how sweet it is
There’s no denying it. I have a sweet tooth. Anyone who has worked with me has likely caught me red-handed in the chocolate chip tub, or sneaking a shortbread cookie when I thought no one was looking. It’s likely a large part of the reason why my shape is round, but, hey, no one trusts a skinny chef anyway do they?
You would think that given my love for all the sweeter things in life I would be decent at cooking them, but the truth is that my baking skills leave something to be desired.
While cooking relies on a good foundation of the basics and then a whole lot of gut instinct, and adjusting course as we go, trusting our taste buds, baking is far less fly by the seat of your pants, and far more precise measurement, with each ingredient not only providing elements of flavour, but also contributing to the success or failure of the end result.
I think that’s why most chefs tend to stray away from the pastry department, leaving that job for people with more patience, focus and attention to detail, like a pastry chef. That’s also why so many smaller restaurants tend to have rather simple desserts on their menus, as very few of them have the cash flow to afford having a pastry chef on their team.
I’ll be the first to admit that this is the case at Workshop Eatery. We focus on fairly simple pastries and baked goods, ones that we can recreate consistently, but continue to make from scratch and be proud of. I would sooner do that than to purchase fancy garnishes or pre-made baked goods.
We try to keep things fresh, changing things up seasonally, working with what is readily available at the time of year. When it gets to this time of year, things get a little scarce.
Our newest addition to the menu this fall is a crème caramel. This dish has origins back to the original kitchens of France. The dish consists of a simple sugar syrup cooked to a caramel stage, then poured into the mold before adding the rich egg custard. It is then cooked in a water bath in the oven until the custard sets firm. It is then cooled, then flipped out onto a plate, with the soft caramel drizzling down over the perfectly set custard.
This basic dish finds a variety of interpretations throughout many cultures all over the world. In our case, we don’t mess with the classic.