CHAUSSON AUX POMMES

“Chausson aux pommes” pretty much means “apple pastry”. So very much like a small apple turnover….yet prettier. This recipe calls for granny smith apples cooked with cinnamon, brown sugar, and a touch of spiced rum. Yum !!! Here’s how they are supposed to look…..

Just gorgeous little gems, aren’t they ? You start with traditional French Puff Pastry, and since the book said I could…..I cheated this time and used Frozen Puff Pastry ! (I don’t think the recipe suffered…no one seemed to notice the difference.) You fill the ovals, fold them, score them and brush them with an egg wash to make them shine. Here’s mine….

My edges were not quite as clean, and as you can see, some of my scoring went too deep, and then the apple filling started to show through. But so easy and fun to make ! I liked the homemade filling, but I can’t see why you couldn’t really make them easy , and use a canned pie filling….(oh the horror…these are supposed to be French Pastries!)

TART TROPEZIENNE

This pastry, (tart, cake, bread, whaaaat?) is not easy to describe so I will start with the picture……

Pretty ! Having company for lunch….I wanted to make something that was visually pretty, but bland after spicy food. I picked this because it was basically bread with vanilla pastry cream. The main body is a round loaf of brioche bread, split into layers, with “creme patissiere” piped into the center. Creme Patissiere is a fancy name for pastry cream, which in truth, is just a rich and thick homemade pudding. You can flavor the cream with vanilla, orange, kirsch, or just about anything really. I used vanilla bean. The white globules you see on the top is a sprinkling of crunchy “pearl sugar” which you can buy rather inexpensively on the internet. Here’s how mine turned out….

My bake was a little dark on the bread, which perhaps made the brioche slightly drier than it should be, but all-in-all, it was enjoyed. The bread being brioche meant it was rich and sweet, which helped the illusion that this was a more cake-like dessert, rather than just a loaf of bread with sweet cream filling. Served with whipped cream, it was sweet enough for dessert, without being overly rich and sweet, and leaving you with that “too much” feeling.

QUICHE LORRAINE

Happy Easter everyone ! Well this was an easy decision this week . Could a recipe be more perfect for Easter? I have made many quiches in my kitchen, but when I saw this traditional recipe in the book…..,I couldn’t resist. Let’s go right to the picture……

As per the French….this recipe is ALL calories, LOL ! Calling for 2 whole cups of whipping cream, a whole pound of bacon,5 eggs, and a cup of Gruyere cheese, it packs a wallop ! To my amazement , other than salt and pepper, the only other seasoning was nutmeg. Nutmeg. I was also surprised to find that it DIDN’T call for white wine. I was under the mistaken belief that all French quiche recipes called for white wine. (Perhaps that was just me finding an excuse to use it !) Anyway…here’s how mine turned out…..

The nutmeg was not overtly present, although it must have added to the overall flavor. This was my first time cooking with Gruyere cheese, and although I do not like the taste of it plain, I was pleasantly surprised with the taste when cooked into this perfect little pie. Maybe not so perfect….you can see where I put my thumb through the crust taking it out of the oven, but I was happy with it overall. And of course, all that fat made it delicious this morning for breakfast!

PAIN D’ EPICES

Pain d’ epices is a heavily spiced quick bread very much like gingerbread. It has cardamom, star anise, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. And it has orange and lemon zest, honey, and it’s made with rye flour to boot. About the only thing it doesn’t have is the molasses that is so prevalent in our gingerbread. Not much to look at….here’s the pic from the book….

Very plain. I am not a spice cake lover, so I couldn’t judge this one very well. It was moist and very spicy, so I guess it met all the criteria. Here’s mine…..

My husband loves his spice cake, so this one was mostly his. I just finished it with some chocolate work, and it kind-of looks like Spring. Not really very special, so I doubt whether I would spend my energy making it again, except maybe if someone asked for a spice cake.

MANGO RASPBERRY SABLE BRETON TART

Fabulous! I’m going to show you the pic right off…..

Mango is my all-time favorite for fruits. Raspberries rank right up there too. This dessert is so ultimately simple, yet so elegant. It’s basically a giant shortbread cookie with a vanilla bean pastry cream, and fresh fruit piled on that. Any fruit would be great. Pineapple , peaches, even kiwis. Here’s my version….

Sooo good! Another hit. The cookie dough is “sable breton” . The sable breton is a traditional French butter cookie with a hefty amount of salt. I will be making these cookies in the near future as the recipe is coming up in my lineup . After tasting this dessert I am looking forward to the cookies.

TARTE AU CITRON

“Tarte au Citron”. Lemon Tart. Pretty straight forward. Lemon curd in a tart shell. What makes this a French staple is again…the amount of butter. Lemon curd recipes worldwide use pretty much the same ingredients, just in different ratios. This one is silky smooth with lots of butter. Here’s the pic….

And here’s how mine looked….

No edible flowers in Wisconsin this time of year, so I opted for the edible gold leaf. And I just didn’t get the lime zest they used on top. Lime? Why lime? Gold sprinkles worked just fine. A meringue top would have made them look like miniature lemon-meringue pies. I love this dessert. Not too heavy and not too long to bake.

GATEAU DE VOYAGE

“Gateau de Voyage ” means “Travel Cake” . Similar to a pound cake…made to wrap up like a loaf. Usually marbled…this recipe called for chocolate and matcha . Here is how it looks in the book…..

My chocolate/matcha ratio didn’t seem the same, even though they have you make separate recipes, so the amount should be the same. I am not a big matcha fan. So even though my cake turned out heavy on the chocolate side….I still found the matcha a little overpowering. Here’s mine…

The cake was moist and rich, so with ice cream it was perfect, What makes this stand out as a “French cake” is ….as per usual… the shear amount of eggs and butter used ! 2 1/2 sticks of butter, and 4 large eggs. Per loaf. Matcha lovers loved this cake, and the dark chocolate helped redeem it for the rest of us.

FRANGIPANE PEAR TART

This recipe is a French Classic. It consists of three components. “Pate Sucree” , which is a rich cookie-like tart crust….”Almond frangipane”, a buttery almond pastry cream…and sliced pears on top with an apricot jelly glaze. Here’s how it should look…

This is not my favorite dessert. And the thing is…I love pears. I mean I really do…they’re my second favorite fruit. The first being mango. Hmmm…Frangipane Mango Tart ??? It seems to me that the almond filling kind of “takes over” the pears. My husband Loved it though. I thought it a little sugary sweet. Here’s how mine looked…

Very pretty ,I thought.. although I couldn’t fit a 5 petaled flower of pears…my pears were too large. Quite heavy also…they seemed to sink into the filling a bit. All in all…a success, and pretty easy to make. I would try a stronger flavor profile next time. Maybe banana with a caramel glaze. or strawberry with a lime basil glaze. Endless possibilities.

PALMIERS

Palmiers are also sometimes called elephant ears. Not the big flat American version; the French Palmiers are small, tightly rolled, and almost cookie-like. You can use any number of fillings or flavored sugars, but the traditional Palmiers were just caramelized sugar and puff pastry. Here’s the book pic…..

Nothing but sugar, and puff pastry. No butter, no egg wash, no fuss. Just your rolling pin and some folded puff pastry, sprinkled generously with sugar. Here’s how mine turned out…..

Perhaps mine are a bit wing-like…and maybe they could have been left in slightly longer for better caramelizing….but all-in-all… pretty tasty. AND pretty easy.

VANILLA ROULADE

Remember the old fashioned “jelly roll”? Well this is the same sponge cake rolled up with real whipped cream. Easy. But like all easy things……not always. This is the pic from the book….

Beautiful. I thought I would time the making of this dessert to coordinate with my Mother’s Birthday. It was one of the first cakes she taught me to make. Here’s how it turned out…..

Turned out beautifully! After the disaster of the first one. I am a firm believer of Murphy’s law; or of the “don’t try a new recipe when you’re having guests” law. The first attempt cracked during the rolling…which is about all that can go wrong with this recipe. It tasted perfect, however, so I just used it as a practice run. It was vanilla bean with vanilla bean whipped cream. Classic. But try it with raspberry jam, or chocolate pastry cream…the options are endless!!!