Lan May - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Spring means…meyer lemons! Originally from China, meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin. I used meyer lemons for numrous desserts –from cakes and financiers to macarons. But, in my opinion, the best dessert to showcase them is the lemon cream pie.

I make a flaky, all-butter crust to compliment the silky-smooth tang of the lemon cream. I finish it off with a dollop of marshmallow meringue on top, and voila! Simple yet very satisfying.

 My spring doesn’t begin until I’ve make my annual visit to Jasper’s house. His dwarf meyer lemon tree produces thousands of lemons, and fills the air with a sweet fragrance. This year, I’ve been spoiled by my friends. Imagine my surprise when I found these beauties waiting for me on my front porch. Thank you for delivering, Rey and Alfred!

 bucket of lemons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jasper’s lemons are organic, which allows me to use both the juice and zest.

I juice and zest the meyer lemons and combine them with eggs, sugar, and butter. Using a double broiler, I cook the cream slowly until it has a thick consistency.

 

 lemon cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next is the crust. After many experiments, I’ve finally come up with a flaky, buttery crust without any transfat or lard.  Look at these cuties!

 pie crust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the crust has cooled, I add the lemon cream, and finish with a dollop of marshmallow meringue!

 

 lemon pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright! I’m coming over Jasper, Alfred, and Rey, so I hope you are all hungry!!!

  lemon final2

Lan April - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Last summer I spent several weeks traveling through Japan. During my first trip I was amazed by the culture and the beauty of the country. This time, I fell in love with the food and the people.

Ramen: I had ramen for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afteroon snack.

At my favorite ramen shop, Ichiran, you select at a vending machine how you want your bowl of ramen to be. Mine: roasted pork broth, extra chewy noodles, medium spicy, boiled egg, and green onion please!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sashimi: my absolute best meal was at a restaurant in Hiroshima. I couldn’t read the name of the restaurant or the menu or the price and the waiter didn’t speak English.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I ordered was the most delicious surprise! I still keep the handwritten receipt on my fridge

 photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, Japan is home to some of the best desserts in the world.

Eclairs! My favorite dessert:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I entered an Illy coffee to find shelter from the monsoon rain and what Ialso found was the best Kouingn Amman I’ve ever had. Better than the Kouingn Ammann in France where they originated, and even better than Pierre Herme’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kouign Amman was so good and so perfect, I had to find the baker and congratulate her. Although we didn’t speak the same language, we just connected and she is one of my best memories of Japan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese cheesecake: it’s actually rare to find a long line of customers waiting for any restaurant or bakery in Japan. When I saw a long line in front of Rikuro at midnight, I knew something special was coming out of that oven, and so I did what the locals do and ordered the specialty.  Rikuro makes a mean Japanese style cheesecake ( New York cheesecake meets French soufflé). It was so good that I went home to the US with 6 more cakes.

 

 

 

Lan April - 11 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Growing up in France, I spent my early life eating lots and lots of  cheese. However, goat cheese was never a favorite until my friend Winter introduced me to goat cheese caramels. Surprise! it was delicious. For my macarons, I’m adding some milk chocolate and cream to create a creamy goat cheese ganache. Hope you like it!

 

goat11 goat2

Lan February - 18 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

I’m excited when a client asks me to bake for his/her wedding day, baby shower, or birthday. Having the opportunity to get to know someone and learn about their story is definitely one of the best part of my job,  and I feel fortunate to be part of such a special day.

 

A baby shower with vanilla and pistachio macarons:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wedding with caramelized raspberries and earl grey milk chocolate macarons:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A opening night event with chocolate, red velvet, passion fruit, and meyer lemon macarons:

 

 

 

 

Lan February - 14 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Meyer lemon -  Every year, I harvest hundreds to meyer lemons from Jasper’s amazing tree in Tracy, CA (more on this later). I combine both the  juices and zests to create a luscious cream that is sweet, tart, and fragrant.

Chocolate- I use my favorite Belgium dark chocolate to create a silky ganache.

Chai tea- This is a new flavor! Billow has been creating my very own chai blend since my college days. I can’t wait for you to try her tea as it is absolutely delicious. Billow carefully roasts a blend of spices to develop their aromas. I then add some black tea, cream, and white chocolate and tada!

Salted Butter Caramel-Caramel, fleur de sel, butter, and pecans. This flavor is a tribute to my wonderful Godmother, Marie Louise, who is from Normandy, France. Normandy is known for its rich butter and caramels.

Red Velvet- Inspired by my favorite red velvet cake, Amy’s in NYC, this macaron has a cream cheese filling and a touch a cocoa.

 

 

 

Lan September - 21 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Fall is finally here!

I hope you all had a wonderful summer. I spent two great weeks in Japan (a post on my trip to come), harvested some 100 lbs of heirloom tomatoes from my backyard, and made enough tomatoe sauce for a year (some pics later)

Here are the flavors of macarons for this fall:

Caramelized raspberry:
Caramel slowly cooked with raspberry purée until the consistency resembles jam. I add some white chocolate at the end for extra creaminess.

Earl Grey milk chocolate:
I infuse cream with my favorite Earl grey tea before adding the chocolate to create a ganache. This macaron has the delicate taste of the tea, the chocolate adds depth, and the bergamot is uplifting.

Dark chocolate ganache:
I use a rich Belgium dark chocolate and a touch of salt to balance flavor. Simple and perfect.

Pistachio honey:
It took half a year to create this flavor, but the effort paid off and this is one of my customers’ favorite.
I infuse white chocolate with roasted pistachios and honey. This macaron is nutty, creamy, and the pistachio comes through nicely.

Vanilla cream:
I add Tahitian and Bourbon vanilla to a white chocolate ganache. Bourbon vanilla has depth, Tahitian vanilla adds floral notes and a long finish. This creamy macaron is decadent.

Lan February - 10 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS
Impress your special someone  with a box of macarons for Valentine’s day!
Flavors are:
Lychee Strawberry
Chocolate
Meyer Lemon
Dark Chocolate Strawberry
and Vanilla Black Currant Milk Chocolate
He or she will fall in love with you.
Find them at Hopkins St Bakery
1584 Hopkins Street
Berkeley, California 94707
(510) 526-8188
Lan December - 19 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

macaron ornament

Lan December - 2 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

gift box of 10 macarons

 

Lan October - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 

Tiramisu:

Last summer I had dinner with an old friend in Berkeley, and she chose her favorite Italian restaurant on Shattuck ave. A bite of Lo Coco’s tiramisu and I was hooked. It was creamy and light with the perfect amount of coffee and cocoa powder.

Too bad I didn’t know about Lo Coco’s when I was at Cal!

Here is my tiramisu macaron:

Mascarpone cheese made in-house, then added to coffee reduction. The shell is dusted with cocoa powder. The almond in the shell adds a nice dimension to this classic flavor.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin cream pie:

When I lived in France, there was no pumpkin dessert. I am not sure why pumpkin pie isn’t popular there. Perhaps it’s because the French don’t really cook with spices like the Americans do. 

My pumpkin cream macaron has a light pumpkin buttercream infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. 

 The shell is colored with turmeric and sprinkled with cinnamon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candied Pecan:

Last spring I spent an afternoon at Yo’s house removing pecans from their shells. It was so much work! I now see shelled pecans as a treasure from above.

The candied pecan macaron has a creamy pecan buttercream with a candied pecan in the middle. Soft, chewy, and crunchy; this macaron’s got texturality!

 

 

 

 

 

Lan October - 19 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

I have always wanted to have an Italian nonna, who would take the time to patiently

teach me the art of authentic, Italian cuisine. After another disastrous ‘pasta day’ in

my kitchen, I couldn’t help complaining to my friend, Frances. She invited me to her

home, and introduced me to her family’s best cook –her mother, Mrs. Angelina.

 

From Puglia, Italy, Mrs. Angelina’s warm smile made me feel right at home! Her smile

faded a bit when I accidentally called her “nonni” (a vulgar word), but she quickly

laughed off my mistake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Angelina is exactly how I imagined a nonna would be: energetic, talkative, and incredibly

passionate about her food.

For six hours, she patiently taught me how to slowly incorporate the water with the

flour, when to knead to dough and when to let it rest, and how roll it out ever so thinly!

 

First add some flour to a large bowl and make a well in the center where you drop a beaten egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix the egg with the flour in circular motion;Add 2 TBS of water and “squeeze” the egg-flour mixture with the water. Do this until all the water has been completely incorporated

 

 

 

Once everything feels dry, add 1 TBS of water at a time and continue squeezing and

gathering the dough until it just forms into a ball.

The key is to use as little water as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Wrap the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Next, knead the dough until it is as soft as a baby’s behind. Let it rest again

for another 30 minutes.

 

 

To roll, you roll the dough onto itself and use this very long rolling pin;

Roll and stretch out the dough simultaneously like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the dough is nice and thin, you can cut it into different shapes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To cook, add the pasta to the boiling water. When the pasta floats to the top,

it is ready! YUM! Light and soft, yet with a hint of chewiness. So delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frances, Angelina, Bobby, and Robert: Thank you for welcoming me into your

home and teaching me the art of making pasta! My belly thanks you, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lan March - 8 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

I love traveling the world to learn of new people, cultures, and foods. I try to live like locals to learn where they eat and how they prepare their food. This traveling style has taken me to restaurants off the beaten paths, holes-in-the-walls, outdoor markets, and lots of street food.

On the streets of Arequipa, ‘La Ciudad Blanca ‘or ‘The White City’.  Food-wise, everything is fried here. Fried meat, fried potatoes, and very little vegetables! Good thing I brought stretchable yoga pants!

Santa Catalina convent is a must-see!   Bright colored walls, beautiful architecture, and there’s a fun pastry shop owned by the sisters where they sell homemade cakes. This convent was the place where wealthy girls lived if they were not married.  Talk about pressure! 




 

We then  headed to Cusco, the capital of Peru. It’s altitude was 11,200 ft! Once we adjusted to the elevation, we visited the San Pedro Market and searched for spices and souvenirs.

Here is my favorite: alfajores!  Doesn’t it resemble a macaron? Melt- in-your-mouth cookies sandwiching a thick flavorful dulce de Leche.  You can find these delicious treats everywhere in Peru. For a recipe, click here.  An alfajores macaron is definitely in the works!

Alfajores in Arequipa

Although the  trip to Peru was cut short due to my friend friend’s injury (i.e. right knee shattered in seven pieces and a left broken ankle), I’m thankful we made is back somewhat safely, and I treasure our fantastic times there. Once he is able to walk again, we plan toall return to Peru and finally visit Machu Picchu! This means we’ll get to try more peruvian dishes! I can’t wait.

In the meantime, don’t forget to purchase travel insurance with Medevac evacuation! We learned the hard way…

Lan January - 27 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the test kitchen lately to create some fun and delicious  new flavors.

I am proud to present you the red velvet macaron! Just in time for Valentine’s day, this one has a cream cheese filling with a subtle hint of chocolate. This macaron is moist, light yet creamy, sweet yet slightly tart & chocolaty…so decadent!

Next, chocolate covered strawberry macaron!

Lan January - 27 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Our macarons were voted best dessert at NetApp! How exciting!

Lan November - 22 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

My friend R.C. LOVES red velvet cakes. After every trip from NYC, I can expect to see him first thing in the morning, still jet-lagged from his red-eye flight, with a box of cupcakes in hand. After tasting several red velvets one morning, he describes the ultimate red velvet: It should have a light yet creamy cream cheese frosting, a nice color, a hint of cocoa, and it must have the big M.

“The big M? ” I ask. “Yes, Moisture.”

Here are few tips to give your cakes the big M:

1. Reducing the amount of sugar in a recipe will lead to a dry cake. When sugar melts, it’s a liquid. And less liquid means less moisture.

2. Are you adding too much flour? First stir the flour in its container, then scoop the required amount in measuring cup. Finally level off with a chopstick.

3. Over mixing the batter once the flour is in will also lead to a dry cake. So, fold in the flour gently and walk away.

4. If your cake is dry, try saving it by brushing some syrup over it and then continue with the frosting. Yes, moisture injection therapy!

This article on Yahoo! describes the ultimate Red Velvet and gives a recipe

Good luck!

Lan November - 10 - 2010 1 COMMENT

My good friend is celebrating her baby’s 1st birthday this weekend, and I decided to make some macaron lollipops for the party!
Special thanks to Bakerella.com for such a cool idea!

Strawberry macaron lollipops

Strawberry macaron lollipops

Lan November - 6 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

I’ll be giving out free macaron samples tomorrow at Country Cheese Coffee Market from 10-noon! Try earl grey milk chocolate and/or strawberry macarons!

Lan October - 26 - 2010 2 COMMENTS
Lupe and Chau had a beautiful wedding at The Sainte Claire hotel last week. We were excited to make their favors!
The boxes and macarons were  personalized to fit this special occasion:
purple ribbons  to match the couple’s colors, chocolate and passion fruit macarons flavors to reflect their ethnicity, and the bride’s & groom’s initials!
Congrats Lupe & Chau!

personalized favors

photo by Gregory Bartning www.DaveWongPhotography.com

groom's and bride's initials

chocolate and passion fruit macarons

Lan October - 21 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

You can now find our macarons at Country Cheese Coffee Market!

1578 Hopkins Street

Berkeley, CA 94707

(510) 526-1333

http://www.yelp.com/biz/country-cheese-coffee-market-berkeley

Lan September - 14 - 2010 4 COMMENTS
We’ll be at the Taste of Haas event at Williams-Sonoma on Thursday, September 16. Please come by and try our Earl Grey, Chocolate, and Black & White macarons.