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Table Scraps

My precious pastries

“What do you mean they are gone?” I exclaim at the Golden Crust Bakery table ravaged every Sunday at the Whistler Farmer’s Market.

If I was one of the characters from the Lord of the Rings, I would be that wistful blue faery who transforms into a towering fury of need at the sight of the untouchable ring.

“My precious,” I growl at the white table cloth littered with the taunting remains of the pecan tarts that I must now wait another seven days for.

I admit my fate and comfort myself with a cherry turnover, a pastry people travel far and wide to sample. They’ve become somewhat of a destination attraction themselves, with people as far away as Edmonton hearing about these fruity delights.

True to traditional form, the turnover crust is flaky and the fruit filling sweetly simple. There is nothing outlandish about them. No fruits cavorting to create complicated flavours. No good-for-you flours or will-heal-this fillers.

“It’s a classic style of baking,” explains Patricia Yendall, owner and baker of Golden Crust Bakery. “It’s not organic. It’s not manufactured. It’s simple classic baking with basic stuff like flour, eggs and sugar. People aren’t used to good baking any more. People try to alter it to make it new, modern, fancy or healthy. Mine is mainstream good baking. It’s your treat food.”

This is straight up, baked-like-your-grandmother-used-to-do pastries that scoff at the hoi polloi of culinary experimentation and instead provide the comfort food you might see Mrs. Ingalls pull from the oven in Little House on the Prairie reruns.

However, it wasn’t baker Yendall’s mother who set the example for Patricia’s work, rather the other way around. Patricia’s mother’s pastry was so bad, and Patricia’s so good, Patricia was named head baker of her Ontario family by 10 years old.

Upon high school graduation, Patricia’s talents spread to other kitchens, including the Banff Springs Hotel and other pastry pantries in Vancouver, Toronto, New Zealand and Whistler.

However, children put Patricia back in her own kitchen, a commercial one built specially for her next to her Squamish home, enabling her to raise her kids, Jaxon, 4, and Vanessa, 8, full time and run a bakery on the side.

Juggling bakery and family is always challenging for the devoted mom, especially in the summer. The farmers’ market kiosk demands three days of prepping the pastries, two days of 4 a.m. starts to bake, one long day to sell and one day to catch up on house work before the whole process starts again, approximately a 65-hour week routine.

Patricia’s baked goods grace the tables of Bizarre Bazaar and the Whistler Farmers’ Market every year. She also keeps a customer list to notify patrons when she will open the oven to the public, outside of special events.

While my trip to her stall is all about her butter tarts, either raisin, cranberry or pecan — no mixing allowed — there are plenty of other sumptuous treats to indulge in, including date squares, usually at least four different types of turnovers, pies and muffins.

Even with all of these choices, Patricia is all about the apple pie. Nothing complicated: fresh fruit, flour and sugar. The only thing complicated about the whole thing is trying to figure out how late you can pick up a pastry treat at the market before the inevitable sell out.