Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!


Friday, July 4, 2014

Blog Tour: All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

I'm so happy to be participating in my first blog tour for a book here! I've organized a bunch for work, so it's refreshing to be on the other side of things. And there's probably no one better to collaborate with for my first blog tour than Wendy (she's an amazing blogger - bookmark The Midnight Garden if you're looking for great reads), who is also a fellow food lover, and someone I had the pleasure of meeting at ALA recently.

Sometimes, timing is everything. My editorial director at work had an extra All Four Stars ARC from a colleague at Penguin Canada, so she gave it to me to read. Of course I devoured it and was so hungry after reading it. (I then passed the ARC to Steph at kitchen frolic - this is how word of mouth starts!) Later, reading the book blogs I follow, I find out that Wendy is hosting the blog tour. Do I sign up? YES! So here we are ladies and gentlemen.

All Four Stars
Written by Tara Dairman
Hardcover | 288 pages | Ages 8–12
ISBN 978-0-39916-252-7

All Four Stars is a fun middle-grade read for those who love food and writing - a combination of two of my favourite things. But wait, there's more! New York City, food review, desserts, grand schemes, and humour are also included.

The story revolves around Gladys Gatsby who has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven. Her fast-food-loving parents have no idea and are filled with horror when they find out. They don't know why recipes never work out for them and don't understand why people would want to cook when they can conveniently get take out. Gladys is cut off from cooking (and her allowance) until she can pay for the damages she's caused in their kitchen.

In attempts to have Gladys become more well-rounded after the kitchen accident, her parents devise a list of things she can do. It was so nice to see Gladys develop and grow in her social and school surroundings, to the point where a school assignment leads her to reviewing for one of the largest newspapers in the world. This is where the fun begins as Gladys figures out a plan to sneak into New York City, eat at the exclusive dessert restaurant, write her review, and keep her dream job a secret.

The book leaves you hungry for more so it's no surprise that there's a sequel in the works!

In honour of All Four Stars, I made some crème brûlée to celebrate. Gladys' troubles begin when she makes crème brûlée at home and loses control of the torch - revealing her secret hobby to her parents. The first time I made a classic crème brûlée, I used a tiny kitchen torch which took it's sweet time to melt the sugar. My dad walked in, took a look, and walked back out. He returned with his propane torch and suggested I use that instead. Much to afraid because it was super powerful, I declined and proceeded with my slow little kitchen torch and got scoffed at by my dad. I thought I would share that since Gladys had the opposite reaction from her dad.

This time, I wanted to try something different and made osmanthus flavoured crème brûlée. I felt that Gladys would have liked that extra ingredient.
Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). Place four 6-ounce ramekins in a small roasting pan or a baking dish with sides higher than your ramekins. Pour 2 cups of heavy cream into a medium saucepan and add in a teaspoon of dried osmanthus flowers. Heat the cream and occasionally stir to prevent a skin from forming on the top. When the cream starts to bubble and boil, remove it from the heat and turn off your stove. Let it cool and steep for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk 6 egg yolks, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt together. Pour a third of the heavy cream into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Continue to add the heavy cream until it is all combined.

Take the small roasting pan with the filled ramekins to your oven and set it on the oven rack. Gently pour hot water into the roasting pan - be careful not to get any into the ramekins! The water should reach about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the custard is set, it'll still be wobbly in the middle. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan. Set it aside to cool in room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours). When your oven has cooled, carefully take out the roasting pan and pour the water out.
I wanted you to be able to see the osmanthus sprinkled throughout the crème brûlée, normally you would put the mixture through a sieve, but doing so would remove the osmanthus!
Look at that, super smooth! Sprinkle a teaspoon of granulated sugar evenly on top and set your torch on to it create that signature crunchy caramelized topping.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the All Four Stars Blog Tour! There are fantastic posts, excerpts, recipes, and giveaways at each stop.
Tuesday, July 1st: The Midnight Garden
Wednesday, July 2nd: The Reading Date
Thursday, July 3rd: For What It’s Worth
Friday, July 4th: The Spirit of Children’s Literature and me!
Monday, July 7th: Xpresso Reads
Tuesday, July 8th: For the Love of Words
Wednesday, July 9th: Finding Bliss in Books
Thursday, July 10th: Candace’s Book Blog
July 7th – 10th: Cuddlebuggery, Great Imaginations, Lone Star on a Lark, Log Cabin Library, The Hiding Spot, Fic Talk, Carina’s Books, Karen Brissette @ GoodReads, Book Jems, Sporadic Reads, and The Social Potato Reviews

Win a copy of All Four Stars!
Thanks to our friends at Putnam, we have 8 finished copies of this lovely book to give away throughout the blog tour. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below and leave a thoughtful comment below telling us why you’re excited to read the book! Visit each stop to earn extra points, or you can also tweet, pin, etc. Open to U.S. and Canadian residents aged 18 or older, or 13 or older with parental permission. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway copies are provided by the publisher, and photographs are courtesy of the author.


  1. Fantastic review and recipe! Now, I really want to make this creme brulee--I haven't had much experience with it, so it would be a good challenge for me to take on. So glad this is a stop on the tour!

  2. Your recipe looks amazing. Not sure if I'm brave enough to try it though. Adding this book to my TBR list to share with my daughter -- we love strong female characters

  3. I wonder what osmanthus tastes like...might be less cloying than lavender!


  4. I love making creme brulee! Lavender is my favorite to make but this sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing!