Archive for March, 2010

Holy Week & Easter

Friday, March 26th, 2010

It’s only a little over a week until Easter, so it’s time to post all the special products we will have available.  In truth, we are keeping things pretty much the same as last year, so this is mostly a reworking of last year’s post about them.

Lamb Cake
Lamb Cake

Lamb Cakes are a tradition that is probably strongest in eastern Europe.  Our lamb is made from lemon zest butter cake, decorated with vanilla bean butter cream, and sitting on a bed of coconut “grass”.  One cake will serve 10 to 12 people.  They will be available for pick up on Friday or Saturday (April 2nd, or 3rd), and need to be ordered in advance.  We will not be baking any extras.

If you don’t need a full size cake, we will also be baking Chocolate Egg Cakes sized to serve 1 or 2.  They are layered and decorated with vanilla bean butter cream and marzipan.  They will be available Wed – Saturday before Easter.

Cardamon Easter Bread
Cardamon Easter Bread

Following the precedent we’ve set for other holidays, we will be baking a celebratory holiday bread that is spectacular!  Our Cardamon Easter Bread is made from cardamom spiced sweet dough heavily enriched with eggs, butter and brandy soaked golden raisins.  Strands of the dough are twisted into a ring and 3 colored Easter eggs are nested amongst the strands and baked right into the bread.  (The picture shows one made with 4 eggs.)  It tastes as good as it looks, and will serve 10 to 12 people.  The cardamom Easter bread will be available Saturday 3 April.

Sadly, this bread was my biggest disappointment of last year.  It was the first time we’d baked a cardamon bread, and I underestimated the amount of cardamon required to give it the flavor I wanted.  Also, the procedure we followed to get them baked in a timely manner, created a lot of condensation which washed most of the color off the eggs and onto the bread.  Since that time, we’ve been baking cardamon bread regularly and have our recipes tuned to the Yooper palette.  We also developed a new approach to baking the bread to avoid the condensation problem.  If you were disappointed last year, please give it another try.

Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns

Throughout lent, we have been baking Hot Cross Buns every Wednesday.  We will continue that during holy week, and also bake one final batch on Good Friday (April 2nd) — the day most associated with hot cross buns.   The buns are spiced with allspice and contain currants and golden raisins.  They are a traditional British favorite and the ones we make come from that tradition.

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We are continuing to make our delightfully rich and delicious Sugar Cookies as quickly as we can.  For Easter, they will be shaped and decorated as eggs, bunnies, chicks and other Easter classics.

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Parisian Macaron
Parisian Macaron

Another cookie we will be baking again next week is our Parisian Macaron.  These pastel colored, lavender, chocolate, or almond flavored meringue cookies are sandwiched together with buttercream.  One bite will transport you to springtime Paris.  They will be available Wednesday – Saturday (March 31st – April 3rd)

We will continue to bake our usual assortment of breads and french rolls throughout the week.  In addition we will be baking roll versions of our cracked wheat on Saturday.  Please call ahead so you are sure to have rolls for your Easter dinner.

Around the holidays, many items sell out quickly!  We accept special orders for any of our breads and pastries.  Please let us know what you want in advance so we can hold them for you.

I hope everyone has a happy Easter.  See you at the bakery!

Peter

St. Patrick’s Day

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

We’re bouncing along from one holiday to the next.  It’s time celebrate all things Irish tomorrow!  We’ll be baking Irish Soda Bread, of course.  Soda bread is a simple everyday baking soda leavened bread and we’ll be baking 3 different versions:

First, we’ll have the most traditional version.  It’s known as “Brown Bread” in the republic, and “Wheaten” in the north.  It’s the same recipe we make every month on the 3rd Thursday and is made with coarse stone ground whole wheat flour.

For those looking for a lighter taste, we are making a White Soda Bread.  It has the same characteristic soda taste, but it is less dense, lighter in color and has milder flavor.

Finally, we will be making a dessert version known as Spotted Dog.  It is a sweetened version of the white soda bread with raisins.

For something richer and more celebratory, we will be baking Whiskey Brack again this year.  Whiskey Brack is a sweet, very buttery round bread loaded with Irish Whiskey soaked golden raisins and currants.  (Unfortunately, my supplier can’t get currants right now, so I am substituting dark midget raisins for them in all the items that normally have currants.)  It’s not really the same, but I think of it as the Irish version of the German Stollen we baked for Christmas.

Celtic Knot

Celtic Knot

What started out as a bit of fun, might turn out to be the most elegant pieces we’ve done in a while.  We will be turning some of our baguette dough into Celtic knots.  The knots can be used as dinner centerpieces , but then pulled apart and eaten.  I think we will need to use 2 Baguettes worth of dough to make each one, so there will be enough in each knot for several people.

For those with a sweet tooth, look for our cutout sugar cookies shaped and decorated as shamrocks.

I think that covers everything we’re doing for St. Patrick’s day this year.  We talked about Corned Beef and Cabbage Filled Croissant, but sorry, we weren’t organized enough to pull it together.  Maybe next year…

Peter

PS: Did you catch the front page Mining Journal article that Johanna Boyle wrote about my recent talk at NMU?  Check it out if you didn’t.

St Piran’s Day

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Tomorrow, March 5th, is St Piran’s Day.

St Piran's Flag

St Piran's Flag

St Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall and tin mining.  And his flag has become a symbol of Cornish heritage.

In honor of St Piran, we will be baking an extra batch of our Cornish Saffron Buns and a few sugar cookies decorated like his flag.  If things work out, we’ll be flying St Piran’s flag from our sign out front.

We are continuing to bake Hot Cross Buns every Wednesday during  Lent.  We will continue to do that until Holy Week — the last week of March.  That week, we will bake them on Good Friday instead of Wednesday; and that will be the last of the Hot Cross Buns until next year.