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Cherry Pickings: The inspiration for Sake + Sakura
We don't know about you but we think it's never officially Spring until we see cherry blossoms.And good news, even if cherry blossoms haven't come into season where you are, you can now taste them in...you guessed it, Sake + Sakura.Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossoms, and they’re the symbolic flowers of Spring, renewal and new beginnings. In Japan, cherry blossom parties are held with friends and family, where everyone enjoys a potluck under cherry blossoms. This custom is called hanami, which literally means “watching blossoms,” and it can be traced back at least a thousand years.Sake (pronounced sah-keh) dates back to the 3rd century and is a Japanese fermented rice wine with an aroma that’s been described as fruity, nutty and caramel-like. There are several different types of sake as specified by the Japanese government. Sake is usually served chilled (at about the same temperature as white wine) but it can also be served warmed up, depending on the type of sake. The sake we've sourced actually comes from Vancouver's famous Granville Island, from a local Japanese artisan sakemaker there.You'll find sake at most hanami parties, especially in Japan, so grab a picnic blanket, some friends, Sake + Sakura to share and enjoy the cherry blossoms.And if you want to learn more about how Sake + Sakura got its gorgeous speckled look (the natural way!), read our blog post about the incredibly cool Cocoa Butter Spraying Process.
Groovy, Baby: Check out Purdys’ fab take on Banoffee Pie
Keira Knightley’s character in the film Love Actually (like Banoffee Pie, it’s another British triumph) attempts to extend an olive branch to another character by way of tasty pastry.We’ve all been there, and Banoffee Pie is probably of the best ways to bribe someone—but you didn’t hear it from us.You can find hundreds, if not thousands, of Banoffee Pie recipes online and it’s now a dessert that’s famous worldwide.But what exactly is Banoffee Pie? Well, it’s an English dessert (hail, Britannia!) comprised of a crumb or pastry base, a toffee filling, and topped with fresh bananas and whipped cream. The pie is often garnished with additional caramel sauce or chocolate shavings and, if you’re feeling particularly sinful, custard or ice cream.Banoffee Pie (originally spelled Banoffi Pie) was invented in 1971 at The Hungry Monk Restaurant in East Sussex by chef Ian Dowding, with some help and encouragement from the restaurant’s owner Nigel Mackenzie.But back to our Banoffee, which packs just as much of a flavourful punch as the original.You can enjoy it on its own or as part of an utterly epic cookie sandwich:Ingredients:For cookie dough:1 cup butter1 cup sugar1 1/2 cups flour3/4 cup shredded coconut1 tsp baking soda1 tsp baking powder1/2 cup brown sugar1 egg1 1/4 cups oatmealFor filling:Purdys' Banoffee1 large bananaInstructions:Preheat oven at 350°FCream together butter and sugar.Add remaining cookie dough ingredients and mix until blended.Roll into 1 inch balls or use a scoop. Flatten dough slightly.Place on pan lined with parchment paper.Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.Once cookies are out of the oven, turn them over with a pair of tongs.Slice each Banoffee piece in half and place on one half of the cookies. The heat from the cookies should slightly melt the Banoffee. If not, warm cookies in microwave slightly.Slice banana onto the other half of the cookies.Squish the cookie sides together to make a Banana Banoffee sandwich!
Matcha, Matcha Man: How matcha green tea became a thing
If you’ve been by our website or a shop recently, you might have spotted Matcha or Matcha Coconut Bar.But what exactly is matcha, how’s it different than other teas and why is our chocolatier Rachel McKinley excited to creatively craft chocolate confections using matcha?Matcha and regular green tea come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis, native to China. But sometime in the early part of the 12th century, Japanese Zen Buddhist monks brought back from China a new kind of tea: one that had been steamed and ground into a fine powder.In other words, matcha.And while matcha became less and less popular in China, it became a staple of meditation for Zen Buddhist monks and then a favourite of the warrior class and the Shogun rulers. Today, matcha is essential for tea ceremonies throughout Japan, and around the world it has gained in popularity as an ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes.Matcha tea leaves are prepared in a special way. A few weeks before harvesting, the tea bushes are protected from direct sunlight with cloths, and these shaded conditions stimulate the plant to create more chlorophyll and amino acids, deepening the flavour of the tea leaves.Whole leaves are expertly picked, steamed to preserve the colour and nutrients, then dried, deveined and destemmed. The leaves that are deemed ideal for matcha tea are known as tencha.Tencha is ground into a fine powder in a very slow, gentle process done with large granite wheels. The process is done this way to avoid scorching the leaves. That fine powder is called matcha, literally “ground tea”.Matcha has a strong, robust umami flavour that plays really well with cocoa. Try it and delight yourself!
Put on your baking hats, it's World Baking Day!
It's World Baking Day today!That's a whole entire day dedicated to cookies! crumbles! pies! shortbread! cheesecake!It's also exactly 1 month and 1 day to Father's Day, so we thought we'd do something for World Baking Day and create a recipe that's a cool nod to dads everywhere.Enter Shawn Taylor, Culinary Advisor (and Photographer!) at Purdys Chocolatier. As Culinary Advisor, Shawn has created or collaborated on hundreds of both savoury and sweet recipes for Purdys, either online at purdys.com or for our special eBook collections.And as Photographer at Purdys, Shawn has also styled and shot every single one of your favourite chocolates. We know, we know, it's a sweet job and somebody's gotta do it.Shawn (that's him in the photo with his son) is the father of two impossibly adorable children, and he took inspiration from them: "I’m really into baking and cooking, and I love showing my kids how you get to enjoy something you made yourself and how it’s easy to work with chocolate when you follow the steps."Licorice Caramel Shortbread SquaresIngredients:2/3 cup + 1 tbps butter1/4 cup sugar1 1/4 cup flour, sifted10 Purdys Licorice Caramels4 Purdys Vanilla Caramels4 tbsp cream100 g Purdys Classic Dark ChocolateInstructions:Preheat oven to 350°F.Prepare a 9 inch square pan with cooking oil or line with parchment paper.In a medium bowl, use a mixer to cream 2/3 cup butter and sugar together until fluffy.Sift flour and stir it into creamed butter until mixture is evenly crumbly. Be careful not to over mix or shortbread will become tough.Press into a 9 inch square pan and bake for 20 minutes. When finished, set aside to cool.Cut caramels into quarters and melt in saucepan with cream on medium heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Be careful not to burn the mixture as the chocolate will melt quickly but the caramel will need another 1-2 minutes to melt. Continue stirring until emulsified, for another 2-3 minutes.Spread caramel onto cooled shortbread and set aside to cool.Chop dark chocolate into small pieces and melt in heatproof bowl in microwave for 20 seconds at a time until melted. Stir in 1 tbsp butter until mixture is smooth and silky.With a spoon, drizzle the chocolate on top of the caramel layer and chill for 20 minutes in fridge or for 1 hour at room temperature.Cut into 2 inch squares to serve.You can also grab the printable version of this recipe.
Yuzu, the coolest fruit you’ve (maybe) never heard of but you definitely should
Nothing excites our chocolatiers more than funky-cool ingredients.Take Yuzu. It’s pronounced yoo-zoo and is nearly impossible to describe. Some say the flavour is a tangy mix of lemon, mandarin and grapefruit. Some say it’s more like peach, lemon and lime.Basically, it’s a citrus that’s 10x better than all the other citrus (citruses? citri?) put together.Yuzu is a hugely popular citrus in Japan, and you’ll find it used in savoury dishes and desserts. Whole Yuzu fruit or juice is even used in baths as a skin softener. Originally, Yuzu comes from China and rolled into Japan during the Tang Dynasty some 1,000 years ago, where it was used for medicinal purposes and in cooking.Yuzu is very likely a hybrid of Ichang papeda (a hardy, slow-growing citrus) and sour mandarin. Looks-wise, Yuzu is about as big as a tangerine, with a bumpy yellow-orange rind and tons of seeds inside.Over in the Western world, Yuzu is gaining popularity (watch your back, lemon!), but it’s not that easy to find yet…which didn’t stop us!We sourced fabulously tart Yuzu juice, turned it into a fun jelly layer (officially known as pâte de fruits in the business) and combined it with—what else—chocolate. Not just any chocolate. Rich dark chocolate made with 100% sustainable cocoa.And that’s the story of how a little-known citrus from Japan inspired our massively popular Yuzu Jelly Ganache. Have you tried it yet?