Farmers market season is slowing down, but Rhiannon Devine is doing anything but. "I'm getting ready to build a kitchen in my home garage, which I think will change a whole lot in my life and business," says the Australia native. "I'm not sure how just yet, but I'm pretty thrilled at the possibilities."
For several years now Devine has been a fixture at various Eastside markets, selling jellies and jams in whimsical flavors like apricot anise or rhubarb and limoncello. Tasty as those preserves are, it's Devine's macarons—victors in a Seattle Met taste test—that have helped catapult her homegrown patisserie, Lilli-Pilli.
Here, a few of Rhiannon Devine's favorite things.
Favorite pastry to wake up to: A crusty piece of rye bread with some good butter, jam, or honey.
Macaron flavor to impress guests: Fleur de sel caramel; it pleases just about everyone.
Thing to snack on while cooking: Anything I’m making at the time. Roasted hazelnuts are a particular treat.
Secret technique: Most people use a candy thermometer to measure the density of sugar for Italian meringues (the base of a French macaron), but I use my fingers. I learned this technique at school where you dunk your fingers in ice water until they are numb, place them in the boiling sugar water solution to snatch out a small bit of solution, and then back into the ice water. The end result left on your finger tips, when rubbed together, tells you the density or the stage of the sugar solution (soft ball, hard ball, etc). It’s a great party trick!
Favorite ingredient: Cultured butter.
Most loathed part of making macarons: Repetition.
Three things sitting on my kitchen counter right now: Dirty tea cups, a toaster, fresh peaches.
Macarons are better than cupcakes because: They are incredibly diverse, very pretty, and have a fascinatingly unique texture.
Guilty pleasure: Nutella straight from the jar.
Place to drink on a day off: I’m not a drinker, but there is an awesome root beer made by a brewing company in Waitsburg called Laht Neppur Brewing Company and Cellars. I haven’t had it in a long while but it was really delicious—rich, licoricey, and not too sweet.
Recently splurged on: A jam pot from Le Creuset in Marseille Blue.
On the wish list: I’m converting our house’s garage in Kirkland into a commercial kitchen—that’s a pretty big wish in the works.
Can't live without: A good cuppa’ tea!
Favorite local spot for macarons: Honore in Ballard.
Biggest kitchen disaster: Any that involves caramel. It hurts. A lot. I have many scars.