French Fridays: Dessert Edition
We are finishing the spring section of A Kitchen In France strong today with sweets. These desserts were not the easiest to make but they were the most satisfying. Not because they were my favorite desserts to eat but because I was so proud of myself when they were complete. The Garden Cake, for example, took me three tries to accomplish. Meringue is not a friend of mine and I am desperately hoping that this is the last time I will make them again. The Almond Tart wasn't terribly difficult to make but it did take a long time to set. They both received rave reviews if you were wondering how the end result turned out.
Although cake is in the name of this dessert, there is no cake about it. It's actually two meringues stacked with a whipped cream frosting on top and garnished with berries. I was planning to make it much prettier with edible flowers and such but sadly all of the options at the store were moldy. The presentation of this cake is beautiful in A Kitchen In France. Mimi must be a dessert-making genius because even all done, mine did not look nearly as spectacular as hers. The whipped cream didn't seem to cover the entire meringue and mine cracked in several places. But how do they taste? Food can look awful but still taste divine. This is a very, very sweet dessert made of only egg whites and sugar. The berries complimented the meringues perfectly. The tartness from the raspberries and blackberries toned down the sweetness of the meringue. In the end, it was a decadent, delicious dessert.
Sugared Almond Tart
This tart is very simple. The crust is a basic tart/pie recipe and is baked on its own before filled. The filling is only a few ingredients and is boiled on the stove before being cooled and poured into the baked tart crust. The tart is then set in the fridge and cooled, I'd say overnight. The recipe calls for 4-5 hours but the filling hadn't set enough by that time for me. After the proper amount of time, the filling becomes a custard-like, pasty consistency making it a rich treat. Sugared almonds are commonly used in wedding favors. You can usually find them at candy or specialty stores. I wasn't able to find them in the grocery stores. The recipe calls for them to be crushed. These babies are hard though so I literally took a hammer to them, individually crushing each one. It was therapeutic but don't get too carried away because you don't want a hole in the bag or your kitchen counter.
I have to say that the Gâteau Basque was probably my favorite dessert out of all the spring treats. It was light but rich at the same time and made for a fantastic base to chocolate syrup or compotes. I also really loved the Fava Bean Soup from the spring section, the Chicken Confit Parmentier and the Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Spring Onions. That one was most likely my number one favorite recipe from the entire spring section. The flavors were just phenomenal. Did you have a favorite? Stay tuned for the first edition in the summer menu!