Wild Blackberry Galette

Wild Blackberry Galette Slice with honey yogurt

This past weekend I made my first galette, a wild blackberry galette to be exact.  What prompted me to take on such an endeavor was a recent camping trip this past weekend. From breathing in the fresh crisp forest air, to being surrounded by giant trees (and wild blackberries) and hearing the gentle ocean waves crashing against the sea cliffs, it sure was nice to be immersed in mother nature’s embrace. 

Okay okay…the trip was more like “GLAM-ping” (a clever term coined by my friend Carline).  Yes, there were tents involved…but there was also a Safeway located less than 15 minutes away, showers with hot water onsite, portable stove, and enough food to feed a small army. Oh and of course copious amounts of s’mores. It was indeed quite the glamorous camping trip. But hey, what do you expect from someone who’s never camped before? 

Wild Blackberries Mendocino CountyNonetheless, I still had the opportunity to get rugged and get some dirt under my nails. While “hiking” along a rather tame trail towards the beautiful Mendocino beach, I discovered a few ladies doing something amongst the thorny bushes. Upon closer examination, I noticed that these thorny bushes were actually wild blackberry vines! Apparently, the locals around here conduct an annual harvest of these sweet and juicy blackberries. Immediately, I got down and dirty and joined them in the harvest. After clumsily pricking myself on the thorns way too many times, I decided to call it quits. I’d only managed to pick a few blackberries, most of which I immediately just threw into my mouth. “Tomorrow will be a new day,” I said to myself. 

Wild Blackberry Galette Slices

The next day, we all decided to go down to the river. Mr. Williams (a gentleman, formerly known as “Boo”) and I decided to do some exploring while our friends did their thing kayaking down the river. Walking along the river, we stumbled upon MORE wild blackberries. These things just grow everywhere! What started out as just having fun picking a few berries here and there to snack on, quickly became a deliberate plan to pick every single ripened berry in our path. 

The motive: to make a blackberry pie. Continue reading

Dinner Party Cheesecake Tart

Fresh Berry Cheesecake Tart

Dinner Party Cheesecake Tart

In a city where temptation to dine at every renowned culinary establishment is ever-present, dinner parties with friends has become my new favorite hobby. It is the closest thing to feeling as fancy and sophisticated as walking into a $30-a-plate establishment. You have good wine, good music, good food, maybe even a few lit candles, and best of all good company all at your disposal.

As a pastry chef, I always feel the obligation to bring dessert. However, after pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres, a myriad of cheese and crackers, appetizers, and finally the main course, there’s usually not much room left for dessert. This is especially the case if the night has kicked off with several bottles of wine, which plays a huge factor in pushing the limits of one’s true stomach capacity.  My dilemma: To show off my pastry skills, yet not being the one who’s dish nobody touches at the end of the night.

Solution: The Dinner Party Cheesecake Tart.

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