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November 22, 2007

About Pastrygirl


Who am I: My name is Anita and I am a Bay Area native, living and working around San Francisco, with a lifelong addiction to all things sweet. My love for baking has led me down some unexpected but very rewarding (and delicious) paths.


Where I've been: In 2005 I took a six-month professional pastry course at Tante Marie's Cooking School, which focused on classic French patisserie.  I braved the perils of burning sugar, overwhipped egg whites, and melting fondant to make croissants, croquembouche, and tarte tatin.  A record of my travails can be found at my Flickr page.

After graduating, I fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams and worked full time in a beautiful little bakery in the East Bay, turning out cakes, croissants, and chocolate. At the same time my curiosity about photography, which sprung from a desire to document all my experiences in the kitchen, evolved into a professional passion. I had started Dessert First as a way to combine several of my interests: baking, photography, and writing. Now it had become a springboard for me to share with world how I feel about the beauty and joy of food.


Where I'm going: I'm still constantly expanding my horizons, filling myself with inspirations and ideas. I'm always trying new ideas in the kitchen, and experimenting with new ways to capture the perfect image of the results. My creativity is charged by everything around me: cookbooks, pastry chefs I admire, restaurants I visit, the sights and smells as I walk down the street.

I do freelance work as a food writer, stylist, and photographer. Here is a list of where my work has appeared. I am also the author of two cookbooks, Field Guide to Cookies and Field Guide to Candy. I was extremely lucky to get the opportunity to do this books, and it was all because of my blog. You'll never know where life takes you, so just get out there and start doing it!

Thank you for visiting, and please leave a note! I look forward to hearing from you. Happy baking!



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Anita, glad to know u! U have one awesome looking blog dear!

All the very best for ur SECRET project!

~ Siri

I love your site and all of your photos! Beautiful!

Thanks for sharing your love for desserts. I love baking and have not been able to do much since having our first baby. Your blog is inspiring. It makes me want to go and pull out all my baking sheets and bake something.

Anita, thank you for the inspiration and I love your site!

Re: Honey and Sea Salt Caramel Recipe.....What is the purpose of bringing the first four ingredients to "hard crack" stage before combining with other ingredients. Generally the caramel recipes call for all ingredients to be brought to a soft/firm ball stage. I am afraid to try the recipe as written. Thank you for your help in advance.
Terry McComas

How insipiring! I had stayed in the Bay area x 2 months in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season in 2005-2006.
I dream of taking culinary lessons someday! Through your blog, I learn alot of things. It is too humble of you to state how you started and gives hope to aspirants like me.

You have such a lovely blog! I'm looking forward to reading more in the future.
All best,

hi Terry,
I found that if I did not take the temperature that high the caramels would not hold their shape and basically become flat and shapeless. It may be because of the ingredient proportions - I think the honey makes the caramel softer so you shouldn't have to worry about it becoming too hard!

thank you for your lovely words! I am sure you will make a great baker, just keep baking!

Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind compliments! I'll be sure to stop by your blog!

This site truly is an inspiration for me, content and photography wise. Awesome blog! Thanks!

I love your blog! I have really enjoyed looking at EVERY SINGLE picture on flicker of your classes and travels. Beautiful!

Love your web page! I was looking for an unusual recipe, combining rose water into Creme Brulee and found it and lots more enticing recipes on your site. I've added it to my "bookmarks" and expect to refer to it often for entertaining.
Thank you so much for sharing!

Congratulations on your fantastic career in pastry! Your work is really amazing!!! I've just started the baking and pastry program at a local city college in So. Cal. and I'm always looking for resources to help expand my learning in all things pastry. I'm excited to find your blog and will use it as a source of inspiration! All the best!

Hi Anita,

I happened to stumble to your website as I was looking for the Green tea and red bean recipe. Is the said recipe the same as the one where we buy from Vanille Cake shop. I tried it at a friend's birthday party and love the said cake very much. I haven't bake such a cake before so, I am looking for recipes. What is macha powder?? I just move to the US from Europe so I am not familiar with the ingredients here. Look forward to hear from you. Would appreciate if you could e-mail me for more info. Thanks. Bye! Amy

hi anita, I have absolutely fallen in love with your website, and your story is really inspirational. I currently have an ardent passion for baking, but do not know whether it will become a serious profession. Your site offers a lot of tips and experiences that I am extremely grateful for, and wish I could have experienced personally. thanks a lot for this site!

Thank you so much! I'm so pleased that my site can inspire you!

Thanks for visiting and I'm so glad you enjoy my site!

Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind compliments! I hope you continue to enjoy the site!

thank you so much and good luck with pastry school! let me know where you end up!

Thanks for visiting! I don't think it is the same cake; this my own recipe! However, if you want to try it, matcha is Japanese green tea powder and it can be found in Asian groceries (usually Japanese is better) or at specialty tea shops.

Thanks so much for visitng and I'm so glad you enjoy the site! Let me know if you ever plan to pursue baking - even if just at home!

Hi, Anita! I've seen your work on Flickr and your blog. Happy to see such talented (and inspirational) crafts.

My family owns a local chain of bakeries (indeed we´re the second generation), but I never had any interest about baking, till these days.

Could you believe that after many many years, I suddenly are thinking seriously to left my career as a lawyer and return, if I can say so, to the real family vocation?

Anyway, thanks for sharing so much talent and passion.

Hey...fantastic pics...perhaps your interested in changing your point of view...look at my site...I'm foodblogging from a different perspective

hi anita,
your recipes are amazing,want to try so many of them,anita one of ur recipe calls for buttermilk, i live in middle east and here i dont get ready buttermilk,please can u tell me if i can make it at home and like how to make it or a substitute fot it,i wud love to make that cake as i have small children and the love cakes and cookies,wud really appreciate.thanks.

Hello Anita, I am a part time baker, working with a well known Australian pastry chef. Love the sight and found it via Bea's site.

For me the smell of buttery pastry cooking in the oven, of cooked rhubarb or even better roasting Quinces is so addictive and once you start you just cannot stop.

Good luck


Like it a lot. What kind of camera do you use?

Hi Henry,

I wanted to thank you however belatedly and tell you how much I appreciate your comments!

I think it's great that you're feeling the tug to go back to your family vocation - I wish I had some family baking traditions to fall back on, but I learned most of what I know about baking on my own.

If you do head back into the kitchen, good luck and I hope you enjoy it!

Hi Stephie,

You have a very cool and different website - I'm afraid I can't read it but I really enjoy the photos!

Hi Bharti,

Thank you for visiting my site and I'm glad you enjoy it! If you don't have buttermilk, you can combine one cup (230 g) milk with one tablespoon (14 g) lemon juice or white vinegar. Or you can also use one cup of yogurt.

Hi Rodney,

Thanks so much for writing and I'm glad you enjoy my site! If I come to Australia I shall have to come visit you. I'm really envious of you because the food culture in Australia seems amazing and all my favorite food magazines seem to come from there!

Hi Lauren,

Thanks so much! I have a Canon Rebel XTi, and I usually use a 50mm/f1.4 and 100mm/f2.8.

hi anita, i just finished sending you a facebook message hehe. thank you for having this blog up, it's a wonderful contribution to the world of dessert, you express yourself wonderfully.

Love your blog! I also live in the bay area myself and have been taking classes here and there on different pastries. As much as I would love to go to Pastry School, don't think I could sacrafice the time right now with 2 little one's running wild.

I love all your pictures too. What type of camera do you shoot with? Did you take any photography classes?

Hi Anita,

I admire your work, hope to get to know you. I also have a passion in pastry. I love everything sweet and baking. You inspire me to go further and fulfill my dream of doing what you are doing now!
Keep your wonderful work, proud of you!

Bravo!! Your work,photos and recipes are really appreciated.

What a GORGEOUS and hunger-inducing blog! I'm so happy I stumbled upon it tonight... :)

I can't begin to tell you how wonderful your blog is. I can't get enough.

I really like your work. Keep it up! God bless!

Hi Anita

How are you. It's me Donna. I went to the school's web site and I saw your feature as an instructor! Super terrific Anita. I'm still on my journey to my passion. Check out my website when you have a chance.

Wishing you continued success!

Hi Tammy,
It sounds like you're already getting a good education on pastries! I use a Canon Rebel XTi, and I've never taken any photography classes - it's on my list of things to do!

Hi Rachel,
thanks so much for the kind words. I love baking and I enjoy sharing it with everyone, and I hope you continue to enjoy it!

Hi Ahmed,
Thanks so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed my site and I hope you continue to do so!

Hi Melissa,
Thanks so much! I'm happy you like the blog and I hope it continues to whet your appetite!:)

Hi Nancy,
Thanks so much! I really appreciate the compliments!

Hi Shalum,
Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoy my blog!

Hi Donna,
So great to hear from you! I'm glad you're doing well and your website looks fantastic!

your site here is awesome.. you're really talented (and i totally share the passion for baking and sweet food :)
if you dont mind, i put the link to your page on my food blog!

wow! real works of art. your passion can really be reflected on the photos of your desserts. cheers! :)

Hi Anita, I am busy posting the strawberry semifreddo that I got off your site. Hope it is OK. I linked back to your site.I love your site.

I just stumbled upon your site and I think your creations look delicious! I hope I can taste them when I go to San Francisco. Are they available in any shop?

Hi Anita,
I ran across one of your recipes on Group Recipes and came to your site. Your desserts look awesome. I'm sure I'll be drooling here often :)

I just found your blog while looking up a recipe for Lavender Shortbread. Was thrilled to find what sounds like a delicious one, and thrilled to find YOU! Am now subscribed to your blog and looking forward to reading more.

omg! i love this blog. the recipes are delightful and the desserts, scrumptious. keep up the great work!


Love your blog so much!

I love your blog--the photos are beautiful, the desserts look scrumptious! I used to bake for fun...enjoyed it very much. I shall be buying your "Field Guide to Cookies" book as a holiday gift for a friend who loves to bake.
FYI-The Chocolate Show will be in NYC in a few weeks, in early Nov 2008.
Best wishes on your current secret project & Congratulations on a lovely blog, and book!
I shall mention your lovely blog and book on my blog

Love your blog and thank you for the commentary on pastry schools. Having an insatiable sweet tooth, I too have spent countless hours of freetime pouring over baking cookbooks and whipping up innumerable variations of sugar, eggs butter and flour. I just discovered Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours. She is awesome! All the Best...
A new reader

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