Really? is the word I uttered for Aya Kakisawa (柿沢安耶)’s vegetable sweets. She is owner/ chef of Patisserie Potager (パティスリーポタジェ) in Meguro, Tokyo and uses vegetables in all her creations. She opened this shop in 2006, when she was still in her 20’s. She seems to have everything - beautiful, brainy and talented. She graduated from prestigious Gakushuuin (学習院) University in French literature. I thought her degree does not exactly translate to being a pastry chef but actually she was studying French home cooking under a food researcher too while in the university and after graduating ,she studied abroad in France for more training in cooking. I believe finding your passion or dream at a young age is a real head start. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Only about 10 years ago I just realized that I love to paint and accidently found the teacher with lots of patience. Lots!
In any major city in Japan, it seems there are pastry shops on almost every block. Therefore competition is fierce. Pastry chefs are always thinking, experimenting for new creations called shinsaku (新作). At the beginning of each season, many stores come up with shinsaku cake to lure more customers. I know from experience that if there is ‘new ‘ word on front of the name of cake, I’m sure I will have it. One thing my husband and I must do in Japan is try popular cake shop cakes. We sometimes walked a good distance in our quest for the best cake in town. One time we got lost and it started raining. It was very important to us (me) to find the shop so we bought one cheap umbrella at convenient store and pressed on. We had to ask 4 people (including a police man) to reach the destination. It was bit embarrassing for my husband. I’m somehow high maintenance when it comes to foods,,,,and bags.
The Patisserie Potager stands tall for its originality. Although some of the recipes are not love at first try for me but it grows on you. On the other hand some are so peculiar that I may never repeat though I applaud her efforts and her out of the box thinking. She also is a great business woman who made good connections with celebrities. For instance she made a birthday cake for the popular singer/actor Masaharu Fukuyama (福山雅治) and other famous people and she does catering to big social events and occasions. I’m a huge fan of gorgeous Masaharu Fukuyama so I am jealous of her success too. Ah, do you need extra help at his February 6th birthday party?
Burdock Florentine I tweaked her recipe for this.
- Cake flour 200g
- Almond flour 40g
- Cocoa powder 5g
- Unsalted butter 70g
- Sugar 25g
- 1 egg- scramble
- In a bowl,combine cake flour, almond flour and cocoa powder . Set it aside.
- Put butter and sugar in an another bowl and mix until pale yellow in color with hand mixer.
- Add egg a little at a time. mix well each time.
- Add flour mixture and combine with rubber spatula.
- Put in the middle of a large sheet of plastic wrap and twist up at the top to make a tight ball. Leave in refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 355 F. Flatten the ball of dough into the 9x9 inch square pan as evenly as possible. Prick top several times with folk.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Burdock 100g –Peel the skin, slice thin and soak in water for about 20 minutes.
- Unsalted butter 1 teaspoon or 4g
- Sugar 1 teaspoon or 4g
- Water 70g
- Heat frying pan at medium high. Add butter and burdock and sauté for a couple minutes.
- Add sugar and continue to sauté until sugar dissolves.
- Pour water in and cook until water evaporates and burdock is tender yet has firm texture.
Caramel and Finish
- Honey 40g
- Sugar 40g
- Unsalted butter 40g
- Heavy cream 60g
- Almond slice 20g lightly toasted
- Pumpkin seed 20g
- Heat oven to 355 F.
- Put honey, sugar, butter and heavy cream in a frying pan. Heat at medium high.
- Cook stirring continuously with rubber spatula until it turns dark brown and gets thick.
- Add burdock sauté, almonds and pumpkin seeds.
- Pour caramel mixture over the baked tart then as quickly as possible spread across the entire top. It hardens very quickly so be speedy.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
Daikon radish Fra mange’s vivid mint color sauce from daikon leaves is stunning and has light fresh taste. This could be a vegan dish that screams “healthy”. I like the crunchy texture from the bits of daikon but my family critic/my son says ‘Interesting’ which means I don’t care for it.
It was hard to find daikon or carrot with leaves still intact at the market. It was good to know that leaves are edible.