I had a rare day of leisure today because I somehow managed to squeeze in my two hour workout before my facial appointment. As soon as my appointment was done, I felt so thrilled to have a whole day ahead of me with nothing planned in particular. My first stop was J-Town in Markham for some Japanese treats and I saw this gorgeous shrub blooming with pale pink flowers. Spring is here at last! I saw some bottled pure yuzu juice on sale for $12 and I was very tempted to get a bottle. I wonder if it has enough acidity to make a yuzu curd?
My next stop was Metro Square, a place that I have not returned in years. I used to shop there very often because of the Taiwanese grocery store. Since that store was gone, I don't really have a reason to visit. I don't know what came over me today but I decided to drop by just because. I'm sure glad I did! There is a bookstore which specializes in books published in Taiwan. Taiwanese publishers have, for many years, done a great job of translating many Japanese-authored cookbooks to Chinese. With such a vibrant pastry scene, the dessert cookbooks from Japan range anywhere from intricate to innovative, but always very attractive. These cookbooks are characterized by the colourful step-by-step pictures as well as the marriage of Japanese flavour/ingredients with French pastry.
My two new acquisitions are "I Love Maracons" and "Dessert In A Glass". Macarons used to be some mysterious French treat that appeared impossible to attempt in my own kitchen. Of course the mystery ceased to exist once I figured out how to duplicate them with my own two hands. However, macarons continue to be a finicky thing to make. This cookbook devotes entirely to macarons wtih step-by-step instruction, tips for troubleshooting, flavour variation, filling variation, packaging idea, and even recipes to use up the leftover egg yolks. It makes me happy just flipping through the pages.
"Dessert In A Glass" is a topic dear to my heart. Ever since my introduction to Pierre Herme's Emotion series of dessert, I've fallen in love with creating dessert in a glass filled with layers of constrasting taste, texture, and colour. This cookbook offer many inspiration such as the snowman in honey yogurt gelee on the left. I picked up some cool technique including making homemade "tofu" by shaping a gelatinous mixture with a piece of Saran wrap and setting it in an ice bath. There are also discussion of different setting agents that introduced me to all the different root starches used in traditional Japanese dessert. I am very excited to try every one of the recipes in this book!