Ginger Infused Carrot Cake

Carrot cake

Yet another food magazine hit the newsstands in France last year, this one being dedicated entirely to baking and sweets. Fou de Pâtisserie is different in that top pastry chefs as well as up-and-comers in France and from around the world generously share some of their recipes. This is a fantastic magazine for those who would like to know any and all things about the world of French pastries. Not only does it showcase the artistry of French pastries and their historical origins, but each issue also offers readers a glimpse into the careers of the masterminds behind the gorgeous creations through interviews that reveal how they got their start, what motivates them, their style, etc. The magazine also comes chock full of tutorials of basic techniques.  Though recipes of the hautes pâtisseries featured can be daunting, simpler recipes for classics, such as eclairs and muffins, are also included for amateurs with limited skills like myself.
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Ginger Infused Carrot Cake

Fleur de sel chocolate chocolate cookies

chocolate cookies

Though it’s been three and half years since I’ve made France my home, I’m still very attached to my American roots. France has introduced me to a whole new world of pâtisseries and has brought out the sweet tooth in me, yet I still have a fondness for making American baked goods, such as cookies, muffins, cupcakes, etc. Cookies are probably one of the easiest things to make, but the Frenchies haven’t quite mastered this goodie of ours. I find that their interpretation of our cookies is a bit too dry and crunchy for my liking. I myself prefer soft and chewy cookies. Ahhh, nothing like the nostalgia of my days back in the states brought on by biting into a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie!

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Fleur de sel chocolate chocolate cookies

Riz au lait à la vanille

Riz au lait à la vanille

Since moving to France, I’ve developed quite an ardent appreciation for French desserts, both for the exquisitely refined pieces of art by pastry chefs such as Claire Heitzler of Lasserre as well as for the more mundane and quotidian desserts like chocolate mousse. Not too long ago, I discovered riz au lait, or rice pudding. Several of my old co-workers who occassionally grabbed lunch at the hospital café would often have it for dessert. I’m not sure which brand it was that they ate, but it came packed in a jar very much like this. When I saw that very jar sold in the dairy aisle at the market, it reminded me of my old co-workers and how much I miss seeing them (that is, those who didn’t my work life miserable) everyday. So, compelled by nostalgia and curiosity, I grabbed a couple of jars. I couldn’t wait to dig in and taste the creamy goodness.

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Riz au lait à la vanille

sablés au chocolat

sablé au chocolat

Last week marked the official la rentrée, the start of the academic school year and when all of the Frenchies return to work from their long summer vacations. Everyone is tanner, refreshed and ready to work again. Although the office was pretty calm and pleasant during the month of August and all projects were put on hold until September, I was more than thrilled to see all of my coworkers again. Being essentially the only person at the office became too monotonous and quiet after just a couple of days. Without anyone at work, I was like a mute for a couple of weeks. And, if I’m not speaking French at work, the only other language I’m speaking these days is Vietnamese. So, I was starting to fear that what little French I had acquired was beginning to escape me, since I had gone for weeks without any sort of meaningful exchanges in French. I think I can breathe easily for now though, as my French words seem to still be intact!

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sablés au chocolat