Tartelette trio - some classics

Lemon  feuilletées  / blackberry / lemon mascarpone

Lemon feuilletées / blackberry / lemon mascarpone

Dark chocolate ganache / brownie cube / whipped milk chocolate ganache

Dark chocolate ganache / brownie cube / whipped milk chocolate ganache

Fresh berries / pastry cream / raspberry  gelée  (yes - you’ve seen these before!)

Fresh berries / pastry cream / raspberry gelée (yes - you’ve seen these before!)

After my last couple of posts on Americana themed baked offerings, I’m turning back to my French pastry loves for the summer months. So much to talk about!

You know I’m always one for tart making, especially the petite versions of my favorites. This time around it was for a special luncheon for a group of former co-workers who gather once a year at Heron Woods/Manor, a local independent/assisted living facility just down the street from my home. Deftly orchestrated by Kim and David, it was a fine repast of salads, soup, fresh croissant (made by yours truly!) and topped off with the tartelettes for dessert.

These three babies were so fun to put together. The lemon consisted of baked quick puff (more on that in an upcoming post) feuilletées, one of the coolest twisted versions of a puff pastry case that there is, filled with my new favorite version of lemon curd (from the book “Sweet” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh), then baked a second time to set the curd. Follow that with a whipped lemon curd mascarpone garnish and fresh blackberry and it’s done!

Waiting for a short bake

Waiting for a short bake

Garnishing in process

Garnishing in process

The chocolate ganache offering was my usual chocolate pâte sucrée and dark chocolate ganache filling, but this time I cut small brownie cubes to tuck in so they would be a hidden surprise under the whipped ganache garnish.

Trust me - there’s a brownie cube hidden in there!

Trust me - there’s a brownie cube hidden in there!

Of course the fresh fruit choice follows the classic approach of a blind baked pâte sucrée crust filled with crème pâtissière lightened with some whipped cream and then topped with fresh berries coated in a raspberry gelée. Mmmmm good!

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I must say I never tire of these and I hope you don’t either!

All toted up and ready to go

All toted up and ready to go

What a delicious trio! The followup up report from the luncheon-ers was a huge thumbs up! Yay, I love that!!

A quick end note: I walk regularly and so enjoy seeing nature in its various forms - the birds, the wild flowers, the flowering trees, and especially now the aroma of the lilac bushes I pass at various points in my route. It’s my time for thinking and reflection and helps me keep my head straight. This morning it was a scattering of simple wild daisies amongst the “ weeds” that caught my attention. Lightly coated with dew and looking so content, it made me smile. The simple things are often the best, don’t you think? Enjoy.

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Autumn baking and an afternoon tea medley

Once again it's been a long time since I've posted here - moving, unpacking, getting settled, painting rooms, figuring out our flow in the kitchen - it all takes awhile.  But now it's officially autumn and yes - it's baking season!!!

The weather here in western Michigan has been pristinely fall of late - cool, breezy, bright and sunny with leaves starting to turn those beautiful reds and oranges that make this time of year so gorgeous.

My last post in early August focused on a rustic peach crostata, and, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I've continued on in a rustic galette vein (in Italy it's crostata and in France galette) since there have still been late season peaches and berries available at the Fulton Farmers Market.

A few weeks ago I made two galettes for a friend for her Sunday family dinner, and then recently taught my first "guest chef" class at the GR Downtown Market.  And guess what we made - individual galettes - yeah!  So easy and soooooo delicious.

On a different note I continue to contemplate how I'd like to pursue my pastry metier here in Grand Rapids. Aside from teaching classes, afternoon tea is still on my brain - where might I be able to offer such a calming, delicious experience - time will tell, right?  I'm making some connections and working at it "slow by slow" as brother-in-law Jim is fond of saying.

Speaking of afternoon tea, I was invited to share that experience with a former surgical mentor and colleague just the other day.  Of course I HAD to make an assortment of goodies to bring to the occasion.  And, to make that adventure even more enjoyable, our new Kitchenaid range is delivering perfect baked goods!

So it was moelleux chocolat, matcha financier, pear almond tartlets, sablés au miel et herbes de provence, sablés Earl Grey thé and cherry scones with lemon curd that accompanied me to my teatime with Dr. T.

pear almond tartlet, shortbread and scones

It was an enjoyable hour spent chatting about what the years have brought, hopes and aspirations and even how important it is in the medical world today to treat patients as people, not statistics.  I'm on board with that!

So now my head is swimming with ideas for upcoming blog posts, getting back to baking croissants, tarts and shortbread and putting aside (at least temporarily) the unpacking, sorting, organizing, arranging and painting that has been taking up so much of my attention in recent weeks.

It's fall after all!