Since the age of 5, I have had a love for baking that was first inspired by my mother. Now, more than thirty five years later, I'm a pastry chef and the founder of Dessert Diva LLC. I graduated from Oakland University, and began my career in accounting. My love for the kitchen continued. I took my passion for baking and went back to school and studied Pastry Arts at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Michigan. After graduating, I have been involved in designing, baking and delivering cakes, cupcakes and various pastries for her growing number of clients. My passion for the pastry arts has brought smiles to so many throughout Southeast Michigan for over 7 years. My biggest thrill is making wedding cakes; to be part of the biggest day of a couple's life is awesome.
What is your favorite thing to make for special occasions?
My favorite food to prepare for family and friends is Strawberry Tiramisu.
How did you get involved in Cooking Matters?
I'm involved with the ACF (American Culinary Federation), and at one of the meetings Cooking Matters let all the chefs know about the great opportunity to get involved. Ever since, I try to sign up for classes and be a part of the great group of volunteers.
You’ve become a great Cooking Matters advocate and recruiter at ACF meetings. Why do you think it’s important for culinary professionals to get involved?
It's important to give back to the community, in any way one can. It's extra special to be able to help with the field that I'm passionate about: to show how easy it is to cook, and that it really is not hard. I remember one student that did not cook and she shared with the class that she learned so much. It's times like those that we do not forget. Culinary professionals should give back. Cooking is what we do, and we love to share our knowledge.
As a pastry chef, do you have a recipe for a "sometimes" food that you’d like to share with us?
My current favorite recipe is Strawberry Tiramisu.
1 1/4 cups strawberry preserves
1/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons Grand Marnier, divided
1/3 cup orange juice
1 pound mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries, divided
52 crisp ladyfingers
Whisk preserves, 1/3 cup Grand Marnier, and orange juice.
Place mascarpone cheese and 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier in bowl, mix just to blend.
Beat cream, sugar, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier to soft peaks.
Stir 1/4 of whipped cream mixture into mascarpone mixture to lighten, fold in remaining whipped cream.
Hull and slice in half all the strawberries.
Spread 1/2 cup preserve mixture over bottom of 3 quart oblong serving dish or 13" x 9" x 2" glass baking dish.
Arrange enough ladyfingers over preserve mixture to cover bottom of dish.
Spoon 3/4 cup preserve mixture over ladyfingers, then spread 2 1/2 cups mascarpone mixture over.
Arrange sliced strawberries over mascarpone mixture.
Repeat layering with remaining ladyfingers, preserve mixture, and mascarpone cheese mixture.
Cover with plastic and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
Arrange sliced strawberries over tiramisu and serve.