Updated: Apr 11
BLIMEY, am I actually gonna do this??
Dominique and Me: One Recipe At A Time is almost my love letter to the king of pastry. Dominique Ansel is the biggest innovator to ever touch the surface of sugar, and is single-handedly changing the way we eat desserts. Most well known for the much-beloved Cronut (voted one of the best inventions of 2013), Dominique has since opened shops globally, including two right here in the UK (London).
This blog series (?), will involve me creating every single one of the recipes from his book; ‘Dominique Ansel: Secrets From The World Famous New York Bakery’, from beginner all the way to advanced (and trust me some of the advanced ones are pretty damn scary). Each blog post will involve a different recipe and my various meltdowns along the way. ;)
ABOVE: Photo of Dominique Ansel
If you’re reading this and thinking “Wait a second, this concept sounds awfully familiar!”, you’re not having an acid dream (at least I hope not)! I am taking inspiration from Julie Powell, the woman behind Julie and Julia (much beloved blog, turned book, turned movie starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep). Using Julia Childs ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, Julie Powell worked through the book making one recipe a day (unfortunately, I’m not quite that dedicated and will be working to a far more forgiving schedule). Therefore, I’m kind of calling this my ‘Julie and Julia pilgrimage’ (yesss, I’m a bit of a nerd).
I have been fortunate to visit both of Dominique Ansel’s bakeries in London (the flagship ‘Dominique Ansel Bakery London’ and the newly opened ‘Dominique Ansel Treehouse’), and his creativity, genius and flair never cease to amaze me. He is a French pastry-chef who began his career by apprenticing in restaurants local to him in France, before working in a Two-Michelin starred restaurant in NYC (I mean he’s French so its basically his god given right to be a pastry wizard, right?). Since then, Ansel has become the youngest ever to be named the ‘Worlds Best Pastry Chef’, which basically means he is the Beyoncé of pastry.
ABOVE: Photo of me and my mum/my only friend ;) at Dominique Ansel Treehouse on its opening day
Obviously, Ansel is the creator of the world-famous Cronut. A doughnut/croissant hybrid which practically broke the internet upon its release. If you’re unfamiliar with the product; 1) Have you been living in a cave?? (I mean, it even gets referenced in Gilmore Girls THERES NO ESCAPING IT), and 2) Stop what you’re doing and Google it now!! You’re bound to find a Tastemade video after a few clicks. However, that isn’t Ansel’s only viral product, he is also known for; the Frozen Smore, Watermelon Ice Cream Sandwich, Blossoming Hot Chocolate, Cookie Shot (and that’s just off the top of my head), the list would go on and on.
ABOVE: Photo of products available at Dominique Ansel Treehouse (strangely I don't have any photos from any of my trips to DA Bakery London)
I certainly wouldn’t call myself a pastry chef, and that could be one of the reasons I’m so daunted by this project that I am about to undertake. Reading this so far, you’re probably thinking this writer is a middle-aged loser/pastry chef nerd with no social life and about a dozen pets. And, you wouldn’t be all wrong ;). I am 17 years old, and currently studying a Professional Cookery course at college (but trust me I have ZERO aspirations to be a chef, I swear to god if I have to butcher one more chicken I might just have a meltdown). Instead, I want to work in bakery and confectionary, most significantly cake design/decorating. From the age of 16, I have been running my own registered cake design business in my local area and can only hope to expand upon this in the future.
Okay, so now that I’ve kinda set the scene I think its about time to get the blog series started. Without sounding WAY too needy, I could really do with some of your help (I know, it comes off as really needy). It is super important that y’all stay engaged with this blog (please don’t let me be the blogger who’s only reader is their own mother, that’s not cool), and there are a whole multitude of ways to stay up to date. FIRSTLY, follow me on social media (@woodysbakes on Facebook and @woodywenmanhyde on Instagram), plus you’ll get to see a whole load of other fun content (what could go wrong?). Also, make sure you subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of this page! This way you will ALWAYS be the first to know when a new blog post has been published (usually in the very early hours of the morning when I should be sleeping ;)), surely that’s a win-win.
Lastly, I’d always love to hear your thoughts. Surely I’m not the only one to ever visit one of Ansel’s shops, if you’ve visited let me know what you thought! If you have any words of advice (trust me, the advice is NEEDED) pleaseeee comment down below, any help is always appreciated. Likewise, if you’ve tried some of these recipes and am sure that I’m going to big time fail, crush my heart with that news too ;).
I am planning to produce the first recipes in the next few days, meaning that there is hardly any wait until the first blog posts (woohoo) so I guess I better get back into the kitchen!
ALSO here’s a sneaky Amazon affiliate link (I’m officially a sellout), so if you’re interested in buying this book, I’d be super grateful if you could do it through this link (it would help fund these DAMN EXPENSIVE ingredients Ansel is using, may as well just throw diamonds in a cake at this rate ;)).