Behind the Scenes: Pork, Apple and Braised Red Cabbage Pies

Image from the Bourque Street Bakery book.

I’ve had a few requests for the “secret” to my prize winning pies I cooked for 86’d at The Drake .  There is no particular secret, but a practiced technique that work every time.  An experienced cook memorizes techniques and ratios rather than recipes.  Memorize the patterns in your favourite dishes and before long you’ll see what I mean.

The Bourque Street Bakery book is a fantastic companion.  It is gorgeous and I recommend getting yourself a copy.  Today, I’m writing about my modifications and tips.  Here is what most recipe books won’t tell you:

Making pie/tart shells is a lengthly and time sensitive project.  You have to chill your dough before rolling it and chill it after it is rolled and cut.  You have to work quickly to make sure the chilled dough doesn’t stretch from the heat of your hands (which will cause shrinking in the tart shell).  For this particular instance I used buttered and floured muffin tins instead of French rings, which worked very well.  I made sure to take the shells out of the tin as soon as I could handle them and put them on a cooling wrack. My “secret” in this case is using vinegar instead of water in the tart shell.  Vinegar or any briny substance will cause the shell to flake nicely.  Going half and half on lard and butter works nicely too.

The second issue was the braised meat.  A lot of people argue about searing a piece of shoulder or simply placing it into the pot.  I personally find that searing meat generates far more flavour.  This particular book instructs to put the meat on top of the gently cooked vegetables.  Instead I seared the meat, removed from the pot and cooked the vegetables on top of the meat and deglazed with liquid. I’ve literally written a one page recipe in that previous sentence.  Follow it and it will treat you well.

Thirdly, taste your food.  Taste your food in the beginning, in the middle and the end of the process.  Taste, taste, taste.  Taste your raw dough. Know what is happening in that pot!  Jesus murphy, just do it.

When I tasted the filling from the book it wasn’t right.  I know I’d done everything to the letter, but it wasn’t ground breaking.  There wasn’t enough tartness to the sweet, fatty meat.  What’s the perfect contrast to hot, sweet fat? What’s sour, crunchy and cold?  A pickle.  Et voila.  Added a pickle to the bottom of the tart.

Use your imagination when you cook.  Have fun!  There are no secrets.



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A Taste of History with Glenfiddich at the Spoke Club (via Good Food Revolution)

A Taste of History with Glenfiddich at the Spoke Club One doesn’t simply walk into a liquor store with a fist full of cash looking for an expensive hobby.  Scotch lovers are a refined, passionate bunch who are serious about their drink. I felt extremely fortunate to join the world famous Ian Millar (Global Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich) and Ian MacDonald (Head Cooper, Glenfiddich) at the Spoke Club for a master’s class tasting of single malt scotch. Getting right down to business we started with … Read More

via Good Food Revolution

California Caviar Company

The California Caviar Company, (purveyors of indulgence) have introduced infused sustainable roe. CCC has such flavours as Bourbon Trout Roe, Sake Trout Roe, Truffle Whitefish Roe, Saffron Whitefish Roe, Lemongrass Whitefish Roe and Bacon & Eggs.

The caviar is at a cost of $15 an ounce.

The Mast Brothers Chocolate – Brooklyn

Brothers, Michael and Rick Mast are making incredible chocolate in Brooklyn, New York.

Their chocolate is made meticulously by hand sorting every bean, using laser thermometers.  They only use two ingredients, cocoa bean and sugar to achieve a pure product.

Even their equipment is unique.   An aerospace engineer friend of the brothers helped make an original device to break up the beans.

Their craft style chocolate is brought in by boat via Brasil and Dominican Republic.  Now, that makes me hungry for chocolate!

via Coolhunting

BrewDog’s 55% Beer Strongest and Most Expensive in History

55% Beer, inside a taxedermied rodent in a tuxedo for a very high price.

This 55% beer should be drank in small servings whilst exuding an endearing pseudo vigilance and reverence for Mr Stoat. This is to be enjoyed with a weather eye on the horizon for inflatable alcohol industry Nazis, judgemental washed up neo-prohibitionists or any grandiloquent, ostentatious foxes.

The End of History: The name derives from the famous work of philosopher Francis Fukuyama, this is to beer what democracy is to history. Fukuyama defined history as the evolution of the political system and traced this through the ages until we got the Western Democratic paradigm. For Fukuyama this was the end point of man’s political evolution and consequently the end of history. The beer is the last high abv beer we are going to brew, the end point of our research into how far the can push the boundaries of extreme brewing, the end of beer.

*Update* The End of History is now sold out. But you can still buy some of our other limited edition, crazy high ABV beers. Buy the 32% Tactical Nuclear Penguin and the 41% (yes 41%) Sink the Bismarck! here:

The End of History from BrewDog on Vimeo.

Inside Insides

Ever wonder what a tomato, corn or dragon fruit look like through an MRI?  Well wonder no longer.

Check out the cool gifs on Inside Insides.  Warning: site takes a minute to load.

(Click on pineapple above for example)

Virgin Airlines’ New Menu

As early as June, Virgin America’s six new aircrafts are flying from Toronto (Pearson YYZ) to LAX and SFO.  The Virgin fleet is known for their mood lighting, free in flight wifi and delicious menu.

So, what’s on the menu? Check it out:

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