Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

20170726_155542In the south, banana pudding is a quintessential summer dessert. It is a valued traditional fare like cheesecake is to New Yorkers. Despite all of its southern charm, traditional banana pudding harbors an enormous amount of calories and saturated fat. As much as I love traditional recipes they don’t quite fit into a healthy lifestyle I try to lead. I needed to find balance, a way to slim down traditional recipes without losing their classic flavors.

20170726_155602I usually have bananas on hand because both of my daughter’s love them. Problem is both of my daughter’s love them and the second I use them for a recipe they will request them all day and refuse to eat anything else. Thankfully, my preschooler has been particularly picky lately and has not been requesting bananas while my youngest has had tummy troubles from the formula to milk transition and definitely does not need anymore binding foods. This caused my bunch of bananas to hit the overly ripe stage and make them free to use for baking.

20170726_151850Now that I had bananas I had to figure out how to shave down the average traditional recipe’s 800 calories, 49 grams of fat, and 19 grams saturated fat without losing the taste everyone falls in love with upon first bite. My first idea was to enhance the banana flavor in order to compensate for the loss of richness sacrificed along with the heavy cream. I know from my culinary school days that when you roast a banana the naturally occurring sugars concentrate and take on a caramelized flavor. This would allow me to boost the flavor of the custard and reduce the amount of added sugar as well. The only problem with this approach is the texture of the roasted bananas becomes too soft to slice for the banana layers that adorn the custard base. My solution was to roast only the bananas needed for the custard as they would be mashed anyway and keep the sliced bananas fresh so they would retain their shape and texture.

20170726_152128To finish up my recipe makeover I swapped 2% milk for the heavy cream or half & half found in traditional recipes. The added richness from the roasted bananas more than made up for the taste lost along with the fat. For the topping I used light whipping cream over heavy cream to save even more calories and fat. Even though the whipped topping doesn’t hold a stiff peak like it would have if made with heavy cream, it is not necessary for this recipe. After all the tweaking, this recipe saves over 500 calories, 44 grams of fat, and almost 17 grams saturated fat per serving without losing a bit of good ole’ southern charm!

20170726_155634Note: If you are not serving the entire pudding right away you will want to prepare just enough whipped cream for what you are serving rather than spreading the full amount across the entire pudding as the final layer. This whipped cream is not stabilized in order to save calories and fat so it will lose its hold over time (approximately 2 hours of holding time). Rather than ruining the entire pudding due to weeping, simply whip up some fresh whipped cream with each serving.

 

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 ripe Bananas; unpeeled (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat Milk
  • 2/3 cup Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream
  • 45 Vanilla Wafers; divided

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 2 unpeeled bananas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Carefully peel and place roasted bananas in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth or use an immersion blender. Peel and cut remaining bananas into ½-inch thick slices.
  2. Combine milk and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer but do not boil.
  3. In a medium bowl combine milk, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs. Stir well with a whisk. Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return the newly combined mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until the butter melts. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the cooled pudding mixture. Spread 1 cup of custard evenly into the bottom of an 11-x-7 inch baking dish or individual ramekins. Top with 20 vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices. Spoon half of the remaining custard over the banana slices. Repeat procedure by placing 20 vanilla wafers, remaining banana slices, and remaining custard. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the pudding layers. Crush the remaining 5 vanilla wafers and sprinkle over the top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: SIDNEY FRY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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Easy Banana Snack Cake

20170329_192032Recently I had a few blackened bananas on the verge of needing disposal before they rotted completely. I usually turn to making banana bread when this happens but I felt like trying something new. I hadn’t made a cake in awhile so I thought this would be a good fit for some bananas that would otherwise go to waste. Although technically cake, it is more specifically a loaf cake. Loaf cakes hold up well when sliced compared to regular cake, which makes this banana snack cake perfect for packing in lunches or eating a slice on the go for breakfast.

20170329_191744Whether you enjoy this cake for dessert, a snack, or a stand in for breakfast it is a light and healthier option that even kids can enjoy. Packed with potassium-rich bananas, olive oil, low-fat Greek yogurt, and only 1/3 cup of added sugar, you can rest assured this cake will taste indulgent without breaking your healthy lifestyle. As an added bonus this cake is really easy to prepare…even if you have some little kitchen helpers like myself! Enjoy!

Easy Banana Snack Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Plain Low-fat Greek Yogurt
  • ¾ cup Mashed Ripe Banana (about 2 whole)
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg; lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup Chopped Walnuts

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 9-inch square metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk mixture until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  3. Combine yogurt, banana, oil, vanilla, and egg in a small bowl; stir until well blended. Add yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Add the walnuts and stir until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan 10 minutes on a wire rack then remove from the pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Serve (approximately 8 servings).

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JUDITH MCINTIRE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Boozy Bananas Foster Bread

20160910_120126Bananas are a very beneficial fruit. They are cheap, easy to find, and contain nutrients that benefit our heart, digestive system, and weight loss goals. However, bananas are notorious for turning bad in the blink of an eye. The ugly dark brown spots on the peel are a sign of a mushy, overly sweet banana on the inside that very few find appetizing. As unappealing as an overripe banana may be, they are perfect for banana bread.

20160910_121250Banana bread is the perfect go to recipe for using up bananas that would otherwise go to waste. As much as I love the standard banana bread recipe, it can get repetitive rather quickly. This recipe, however, is an adult interpretation of the standard inspired by the famous bananas foster dessert.

Bananas Foster is a delightful dessert created by Owen Brennan of Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana. In the early 1950’s, Brennan asked his chef to create a dessert for the restaurant that included bananas because New Orleans was the major port of entry for the imported fruit at the time. Brennan wanted to showcase the fruit so Bananas Foster was born.

20160910_121055As a tribute to the New Orleans favorite, this recipe swaps out all of the granulated sugar for light brown sugar and cooks the mashed bananas in a blend of butter and dark rum. To give that extra boozy touch without having to set anything on fire, the bread is topped off with a glaze of even more butter and rum. Although banana bread is typically a breakfast accompaniment, this recipe is decadent enough to be served for dessert as well.

Note:

  • This recipe only yields one loaf of bread. The loaf produces 16 servings with one slice for each serving. If you require more bread you can easily double the recipe.
  • This bread freezes well but be sure to thaw the loaf thoroughly before adding the glaze.

Boozy Bananas Foster Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Mashed Ripe Banana
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed & divided
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted & divided
  • ¼ cup Dark Rum; divided
  • 1/3 cup Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 6.75 ounces (1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup Ground Flaxseed
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine banana, ½ cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons melted butter, and 3 tablespoons rum in a nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Bring mixture just to a boil then remove from heat to cool. Transfer cooled banana mixture to a large bowl. Add the yogurt, remaining ½ cup of brown sugar, and eggs. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until combined.
  3. In a small bowl combine the flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Add flour mixture to the banana mixture and beat until just combined. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan and place on the wire rack.
  4. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter, remaining 1 tablespoon rum, and powdered sugar. Stir mixture until well blended. Drizzle over warm bread. Serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Slice)

boozy-banana-bread-nutritionlabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 8 Smart Points, 5 Points Plus, or 4 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Skinny Banana Nut Bread

4There is something about September that makes me crave Banana Bread. For me, I see it as a great transition from the light, berry desserts of summer to the heartier apple and pumpkin desserts of fall. The weather is just starting to show signs of changing here in Florida. The days are becoming shorter and the high temperatures are struggling to reach 90° anymore. These slight environmental changes are what trigger my changing taste buds each year.

In order to continue to enjoy banana bread like I have in the past, I needed to create a healthier alternative that would fit into my changing lifestyle. Banana bread may seem like a healthy dessert but it is often loaded with unnecessary sugar and can have upwards of 10 grams of fat per slice and over half being from saturated fat, which is no bueno!!! So with all of these bad numbers can banana bread actually become healthier? The answer is yes.

1There are many ways to shave calories and fat off of banana bread while adding in essential nutrients that make you feel a lot less guilty for indulging your cravings. Some swap wheat flour for coconut flour. Others add applesauce in place of butter or oil. I do not like these alternatives because I feel like the bread ends up tasting too much like coconut or apple when I want it to taste only of banana. In order to shave the bad and replace it with some good, I first cut out the eggs. Eggs are good but as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad. Since I still want my eggs at breakfast I cut them out of the bread. Next, I replaced butter with olive oil, which also replaced a significant amount of saturated fat with healthier poly & monounsaturated fats. Another swap was allowing plain Greek yogurt to stand in for the typical sour cream called for in most conventional recipes. The addition of Greek yogurt not only helps shave down the bad qualities in traditional banana bread but it also adds beneficial protein, probiotics, vitamin B12, potassium, and calcium. Also by adding the yogurt I was able to cut down on the amount of olive oil needed. In order to cut down on the amount of white flour without changing the texture too much, I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. If those changes weren’t enough I decided to sneak in some flaxseed to add heart healthy omega 3s and use only very ripe bananas to cut back on added sugar. Don’t be tempted to use those barely ripe bananas you just bought at the store no matter how much you may want to try this recipe. If the bananas are not overly ripe the bread will not taste as sweet and you will likely be disappointed. The reason this step is so important is because as the banana ripens, the natural sugars concentrate and the flavor matures. Many overlook this step and it is the most crucial. If you have to skip this step for whatever reason, you may have to bump up the sugar to 1 ½ cups to keep it as sweet, but keep in mind if you do the nutritional values will change.

3Although there have been many alterations to this recipe to make it more nutritious it still produces a tasty loaf. I enjoy a slice as a late night snack but it would also be great with coffee or tea at breakfast. The following recipe will produce 2 loaves of bread and approximately 24 servings. A serving size is one slice that weighs approximately 2 oz. Total preparation time for this recipe is approximately 1 ½ hours. If you are following Weight Watchers, one slice is 4 Points or 5 Points Plus.

Skinny Banana Nut Bread

Ingredients:

  • 6.8 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 7.2 oz. (1 ½ cups) Whole-Wheat Flour
  • ½ cup Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Very Ripe Bananas; mashed (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup Walnuts; chopped
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Formula:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Prepare two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans by coating all sides with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flours, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until mixed. In a medium bowl, combine banana, walnuts, sugar, vanilla, yogurt, and oil. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently run a knife around perimeter of bread to loosen from sides. Remove loafs from pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information

(One 2 oz. Slice)

banananutbread

Weight Watchers: 4 Points or 5 Points Plus

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: EILEEN SOLBERG
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

Peanut Butter and Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

DSC_0131I recently felt like making cookies and wanted to try something different. At the same time I did have some requirements of what I desired from the cookie I was about to make. I wanted it to be simple, soft, and chocolate. With that in mind I stumbled on a few potentials but everything seemed too involved for my taste since I had family in town and wanted something that could be made up quick. Just as I was about to give up and not make anything this week I stumbled on something that peaked my interest…Peanut Butter & Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. I knew peanut butter and chocolate go together perfectly but the banana intrigued me enough to force me to try it, even though it was a bit more involved of a recipe than I had planned to tackle on. DSC_0140Before I make a recipe I usually do some research and compare/contrast other recipes so that I can create the best product myself. What I found in my research was that many recipes only used mashed bananas to add the banana flavor or they added mashed banana and some banana extract to boost the flavor since many complained banana alone did not provide enough banana flavor to shine through the dominant chocolate and peanut butter flavors. One recipe took a different approach and used banana and dried banana chips. I liked this idea better than the extract option and chose to use banana and banana chips. The banana chips were a bit overwhelming the first time around but did impart banana flavor…almost too much to the point it stole the show against the chocolate and peanut butter, something I didn’t want. I wanted flavor harmony. So back to the drawing board for one more batch. This time, I toned down the banana chips and I had it perfect. The lower amount of chips provided just the right flavor and crunch without being too showy. DSC_0135To amp up the peanut butter flavor, I made sure to use crunchy peanut butter as opposed to creamy. This not only added more crunch to every bite but packed little bursts of peanut flavor. It also helped with the texture of the cookie. It kept it firm enough to hold everything together but not so firm that the cookies lost the softness I initially sought after. However, if all you have on hand is creamy peanut butter you can use that too but the texture may turn out different. DSC_0132All in all I really enjoyed these cookies and my daughter enjoyed helping me make them. They are definitely worth trying since everyone visiting had one or a few and now, sadly, they are a thing of the past. Note: Formula yields about 2 dozen cookies. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days.

Peanut Butter & Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 oz. Cream Cheese; softened
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ cup Chunky Peanut Butter
  • 1 Ripe Banana; mashed
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • ¼ cup Dried Banana Chips; chopped

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside (Do not leave them on top of the preheating oven). Combine the flour and the baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter, banana, egg, and vanilla, mixing until just incorporated. Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir the chocolate chips and banana chips in by hand until evenly distributed but do not overmix.
  3. Take sections of dough and roll into 1½ inch size balls. Place each dough ball on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart from each other. Use a large fork to gently press a crisscross pattern into the top of each dough ball. This will slightly flatten the dough balls. Bake the cookies until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through the baking time. When cookies are done baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets. After 5 minutes, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before storing. Repeat with remaining dough as necessary.

SPECIAL THANKS TO: PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Dessert Plating: Dietary Guidelines

Happy Friday once again. Today was perfect for me as I did not have class. Le Cordon Bleu elected to give us Friday off instead of Monday for Columbus Day. With that said it was a short week for plating. We had two days to create two different plates meeting dietary guidelines of our choice. Some examples are Sugar Free, Low-Fat, Dairy-Free, etc. Although I have dietary needs myself (Lactose Intolerance) I opted for Vegan and Gluten free so that I can challenge myself. So let’s start with Plate #1..Gluten Free.

 What initially came to my mind when brainstorming for possible components was how much I miss ice cream being lactose intolerant. So I decided to make items that maybe would be missed by those with gluten allergies or vegans whose morals wouldn’t allow them to ever try such textures and flavors. Of course the obvious item that came to my mind for those with a gluten allergy would be cake. As this is culinary school I can’t simply make any ordinary cake so I made a Chocolate Kahlua Cake cut into proper portions with a round fluted cutter. To make the cake gluten-free, I used Rice Flour and Tapioca Starch to replace regular cake flour or all-purpose usually found in most cake formulas. I also added xanthum gum. The cake tasted delicious on its own but I wanted to add more components and give height to my plate utilizing the cake rather than an external component. To do this I made a White Chocolate Caramel Creme Anglaise which I poured over the cake and allowed to drip over the edge to give that warm, fresh from the oven look. To add texture I placed cherries soaked in brandy over the creme anglaise and topped with another layer of cake. For added adornment and height, I tempered white chocolate and squeezed it into a mold using a baking squirt bottle to create the scroll. The decorative dots outlining the cake were created with a Cherry & White Peach Coulis.

For the final component on of the Gluten Free plate, I created a two-toned chocolate bowl overflowing with cherries. To create the bowl, I used a round chocolate mold. Utilizing the already tempered chocolate used earlier for the scroll, I squeezed abstract lines around the bottom and sides of the mold. I allowed this to chill until firm in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, I tempered dark chocolate for the remainder of the mold. Once the white chocolate had hardened, I poured tempered dark chocolate over the streak of white chocolate until about 1/3 of the mold was filled. I then placed secured the second portion of the mold over the filled portion and allowed it to set up overnight to ensure it would be fully solidified. On the day of plating, I allowed the chocolate bowl to warm slightly, about 10 minutes at room temperature before attempting to remove it from the mold. This ensured the mold removed crisply without cracking. The bowl was then filled with the remaining brandy soaked cherries and tipped over on the plate to create a natural overflowing look.

With the Gluten-Free Chocolate Kahlua Cake plate finished, it was time to move quickly on to plate #2…Vegan. Let me start by saying I have never in my career ever worked with anything remotely vegan except for the common organic fruit and vegetable. Items available to me such as Tofu and Agar Agar were new and I admit a tad bit intimidating.

 Despite the intimidation I pushed forward and ran for the exotic ingredients before the rest of my classmates used them all (our pantry is limited considering the large class size). The first item I snatched was oat flour and thankfully so as it was gone quickly following my usage and there was only one bag to be had in purchasing. Since you are now aware of the main ingredient I’m sure you can almost guess what the bar is…. and if not it is Oatmeal Raisin sillies. Well Oatmeal Raisin Date Bars. Following Vegan dietary concerns, I made sure to plump my Raisins and Dates in Dark Rum free of animal additives used during fermentation. I also was sure to toast my oats in vegan imitation butter and sweeten with Agave. Once the bars were out of the oven and cooled it was the difficult task of cutting them into presentable squares. My largest complaint about the Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Bars is their texture. Even the slightest movement and they crack and shatter into crumbs. It was obviously fate that I made a larger pan then necessary to compensate for the amount I broke in the process of cutting. Finally I managed to get one decent square out of the bars and plated it right away before it shattered in the way of its predecessors. To attract the eye to the bar and add texture to the eye, I created a Banana Poppyseed Coulis which I fanned out from the bar and across the plate. The coulis consisted mostly of banana puree and agave to sweeten.

For the final component and least favorite of all my plates so far is the Vegan Pumpkin Banana Mousse. The reason for such hatred between the mousse and I is its texture/consistency. My idea of mousse is a creamy, velvety yet heavily rich dessert that only takes a few spoonfuls and you are satisfied even though you could devour several spoons if given the opportunity to have a larger dish and scoop. This mousse met none of those requirements. The tofu imparted a distinct flavor and it didn’t fully incorporate with the pumpkin and banana puree, causing small pellets to form even after running through the robocoup (food processor) several times. Also the consistency wasn’t as firm as mousse typically is because it lacked the key volumnizing ingredient (heavy cream) and stabilizer/setter (gelatin). I did the best I could with this dish to be quite honest. I placed dollops in a nice parfait dish hoping to glamorize it somewhat. I layered fresh raspberries throughout to add color and a welcoming familiar texture. The parfait added height to my plate if nothing else, especially with the tempered dark chocolate adornment added to act as a straw.

All in all I did enjoy the vast majority of the components on these plates despite the lack of typical ingredients I am accustomed to working with. You never realize how much heavy cream and eggs are in everything until you are told you can’t work with them due to dietary concerns! I did taste everything and it all tasted well in my opinion except for the mousse. If given the opportunity for a do-over I would replace only the mousse and maybe have made a vegan sorbet instead. I am thankful for the experience of working under dietary guidelines. It will forever be useful to my career and future in baking, especially with the large amount of people living with conditions, diseases, or religious beliefs requiring specific dietary needs. Following dietary guidelines is a must for every pastry chef and even novice baker ready to take innovation to the next level.

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011