Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sweets from the Sweet

Among my fondest memories from my semester in France are the visits I would make to local patisseries, sometimes for a small quiche for my lunch and sometimes for a sweet morsel such as a mille-feuille or a sable. Such pastries and sweet confections are worth the occasional indulgence, though most of us don't have a pastry chef on hand to cater to our sweet tooth.

But for one brief, shining moment at the beginning of my vacation, I did.

I spent the first night with the incomparable Spicyflower who, in addition to offering me a comfortable spot to rest my weary head for the night, shared with me samples from her recent pastry school projects.

Before our Sunday brunch this morning, she offered me half of a miniature, sugar-syrup-soaked savarin, topped with real whipped cream and berries. Saturated with sweetness, this little cake offered a shamelessly decadent start to the day.

Next, Spicyflower handed me a pastry swirl that at first glance looked like a cinnamon roll but proved instead to have a filling of raspberries, homemade marzipan, and just a hint of rosewater. The more my bites moved to the center of the roll, the richer and more perfectly blended the flavors became.

Finally, we had a luscious brunch consisting of fresh orange juice, a fruit salad with Asian pears and red grapes and blackberries, and challah French toast topped with strawberries in maple sugar. The challah, of course, came from her class on enriched breads, and it suited the French toast (and me!) to a T.

Though shortly after brunch we headed up the road to meet up with my Granola Girl, Spicyflower also wrapped up a large chunk of candied-fruit-studded brioche and the remains of a country wheat bread.

It amused and touched me that Spicyflower was so anxious to please me with her baking since she holds my baking in high esteem. But with what she's learning and doing now, she is going far beyond the realms of my expertise, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to sample her excellent work.

She has already taught me a thing or two in our culinary discussions, for which I am truly grateful.

And maybe someday, she'll share recipes.


At 10/20/2005 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh. That was so darn nice there.

I am glad you enjoyed your vacation here in New England. I am sorry we did not have more time, but am very appreciative by making a stop here. Thanks. It was good to see you and cook with you, AND share with you some of our class experiments.

At 10/20/2005 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doh. Small typo:

*to you for making a stop here.

At 10/21/2005 7:00 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I DID! I enjoyed my visit very very much and am grateful that you could take some time out of your hectic schedule to spend with me. And yeah, fabulous food!

Do you still need a food processor? (random, I know)


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