APRIL/MAY

Since we're in that "what should I bake?" stage before we start reaping the bounties of local summer fruits, I'm offering one of my favorite tarts for April and May. Compliments of Christophe Felder, this tarte aux fruits rouges et pistaches is a beauty, using a medley of frozen berries covered with an easy custard filling and baked to perfection.

In France one can find all manner of frozen products at Picard, a very popular chain with stores dotted throughout Paris and the rest of the country. The fruits rouges bag consists of a mixture of raspberries, red currants, blueberries and blackberries (they consider the blue and black fruits as part of the rouges group). It's the perfect thing to pick up on the fly for baking into your favorite fruit filled treats. 

I'm excited to be busy traveling and pursuing professional development for parts of April and May, so this 9 inch tart is available until April 15 as well as after May 15. Three days notice please. Cost is $28 and serves eight. Feel free to top it just before serving with lightly sweetened Chantilly cream and fresh berries, and you and your guests will be oh so happy. Enjoy!

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MARCH

This month we start getting itchy for spring. While Easter occurs on April 1 this year, we'll see all sorts of Easter offerings in shops all month long. One of my favorite memories from this time of year is the hot cross buns my mom would bring home from the local bakery. 

Traditionally of British origin, you can find them in French pastry shops very easily!

My hot cross buns are lightly spiced/orange zest-ed, studded with currants, soft and pillowy and a wonderful treat for the weeks leading up to Easter. Place your order (either 6 or 12 per order) now for pick-up or delivery beginning Monday, March 19 all the way through Easter weekend. $15 for six or $28 for a dozen.

Tarte aux citron is this month's tarte offering: a winning combination of lemon and lime, baked in a crisp, tender short crust. Created following the method/recipe of Jacques Genin (just one of the many well known patissiers in Paris), it's a classic. With a flourish of light whipped mascarpone cream and fresh raspberries, consider it a perfect addition to your spring dessert table.

Available as a 9" tart (serves 8 nicely) for $28 or as petite tartelettes by the dozen for $20/dozen.

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And don't forget my 8-flavor assorted shortbread cookie gift boxes, seasonally beribboned and tagged for $15!! They're delicious.

 

FEBRUARY

This month is Valentine's Day and since two of my favorite French goodies are financiers and sablés, I'm giving them a Valentine's theme just for the occasion.

First up - a lovely trio of heart shaped financiers: sesame caramel, chocolate hazelnut and tart cherry, each with its own ganache garnish. Tucked in my signature purple box and ribboned with a Valentine's heart tag, it makes a lovely gift for that special someone. $9.00 per box

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On tap for shortbread:

  • 8 flavor assortment gift boxes at $15 each 
  • Individual flavor shortbread bites in vanilla, sea salt caramel or tart cherry at $5.75 each    
  • Cranberry-oat-almond biscuits (as the Brits would say!) at $7.50 per bag of seven 
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February's tarte of the month is chocolate ganache - a crisp cocoa crust with smooth ganache filling, topped with crunchy chocolate shortbread crumbs and ringed with chantilly cream. Available as a 4 inch tart for two ($7) or a full sized 9 inch tart ($28), plenty for 8-10 people (just remember - a little dab'll do ya).

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JANUARY

Galette des rois or king's cake: sold in pastry shops in France during the month of January, these are now available right here in Grand Rapids Michigan! Orders accepted beginning January 2nd for first available pick-up or delivery on January 6th (Epiphany). Galettes will be available (three days notice please!) until the end of January (or until the supply of fèves is depleted).

Each galette is approximately 9 inches in diameter and serves 8 very nicely. Cost $32, payable by cash, check, credit card or PayPal.

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 Each galette Has One Fève hidden inside. 

Each galette Has One Fève hidden inside. 

Galette des rois (king's cake) comes complete with paper crown, as well as a collectible porcelain fève from Paris baked inside. This from-scratch-by-hand puff pastry filled and baked with almond cream is traditionally made for Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas. Enjoying this tradition is typically a family affair in which the youngest crawls under the table and dictates who will receive the next piece. The one who gets the portion containing the fève is crowned king (or queen) for the day. 

If you'd like to know more about how this delight is created, check out my post.

To jazz it up, here's a great serving suggestion: top with freshly whipped cream, toasted sliced almonds and fresh orange slices with warmed caramel sauce. Whoa baby!

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