Early January and a New Year already - Oh My!
I recognize that I have not contributed since just before Halloween however, I have been working away on various styling jobs and trying to move things forward on the post-house-fire rebuild of the house. Then before one knows it, it is "the season" and some things kick up into a crazy orbit, while other aspects of work become calm until the New Year. Styling was quieter in December this year than others, just one of those things. My friends who are Stir Crazy Catering were going gangbusters with their fantastic tourtières: they made over 500 in December, one day I helped them and we made 91 of the delectable savoury tarts. Did I mention that they do not have a sheeter - the machine that rolls out dough to specified thicknesses.... and hence all dough was lovingly and manually rolled. Their tourtières are sold through "A Taste of Quebec", the Québécois food emporium located in Toronto's Distillery district.
Christmas Eve is our household starts out with eating a Stir Crazy tourtière, participating in the local live-crêche scene in the city-run farm across the street from us where my husband and I are the Innkeeper & Wife in almost perpetuity. Our daughter has graduated from "Angel"in the manger to a "Shepard" with a few lines.
I really enjoy baking and Christmas time is no exception. I make a variety of treats, some are once-offs and others I make every year - or else! I have taken to making Bûche de Noël every year now for several years and I like to switch up the decor. One year I toasted sliced almonds and then placed them with the help of tiny tweezers in an overlapping pattern the length of the bûche so as to emulate tree bark. Another year I made a praline of toasted hazelnuts and caramel and crushed it in the food processor. I then applied this to the iced exterior of the bûche for a sparkly bark look. I switch up the fillings too, sometimes chocolate buttercream, sometimes the filling from my salted caramel macarons recipe.... This year chocolate prevailed. I decorated the exterior of the chocolate Bûches with chocolate snowflakes outlined with royal icing. No idea what I will do for bûche 2011, however after havine seen the documentary "Kings of Pastry" which follows three contestants in the Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition, aka "MOFs". I have so much to aspire to and much to keep me inspired. Bonne Année et bon appétit!