Strawberry Napoleon

I love desserts… and I love chocolate but I try not to eat too many so as to not negate the workout I do everyday. But sometimes, the temptation is too grand like today. As I was browsing through one of my latest acquisition, I just could not resist those recipes I was seeing. So instead of drulling about them, I just decided to pick one, and make it into reality. The recipe is called Harmonie in “La Duree”book, but since I altered it quite a bit I will call it strawberry napoleon. It is fairly easy I think, though the macarons may give some problems to a few people.

For this recipe you will need: 6 oz. of almond mill, 8 oz. of powdered sugar, 5 egg whites, 10 oz. of granulated sugar, fresh strawberries, 3 oz. of butter, 2 cups of milk, 4 egg yolks, 1 Tbsp. of corn starch, seedless strawberry jam, strawberry flavoring, food coloring.

Place the milk into a middle-sized saucepan, and cook the milk until it boils. In a large bowl, beat the 4 egg yolks with 4 oz. of sugar, and beat until it doubles in volume and changes color. Add the cornstarch and mix well. Pour in the warm milk and blend well. Place the content in a saucepan and bring to boil until the milk is becoming a cream, a pudding. Add 2 Tbsp of strawberry jam, the butter, 2 drops of red food coloring, and 1 tsp of strawberry flavoring. Mix well, and set aside.

While the cream is cooling, fix the base of the cake: The Macarons. This recipe yields about 12-14  big size macarons.

First turn your oven to 320. In the bowl of your mixer, put the 5 egg whites and turn your mixer to high speed. When the egg whites start foaming, slowly add the 7 oz of granulated sugar. Keep beating the egg whites until they start making stiff peaks.  In another bowl, mix the powdered sugar and the almond mill until it is well blended. Slowly add this mixture to the egg whites dusting it a bit at a time and mixing. Be careful not to overmix so that the egg whites won’t deflate. Add 2 drops of red food coloring, and mix.

Draw 12 to 14 circles of 3 inches on a parchment paper. Place that paper on a baking sheet. Fill up a pastry bag with  the egg whites mixture, and pipe the meringue onto those circles. Bake in warm oven between 15 to 20 minutes. The macarons should not be sticking to the paper when you lift them. If they do, cook them a little longer.

To assemble, place one macaron upside down on a small plate, pipe the cream in it, cover with another macaron, pipe more cream and lay your strawberry slices on top to your liking. Yum Yum!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Ah Paris….

You will probably say that being French, and Parisian myself, I am biased about this city. But to me, Paris is one of the most beautiful place in the world. It is so majectic with its enormous, yet gorgeous monuments that i cannot help being amazed at the beautiful scenery everytime I come to visit. I love Paris not just for its beauty, but for its electricity. The city stays alive 24 hours a day, with people walking everywhere, and running to catch a cab, or a bus. When I come to Paris, I generally come with my children for a week so we have times to walk around and enjoy our favorite places. My children love to go to La Villette, the city of science ( which is an interactive educational center for children and adults), to the Champs Elysees,

to Le Musee D’orsay for its impressionsist painters,  to Notre Dame for its Gargoyles, and to La Duree on the Champs Elysees for its macarons. We love to walk on ” Les Quais de la Seine”, and sit at cafes watching people walk by. We love to window shop. I find it very expensive to shop in France since the exchange rate is very seldom in our favors.

This time around, our visit with my friends was much shorter so we had to decide what to see. In two days, it was a race to see the most and I am proud to say that we did quite well. I was able to show all they wished to see. Yeah!!!!

Among the many things we did, the Eiffel Tower was our first stop. We went to the top of course to see the whole Paris. If you have the chance to go, I advise you to go up to see. It is breathtaking! Then after that, ride one of those ancient carousel. It is so so much fun!

We also went to the Notre Dame on sunday during the morning service. It was so neat to be there to listen to the service in French. It brought me back to my childhood:-). We then went on to l’Ile de Paris, and window shop in les rues du vieux Paris. You will find the best souvenirs and presents there.

After that we walked on les quais de Paris on the left bank to look at les Bouquinistes ( people who sell second hand books and posters). I purchased several old posters of French Food Ads to display in my basement. I was so happy of my find!!!

Another place we went to was  Sacre Coeur, and old Montmartre. We walked to la place du Tertre to see the artists of various countries painting, singing and offering all kind of crafts. Whoah it was so crowded. If you go, I advise not to go on the week-end because Parisian like to wonder around too which makes the place very very busy… When we went there, they also had a festival of Perigord ( region of France in the South West) so we were able to see what food or spirits were typical of the region. We could even sample. How neat that was for my fellow friends:-)

One of our stop of course was Les Galleries Lafayette. One cannot go to Paris without stopping in this shopping center, if only to  look around.It is so grand. And its glass ceiling  so sublime!

Another stop was Le Moulin Rouge. One of my friend wanted to go see the dancing presented in the movie with Nicole Kidman. I had been already. It is fun, but think twice about going. It is very expensive.If you do decide to go, do not buy the show with the meal. It makes it more expensive and the food is only average. But do go for the show. If brings you back in time. And it is a great cabaret.

Well, I could go on and on about our visit of Paris but my entry will be endless so I will leave you here until next time. I hope that I, nevertheless, gave you the envy to come to my native city to visit!!!!

A bientot mes amis….