Food Friday: Sweet Talk with Christine Fancy

Posted by Drake, August 22, 2014
Christine Fancy, by Renée Suen

Christine Fancy, by Renée Suen

Home-made Nanaimo Bars, Daily Pies, Sangria Sundae’s and a scone plate with a reputation that's fit for the Queen (street). Here at Drake, we have an ever-evolving pastry and Drake Bake menu; and you know we’re not skipping dessert now that Christine Fancy is around. We went down to our new fresh bake commissary; where we spent some time sweet-talking our Corporate Pastry Chef.

Daily Pie

Daily Pie

So Christine, do you have any stories from growing up, that you think influenced the path to where you are now?
My mom, being the practical person she is, would rally her baking brigade a couple times of year to make a) more tourtières and apple pies than a small village could consume in a year, and b) Christmas cookies, notably her delicious candy cane meringues. I have fond memories of those times, and without realizing it at the time, they likely took part in shaping the path I would follow later on.

What inspired you to grow and learn from that point.
When I moved to Montreal for school, I was on my own for the first time. I stayed home many nights (procrastinating when I should have been studying), and cooking became somewhat of an escape, another creative outlet for me. I was studying in a scientific program, and baking just seemed to be a natural fit when I decided to change my career path.

What’s your favorite dessert to prepare now.
Pie. Sweet pies, savoury pies. I love pies and the techniques involved in creating the perfect pie dough.

What is some advice you would give to aspiring bakers?
One word = basics. Learn the basics, first and foremost. Techniques such as making doughs (pie, bread, cookie) can be useful in so many different preparations.

Whats the most extravagant dish you’ve ever been commissioned to make?
I don’t think I’ve hit that “extravagant” point in my career yet, but a couple years ago I prepared 500 + fortune cookies for an event. Though a simple thing, they are super tricky to get right! A couple weeks of cooking them in batches – three at-a-time – and some hundred hand-written fortunes later…

Now, assuming you have a sweet tooth, what’s the one dessert you couldn’t live without?
I think sticky toffee pudding is it for me. But then again, I’d have to give blueberry pie a nod too. Let’s just call them even.

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones

Now here’s is one of Christine’s favorite recipes, now its not a piece of cake--but it is easy as pie.

Blueberry Tarte-Tatin

-700g blueberries, fresh
-175g sugar
-zest of 1 lemon

-500g piece of puff pastry, store bought
-clotted cream

*Preheat oven to 375F – convection if possible
*In a bowl, toss blueberries, sugar and lemon zest
*Place coated berries in the base of a 9” frying pan (oven proof) – top with a piece of puff pastry, trimmed to 1cm wider than the diameter of the pan, and press onto berries
*Place prepared pie in oven, and bake for 25 minutes – without opening oven door, reduce heat to 325F and bake another 30 minutes (this step will allow pastry to cook all the way through, and prevent the puff from collapsing)
*Cool pie completely – best if made one day ahead and refrigerated before unmolding from pan
*Reheat to serve, and serve with a scoop of clotted cream – Devon cream

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