Oranais aux pêches


Kinda looks like a double yolked fried egg, eh?

As we step ever so eagerly into prime baking season and autumn flavors like apples, pears, nuts, caramel, coffee, chocolate and pumpkin, here’s a farewell nod to the delicious summer fruits of west Michigan. Desirous of doing something a bit different, I opted for my own peach version of oranais.

So what is oranais you might ask? A traditional pastry made with either puff pastry or croissant dough, it’s created with a combination of pastry cream and apricot halves. It may go by a different name in various parts of France, e.g. lunette aux abricots, croissant aux abricots (en Bretagne) or abricotine (sud de la France).

My research revealed that it reportedly originated in Algeria in and around the port city of Oran - hence the name oranais. Did you know that Algeria is fourth in apricot production in the world? And let’s not forget that Algeria was once governed by France so there’s still a huge French influence there, both culturally and culinarily (is that even a word?). By the way, here’s a little historical tidbit for you - Algeria gained it’s independence from France on July 5, 1962.

During our various trips-to and stays-in Paris over the years, oranais is always on Steve’s radar - he loves those sunny beauties!! Frankly they’re not often found in the many pastry shops around town so one has to keep an eye out for a good one. At Le Cordon Bleu Paris we made them with croissant dough, and those that we’ve found in Parisian pâtisseries have been made that way as well. However my online research found that many recipes call for puff pastry.

I decided to give it a go with both. Oh boy!

Since puff is not yeasted it’s more straight forward in its handling - no worries about the dough bubbling and puffing up during the rolling, cutting and shaping. I rolled my puff to about 6-7 mm (~1/4”) thick and cut 80 mm (3 inch) squares.


The rolling out, cutting and assembly process is the same for both puff and croissant dough. Using a classic pastry cream, pipe a line diagonally across the square, place two rounds of fresh peach near opposite corners and bring the other two opposite corners up and over, sealing with egg wash. Sort of like a chubby bowtie.


Remember - puff doesn’t have to rise before baking, whereas with the croissant dough version, give it a 45-50 minute (give or take) rise. I topped the shaped/risen croissant version of oranais with an additional blob of pastry cream and some peach jam in the hopes of keeping the corners together during their time in the oven.


Bake at 400ºF for about 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

Puff result

Puff result

Croissant dough version result

Croissant dough version result

Once out of the oven brush with a vanilla simple syrup or some apricot glaze and let cool.

During the bake there was definitely more slipping and sliding of the pastry cream and peach in the croissant dough version. I had to keep pushing the peach rounds back onto the dough in my attempts at keeping things together.

As for the taste test (the best part, especially for Mr. Steve), we actually preferred the puff version. The flaky pastry and creamy, peachy combo was oh so delicious.

Of course, the croissant version was pretty good as well. After all, anything made with croissant dough is usually a winner.

Bottom line - going forward I’ll be making my oranais with puff. Yes indeed!

Fruity-nutty-oat biscuits with cheese


These delectable whole wheat shortbread-style cookies (biscuits for you Brits out there) have just the right hint of sweetness, chock full of toasted nuts, dried fruit and oats. You can read more about the recipe here. Since I wrote about these back in February, I've settled on three flavor variations as an accompaniment to cheese, either as an appetizer or as part of the post dinner cheese course. Cherry hazelnut, apricot pistachio and cranberry almond. Lovely.


A few weeks back I paired these gems with a mellow, dreamy Saint Angel triple crème from The Cheese Lady here in Grand Rapids. While the cheese is exactly what it should be - buttery, smooth and oh-so-good - it was rather lost when spread on these wholesome biscuits. So I decided to try something a bit more bold and nutty for this episode in my baking-with and pairing-with cheese project.

So back to The Cheese Lady I went.


This time I went with a couple of Spanish cheeses, one bleu from the Basque region and one 12 month aged Manchego, both of which just had to be given the chance to show their stuff.


The nuttiness of the aged Manchego wasn't bad with the crunchy-little bit chewy-fruity-nutty cookies, but it was the bleu that really shined for me. Salty and pungent yet smooth and creamy - I'll take it! 


Alas, while the Steve-meister loves cheese, especially bleus and Manchegos, he couldn't quite get on board with the cookie part (not a shortbread lover - sigh). He'd go for a crispy cracker instead - to each his/her own, right Mr. Steve?

Stay tuned for more cheese adventures!