French Desert Recipes

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Green Tea Cake Roll Recipe  Recipe

Green Tea Cake Roll Recipe

09.10.10 by Jackie

Cake rolls, as the name implies, are cakes that are spread with jelly or buttercream and then rolled into logs. The French name is roulade. For this recipe, I decided to use matcha green tea because of its very delicate flavor. It also gives the cake (called génoise in French) a beautiful jade green color. I filled and covered the cake with vanilla butter-cream and kept the flavors appropriately Zen in their simplicity.

Matcha green tea is fairly expensive and has a very short shelf life, so once the box is unsealed, consume it fast. Enjoy it as is with hot water or flavor your favorite desserts with the green tea powder. I had a little less than one tablespoon left in the tin. I think I had made pretty good use of it with desserts such as Vietnamese agar agar desserts, tea lattés, crème brulées and ice cream.

Green Tea Cake Recipe with Picture


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Lavender Creme Brulee Recipe Recipe

Lavender Creme Brulee Recipe

04.09.10 by Jackie

I've been waiting for the lavender in my garden to blossom to be able to make my own Herbes de Provence mix. I had so much extra lavender that I thought I'd make our family's favorite dessert. Yes, crème brulée strikes again! Lavender has a strong floral taste, so a little bit goes a long way. To enhance the lavender aroma, I added lavender extract that I bought at Sur La Table store in Palo Alto. I really thought that the unusual flavor would turn off the kids but my little munchkin loved the lavender dessert the most and kept saying "It tastes like a flower, I love it!"

It's the third season we're planting lavender in our garden and I've learned that the variety most commonly used for cooking is English lavender, not French! So be on the look-out English lavender the next time you stop at the nursery.

If you're searching for a fancy French dessert for your next dinner party, try this recipe! On the practical side, you can make the cup dessert 'way in advance and create the sugar crust at the last minute. That way you can focus on your guests instead of dessert while still serving something fabulous. Your guests will be in awe.

Fresh Lavender Picture


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Blackberry Creme Brulee Recipe

Blackberry Creme Brulee

03.11.10 by Jackie

Crèmes brulées are my mother-in-law's pêcher mignon, which literally translates to "cute fault" in French (which means guilty pleasure). I keep telling her that these custard desserts can be flavored with anything and she keeps challenging me. She brought home a whole case of blackberries from our local market and asked if I could make her favorite dessert cups with them.

So after flavoring crème brulée with lemon, cherry, butterscotch, matcha green tea and masala chai, I was able to prove to her that I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.  It has occurred to me though that maybe her "challenge" is just an excuse to get me to make more crèmes brulées. As long as I can come up with more flavors, I'll keep playing along. After that, she'll have to come up with a better reason!


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Tarte Poire Noisette (Pear Tart with Hazelnut Cream) Recipe

Tarte aux poires et à la noisette sounds like a fancy-schmancy dessert but really, it's just a French tart made with hazelnut cream and ripe pears. That's about it. The only other embellishment is that I enhance the flavor of the nut cream with a little green anise.

Green anise seeds are usually infused in tea as a medicinal treatment for children's stomach aches. It's a pretty common remedy in Northern Africa. I love the sweet fragrance and the strong notes of licorice. You don't have to add the aromatic seeds to the nut cream but I think they pair wonderfully with pears.

Being French, it still is really remarkable to me that in America, French sounding names make products sound more luxurious (and expensive). I've even seen some products that have names that don't make sense in French, but I guess evoke a sense of elegance. Now that I've let you in on the secret, don't be fooled by fancy French names anymore! However, if you prepare this recipe for your friends or family, make sure that you use the French name to impress them. Better to be the "fool-er" than the "fool-ee!"


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Tarte Tatin aux Pommes (Upside down Apple Pie) Recipe

Tarte Tatin sounds like a fancy dessert, but really, it's just an upside down caramel apple tart. I made a simple tart shell using dough called pâte brisée. Instead of filling the shell though, I placed slices of apples that were cooked in a caramel sauce into the mold and then covered them with the tart shell. The tarts then went into the oven to cook the shell. 

You really should eat these treats almost as soon as they come out of the oven. To plate, just flip each mold and the apples will now be on top. If you wait too long, the caramel will harden and it will be difficult to unmold.  If you flip the tart out and let it sit, the crust will get soggy. This has never been a problem at my house because the smell of freshly baking apples always manages to gather the entire family in the kitchen.


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