Allright before I get on to this dessert and explain this post title, I guess I should answer the question "So....who won the giveaway?". First off, I need to tell you that I surely did not expect such an incredible turnout...Wow! Ya'll love cookies!! At the time of the drawing after midnight 478 had stopped by! I almost fell off my chair! I am sorry I only have one cookie cutter to offer as a prize and because of that I have decided to draw a second winner for a cookbook I went to pick up at my favourite antique books shop. It is called "Tested By Time - A Collection of Charleston Recipe", and I am sure it will find a good home among one of you.
I have read and jotted down everybody's name with an appropriate number attached to it because there were a few duplicates in the comment box and I wanted to be absolutely fair. So.... "a." is the lucky recipient of the Brigitte-Keks cookie cutter and Kim from My Plate, My World will receive the cookbook. If you both can contact me with your mailing address, I can get these on to you a.s.a.p (my email address is in my profile page). Congratulation!
Last thing, I have received numerous emails on how to get the cookie cutter in the US and other parts of the world. I got mine through a lady in France organizing a group order and my mom advanced the Euros for me. The company that makes is Stadter . I am thinking that if we all send them an email maybe they will think about expanding their retail map. I also know that it is available through Amazon Germany and since Amazon France seems to deliver pretty easily to the US, it might be worth it to see if the German branch will do the same.
UPDATE: a reader just emailed me saying that the company will ship individually for about 15 euros a set or or they will ship a large order to one person and give a discount on the cost of the cookie imprinter as well as shipping. As much as I would love to help more, I cannot, at this time, become the person organizing such a thing and hope that another blogger will step forward and do that. The contact info is Christoph Reermann at info AT coolinarium DOT de
On to today's post.... All day long I thought about the many ways I could approach it so it is without fireworks or parade that I come to wish all my friends and family back home a Happy 14th of July. I still don't call it Bastille Day, not that I am a royalist but even French people don't call it Bastille Day. I had never hears that phrase until I moved to the US to tell you the truth! Just like the English Channel is not called that in France either...but that is a story for another time!
I know what my family is doing today, they are watching the parade on the television (don't miss the videos here and here ) and having a nice barbecue with a good glass of wine, just like these folks. To see the young culinary students preparing the Gala Dinner, click here. I come from a military family in France, all corps represented so we watch the parade and I have got to tell you....it is both rather impressive and beautiful even if you don't care for the military, a nice organized ballets of men, horses, even firefighters and policemen are included...basically if you were a uniform you're in! I miss that, I miss the fireworks on the lawn of the town hall, I miss holding my cousins' hands, scared of the noise and mesmerized by the lights. I miss meeting my friends behind the church to share the only bottle of very cheap wine we could afford before getting back to the family supper. I miss sitting out on the terrace and listening to my uncles tempers veering red as they start discussing politics.
That's all...I miss it...but I am not making a big deal about it because I had my fireworks last week with my friends here and my husband. There is a whole French contingent meeting tomorrow for dinner and celebrating in town but I won't be there. Main reason being that the group is not really my age so their idea of fun French music is little bit more antiquated than mine and too often I find that the conversations turn to how much they wish they were back home. I am not saying I don't but I am here now. Everybody is different and I am not criticizing how people deal with being far away from home. I find that I did better by immersing myself in the here and now. That's how I operate everyday to make the distance with my family easier. I am having a blast here and I know it will be hard to leave when/if we decide to go back to my native Provence. When I moved here I had no car, no debt, no bills, still studying for a job and everything I had fit in two suitcases, if I were to move now...Oh geez, I can't even start to think about it!!
I am comfortable here, I love discovering this country, the people and everything that is crazy, insane or very cool about it. One thing I love about the US is that you can reinvent yourself fifty times over if you want to, much like the dessert I made us to celebrate the 14th of July, berries and cream. You can change the orders of the berries to suit your fancy or to celebrate both countries. B' glass will be red, white and blue and mine blue, white and red because in spite of having the same colors on our flags (I love that!) we nonetheless call them out differently...got to keep that little difference, you know?!! Mallory, this one is for you, to soothe your France withdrawals! Once you have the pastry cream done, it is more a method than a recipe depending on how big your glasses or dishes are, how much fruit you want in each, etc... There are many different recipes for pastry cream, I just happen to have the one given below ingrained in my brain from the restaurant so it is easy to make on a whim. I am working on combining two versions that I love and tonight I think I got it right...although I can't tell you about it yet, 3 words came to mind when I tasted it: bowl, spoon, alone!
Berries and Cream:
2 cups/ 500ml whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, cut open down the middle, seeded
1/4 tsp of salt
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Heat the milk, vanilla seeds and salt in a pan and put over medium heat, and bring to a boil. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and eggs until smooth. Slowly add 1/2 of the milk mixture into the egg and whisk constantly to temper them. Add the remaining milk and return the whole thing to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil or until you get a thick consistency, whisking non-stop. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, directly touching the cream, poke holes in the plastic with a knife or skewer, let cool completely.
3 cups diced strawberries
3 cups blueberries, fresh if possible
Layer the cream and the berries as you wish.....Et Voila!
I also need to tell you about the one of the Bastille Day presents I got over the weekend. A couple of weeks ago I started openly telling Fifi how much I love her painting style and with Carol they are my absolute must read blogs when I get up (beside food ones)...I close my eyes and I am in one of their fabulous paintings! Well, Fifi offered to create a Silhouette for Tartelette and all I had to do was give her some directions for colors and tools...bowl, whisk, hair wild to the wind, polka dots,...and today SassyTartey was born so she's right up there on the sidebar and in my profile page. Thank you so much Fifi! You made my day!