Pastry Chef Alexis Guillemin with fresh baked bread at the Marina Restaurant in Oak Bay. Photography by Lia Crowe

Inspired Chef with Chef Alexis Guillemin

Pastry Chef at the Marina Restaurant gives her recipe for apple crisp

  • Aug. 28, 2018 1:05 p.m.

Quick Facts:

• Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and grew up in Saskatoon.

• Training: “At age 19, I packed my bags and drove to Nanaimo, BC to study at Vancouver Island University.”

• Has worked at Marina Restaurant for just over a year.

• Prior to that, worked at a number of places in Victoria, including the Italian Bakery right out of school, and then The Beach House Restaurant in Cordova Bay,

Fol Epi Patisserie and a “short but amazing time” at The Fairmont Empress.

What are you best known for as a pastry chef?

“If anyone ever asks me how long they should bake something I say ‘Until it’s done!’ This is the way I was taught and I think it’s a good skill to have. You should never rely on a timer to tell you when things are done. A good pastry chef knows when something is baked by the way it looks, feels and smells.”

What are the 10 most important ingredients in your pantry?

“Butter, whipping cream, vanilla beans, flour, eggs, sugar, salt, chocolate of every kind, nuts (hazelnuts being my favourite) and feuilletine (wafer flakes that stay crispy when mixed into chocolate and hazelnut paste).”

Favourite dish to cook and eat on a cool day?

“A warm fruit crisp with vanilla bean Gelato. This is so quick and easy to make. I choose whichever fruit is in season at the time and always add graham cracker crumbs to my crumble topping.”

What’s your go-to item when sampling other chefs’ fare?

“This is tough because it really depends on what mood I’m in! I’m a huge fan of anything with chocolate or nuts in it, but I can rarely pass on a classic crème brûlée or tiramisu.

Hobbies?

“Usually when I’m at home I’m either spending time with my husband and our two dogs or in my kitchen, decorating all kinds of cakes. I’ve recently been focussing a lot more on decorating cakes. I think it’s because when my husband and I got married, I realized how amazing it can be to add something special to someone’s wedding day or special occasion, and it’s an area I’m very interested in.”

Pastry Chef Alexis Guillemin at the Marina Restaurant. (Lia Crowe photography)

Apple Crisp

Filling:

4 large apples (2 Granny Smith and 2 Gala), peeled, cored and sliced thinly

Splash of lemon juice

3 Tbsp melted butter

2 Tbsp All-Purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground ginger

Graham Crumble Topping:

1/3 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes

1 2/3 cups oats

3/4 cup graham crumbs

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

To make the filling:

Toss sliced apples and lemon juice in a bowl. Drizzle on melted butter and stir until coated evenly. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, vanilla, salt and spices. Add mixture to apples and mix gently with hands until evenly coated. Transfer mixture to an 8-by-8-inch baking dish.

To make crumble topping:

In a mixer or by hand combine graham crumbs, oats and butter. Mix until the butter is cut into mixture in very small pieces and mixture looks combined and not too dry. Add brown sugar, vanilla and salt, and mix just until combined. Pour mixture onto apples and spread evenly.

Bake crisp at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until the apples are bubbling and the crumble is a nice golden colour. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Serve while still warm with a scoop of vanilla bean Gelato and a slice of aged cheddar cheese or a drizzle of caramel sauce.

– Story by Susan Lundy

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

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