Things I especially loved:
- the pistachio snail--has dark chocolate nibs in such a delicious combination with the pistachios.
- the Italian brioche--has a raspberry filling that is perfect, not too sweet, no gooey texture, you know, as if it's made from ACTUAL raspberries, which I'm sure it is.
- the beehive brioche--a brilliant combination of crunchy almonds, fleur de sel, and honey with a really beautiful, tender brioche dough.
- the mountain loaf--a blend of flours, including rye and whole wheat with sunflower seeds (I think) and tart dried cherries. Yeah, the cherries were what got me, but even my cherry-hating mr. liked this bread. It's just a really balanced combination of flavors and textures. Hearty breakfast-y goodness.
A while back I saw an article in the newspaper about a local family farm that was starting to offer lard. Jumped, is what I did. Because the last time I obtained leaf lard it was about $30 for 5 pounds, and even more for shipping (I think it was coming from Wisconsin, and had to be sent overnight in special dry-ice packaging). Oy. Not to mention the fact that I'm trying to do what I can to buy local. I really am trying. And these people have made it easy for me. I can order online, and then pick it up from one of several stops they make throughout the valley on Saturday mornings. Where, as it turns out, there are scores of other people sitting in their cars (like junkies) waiting for the truck (their dealer). It's a funny thing to witness. Their lard is a combination of leaf and back fat and comes from their super-happy pigs that are petted by the family's children. No, for real. Go look at their website. Of course, not all the junkies were waiting in the parking lot for lard. The family raises pigs, cows, and chickens. And maybe I need a deep freeze in my garage so I can order well-handled meat from them, with knowledge of the source and their practices...
And after a first attempt at using this lard, I am thrilled to report that it is perfect. Perfect texture, dough is elastic and easy to handle. Perfect taste, adds that tiny bit of saltiness that I like for my lard to bring to the pastry party. And it bakes up beautifully as you can see above.
TGIP Rating--Eva's--KEEPER. They also have a seating area and a beautiful espresso machine. One of these mornings you'll find me there enjoying a croissant and a real cappuccino.
--Christiansen's Family Farm--KEEPER. Thank goodness people like this exist. In my general neighborhood. Maybe I'll make them a pie just for being awesome.
Next up: I have to take a few weeks off baking. I know. Trust me, it hurts me more than it hurts you. But sometimes the theatre is a brutal taskmaster. When I'm back at it, I think I'm going to do cupcakes. Probably using some elements of this.