Only two more days until I leave Vancouver and arrive in Tofino for my new job as a pastry cook. I have to say, I'm getting nervous. The past few weeks, I've been excited and optimistic, which is good. But now I'm starting to worry about the nitty-gritty things, like what my roommates rules on fridge space and should I bring my bench-scraper and do I really need to bring all my piping tips. The important stuff.
On the bright side, I won't be in the dorms. I'll be in a townhouse with three other people and sharing a room with another girl. It's still a 5 minute walk from work (and the beach) and it's got a proper living room and dining room. Awesome.
But, roommates. I've been lucky enough to have never had roommates. In university, the dorms were singles. After that, I moved out with my brother (he doesn't count as a roommate, I've lived with him for my whole life), and then a year and a half ago, I moved out on my own.
I have no idea how to deal with strangers living in my living space.
I also love being alone. I love having me time, all the time. I like the quiet and calm of just me. I can dance and sing really terribly in my kitchen and no one says anything. I can put a dirty dish in the sink and say, "I'll clean it later" and then actually clean it later without feeling super guilty.
Nevermind the fact that I will be going to bed at like 7pm because I have to wake up at 3:30 in the morning. That's going to be a change. Nowadays, I'm only going to bed at around 12 or 1 am.
The thing that I am most worried about has got to be my little kitty. I am keeping my apartment in Vancouver and he is staying there and being looked after by my boyfriend and dad (no kitties allowed in the staff accommodations).
This cat is my baby. He's a super needy and clingy cat and has to be within 5 feet of me 98% of the time, if not sitting on chest with his face pressed against my cheek. I feel like a terrible cat-mom, leaving my baby for four whole months. It's not that my dad and boyfriend won't take good care of him, because they will, but they're not meeee. Ajax knows me, he loves me. No one is as good as me at being his cat-mom. I feel horribly guilty about this. Seriously.
I also feel super guilty about leaving my boyfriend here in Vancouver, but I am not his cat-mom and he is pretty good at taking care of himself. But I am missing his birthday (again). Two years ago, I went to South Africa for two months and missed his birthday. Last year, we spent it together in Italy, which was wonderful, but now I am missing his birthday for the second time out of a possible three. Not a good girlfriend.
Don't worry about the blog, though, I will still be posting about once a week. In the past month, I have been working my butt off making things almost every day, photographing, editing the photographs, and writing up the recipes. Over 20 recipes are now stocked up. Whew.
Charred Lemon Mousse with Earl Grey Cream and Lemon Sablé
Recipe adapted from Elements of Dessert
73 g all-purpose flour
175 g cake flour
120 g butter, at room temperature
1/2 lemon, zested
1/2 vanilla bean
2 g salt
90 g icing sugar
18 g almond flour
50 g eggs
Earl Grey Cream
225 g heavy cream
1 tablespoon loose leaf earl grey tea (preferably cream of earl grey)
30 g powdered sugar
Charred Lemon Mousse
90 g sugar, divided
60 g egg yolks
50 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lemon, zested
200 g heavy cream
For the sablé, sift the all-purpose and cake flour together.
Cream the butter, lemon zest, salt, icing sugar, and almond flour together on medium speed in an electric mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the mix. Mix until a homogenous mass is obtained, about 2 minutes.
Stop the mixer, add the eggs and mix for a few seconds on low speed until the eggs are completely incorporated.
Stop the mixer, add the sifted flours, and mix for a few seconds, pulsing the mixer at first to keep the flour in the bowl. Mix just to obtain a homogenous mixture.
Shape the dough into a flat square and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven 325 F.
Roll the dough out to a rectangle 3mm thick, then chill again until slightly firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the fridge and trim the edges to create straight edges. Cut into rectangles 4 inches by 1.5 inches. Place on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Bake the sable for 12 to 15 minutes, until there is only a slight bit of golden brown on the underside of the sablé. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
For the earl grey cream, heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until just to a boil. Take off the heat, add the tea, cover, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a bowl, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream, and refrigerate until completely cold, about 2 hours.
For the mousse, have your glasses ready in the fridge and a piping bag set up.
Whip the 200 g of heavy cream to medium peaks and set aside in the fridge.
For the charred lemons, a barbecue would be preferable. However, I have neither a barbecue, nor a griddle pan, nor even a gas stove. I used a frying pan over high heat to char my lemons. Any of the before mentioned things will work, though.
Heat a frying pan (or whatever you have) over high heat. Slice your two lemons in half and remove any seeds that are sticking out. Place the lemons in the hot pan, pressing them down to get an even char. Once they have a good amount of colour on them, about 1 minute, remove from the pan and set aside.
Once the lemons have cooled enough, squeeze the juice from them. You should have at least 55 g of lemon juice. If not, char another lemon.
Combine the lemon juice with 45 g of the sugar in a saucepan. Combine the egg yolks and remaining 45 g of sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine.
Heat the lemon juice and sugar over medium heat and bring to just a boil. Temper into the egg yolks by pouring a small amount of the lemon juice into the yolks, whisking constantly. Slowly add the juice to the yolks, whisking constantly. Transfer back to the saucepan and bring the lemon juice-yolk mixture back to a boil, stirring constantly.
Immediately transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium-high speed until cool, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and the lemon zest and whip for 15 seconds more.
Gently fold in the whipped cream in two additions. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe the mousse into your desired glasses. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
To finish, place the cooled earl grey cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. The cream will not whip to stiff peaks like a typical chantilly, it will only whip to soft peaks. Do not over whip the cream in an attempt to get stiff peaks (trust me, I tried). Whip the cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
Place a sablé rectangle in the lemon mousse, then spoon or pipe the earl grey cream in. Top with a tiny pinch of earl grey tea, if you desire. Serve immediately.