Claire’s Baking Earns Loyal Following in Port Hope

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Karen Graham

Claire Carrie spends her weekdays behind a desk keeping client and insurance company files organized, accurate and current at Bulger and Gray Insurance Brokers in Millbrook.  It’s a job that requires discipline and organizations skills, but in the world of insurance administration,there is little room to flex a creative muscle.  There is plenty of creative talent in this hard-working lady, and she takes full advantage of it in her other line of work: baking.

Claire serves one of her many customers. Photo: Karen Graham.

Claire serves one of her many customers. Photo: Karen Graham.

A competitive cake decorator and competition judge, Claire is well known for her flair in creating memorable, eye-popping cakes, such as the birthday cake she prepared for Ryan Huntley’s birthday a photo of which appeared in the Church House column last August. She loves to prepare special wedding cakes, building intricate lace patterns in the fondant.

This year Claire has been operating a booth at the Millbrook Farmers’ Market, where she offers decadent cinnamon buns, bagels, quiche, muffins, vegetable dishes baked on her home- made puff pastry and occasionally a freshly made doughnut or two.  As impressive as this is, her offerings in Millbrook represent less than one-tenth of the product she prepares every week for the Saturday Port Hope market, where she is a vendor for the first time, encouraged by friend and fellow baker Paula Houde of Two Dishes.

Claire is a trained pastry chef, having completed all three levels of the Pastry program at the renowned Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute in Ottawa a few years ago.  She travelled back and forth between Millbrook and the school several times a week during her program to ensure her administrative duties were maintained.  Suffice it to say, this lady has stamina!

To get a glimpse into her creative process, Claire graciously allowed me to act as kitchen help Friday morning during her first few hours of prep for Saturday’s market…

Get to the market early on Sunday to enjoy home-made goodies from the booths of local bakers Claire and Paula.  They are sinfully delicious. You might be tempted to visit the Port Hope market to get a sample of some of Claire’s other products they see every week.

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