Saturday mornings I want nothing more than my French press coffee & a good croissant or pain au chocolat. Such was the case this morning; with no decent boulangerie within walking distance, I was left sighing over my beautiful copy of Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion. The hefty hardcover book (published by Harper Collins) is chalk-full of yummy-looking photos of all manner of fancy pastries featured in the famous Sydney bakery that's owned and run by co-bakers Paul Allam and David McGuinness.
The book is fantastic for not only its photos but its impressive array of recipes; along with sweets, there's a variety of breads and delectable savouries, including pizzas and meat pies. Flipping back and forth between the beef pie and flatbread recipes, I returned once again to the beautiful croissant dough recipe before me. Would I do it? Could I? Alas, with bare feet, black slip, and crazy hair, it didn't seem like the right time; the easel was calling, and I was barely awake. I didn't feel like scaring myself either. Sure, I'll happily go about my Christmas baking business every December, cutting out sugar cookies and fussing over gingerbread, but when it comes to pastry and stuff I deem fancy... my knees buckle and I get butterflies. True.
Ivy Knight's upcoming Bake-Off Night at Toronto's Drake Hotel hopes to dispel this kind of nervousness, while giving you something to chew on -literally -when it comes to the approachability of baking. The prolific food writer and consultant is hosting five prominent Toronto food bloggers this coming Monday night; each has chosen a recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook to offer up to the hungry masses, who will then vote for their favorite. The democratization of baking? Hmm. Art Battle, meet the rolling pin & baking tin.
The event is part of Ivy's regular 86'd Mondays, which are fun, informative, food-themed events that happen at the Drake. In the past, these events have revolved around professional cooks only; Monday's Bake-Off will feature almost entirely home cooks, save for Kristina Groeger. I interviewed both Kristina and Ivy recently about the event; we shared ideas around home cooks vs restaurant cooks, the joys (and fears) of baking, and the role of the online world in helping food culture proliferate. Our yack will be airing on CIUT this coming Monday morning on morning show Take 5, between 8am and 10amET. I'll try to get a copy of our interview up here at Play Anon later on Monday in case you miss it.
Right now I'm imagining all the bloggers proofing, kneading, and rolling their hearts out. Hmmm, I wonder if any of them are making croissants... and if I could get an order for next Saturday morning. Oui?
Addendum: The audio of my conversation with Ivy and Kristina is here:
Incidentally, it was Kristina who wound up winning the bake-off with her pulled-pork pies. Mmmm.