San Fransisco Dreamin’

San Fransisco Dreaming

Cruising North along the 5, there’s one place on my mind. Down at the end of Market Street, the Ferry Building awaits, alive with the farmer’s market. The all-night drive saves just enough time for a quick nap and then it’s off we go, into the heart of the Bay City. The Ferry Building is the first stop, and my heart jumps a little to be inside this gastronomic mecca.There are gorgeous pistachio macaroons from Miette, a love affair of a little bakery, hearty whiffs of cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, and exotic mushrooms from the Far West Funghi stand. Just outside, the Saturday farmers market bustles, alive with juicy persimmons, musky Andante goats milk cheese, and everything from chicken feet to five different varieties of dried beans. It’s hard not to want to wrap it all up, tuck it into the car, and bring it back to Los Angeles.

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Leaving the farmer’s bustle behind, it’s a short walk along the bay to Fisherman’s Wharf for a steamy, warm sourdough baguette. The crisp air stings as we bite into Boudin’s crunchy bread and begin to walk up one of San Fransisco’s famous hills, towards North Beach. This little Italian section echoes of the Philadelphian Italian Market or New York City’s Little Italy, sealing San Fransisco’s place in my East Coast heart even more. A quick walk through Washington Square Park, past the array of ever present dog walkers, always brings us to Palermo Delicatessen. Sifting through imported dried pastas and olive oil, it’s a lovely sight to see for my Italia obsession.

Straying off our beaten path, we head towards Pacific Heights, per suggestion of a born and bread San Franciscan. On Pine Street, we find the little bakery, Boulangerie Bay Bread. Inside, the tiny shop is packed with customers and its beautiful canneles, buttery tarts, and the most wonderful macarons ever. The canneles are dark and crisp with oh-so-creamy interiors, the macarons, flavored with spicy pumpkin, tart cherry, or salted caramel, melt in your mouth. A new love affair with San Francisco begins at this Boulangerie.

Navigating the windy roads of the city, on a bit of a Boulangerie sugar high, we make our way towards Twin Peaks, exploring another new-for-us area of San Fransisco . A tall climb to the top of these summits, up windy wooden steps built into the hillside, reveals a breathtaking view of the city that has swept my heart. It’s hard not to care for a place that has so much to offer. From a wonderful market, to an Italian mecca, to fresh baked bread, to the softest macarons, every trip to the Golden Gate city brings new adventures and revisits old favorites. Along Route 1, past Big Sur, the scenic route is said to be well worth the extra time, and another visit must be planned soon to explore this path. Unfortunately though, with busy work days and little free time, sometimes all that can be done is some San Fransisco Dreamin’.

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Rosemary Salted Caramel Macarons

Bay Bread Boulangerie’s macarons made such an impression, I had to try to recreate them myself. Here I tried a new method, using an Italian meringue(where I usually use a French) and love it. Steeping the cream with rosemary gives these cookies’ filing an earthy flavor, with a salted caramel inspiration all the way from San Fransisco.

Filled

For the Caramel(make the day before to allow caramel to set up):

100g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 g heavy cream
1/2 tsp maldon salt
70 g butter, chilled and cut into cubes

1. In a small heavy bottomed sauce pot, bring cream to boil and steep with rosemary for up to one hour. Strain.

2. Turn a small heavy bottomed sauce pot on medium heat. Sprinkle half the sugar into pot and allow to caramelize, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Contiune to add sugar until all is added. Cook to a dark caramel color.

3. While sugar is cooking, reheat cream to just barley simmering.

4. Add vanilla to caramel, then pour in warm cream. The mixture will steam up and may splatter, so be careful.

5. Add the maldon salt and stir until completely combined.

6. Cool caramel to 100 degrees farenheit. Using an immersion blender, add butter until sauce is smooth and glossy. Allow to set up and use as macaron filling.

For the Macarons:

100 g egg whites, room temperature
135 g granulated sugar
135 ground almond meal*
135 confectioner’s sugar
1tsp salt

*I usually get blanched almond meal from baking specialty stores, but this time I used an unblanched meal from Whole Foods. For uncolored macarons, this texture works great!

1. In a food processor,grind the almond meal, confectioner’s sugar, and salt together until very fine. Sift.

2. Place the egg whites in the clean, dry bowl of a standing mixer. Place the sugar in a small heavy bottomed sauce pot, and add a small amount of water to create a quicksand consistency.

3.Place the sugar pot over medium heat. As the mixture begins to boil, start the mixer on low speed and begin to mix whites.

4. Continues to whip the whites to medium peaks. Bring the syrup mixture to 240 Fahrenheit, and in a slow, steady stream add it to the whites, mixing on medium speed. Whip on high until meringue is stiff peaks, then decrease to medium speed until cool.

5. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. Do not over mix. When totally combined the batter should be thick, but smooth. When drizzled onto itself, the batter should smooth out, not continue to stay stiff. This is often referred to as “flowing like magna.”

6. Line a sheet tray lined with parchment or a silpat. Place batter in piping bag with a small piping tip(or cut tip off bag evenly) Pipe small 1/2″ circles into rows on tray. Small peaks should settle into the piped circles in a few moments. If the peaks do not subside, the batter is under mixed. Place back into mixing bowl and gently mix a small bit more. Carefully sprinkle each macaron with small amount of maldon salt.

Drying OutMacarons out of the oven

7. Preheat oven to 325 Farenheit. Let macarons sit up to one hour to develop an outer shell.

8. Bake macaroons for 11-15 minutes. When done, the macarons should not look wet in their centers, but have very little color.

9. Allow to cool completely and remove carefully from the sheet tray. Using an offset spatula to gently lift the macarons will help with any minor sticking. Fill with salted caramel filling and enjoy!

Filled
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