Sunday, October 28, 2012

Paris pastries

Well, it's been harder to update my travelling situation than imagined! I've finally come across a computer so I can now share with you the ton of pastries and desserts I've tried...honestly, a ton would not be an exaggeration.  As soon as I hit Paris, my friend and I made a very solid effort and trying the classics: creme brulee, macarons, eclairs, Sainte Honore, Religieuse, nutella filled crepes, citron tart, and the list continues. What was most exciting about all this sampling was that it was for the first time! I had been to Paris twice before but for some reason never had tasted French macarons or crepes or creme brulee..or really anything classically French.
So, this post is a photo montage of our favourite sweets. Trust me, this is not even half of what we ate. I've included the address and what's noteable about the places we visited. I now have my favourite patisseries and can add something to the debate about Ladurees or Pierre Hermes macarons.. 

Rose and Raspberry Sainte Honore from Laduree
Verdict: Perfect pastry, and presentation is by far the best we came across. However, I prefer the classic Sainte Honore  because the rose creme is very floral, girly and in large amounts is overpowering.

Mystere (meringue and chocolate ganache) from La Parisienne Patisserie on Rue Odessa, 75007.
Verdict: I would highly recommend this patisserie. We tried many of their products throughout our stay and they were always delicious and fresh.

Sainte Honore from Le Grand Epiciere 75007.
Verdict: Best Sainte Honore in Paris! The creme patisserie inside was a lovely surprise and not too sweet. I prefer Sainte Honores that are custard filled like this one here.

Caramel religieuse from Laduree
Verdict: Beautiful presentation, which is typical of Laduree, and there was nothing we could fault with the taste!

Les trois chocolats from La Parisienne on Rue Odessa
Verdict: Beautiful presetation in this local bakery, and this dessert was one of my favourite mousse style desserts that I tried in Paris or even Lyon. 3 layers of light, yummy mousse!

Citron tart from Le Grand Epicerie.
Verdict: This was the best citron tart in all our sampling! The pastry was perfect in lightness and sweetness, and the lemon curd (although on the strong side) was balanced.

Pierre Herme macarons
Verdict: His vanilla is his best by far! The filling is generous at Pierre Herme and so what he lacks in his shops decor, he makes up in taste. That said, Paul's vanilla macaron and its cake-like texture won high marks from me. As another option, Le Grand Epicerie held the best chocolate macaron I tried.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

A vanilla cupcake is a happy thing, isn't it? Just seeing them, iced in buttercream or glacage cheers me up immediately.  And hunking into a bite which causes icing to go all around your mouth is equal in parts of happiness and deliciousness.  Whenever cupcakes are topped in buttercream I am instantly transported back to days of childhood parties...where the amount of cupcakes you eat didn't even cross your  mind and sprinkles were always a must! In fact, these cupcakes I made with the help of my gorgeous little friend (whose mother I work for in a Chinese restaurant) and we decided to make it "kids party themed." 

Ingredients for Vanilla Cupcake
125g butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbornate of soda
1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for Buttercream, to ice 12
125g unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Preheat oven to 150 degrees (fan-forced) and grease and line a round baking tin. Place butter, sugar and vanilla together and combine on low speed until they are just combined. Add all eggs and, on low speed, beat until well combined. Sift powder, soda and flour and add milk over the mixture and on medium speed bring the batter together until completely smooth. Pour into prepared tin and bake for around 20 - 30 minutes.  The important thing is that they are not browning, or even golden. They just need be firm to the touch.  This will create a very fluffy cake!  If you don't trust me (because they will look quite pale even though done, test with a skewer to ensure they aren't eggy/runny).
Once cooled, to make icing, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Pipe onto cake generously.

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