I get pretty stressed out at work. A lot of it is in my own mind, but still, I get stressed. I found, thanks to my Brant, that thinking about being creative actually helps me get through many stressful days. Here is what I think about.
We have talked many times about opening an eatery called “Sci-Fi Café and Bakery.” I love to plan what I would serve up at that bakery if I could do anything I wanted. So far, I have imagined making mini-bombes, one for each of the planets in our solar system, with three others for the Sun, the moon, and Pluto (which is no longer a planet, but who cares, right?). FYI: a true bombe is a French confection consisting of several layers of frozen sherbet or ice cream made into a dome shape. The bakery I used to work at fudged the idea a little by making it several thin layers of a cake and flavored pastry cream, shaped into a dome and covered with fresh whip cream. I would come up with the grand flavors of each of them. An example would be Mars: Chocolate-chili pepper cake with cinnamon filling, iced with red chocolate whipped cream.
This made me want to research different types of pastries. If it was truly going to be a sci-fi bakery, not only would I have to come up with unique and delicious pastries not often sold in Birmingham, but I would need to put a sciencey-fictioney theme to each one, to brand them for the store. So I researched pastries from places OTHER THAN France and Italy. And I zeroed in on Hungarian pastries. There I found the Zserbo, fluffo, Isli, beigli, and kifli. They all look delicious. I decided to try to make one of them. The end result of this daydreaming was that I could make zserbo, and make it pretty darn good on my first try. It is basically five layers of handmade pastry dough, rolled thin, with apricot preserves and crushed pecans in between and topped with a chocolate ganache.
Another daydream sparked my baking creativity to try another pastry, this time from the British Isles – banoffee pie. Banoffee is a mash up of banana and toffee, the two main ingredients. This decadent treat is normally made by boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for a couple of hours, but I wasn’t willing to do that, because of its possibility of blowing up. So I compromised on the dulce de leche filling and made several mini pies instead of one large one. My co-workers and Brant adored this one.
Long story short, don’t be afraid to daydream once in a while about what you would do if you had this or that. If I had a bakery of my own, I would make my own versions of international pastries that no one around here has ever tasted. And because of that dream I found out that many of those pastries are well within my abilities now. Why don’t you try it, and let me know what you come up with?