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Dulce de leche-raspberry, foie gras-apple and fig–éclairs that taste as good as they look



Now that her son Santiago is about to turn one, chef Sunshine Pengson has found another reason to wake up in the wee hours of the morning: éclairs.

Husband chef Rob says his wife has been going to the commissary at 5 a.m. for the past week and staying until dinnertime at their newly opened Gourmandise, a Parisian-style patisserie that highlights the éclair.

Sunshine, who makes 10 variants of the choux pastry, must be lauded for the work she puts in to each and every one of them. They are mini-masterpieces that taste as good as they look.

The variants are Chocolate, Hazelnut Praline, Mont Blanc, Lemon, Dulce de Leche-Raspberry, Coffee, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Coconut-Passion Fruit, Salted Caramel and Foie Gras-Apple and Fig.

A spin-off from The Goose Station’s foie gras cone has been transformed into an apple, fig and foie gras éclair, sold only on weekends.

My personal picks are: the Salted Caramel (an éclair with a perfect balance of caramel and salt. Just when the burnt sweetness hits, the salt creeps in. So good!) and Dulce de Leche-Raspberry (the fruitiness of the raspberry balances the richness of the dulce de leche). The Chocolate and Hazelnut Praline are both exquisite, smooth and silky, made of fine chocolate; the Lemon is fantastic, if you love lemon; and the Peanut Butter is also very good.

Well, I picked them all! It really is just a matter of personal preference. And if you noticed the Foie and the Coconut Passion Fruit missing from the list, it is only because they are the two variants I have yet to try.

The Gourmandise éclairs are a fine and rich indulgence, not too sweet or cloying. In fact, you can have them in succession, and will still leave you asking for more.

For the patisserie, Sunshine takes her inspiration from visits to Paris and Fauchon, a boutique gourmet food store that she adores and stands as her highest goal for emulation. “I believe she will get there very soon,” her proud hubby says.

Sunshine also makes tarts, and is currently experimenting with macarons as well as other Parisian desserts. (For orders, call 0917-7047118.)

Healthy salad dressings

Part 2 of our survey from last week:

CHEF Sunshine Pengson

Sugar Leaf offers products that are healthy yet tasty. Staunch supporters of all things organic, its dressings are distinct and have a character of their own (tel. 0918-8039055).

Goody Kefir Dressing tastes healthy yet in a delightful way. It’s a creamy dressing with herbs that is not only good for salads, but as a marinade as well for chicken or lamb, and even as a tabletop sauce. Great with grilled fish, too.

Organic Lemon Balm is also very good but this one is more for the healthier palate. Will work as a sauce for anything grilled like lamb chops, liempo or chicken.

Mango Passion Fruit is great with fried soft-shell crab (available at Mida Foods 0917-7916432). Thaw crabs and pat dry. Heat enough oil to deep-fry crabs. Dredge crabs in tempura flour. In a bowl, mix 1 cup tempura flour with 1 cup ice-cold water. Mix and coat crabs in batter. Deep-fry until golden. Serve on a bed of mixed greens with Mango Passion Fruit Dressing.

Toscana dressings at Santi’s Deli

Caesar, light and delicate, not at all overpowering. Serve dressing with romaine topped with sautéed Portobello or shiitake mushrooms, fried tyrolian bacon chunks (also available in Santi’s). Finish with shaved parmesan.

Creamed French has hints of herb, mustard and horseradish, with a slightly tart finish. Serve with mixed greens, blanched haricot verts/French beans and boiled marble potatoes, with bacon bits and slivered shallots. I would pair it with a good grilled lamb or steak.

Italian Herb, perfect for those who crave for an herbed red-wine vinaigrette. Ideal to dress your greens with if you’re having a good steak or grilled meaty fish like tuna.

Anti-dengue trap

This is completely non-food related but something I wish to share with you. Of late, I’ve noticed so many people afflicted by dengue. The Department of Science and Technology has come up with OL mosquito trap.

According to the brochure, the scent of the solution invites female mosquitoes to lay eggs on the stick and on the solution itself. The eggs and the “wrigglers” then die when exposed to the solution. The trap prevents the next generation of mosquitoes from reaching adulthood, thus curbing the Aedes mosquito population.

The traps are P20 each and last a month long. After that, just buy pellet refills for each trap at P2 each. Put a couple around your house, in low, dark corners. Each trap covers a 50-meter radius. Stay safe, protected and dengue-free! (Call 9218978, 5799379, 0906-2970646).

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Tags: dining , Food , Sunshine Pengson

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