Thursday, November 14, 2013

Three little words

Non, I am not taking about the I Love You three little words today.  No hearts and flowers.  Wherever you may find hearts (even in your roasts).

(Honest to goodness, I did not do that-- it was like that when I unwrapped it and flipped it over.)

Non, my three little words are found here, on the label of a bottle of perfume I just bought and am totally addicted to now (Merci, Volga, at the Macy's counter).  Can you find them?

They are also here on the little sample she gave me.

(Which caused me to become addicted to the scent which in turn caused me to spend an hour's tutoring wages to buy my own larger bottle.)

Found the three little words yet?  I know, very small print.  One more try--

Give up?


I confess.  I fall for those three little words every time.  It makes no difference where they are written.  Food, clothing, make-up, perfume, notecards, calendars, cooking trucs or do-dads, whatever, n'importe quoi.  And my Frenchie friends, of course!!  They are the best of what is made in France.

Read the description of Lancôme's La vie est belle:

It even sounds delicious.
And the bottle is beautiful, too.

Reading the perfume description and seeing the words "Fleurs d'Oranger" sent me right back to Arles and my attempts at making orange brioche.  For some reason, I decided that I would attempt to master making these rolls while I was on sabbatical in 2008.  If you wish, read about my adventures here and here.

My (Nearly) Perfect Orange Brioche Recipe
(found on the back of a package of yeast in France and slightly modified...)

1/4 lb (one stick) of softened butter
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs (at room temperature)
1/4 c. warm water
one package active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm milk
orange flavoring
2-3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 tsp. salt
1 egg yolk
apricot or strawberry preserves

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
Mix the butter, eggs, sugar, warm milk and orange flavoring. I have sweet orange essential oil that I bought at Florame ( and I use 4-5 drops of it. I know that you can find orange flavoring at the supermarket.
Add the yeast mixture and mix.
Add the combined flour and salt. Add enough flour to have a dough that you can knead (not too sticky).
Turn onto a flour covered surface and knead for about 5 minutes or so.
Place in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm place to rise. My microwave is above the stove and is a great place. Allow to rise for 2 hours.
Turn onto a flour covered surface again and knead for another 5 minutes. Shape however you wish-- into rolls, two small loaves or one large one. Place in pans.
Cover again and allow to rise for 2 more hours.
After the second rising, you can bake or you can put it in the refrigerator overnight and bake the next morning (allow the dough to come to room temperature before baking).
Brush with the egg yolk and bake at 400F for about 20-30 minutes. Baking time will depend upon the shape of your brioche. Rolls take a shorter time. Adjust the oven, if necessary, lowering the temperature a bit if it seems to be baking too fast or if your oven tends to be on the hot side.
After baking, while still warm, brush with preserves (you can warm them in the microwave so that they brush easily- I have also used orange juice at this point, when I didn't have any preserves) and then sprinkle lightly with sugar. I have mixed orange essence in with the sugar before sprinkling to give it more orange flavor. As you can see, I have played around with this recipe. It is wonderful hot from the oven. It makes really good French toast when it is a couple of days old and a bit stale. It is also good sliced and toasted. It is not very sweet. French pastries and desserts are not as sweet as American ones.

Bon appétit, to all things that smell good, wherever they are found!

1 comment:

Richard Goodman said...

Ah, I thought it was going to be "vie est belle." Yes, Teresa, I know you need the article, but, still, the concept as expressed in French is lovely. La vie est belle. Something like that makes me fall in love with France again. Richard