS updates
Click here
subscribe via email

Entries in cardamom (4)

Monday
Dec102012

Almond Cardamom Rolls

Almond Cardamom Croissants

In a hidden gem of a bakery in the vibrant city of Montreal, I sat down to my first almond croissant. The tiny bakery, Kouign-Amann, held only 3 tables, but the atmosphere felt so cozy and inviting it made me feel as if I belonged. The bakery was open to the kitchen where the bakers rolled out beautiful sheets of homemade puff pastry. The pastries were classically French, but the bakery had a vibe that could only come from the soul of Montreal. Despite its small size, I had never encountered a more active bakery in my life (and I doubt I will again) as the door swung open so often I rarely saw it close for more than a moment.

On this particular day, I was lucky enough to find myself a seat at a table. The almond croissant was larger than my two fists put together, standing tall from the flaky layers. Covered with powdered sugar and sliced almonds, I found it a mess to eat as the tender crumbs scattered over the table and onto my lap as the croissant gradually disappeared. Somehow, though, it was perfect.

Perfect for the moment, perfect for the city, perfect for the place I was at in my life.

Almond Cardamom Croissants Almond Cardamom Croissants

My roommate introduced me to the bakery a few days earlier. I had just moved into an apartment a few blocks down and to break up the rush of a trip to buy furniture, she pulled me into the small bakery on our walk to the metro, ordered me a plain croissant, and warned me that it would be the best I would ever eat. She was right.

From then on, I walked past the bakery regularly as I made my way around the city. The bakery, to its credit, kept the ovens on throughout the day so it was possible to get warm pastries any time of day. The temptation to resist, I found, was often too much. Every time I made my way through the bakery door, I fell a little more in love with pastries, more smitten with baking.

Almond Cardamom Croissants

It was a cold fall afternoon when I stepped in the bakery after a rush of holiday shopping. The bakery was humid, as the hot air from the ovens mixed with the frigid air from outdoors. I ordered an almond croissant and managed to snag one of the coveted seats in the busy room, dropping my packages by my feet. French language bounced off the walls as the windows fogged over with steam, condensation running down the panes to reveal the bustling street outside. An old man sat across from me, a newspaper spread across the table, a coffee in hand. The moment itself made me feel so rich, so alive. Emboldened by the atmosphere and a mouthful of croissant, I made up my mind about a decision that had been haunting me for quite some time.

It was the moment I made the decision to pursue pastries.

Almond Cardamom Croissants

Almond Cardamom Rolls are inspired from the pastries I fell in love with in Montreal. The dough is no-knead, which makes it much less work than its traditional counterpart. A touch of sour cream brings a tenderness to the rolls and the addition of cardamom adds the right amount of spice. The rolls are filled with a mixture of almond paste and brown sugar, which is rich and deeply flavorful. A simple vanilla glaze and a sprinkle of sliced almonds finishes off the light rolls. The rolls can also be made the night before and baked the next morning to serve warm for family and friends.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug312012

Vanilla Bean Cardamom Peach Pie

Vanilla Cardamom Peach Pie

Long, languid summer afternoons are quickly becoming fond memories as I find myself surrounded by textbooks and a mountain of responsibilities. For many reasons, I wish I could go back to those summer days, despite the heat swells that kept my apartment at a blistering degree. The transition between seasons always feels unexpected to me; no matter how much my brain anticipates its arrival, my body falls into a state of confusion. The hot air from summer days still plagues me as I walk around sweating in a pair of blue jeans and a sweater, questioning why I expected cooler temperatures just because the routines of fall had arrived.

Between the transitions, I get caught between the seasons, wearing skirts in chilled temperatures and turning on the oven when the warmth of summer hasn't gone.

Vanilla Cardamom Peach Pie

Part of me is still drawn to summer, as I buy fresh berries for my breakfast, purposefully overlooking the rising price of the fruit. I bought my last bag of cherries for the season at the market last week, the moment hitting me unusually hard as I realized summer was truly coming to an end.

My sister, on the other hand, has been ready for fall for the last month. Ahead of the game, her new fall wardrobe has already been purchased, hanging in the closet as she anxiously awaits the temperatures to drop. Perhaps most of all, she has been looking forward to the flavors of autumn. Filling my inbox with pumpkin recipes I must make for her, she can't stop talking about eating her weight in pumpkin cheesecake.

In a way, the two of us complement one another—as I grasp onto the remains of summer, she is fully embracing the spice of fall. Together we are helping each other through the transition of the seasons.

Vanilla Cardamom Peach Pie

Last weekend, I was trying to find a recipe that reflected this passage of weather and life. The morning was unusually cool and overcast, as I snuggled into the couch with a blanket around my shoulders and warm socks covering my toes. For the first time in months, the temperature had dropped in my apartment and the thought of turning on the oven finally seemed like a perfect idea. After months of looking for no-bake recipes or recipes with limited baking, I missed my oven and the warmth it could bring into bodies and homes.

I turned it on, rolled out pie dough on the counter top, and somewhere along the way this pie took form. The fresh fruit of summer and the spices of fall combine to create a pie for transitions. As if to live up to its purpose, the weather began to clear while the pie cooled on top of the oven. Just as I cut into the first piece, I heard a splash from someone jumping into a nearby pool.

While the weather (or your heart) may be between seasons, this pie will help to bridge the gap, creating a space where you can enjoy a slice of both at precisely the same time.

Vanilla Cardamom Peach Pie

Vanilla Bean Cardamom Peach Pie is bright and fragrant, with a sugar sprinkled crust to hold in the flavor. Fresh, ripe peaches combine with aromatic cardamom and a hint of vanilla, baking in the oven until the fruit softens and bubbles in its own juices. You may choose to use whichever pie crust recipe you prefer (I've provided a link to my favorite below), but as long as it bakes up golden and flaky, you can do no wrong. Whether you are still longing for summer or waiting to embrace the flavors of fall, this pie will be suited just for you.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug062012

Maple Roasted Peaches with Coconut Whipped Cream

Maple Roasted Peaches

Fresh garden vegetables are one of the few reasons I look forward to the end of summer. Newly harvested vegetables are among my favorite summer pleasures, as I admire the bright colors and fresh scents of ripening plants. The sharp snap of a tomato being picked from the vine and the hard tug on the top of a buried onion remind me once again why food has become such a large part in my life. There's something unique about burying your hands in dirt to uncover the carrots hidden below—I'm always curious to see how large they have grown—or find the ripe cucumbers hidden among the plants' leaves.

Oh, don't get me started on the difference in taste...

Maple Roasted Peaches

This year I don't have a backyard garden to tend. Since moving away from home, I'm suddenly much farther from the garden in my parent's backyard than I might like. While I don't miss looking after the plants myself (I've never been much of a gardener), I do miss the rewards after a few months of hard work. I tried to start a small herb garden on my apartment balcony, but the plants died a miserable death relatively quickly, shriveling under the sunlight despite the careful watering.

The plants, now a shade of brown and death, still sit on the deck. I ignorantly hope they will come back alive overnight and surprise me by sprouting new leaves, but I have a feeling that little fantasy won't come true.

Maple Roasted Peaches

Fruit is one of my favorite parts of the summer harvest. My kitchen is often filled with several pounds of sweet berries, as they vie with the stone fruits for counter space. When I'm not certain if my stone fruits are ripe and ready to eat or still in transition, I like to roast them in the oven or cook them on the grill. Roasting fruits brings out a deep flavor and caramelizes the sugar in the fruit, creating a masterpiece out of the most unremarkable of fruits.

With a sprinkling of sugar and a dash of spice, roasted fruit can easily take center stage to a summer meal.

Maple Roasted Peaches

Maple Roasted Peaches are a sweet way to enjoy fresh summer fruit. I almost don't need to share a recipe for roasted peaches with you because they are so simple to make, but the combination of maple syrup, cardamom, and coconut whipped cream is honestly something special. The coconut whipped cream needs to be made the evening prior (or at least 8 hours before serving), so it does require a bit of thinking ahead, but you could certainly substitute the coconut whipped cream for traditional whipped cream, yogurt, or vanilla ice cream.

Click to read more ...