Friday, May 10, 2013

Another birthday to celebrate at a cost

It's is our Brazilian medical student researcher's birthday!! Well actually tomorrow is but since that would be a weekend it means we have an excuse to get a cake today!  Yay!  The mentor of the student happily volunteered to pick up something from one of the better bakeries in Providence.  Pastiche is a bakery and cafe located in the Italian American Federal Hill part of PVD and is very popular. It was supposedly very popular in the afternoon, as was the whole of Federal Hill, when the cake was bought but that's what a nice day will get you.

The birthday girl and something to celebrate with!

One of the better places in Providence!

It was a good choice!

As lovely as always!

Mentor and mentee ready to sever it up!

We ended up with one of Pastiche's signature fruit tarts. These are always very good.  The fruit is fresh, the pastry cream in which the fruit sits is very light and not starchy at all.  The pastry bottom is not at all dense adding to the lightness of the tart overall. It makes it a lost easier to eat.  Furthermore they have a good selection of fruit added that is usually very artfully displayed.  This one had the usual strawberries and kiwis. In addition there were also blueberries, raspberries, grapefruit and mango slices. If they had tossed in something purple we would have had the rainbow flag!  Truth be told these are always quite lovely.  What is not so lovely any more is the price of this thing.  It is up to $45.00. That is a lot of money for a cake which is something that is going to disappear rather quickly given its size.  But we won't grumble given that it is for someone's natal day.

Good looking tart but getting a little pricey at $45.00
As another treat our birthday girl was serenaded with several versions of Happy Birthday in Spanish and Portuguese thanks to the computer of one of our colleagues. We also gave her our own butchered version live and unplugged.  How could she not love it!
In contrast the birthday songs were free!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A leftover selection and testing some puff pastry

Today there was no cake to be had...gotta work on that sign up sheet.  As backup we had a bag of Quadrattini...those special wafer treats from the area in northern Italy known as Alto Adige in Italian and S├╝dtirol or South Tyrol in German. The majority of the population is German. Interesting that they are described as Germans and not Austrians even though the territory was once part of Austria. Apparently only the German speaking people who live in Austria are Austrians.

This is what we came up with for the day!
The German/Italian treat from an Austrian business.
We are not strangers to these thing and enjoy them quite a lot. Today's flavor we have not had before. It was Espresso. We've had the cappuccino version before which we enjoyed. Presumably these would have a more intense coffee flavor and indeed they did.  These are always a nice treat to have and of course they are certifiably organic and all that stuff. Just see the attached label.

Lots of stuff to tell on the back.
Details on the "natural" ingredients.
In addition we are still holding onto the big chocolate Easter Bunny that was brought for Easter well over a month ago.  We've been plowing through other stuff so the Bunny is still around.  We probably would have devoured it also but stop the presses someone showed up with other unexpected treats.
These were small puff pastry concoctions made by one of our in house bakers.  Apparently she is trying to learn and perfect how to make these kinds of sweets from scratch. None of that buying the frozen Pillsbury or whatever dough and settling for mass produced. Nope, our friend is honing her instincts and learning how to make such things the old way.  We were very happy to be her guinea pigs in terms of trying out the batch.

Almost bite size elephant ears of palmiers.
The treats she made were in a shape that is well known to pastry aficionados.  They are referred to as "Elephant Ears" or palmiers.  These were very much a smaller version as the actual ones can sometimes be the size of a real elephant ear and be quite a mouthful.  These were much more civilized in terms of their size. They were also light and puffy as they should be and not too sweet.  As a first attempt at preparing and baking puff pastries from scratch we conclude that our "novice" baker is off to a great start. We look forward to the next attempt.  Incidentally the Easter Bunny still has not been eaten!
Around for another time!