Vancouver Chefs Whip Up Dessert Delights with BC's Fruit Bounty

Vancouver Sun  - August 15, 2012

Jackie’s delicious recipe for Milk Chocolate Rice Pudding with Blueberry Compote and Hazelnut Streusel is a great way to make the most of seasonal summer fruits, not to mention some other lovely from other Vancouver pastry chefs.

Although summer started rather late this year, the bounty of local fruits has arrived, filling up farmers' markets and produce stalls. Talented chefs wait patiently all year for these succulent berries bursting with aromatic flavour, and for fragrant peaches and apricots. These fruits showcase summer at its best.

I've asked several of my favourite chefs to turn a spotlight on their favourite local summer fruits and they've come up with some brilliant creations. Whistler's Bearfoot Bistro's uber-talented young pastry chef Dominic Fortin presents a fairly simple fresh cheese mousse tart infused with dried wild rose petals and complemented with raspberries.

Meanwhile, the Fairmont Pacific Rim's pastry sous chef John Hauser brings us a spiced braised apricot set on white chocolate blondies garnished with a tart passion fruit curd.

Another of my Whistler favourites is Mark and Paula Lamming's Purebread (you'll find their stall at Vancouver farmers' markets throughout the summer) with a simple summer berry brown sugar gratin.

A newcomer on the sweet scene, opening in September at Fir and Sixth, is Jackie Ellis and her Beaucoup Bakery. She brings us a sinful, yet comforting, milk chocolate rice pudding with a blueberry compote, topped with a hazelnut streusel while Lee Cooper of Gastown's L'Abbatoir presents elegant poached peaches in champagne with English cream, champagne sabayon and thymeinfused streusel.

Finally, we have recipes from two of my favourite female pastry chefs: West's Rhonda Vianni, with her bay leaf roasted cherries and almond frangipane-filled crepes, and cadeaux bakery's Eleanor Chow, with her whimsical lemon curd fool, macerated summer fruits complemented with simple lavender sables.

Summer comes only once a year and so do our wonderful local summer fruits. Enjoy them while you can.

Another one of my favourite bakeries is Cadeaux Bakery, hidden just off Gastown. Open barely a year, partners Eleanor Chow and Slavita Johnson have brought their elegant and homestyle sweets to the Downtown Eastside area.