Sweet Crêpes with Pastry Cream and Berries

Although I’d previously extolled the virtues of crêpes by posting a recipe for savory crêpes, probably (outside of France, at least) most people would associate crêpes with something sweet. I had some pastry cream that I’d made up for a beautiful fruit tart, and some extra fruit on hand, and these made for a lovely brunch (accompanied with some sparkling wine and orange juice).

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Savory Crêpes Alsaciennes

creperie-d-or

Making crêpes at La Crêpe d’Or, Paris (photo by Josh R. on yelp.com)

America leads the world in many things, but IMHO fast food is not one of them. Sure, I enjoy the occasional In-N-Out Burger. But in Belgium I can get Belgian waffles (real ones, gaufre de Liège); almost anywhere else in Europe I can get Döner kebab and gyros, fresh lovely sandwiches, great bread. And in France you have…the crêpe.

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Fresh Strawberry and Blueberry Tart

Updated 7/22/16 to reflect move of crust and pastry recipes to their own postings.

Continuing with the French theme this month, I wanted to make some pretty little fruit tarts – the kind with a rich pastry cream (crème pâtissière) on a sweet crust (pâte sucrée), covered with fresh strawberries, and a shiny glaze to brighten up the fruit and give them that pastry-shop look. The pastry cream and the glaze were the easy parts; the crust is a bit more challenging.

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Sablés Korova – Chocolate Cookies

I recently picked up a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets: Great Desserts from the City’s Best Pastry Shops, and decided to start working my way through it. Her Sablés Korova – a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie with sea salt – is the second recipe, and as she warned might happen, I keep coming back to it. It’s easy to make and the dough keeps well in the freezer, nice to be able to pop them in the oven for spontaneous get-togethers.

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Pain Perdu (French Toast)

The Tour de France started yesterday, not to mention my friends Mark and Joanne posted food photos for a week or so while on a cycling trip in France, so I am in a French frame of mind. Accordingly I’ll be doing some French (real or imagined) cooking for the next few weeks. Today’s brunch: pain perdu, “lost bread”, aka French toast.

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Salade Française

Sometimes, all I really want for dinner is a salad, but it has to be a hearty salad, not one that will leave me hungry and prone to a late-night raid of the pantry. We particularly need one of these when we’ve returned from a vacation where we’ve eaten way too much for a week or two and need to “return to normal”.

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Classic Croissants

I love a buttery croissant, especially with raspberry jam. Ok, chocolate croissants and almond croissants are pretty marvelous too. Unfortunately nobody near me sells good croissants (Trader Joe’s, Costco, and Williams Sonoma all sell pretty good ones, but none of those are particularly close to me, though). I found this recipe online by Jeffrey Hamelman on Fine Cooking (due to copyright restrictions, I’ll link to it without reproducing it – check it out). Asked a few friends on Facebook and basically got a “go for it” response, so…I did.

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French Macarons

How they should look

How they should look

A French macaron is a heavenly thing – two ethereal almond meringue cookies sandwiched with a luscious filling, and when you bite into one it simply melts into your mouth. I first had macarons in Paris; Robert and I wandered past the window of Ladurée and saw the colorful confections, and had to try them. Only later did we find out that Ladurée is for many the holy grail of macarons. Making them seemed out of the question, especially when Martha Stewart had them on the cover of her magazine (I don’t believe mere mortals can ever reproduce her results).

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