Local pastry chef and baking instructor Erica Pais credits her mother with forecasting her destiny as a pastry professional.
“My mom spotted my early interest in baking, which started in middle school, and told me that my name was perfect for a business called ‘Pastries’, so she gets naming credit,” Pais said.
Paistries.com paistries.com/ is primarily a venue for online baking classes, but also takes limited orders for baked goods.
Pais was featured in the Feb. 18 Jewish Exponent, and she was kind enough to share her recipe for cardamom blondies with Philacatessan.
These delicious squares offer a twist on the familiar; blondies deliver a butterscotch-y goodness, and cardamom and cinnamon add a slightly exotic element. They would be wonderful for dessert following a meal with South Asian flavors, such as curry, but just as nice as a snack with a cup of hot tea.
Having jumped into the Philadelphia baking world with both feet, Pais is “floored by the way everyone supports and takes care of each other, especially through the pandemic.”
As she was launching her online baking classes, she found part time work with Kismet Bagels, kismetbagels.com/, which opened her up to new circles in the Philly food scene, and she also has found an incredible Instagram community.
Makes 12 squares
½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1-1½ teaspoons cardamom
1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Grease the sides of a square pan (8-inches-by-8-inches). Line the bottom of the pan with parchment, and set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. If parts of the mixture are sticking to the sides of the bowl, pause mixing and scrape down to make sure everything is blending uniformly.
Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix on medium-high for 6 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. The mixture should lighten in color and appear fluffy.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom with a whisk, about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low until just blended. Scrape down as needed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. In a small bowl, mix the granulated sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle it evenly over the dough in the pan.
Bake for about 28-32 minutes; the blondies are done when they hold their shape when pressed lightly with a finger.