Friday, July 20, 2012

A fit of eatin'

You never know when you will be hit by a fit of eatin' so you'd best be prepared.  Considering I am rarely prepared for anything, I was doubly impressed with my sister-in-law while in France.  She carries a rather small purse that doesn't even hint at its contents (as opposed to mine which is two sizes too big and I can never find what I need when I need it).  She came through with several necessary items at just the right time, but the most important of which was a spoon.  Because you just never know.
Some snacks do not need an eating utensil.  None of ones found in the métro do.  Just 2 euros, please.
Meringues do not require a spoon or fork.
If push comes to shove, you can eat a cherry tart with your fingers.  Not entirely civilized, but possible.
Mine on the Air France flight home was delicious, by the way.  (So was the champagne apéritif.  Merci, Air France!)

Macarons are finger food.  Beautiful finger food.  Works of art, really.  This one is was cassis flavor.
Mme Boop's chocolate cake, gâteau au chocolat, can be eaten with one's fingers, too, if one is overcome by a fit of eatin' and there are no forks available.

But for some desserts, a spoon is de rigueur, a necessity.  Such as ice cream, la glace.

Chocolate or coffee flavor.
Mme P's delightful mousse au chocolat requires a spoon.
A fork or spoon is needed for this raspberry creation.
And also for this one.

And it would just be plain old gauche to eat this without a spoon or fork.  Mon dieu!

You could, conceivably, get away with eating these with your fingers, dipping them into the crème Chantilly, 

but the Frenchies serving you or sitting at the table next to you might get upset with les Américaines.
We discovered just how prepared my sister-in-law was while checking out the pastry window pictured above on Rue Cler in Paris.  We all settled on our choices, sister-in-law's the only one that really required an eating utensil.  She just whipped one out of her purse, to which the BFF said without blinking "You just never know when you'll be hit by a fit of eatin', do you?"  So, that became a theme throughout our stay in France.
She goes in for the kill--

She is almost there.
The rest of us were ready to pounce on it, too, providing she would share the spoon. (Which she did.)
The next time it came in handy was with the rhubarb compote.  (By this time, others had stashed plastic spoons in their bags.)
Sister-in-law (with the help of the Ex-Ex, her little brother), left this note for JC before she hopped in her car to return home after the trip.

Just too thoughtful, isn't she??  We all have to look after each other in this big old world of eatin'.
Here's to us, mes amies!

With cherries in season now and after tasting delicious cherry tarts in France, I found this recipe.  The BFF loves apple tarte tatin, so I thought this one would be appropriate.

Cherry Tarte Tatin
8 servings

1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 1/4 lbs. sweet cherries, pitted and sliced in half
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, cut into 8 slices
1 1/2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)
Confectioner's sugar

Roll the pastry dough into an 11-inch circle and chill.  Toss the cherries in 1 Tbsp. flour and set them aside.
Sprinkle the sugar across the bottom of a 10-inch overproof skillet and then layer the prepared cherries along with the slices of butter over the sugar.  Sprinkle the cherries with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of water mixed with the almond extract, if using, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Continue cooking the cherries for an additional 18-22 minutes, slightly longer if using frozen cherries, until the juices have reduced, but the cherries have not dried out.  Remove the skillet from the heat and drape the pastry over the cherries, fitting the overhanging pastry down between the fruit and the sides of the skillet.
Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry turns golden brown.  Cool the tart in the skillet before inverting it onto a serving platter.
You can dust it with confectioners' sugar and serve with whipped cream, if you wish.

Bon appétit, to eaters everywhere!

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