Pretzels – See you Series 4

First and foremost an update for all those who have been on pins and needles regarding the Charlotte Royal.  They ate it AND they said it was good!  Although I should mention it was consumed after consuming several drinks and a delicious meal (they may have been drunk and or groggy).  It maintained its brain shape after coming out of the bowl and the bavarois was fruity and jiggly.  I think we all benefitted from the fact that I skipped coving the whole thing in goo, but mostly me because I didn’t have to spend hours tracking down arrowroot. So there you have it, another retro dessert in the bag.

Now on to Pretzels.  I have been adopted into a family that worships the gods of baseball.  Since meeting my husband I have memorized entire team rosters, learned how to properly score and game and spent a Thanksgiving at the Baseball Hall of fame.  And while I don’t think any of my many hours spent watching baseball have included pretzels this bake seems like a homage to baseball fans everywhere. And I can almost guarantee more than one of these pretzels will be consumed while watching a game, even if it is from our couch.

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Apricot Chapeau

Parlez vous francais? Me neither.  Although really I should, I went to French immersion school for grades 7 and 8.  After two years at Jeanne Sauve Public School my most prominent memories are of the oatmeal cookies they used to sell at recess and the turtle shaped piggy bank I made in tech class.  I still talk about those oatmeal cookies and that turtle is hanging around somewhere but the French language?  Gone.  Which is why when I was looking at this recipe it never dawned on me that couronne means crown.  I blame the public school system.

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A Lesson In Tuiles

Before taking on this challenge of baking all the technicals my go to recipes to scratch the baking itch would mostly be muffins and cookies.  With a smattering of bread mixed in. Usually, it would be a Friday night (I party hard at my house) and I would feel like baking.  The next twenty minutes would consist of me scrolling through Pinterest for things like the ultimate best ever oatmeal cookies, followed by 20 minutes of mixing, scooping and baking.  Most of the recipes I chose would produce thick and chewy cookies that would cause some serious post cookie guilt if you ate more than one.

This whole undertaking has changed so many things about baking for me. I have a new appreciation for baking that isn’t heavy and indulgent but instead is light and delicate.   But the thing that has changed the most is that these recipes are so dainty that I ate about 12 tuiles last night and didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it!

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Egg Custard Tarts

Arguably one of my all-time favourite desserts, other than that isn’t my Mom’s lemon pound cake (that I still love in the face of my current disdain for lemons), my Mom’s Rice Krispie squares, or really anything my Mom bakes, is a Portuguese Custard Tart or pastéis de nata. Sadly I’ve never been to Portugal and tried an authentic pastéis de nata but I have sampled as many as I can get my hands on from various bakeries and they are all delicious.  The bright yellow egg custard is lightly flavoured with cinnamon and perfectly bruleed on top.

Now that I’ve got you salivating over Portuguese Custard Tarts it’s time for me to tell you these are not the same.  As sad as I was to learn that I wasn’t going to be mastering the Portuguese classic I did find out that the UK Egg Custard Tarts have a following of their own.  And who doesn’t love a bit of food history with their baking?  These tarts date back to the middle ages! Although I would have to wait to try my hand at the Portuguese version I was happy to be moving onto another British classic.

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