Monday, July 13, 2015

Thoughts on baking

I'll admit it.  I am most definitely a pastry fiend.

I have always had a sweet tooth.  As a toddler, I was found on numerous occasions with a slightly guilty, somewhat unapologetic chocolate smeared face; an empty box sitting next to me.  

Cleaning out containers of mascarpone was another favorite past-time, which is doubtless the reason why Tiramisu will always be my absolute favorite dessert.  It reminds me of childhood, it  reminds me of home, it reminds me of Italian summers and it reminds me of my Mom, whose traditional Tiramisu recipe (handed down to her by my Italian ancestors) cannot be upstaged by anyone in my eyes.

Over the years, my taste has altered a lot:

I prefer savory over sweet.  
I am not a big chocolate lover.
I don't really like cakes.  
I evolved from baking constantly (something which always helped me to relax and momentarily cease my ever-frantic stream of consciousness) to cooking often.

I was known as the baker of the family, but this changed as I became much more interested in the more experimental and creative aspects found in cooking.

Nowadays, I don't eat or enjoy sweets half as often as I used to, and since moving to New York last summer I have not baked once in my apartment; something which a few short years ago would have sounded absolutely ludicrous to me.  

Me, a former passionate and highly invested baker, living a life without baking??!

Truth be told, I miss baking like hell sometimes.  

While baking, I could always concentrate fully on the manual task at hand and zone out every (negative or positive) influence around me.  I could exist in my own world. Even in a large, homey kitchen very often loud and busy with the sounds of family, friends, relatives, neighbors- I could exist quietly.

I don't want to say that I have given up on baking for good, because I most certainly have not. Personally I cannot wait for the day to come around when I can call myself a baker again.

One thing that never changed for me, was my love for pastries.  
In fact, my love for pastries has only grown stronger, and become more refined.  

My favorite pastries will always be Italian pastries, and perhaps I'm biased.  But I really don't think so.  Whenever I visit Italy I usually consume multiple pastries a day.  What can I say, maybe I'm making up for the 96% of the year I am not in my favorite country and therefore lacking access to said pastries!

So imagine my surprise this year when I recently visited Portugal for the very first time, and I found myself firstly in awe of and secondly falling in love with the traditional Portuguese pastry scene.  Naturally I conducted research by indulging in a LOT of pastries.  And somewhere along the way I decided I needed to write a post on the topic.  I admit I didn't know much about Portugal in general before I traveled there.  However I had no idea that  I was about to be so impressed.

All I can say is, the Italian pasticceria scene has found an opponent just as worthy and deserving of high praise in the Portuguese confeitaria scene.  And I'm okay with that. 

All photos included in this post showcase just a mere fraction of what Portuguese bakeries are capable of.  You're welcome.


  1. Love this <3 Both your words AND your close-up pastry shots!

    1. thank-you for reading! You inspired me to write more through all of your beautiful writing. :) <3

  2. I want to try your mom's tiramisu! And that orange cream something in your photos! I hope you get inspired to bake something soon <3

    1. It's soooo good and I am also craving it right now! Those crema-filled doughnuts were some of my favorite pastries in Portugal, I need to find a NY equivalent!! <3