INTERVIEW

ARTIST SERIES:
EMILY PETRICK

Our Oddbird Artist Series was born at the onset of the pandemic. It was a way for us to not only support incredible artists we love by profiling them and sharing their work, but also to hopefully inspire our community on their own journey of creativity, finding new rhythms in uncertain times, and the healing act of making art.

With great excitement, we'd like to introduce you to Artist #14 in our ongoing series, the incredibly and wonderfully creative Emily Petrick!

We are also elated to share with our Oddbird family one of Emily's glorious recipes; A Strawberry Lavender Tart.

Q. Who is Whisk & Whittle and what do you do?

A. Whisk and Whittle is something that my husband, Corey, and I started together several (oh dear, 7 or 8?) years ago. He was making beautiful kitchen utensils and cutting boards in his woodshop and I was doing freelance baking and dessert catering. In recent years it has become more about sharing recipes and hopefully inspiring other people to get into the kitchen and bake. I think it can be pretty intimidating for a lot of people. I love it when people reach out for recipe suggestions or tips for a specific technique they want to try! 


Q. How did you get to where you’re going?

A. Like so many bakers, I started baking in the kitchen with my mother and grandmothers at a really early age. I’ve always loved how food and cooking brings people together. After a string of retail jobs and a fair amount of (I think really age appropriate) aimlessness in my early 20’s, I made the choice to enroll in culinary school for baking and pastry. After graduation, I worked in several bakeries around Los Angeles. When I met Corey and we knew we wanted to start a family, I decided to work for myself so that I could have a little more flexibility in my schedule (ie: no more 3am start times and 12 hour shifts.) So we started Whisk and Whittle! It’s been kind of on hold since we moved to Arkansas when I was 5 months into a really hard twin pregnancy, which was followed by, well…twins, and then a global pandemic. So my hands have been pretty full, but I’m really itching to get back into the kitchen. We just bought a property outside of town where I hope to start having baking pop-ups and small, outdoor gatherings. I really miss feeding people.

"The boys really love baking with me! It feels really important for me to spend that time with them and have them feel like they're involved in the process and helping to make food for the family, even if it gets a little wild."

Q. Do your boys love baking with you? Whats their favorite recipe?

A. The boys really love baking with me! It’s mostly just them dumping pre-measured ingredients into a bowl and mixing, but they love to be a part of it. We make lots of really simple muffins and cakes. Carrot cake is always a hit! Our favorite recipe is from Rose Bakery, though I modify it a bit for the boys. They’re also really into “helping” me with dinner prep. They sort of hack at things with their little butter knives and munch on whatever veggies I’ve tasked them with.  It’s generally really fun, but there are definitely days where it’s a little hectic having them in the kitchen. It feels really important for me to spend that time with them and have them feel like they’re involved in the process and helping to make food for the family, even if it gets a little wild.


Q. For those like me who are very ‘hit and miss’ with their baking, what are your key pieces of advice for success every time? 

A. Ah, this is a tricky one! For starters, I recommend investing in a kitchen scale and using it for measurements whenever possible. The other two mistakes that I think are really common are over mixing and overbaking, so I would definitely try to be mindful of that. At the end of the day though, I find people are generally thrilled about anything homemade, so try not to be too harsh a judge. There are definitely times where I will make something and I think it is just the worst, but other people go wild for it! 

Q. What are you doing with your time when you’re away from the kitchen?

A.  My kids are really active. We spend most of our time outdoors. We love hiking and exploring. Lots of nature walks. I started gardening soon after having the boys and that is something that we really enjoy doing together as well! 

Q. How did 2020 change your lifestyle?

A. I joked at the beginning of the pandemic that as a stay-at-home mom and extreme introvert, things would pretty much look the same for me. Obviously, I ended up being really wrong.  My husband started teaching from home pretty early on, which meant a whole lot more together time than before. Like, a lot more. We also didn’t travel at all, which is really unusual for us, but we were able to explore and learn about our new home in this really unfamiliar part of the country in a way that I don’t think we would have otherwise. I feel really lucky to say that it was a very quiet, simple year for us. There was a lot of sweetness in it. That being said, I am really looking forward to this new season of life where we are able to get out a little bit more and expose the boys to more things and people.

Q. How do you design and execute those incredible icing floral arrangements on your cakes?

A. After moving from California, where beautiful fresh flowers are readily available and accessible year-round, I was pretty perplexed about how to decorate cakes in the winter here (Arkansas). I decided I would just have to make my own! I have a lot of fun with it. I always start with choosing a color palette and mixing my colors. Then I pipe the biggest flowers first and work my way down from there. I place them on the cake the same way. I’m mostly just designing as I go though. The leaves and the tiniest flowers get piped directly onto the cake. 


@WHISKANDWITTLE'S MOTHER'S DAY
STRAWBERRY LAVENDER TART

STRAWBERRIES:

1 LB. STRAWBERRIES
1/2 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR
2 TBS. DRIED LAVENDER
JUICE FROM ONE LEMON

MASCARPONE CREAM:

8 OZ MASCARPONE
1/2 CUP HEAVY CREAM
2 TBS. GRANULATED SUGAR
1 TSP. VANILLA EXTRACT

SHORTBREAD CRUST:

3/4 CUP (1 1/2 STICKS) OF BUTTER AT COOL ROOM TEMP
1/2 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR
1/4 – 1/2 TSP. VANILLA EXTRACT
ZEST OF ONE LEMON
1 3/4 CUPS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR

METHOD:

For the strawberries: 
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit for at least an hour (ideally several hours) in the refrigerator. 

For the crust:
With an electric mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, butter, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla together until they are combined and creamy.

Add the flour and beat again until the dough starts to come together. It will look dry and crumbly. 

Dump the mixture into an ungreased 8” tart pan (9” would work as well. Your crust will be thinner.) Press the mixture into the bottom tart pan and up the sides. I like to use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to press the dough into the pan to ensure a dense and even tart shell. 

Use a fork to poke holes all over the bottom of the tart.
Place in the freezer for AT LEAST 15 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Let cool completely. 

For the cream: 

Whip the mascarpone on medium speed until smooth and slightly fluffy.
Add the cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until the mixture becomes thick.

Assembly:

Spread mascarpone mixture over the cooled tart shell.
Strain strawberries. Set the juice aside.
Arrange the strawberries (or dump them) on top of the mascarpone mixture.
You can brush the tops of the strawberries with the reserved liquid from the strawberries. This is optional. 

I like to use the leftover syrup in cocktails! 


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