How to make the fluffiest cheese scones for teatime!
Angelina’s new yule log for Christmas this year will certainly grace any elegant festive table for a traditional French bûche dessert. And for fans of their famous African Hot Chocolate and Mont Blanc, there are more surprises in store.
The highlight for me was not just being invited to taste and share Angelina’s new yule log with you, but I was equally bowled over to be able to talk with the pastry chefs themselves.
Angelina’s New Yule Log, the Paon Blanc
Created for Angelina by head pastry chef, Christophe Appert, the Paon Blanc (white peacock) takes pride of place for this year’s festive centre-piece. The rare and beautiful white peacock was particularly chosen as an artistic symbol of the Belle Epoque era, echoing the style of the famous tearoom in Rue de Rivoli since 1903. For more about the background of Angelina, see my article here.
Angelina’s new yule log is sheer elegance on a plate, the Paon Blanc fanning out delicate notes of citrus and the exotic with passion fruit, mango and coconut. As light as the peacock’s feathers, this is always appreciated after a festive meal and its perfect play of not too much sugar encourages the delicate fruity notes and white chocolate to shine through.
Let’s look at its sophisticated layers: underneath the white peacock’s coat of coconut and white chocolate and golden powdered feathers, lies a crisp crumble base finely topped with coconut butter/white chocolate. The heart of the yule log contains layers of joconde almond biscuit (sponge) interspersed with three different jellies: orange, passion fruit and mango.
It’s all covered in an airy vanilla mousse – and my favourite part is the circular, surprising zing of a lemon and lime cream which I’m so glad that Chef Appert added after his first few drafts, as for me it’s the winning touch! I have to add that I’m not a white chocolate fan – but this is so fine with a perfectly dosed overall balance that the white chocolate, although present, is a wonderful background suggestion.
Gourmet Advent Calendar
The traditional Advent Calendar evokes chic illustrations of the tearoom in Rue de Rivoli, with a surprise behind each window. Each day discover the likes of milk chocolate almonds, white or dark chocolate pralines, Napolitains and Giandujas (chocolate-hazelnut).
The advent calendar is on sale as of 16 November.
Gift Boxes (Coffrets)
Angelina have thought of everything this Christmas, and their selection of gift boxes includes the new white-peacocked festive edition. Fans of Angelina’s famous African Hot Chocolate are spoiled with a festive edition with added cinnamon, a box of 19 chocolates, and a jar of chestnut paste to continue their Mont-Blanc theme. A new Christmas tea (Thé de Noël) from China and Sri Lanka is also given the white peacock treatment with orange peel and flavoured with gingerbread and flower petals.
More Yule Logs
Angelina’s new yule log still has it’s traditional bûche family alongside it: the Choco Intense, The Tentation Passion and the Mont-Blanc.
Did you know that the emblematic Mont-Blanc pastry was created by Angelina pastry chefs in the 1910’s based on a popular hairstyle that women wore at that time: a short bob?
Saturday 17 December
Mark your calendars if you’d like to surprise your loved ones with a personalised note around the festive white peacock theme. A Calligraphist will be at both stores to write something for you with her plume on an Angelina card. Free event.
- Boutique in Rue du Bac: 11am-3pm
- Tearoom in Rue de Rivoli: 3.30pm-7pm
Meet Florent Martinot, pastry sous-chef, who joined Angelina in June 2015. Originally from the gourmet Capital of Lyon, a town where he grew up around delicious confection specialities and where he realised his vocation after falling and saving a pain au chocolat rather than his teeth as a youngster. He’s worked with Sebastian Bouillet, Dalloyau (specialising in chocolate), Hermé (managing the opening of a new chocolate shop in Alsace), then finally Hugo & Victor (R&D) before his calling to Angelina.
Sous pastry chef, Florent Martinot
Last but not least, are the macarons! This Christmas, there’s nothing plain about their vanilla macarons which are coated in gold powder to top off the White Peacock theme with panache – not ganache.
With thanks to the pastry and press teams at Angelina for a wonderful festive tasting and for trying so hard to evoke a Christmas ambience in sweltering 30°C + temperatures of our Indian Parisian Summer in September! The Christmas collection, including the limited edition Paon Blanc, is available as of 26 November.
Rue de Rivoli
P.S. Let me show you this beautiful illustration of Angelina’s Paon Blanc bûche by a newly discovered artistic friend, the talented Isma of MesArticlesduJour. This conjures up the feminine, light touch of Angelina, don’t you think?
How to make consistently perfect jam with a clever new digital jam-making scale
The last time I made this French Apple Custard Tart, I earmarked the recipe and put it aside in a special file called “Best egg yolk recipes: must make for le blog”. That was last autumn.
Luckily this delicious custard tart and I were reunited with me falling on the stairs – there’s always a silver lining! A forced foot-rest due to ankle sprain and torn ligaments has had me rather house-bound and frustrated at cancelling pastry and chocolate walks in Paris but an office clean-out has meant that the tempting yolk recipe file has resurfaced from the back of the cupboard!
This French Apple Custard Tart recipe is also ridiculously easy – especially if you cheat and buy ready-made pastry. However, I do urge you to make your own sweet pastry here, as adding that extra touch of cinnamon in the base had even my cinnamon-avoiding husband ask for a THIRD slice.
Techniques such as blind-baking the pastry beforehand is also cleverly replaced by simply laying out the apples and baking them before adding the filling. For macaron, meringue, and financier lovers, then you’ll appreciate having another egg yolk recipe up your sleeve and the good news is that this filling uses 4 egg yolks! The filling couldn’t be simpler – just whisk the whole lot together and pour on top of the apples.
French Apple Custard Tart
Recipe adapted from ‘Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne’ in France the Beautiful Cookbook by the Scotto Sisters – with extra cinnamon and reduced sugar in the filling. If you make tartlets, either butter tartlet moulds or use 6 tartlet rings.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Makes one 25cm tart or 6 tartlets
300g sweet pastry (with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
2-3 apples (Golden Delicious or Cox’s Pippin)
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
200g double (heavy) cream
1. Preheat the oven to 210°C/410°F (gas 6 1/2). Butter a 25cm tart tin (no need to butter if using non-stick moulds) or tart ring. Roll out the pastry dough larger than the tart tin (about 4cm larger) and press into the tin. Chill in the fridge.
2. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them evenly over the pastry, starting from the outside and overlapping the slices slightly in the form of a rose. Bake for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, using a hand whisk, beat the egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon and cream. Pour over the apples and bake for 30-35 minutes (20-25 minutes for tartlets) or until the apples are tender.
No need for any ice cream or cream; just enjoy on its own served warm with a cup of your favourite tea for the perfect Sunday teatime treat.
The first Autumn chill hit the Paris air last week. Suddenly the kitchen now feels a cosy haven again for the family to wander in and see what’s cooking as they gravitate towards the warming oven or stove, happy to see their favourite comfort food recipes return.
Curling up on the sofa this weekend with a special pot of fragranced green tea, my mind drifted to one of our most comforting classics: warm rice pudding. Normally, I either make my rice pudding using egg yolks for a rich treat or simply bake it as my Mum and Granny did – but I discovered this simple yet intriguing twist on the traditional recipe from Theodor Paris.
For a start it uses a lot more milk than I would normally use and the process is simply stirring it now and again over a warm stove. The magic ingredient, however, is the finest quality fragranced tea. As the rice gradually thickens and the milk reduces, the tea’s scent beautifully permeates the pudding with all its delicate flavours shining through.
The tea I used is called PETITE OURSE, or Little Bear, a special edition recently released by Theodor and created by its talented founder, Guillaume Leleu (aka The Insolent Parisian), for the annual Paris Revelations Fair. It’s a Chinese green tea very delicately perfumed with notes of mandarin, a subtle warm hint of ginger and finished off with mallow flowers and both sunflower and safflower petals.
Petite Ourse is one of three new special edition blends beautifully named “Some amongst us are contemplating the stars”. As I discovered in this previous macaron tea tasting, I can’t believe how tea like this can evoke so many smiles through a few sips. It moves away from the ordinary, our normal tea comfort zone.
Just tasting the other two teas tickles the palate with their surprising finishes: PERSEUS black tea has notes of comforting bergamot, yuzu and plum plus tickles us further with bits of orange and carrot (yes, carrot!); but just tasting the complex but brilliant PHŒNIX, with its exotic blend of Brazilian maté, chocolate, marzipan, liquorice root and pink peppercorns has you head for the stars with its final delicate kick of chilli – I bet that would make an adventurous rice pudding!
But it wasn’t just the three new teas as stars of the show; two designers hailing from the Camondo School were inspired to design this “Totem” structure for Guillaume Leleu, representing the artistic element of tea for the Revelations Fair.
Inspired by witnessing the creative behind-the-scenes artistic precision at Theodor’s laboratory on the Seine, both Nicolas Jandrot and Florence Tajan (also pictured above) used 3 materials – wood, metal and glass – to create a metaphor for the successive states of the finest tea, from tree to teacup.
The Totem structure will be taking off around the world to be shown in destinations such as Mexico, Japan and Korea – all where Theodor are represented. With its three antennae looking to the north, I have this fascination for “Petite Ourse”, or Ursa minor, whose brightest star stamps the North Pole and whose cove points the way to the light.
Petite Ourse is an occasion to dive in to the delicacies of a green tea perfumed with major notes of mandarine and ginger, whose North Star points the way to the light. A blend that immerses us back into childhood and our dear Teddy Bears, so reassuring and protective, to whom we dearly hold on for comfort.
Slowly stirring the senses as the delicate mandarin rice pudding thickened on the stove, I realised I had come out of some kind of childhood comfort zone just by trying something a bit more adventurous yet still enveloped in a comforting world with the most fragrant rice pudding I’ve known.
Rice Pudding Recipe Infused with Tea
Recipe courtesy of Theodor Paris. While they use their Rooibos tea from the “Weeds” collection named “Une autre idée?“, I replaced the tea with 18g Petite Ourse, a Chinese green tea predominately fragranced with mandarine and ginger. I find the amount of stirring is needed more at the beginning but as the rice starts to thicken towards the end and the milk gradually evaporates with a more concentrated tea flavour, less is needed so you can go about making the rest of dinner!
Makes 4 little bear bowls of rice pudding
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
1 Litre of milk
100 grams of round grain rice
72 grams of powdered sugar
15 to 20 grams of (Theodor’s recipe uses rooïbos)
1. Pour the litre of milk in a saucepan. Add the 72 grams of powdered sugar and bring the whole to a boil. Remove from the heat and brew the tea (Petite Ourse) for 10 minutes in the sweet milk. Once the brewing time is up, it will be time to filter your milk. The nice smell of the brew will already be perfuming your kitchen.
2. Put the milk to a boil a second time, then lower the heat to a minimum and rain in the 100 grams of round grain rice. Let the whole cook for 55 minutes at a very low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the formation of a too thick film on the surface. If a film forms itself anyhow, do not worry, a good stirring may very well make it disappear. You can also remove it directly off of the saucepan. With a little more patience, let the rice cool down in order to dispatch it in your cups.
You can place your rice pudding in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours…but we prefer to taste it just finished, accompanied with an aromatic and elegant chai based on an Indian black tea called ” Travel to india ” or what about a tea that reminds us of mulled wine and spices with Theodor’s “OH-LA-LA!”.
So let me introduce you to Little Bear’s warm rice pudding, a real tea-infused treat that will simply have you heading for the stars. If you follow the GPS, it should be 90°N/10°S.
You’ll be bowled over!
This post is not sponsored. I was invited simply for a tasting of the new teas by Theodor in Paris.
According to my old 1984 edition of Larousse Gastronomique (given as a wedding present as a young Scot about to embark in a French kitchen), the Tarte Tatin was first served in Paris at Maxim’s giving a bow to its creators, the famous Tatin sisters.
Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin came up with this irresistible dessert quite by accident at the end of the 19th century while running their hotel/restaurant in the French Sologne region, south of Paris. The story goes (I have two conflicting ones from different cookbooks) that, as the apples were caramelising in sugar and butter in the oven for their tarte solognote, they either realised they’d forgotten the pastry or that they’d burned the apples, so they simply plopped the pastry on top, baked then flipped the tart upside down, and Mon Dieu, look what turned up? From then on, it was served as their speciality until they retired in 1906, although they never called it a Tarte Tatin.
Newly married, I was totally intimidated by my French Mother-in-Law’s Tarte Tatin. Her dessert looked so sumptuous and grand with its glistening slices of warm caramelised apples sitting on top of a crispy pastry, just oozing with the sticky juices. How did she do it?
Pressing her short and simple recipe in my hand, I was assured it was easy and inrattable; “You can’t go wrong”, she said.
Well I did get it wrong.
For a start, I used apples that didn’t survive the cooking process (Pink Lady) and when I quickly turned the pan upside down for the grand finale de-moulding moment, some of the apples stuck to the bottom and the rest sat there miserably as light, uncaramelised mush. I thought of inventing a new Apple Sauce Tart but somehow it didn’t have quite the same “accident appeal” as that of the elderly Tatin Sisters.
So, lesson learned: use good quality tart apples such as Granny Smith or French Golden Delicious. As a result of a few other little helpful tweaks to add to mother-in-law’s instructions, you can also now be rest assured that what flips out at the end will be much more of a pleasure!
CLASSIC TARTE TATIN RECIPE
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: About 1 hour
2 tbsp water
120g caster sugar (plus 2 tbsp)
50g unsalted butter (plus 15g extra)
splash of Calvados (optional)
pinch salt (optional)
5-6 apples (Golden Delicious or Granny Smith)
200g puff pastry (ideally ready-rolled/thawed, if frozen)
For best results, butter a round 25cm deep baking tin, or use a good solid-based ovenproof frying pan
1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir the water and sugar together and, over a medium heat, leave to bubble and simmer until a light golden brown caramel forms (no need to stir). Take off the heat, stir in the butter (and salt if using) and splash of Calvados until the caramel is smooth and immediately pour into the baking tin.
2. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F (gas 5). Peel the apples, cut them in half, remove the cores with a sharp knife (or use an apple corer) and cut them again horizontally.
3. Arrange the apples upright in a circle and pack them as tight as you can (they’ll shrink while cooking), filling as much space as possible in the middle. Cut up any leftover apple and stuff them into the spaces. Dot with the extra butter (or brush with melted butter) and lightly sprinkle over the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
4. Remove the apples from the oven to cool slightly as you prepare the pastry.
5. Ideally your puff is ready rolled so there’s no need to do anything. (If the puff pastry is in a block, roll it out to about 2mm thickness and cut out a circle very slightly larger (2-3cm) than the size of the pan you’re using). Place the puff pastry circle on top of the apples, tucking in the sides as far down the edges as you can, as it will neatly hold the apples when turned over at the end. Pierce a small hole in the middle of the pastry to allow any steam to escape – this will prevent the puff pastry from puffing up too much while baking.
6. Bake in the oven for a further 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the apple juices leak around the edges.
7. Leave to cool. Run a sharp knife along the edges just to help release the sticky beast. To turn out the tart, cover the pan with a large deep plate (to catch the juices) and, using a hand towel, hold the pan and plate together and flip upside down quickly, pastry side down.
Serve slightly warm either on its own or with a dollop of crème fraîche.