Friday, December 11, 2009

A little tradition please

Tradition is a big part of all our lives, quite simply it is the things we do over & over through time. Traditions give us a sense of grounding, make us feel safe and can bring comfort. Paterson’s Cakes is in so many ways defined by the word tradition. There is the tradition of

• The family run business- My Great Grand Father, My Grand Father, My Father & now me.
• Many of our customers have a tradition of using Paterson’s Cakes to celebrate Birthdays, Weddings & Christenings among other events
• We use traditional methods and recipes- my father even has my great grand fathers original hand written recipe books.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for tradition. No matter where you come from, if you celebrate Christmas you & yours will have your own traditions. One of my strongest childhood memories is of helping my Grandma with the Christmas pudding. She used the same recipe as the shop but she always put old coins in it for us to find in Christmas Day. We would stand on a stool at the kitchen bench and each throw in a couple of coins, makes a wish (always for the best gift from Santa) and give it a stir. Then after lunch on Christmas Day she would turn it out, set it alight and the culinary treasure hunt began.

I was never a big fan of Pudding back then but would always ask for a large slice so as to increase my chances of making it rich! After making an attempt to eat enough so as not to be wasteful and I had retrieved my loot, my next trick was to hit all the adults up for theirs (coins not pudding). My parents were a wash - I had three other siblings and they were annoyingly even handed. So it was up to the Aunts and Uncles.... When we had extracted everything we could from the pudding and our family, we approached Grandma who converted the old money to current day value. Easy money earned from eating, if only someone would pay me for it today...
Sadly Grandma is not with us this year & traditional pudding in an Australian Hot summer is a tradition whose time is passing, but it is one tradition that I love & will continue- with just a few fresh berries on the side ( “a bit of both please!”)

Plum Pudding with Brandy Sauce

Another tradition from Europe is that of Stollen. I never really understood the appeal as a child; to me it looked like old mouldy bread. How wrong I was, I discovered it as a teenager and have never looked back. It is perhaps my all time favourite Christmas treat- yeast dough, spices, fruit, nuts and baked marzipan centre.... what is not to like? Now, I know many of you are saying (possibly shouting) MARZIPAN is what is not to like! But I promise in Stollen & baked it takes on a whole new dimension & is the best

Those of you from Austrian, German, or Swiss backgrounds are bound to be thinking,” yeah but it won’t be a good as from back home” and I offer you this posted on our fan page a few weeks ago

Torie Nimmervoll
Yum Stollen, Ang I don't know if you know this but Paterson's Stollen is my grandmas favourite since she migrated here decades and decades ago. Your dad I think said it's the swiss version not the Austrian version of it however she just loves it and get nostalgic......

The art of making great versus a good Stollen is apparently in the way that the dough is rolled. The all important thing being that there is a thin layer of dough without any fruit or nuts poking through. This forms a sort of seal which with brushing with clarified butter layer of sugar applied after baking coating helps to keep it lovely and moist.

Paterson’s Stollen is a traditional Swiss recipe that Dad brought back with him after working in Zurich bakery Honold for two years, Patersons baked their first Stollen for Christmas in 1969.


So what are you favourite Christmas Food Traditions?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Crack in the Mouth

The not so humble Croque-em-Bouche has always been popular, it is fanciful and when executed well can be shear elegance. Its appearance on Master Chef captured Australia’s culinary imagination; Adrian Zumbo’s was a fine example of the Croque-em-Bouche at its best.

Following those episodes there were noticeable increases in the volume of Croque-em-Bouche related inquires our shops fielded. There were even reports of home wares stores selling out of the cones they used due to the viewing publics overwhelming desire to try it for themselves.

Broken down into it elements it can be made to appear more simple or complicated depending on your skill level & confidence- you need to master the following;

Choux Pasty
Crème Patisserie
& the Construction!!!!

From the first appearance on Master Chef it became apparent the construction was the element approached with the most trepidation and where most were brought undone. You can make the most superb Choux Puffs, Crème Patisserie and toffee but falter in the construction and you fail. Your Croque-em-Bouche is nothing more than a pile of toffee dipped profiteroles, sweet rubble- delicious, but a disaster none the less. You may as well wear a tracksuit to the wedding!

Over the years I have witnessed many an apprentice and even qualified chef having a bad day, construct what could be mistaken for a tribute to Italy’s leaning tower of Pizza rather than the majestic French Wedding Cake.

With this in mind I have videoed a Croque-em-Bouche under construction so we amateurs might get some tips. I had planned to post this last week & would have done so except for my technical limitations....

Crack in the Mouth- some photo's

These photo’s illustrate some of the different ways we have been asked to decorate them.

 Toffee, Roses and Gyp

1990 Ski fanatic
 White Chocolate

2000's Milestone Birthday's
            Dark Chocolate Ribbons, Stars & Sparklers

       It is all about the toffee!