Richmond, home of purple yam croissants

Foodies on the hunt for unique pastries can check out croissants filled with purple yam – ube – made in a shared kitchen in West Richmond.

Elmo Bryan Pinpin is the owner and pastry chef of Elmo Baking Company, which shares a kitchen with Smokehouse Sandwiches on Westminster Highway.

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The former Thomas Haas pastry chef developed his own style of baking with his signature double-baked croissants filled with flavours like peanut butter and jelly, black sesame and hit flavour ube.

Ube comes from the Philippines where it is quite commonly used in desserts specifically in the form of “halaya,” jam in English.

“It’s more like a thick puree and it’s sweetened with condensed milk; it’s actually quite labour-intensive, because you have to cook it over the flame stirring it continuously, otherwise it burns in the bottom,” said Pinpin.

His ube croissants are filled with an ube halaya made from scratch so that the “croissant becomes the carrier for the filling.”

“Most of the stuff that I do now is really a reflection of my childhood experiences,” said Pinpin, adding that his love for baking and cooking came from watching his mom in the kitchen and from travelling around Asia.

“The PB and J, while that’s not necessarily Asian, it’s definitely something I liked as a child. (It) was actually one of the original (flavours) that I did for all the twice-baked (goods) a few years ago.”

“As opposed to just simply being kind of trendy or something like that, it’s really about making something that appeals to me, and then hopefully sharing that with customers who will also like it,” said Pinpin.

He was “thrown into pastries” when he started his first job after culinary school, but found he had a lot more to learn in the field and decided to pursue more schooling for it.

Pastry arts was more suited to his personality and he has taken it up as his full-time career with culinary arts as his hobby.

His company supplies pastries to various cafes around the Lower Mainland as well as Richmond’s own Sanctuary Cafe near Steveston Village.

“I’m more than happy to take on clients, especially clients that are very much similar to the kind of values that I have in terms of being passionate about their own products,” said Pinpin.

Future products that Pinpin hopes to establish are modern-style mousse cakes, however, that will need to wait until he opens up a storefront.

Pastries baked by Pinpin are available via online pre-orders on his Instagram and Facebook page and can be picked up at the Smokehouse Sandwich shop or at pop-ups in various locations.

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