Berries And Cream – My Little Bastille Day
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!
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!
Manggy July 14, 2008 um 6:57 am
Hee, I know exactly what you mean. I think I would tire very easily of discussions about how much I would miss home. It’s much easier not to focus on it..
I misinterpreted your dessert at first glance! I thought it was meant to be Americain… Hahaha. Well, they are beautiful (and versatile it seems!)
I never seem to have luck in raffles, hahaha. Congratulations to the winner!
Christy July 14, 2008 um 7:07 am
Thank you for the lovely post!! Really great to read your thoughts about living in away from where you grew up..How did you cope when you first moved to the States, I mean, no job etc.? I’m asking because I might be moving at the end of next year…if J decides that he doesn’t like Australia all that much and would prefer to go back to his home country.
PS. I love SassyTartey!
Peter M July 14, 2008 um 8:07 am
Ah oui, it’s Bastille Day…Vive le France and rejoice in everything French.
Rosa's Yummy Yums July 14, 2008 um 8:37 am
Wonderful! Happy 14th of July!
Cannelle Et Vanille July 14, 2008 um 9:15 am
well even if you are away from home, you found a way to celebrate with the colors of France! Happy Bastille Day!
[email protected] July 14, 2008 um 9:50 am
Joyeux Quatorze Juillet Helen!!!
This looks gorgeous and will be trying your pastry cream recipe as have been looking for a new one for ages.
[email protected] July 14, 2008 um 9:50 am
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[email protected] July 14, 2008 um 9:51 am
Joyeux Quatorze Juillet Helen!!!
this looks gorgeous, simple and elegant with lovely rich pastry cream. Will be trying this for sure!!
Peabody July 14, 2008 um 10:51 am
Ah yes, the here and now…a good place to be.
A great way to celebrate Bastille Day.
Ilva July 14, 2008 um 10:52 am
Being an expat myself, I know what you mean! I choose to move to Italy and I have never bothered to join any Swedish expats groups, nor seek out other Swedes. I do enjoy meeting expats in general though but that’s because I like meeting people from different countries.
Anonymous July 14, 2008 um 11:51 am
Joyeux 14 juillet!
Love the dessert… so beautifully simple and elegant. And above all else, tasty!
BTW, I adore those little metal pails. So cute!
LizNoVeggieGirl July 14, 2008 um 12:41 pm
C’est un beau, délicieux dessert pour le jour de bastille (I hope my French is okay – I’m not VERY fluent in it, haha).
Anonymous July 14, 2008 um 1:09 pm
Happy Bastille Day, Tartelette! I spent my day working in a French store on Bastille Day and thought of you. Thanks for the story.
Jenny July 14, 2008 um 1:19 pm
Happy July 14th you Sassy Tartlette you! And you don’t want to move back to Provence, you want to come up here to Canada! 🙂
Susan @ SGCC July 14, 2008 um 2:09 pm
Joyeux 14 juillet, Helen! What a delicious way to celebrate!
Sassy Tartey is an adorable addition to your lovely blog!
Mary July 14, 2008 um 2:40 pm
Do they call it the French Channel? I have to admit I’ve always wondered about it.
Your berries and cream look very enticing and I love the Sassy Tartey!
lululu July 14, 2008 um 3:01 pm
Lovely cookies. Simple and pretty!
Lisa Johnson July 14, 2008 um 3:53 pm
Joyeux Quatorze Juillet! I hope you have a great day and thank you so much for stopping by my blog.
I’ve never made pastry cream before, but this recipe looks pretty easy. I love the layers of berries and must try it! ; )
Mallory Elise July 14, 2008 um 3:55 pm
chouette! joyeux fête nationale! j’aime beaucoup la crème, je vais la faire bientôt!
Parisbreakfasts July 14, 2008 um 4:36 pm
Oh so they call it:
Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!
You reminded me…I was in Aix for Quatorze Juillet about 10 years ago and it was very grand.
They lit up fireworks on the sculpture fountains around the town square…
Thanks tarty for the mention 🙂
Your verrine looks GREAT!
Vera July 14, 2008 um 4:41 pm
What a lovely summer dessert – great way to celebrate any occasion.
Anonymous July 14, 2008 um 8:01 pm
ahhhh, my favorite little galvanized buckets!!!
"bowl, spoon, alone!", that must be some pretty tasty stuff, how long you gonna keep us all in suspense??
As always, beautiful photos, luscious recipe and wonderful post!!
What I most appreciated is the "living in the here and now", if only everyone could get that, how much better we would all feel.
Fifi Flowers July 14, 2008 um 8:45 pm
Oh my your post looks yummy! I could use one for an afternoon snack! Oh but it would be delightful!
Everyone loves your tartelette recipe… they keep saying I love your recipe… HELLOOOOOO… it is not mine… it belongs to the wonderful Tartelette! Go visit her and see all her wonderful recipes!
Thank you for the lovely words about me… I am honoured!
Hope you are havng a FABULOUS day!
Mike of Mike's Table July 14, 2008 um 9:26 pm
This looks like a very refreshing summer treat…and a bit more exciting than my walk-by handful of berries from the fridge. 😉
Clumbsy Cookie July 14, 2008 um 10:33 pm
I love your silhouette Helen! Have a happy Bastille Day! Hope you’re not missing it so much. It’s sad to be away from home on this festive day, but one gets use to it, isn’t it?
Congratulations to the winners, I’ll try to get mine from the german amazon.
Your berries looks so good, I went to buy strawberies or cherries today and they’re gone allready :(. Now only next year, buah!
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) July 14, 2008 um 10:56 pm
What a wonderful way to go through life, living in the here and now, appreciate where you are instead of mourning where you are not. There’s a good lesson in that for all of us!
Sophie July 14, 2008 um 11:24 pm
Bon 14 juillet chère blogeuse française! Le 14 juillet, ça vaut la peine de laisser un commentaire en français, non? 😉
cindy* July 15, 2008 um 12:15 am
happy 14th of july helen! so festive and yummy!
i think my (soon to be) brother in law may acquire the cookie cutter for me…he is studying in germany, so i am hopeful! i am so, so glad that you discovered it!
Anonymous July 15, 2008 um 12:48 am
This is my third try to make a comment. Finger crossed !
Just wanted to tell you that I like the emotion in that post…and love the new silhouette !!!
Anonymous July 15, 2008 um 12:53 am
Happy Bastille Day!!
PheMom July 15, 2008 um 2:26 am
Happy July 14th! I love your new alter-ego SassyTartey – very adorable – just like those little desserts!
Camille July 15, 2008 um 2:31 am
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Bonbon Oiseau July 15, 2008 um 2:47 am
beautiful berries and so incredible about all of your comments! I have a giveaway today as well, inspired by your generosity!
oh and Sassytarty is pretty fantastic!
ChichaJo July 15, 2008 um 2:57 am
Happy Bastille day…that’s a lovely dessert to celebrate with! 🙂 Love the new icon…it’s adorable!
Dewi July 15, 2008 um 3:24 am
Happy July 14th!
Lovely post, I feel exactly the same after I move to the U.S.
ahhhh pastry cream… DELICE!
Anonymous July 15, 2008 um 3:37 am
oh this looks so good and fresh! perfect summer treat.
Camille July 15, 2008 um 11:56 am
I’m such an airhead! I knew I was on your blog, but then I hit my mousepad built into the computer (hate those things). I had Aran’s blog in another window and it popped up. It was meant for you, I just saw her blog at the last moment and the association was made in my tired head.
Patricia Scarpin July 15, 2008 um 1:09 pm
I hope you enjoyed the day, sweetie!
It’s my father’s birthday as well, such a coincidence. 🙂
I love this dessert – fresh, light, colorful.
Joanna Schmidt July 15, 2008 um 1:43 pm
gorgeous photos! Did someone win the give-away?
Widget the Blogging Elf July 15, 2008 um 2:29 pm
Wow, I stumbled upon your journal while searching for Macaron pictures! I’m definitely going to come back form time to time to try your recipes! I live in Japan and sadly, don’t have an oven… But I’ll try anyways!
Camille July 15, 2008 um 3:33 pm
You made me smile! Thanks for that!
MyKitchenInHalfCups July 15, 2008 um 3:42 pm
SassyTartey will always be sassy living in the here and now. Most excellent.
April July 15, 2008 um 5:42 pm
If someone decides to put together a large order, I would love to order with it. Great looking berries and cream!
Helene July 15, 2008 um 5:59 pm
Veggie Girl: your French is impeccable…Parfait!
Mary: we call it "the Sleeve" = La Manche…I guess because it looks like the sleeve of a shirt? Dunno for sure!
Unknown July 16, 2008 um 12:23 am
Hope you had a happy Bastille Day!
I think there are quite a few French ex-pats in SF. There is a little narrow street in downtown that is lined on one side with restaurants and it is looks just like a street in France – tables and chairs outside, lights strung across the way, waiters bringing coffee out. On Bastille Day that little street is always taken over by the French! If you ever come to SF I’ll take you there!
Mrs.French July 16, 2008 um 3:07 am
Oh I am so sad I missed your sweet giveaway…485 entrants! Wow!
I am sorry to hear you are a bit homesick. I hope all your friends and family in the states helped to make your July 14th truly special!
Helene July 16, 2008 um 5:47 am
Joana: yes, somedy did win. I posted the info at the beginning of the post.
Anonymous July 16, 2008 um 9:07 pm
A great post. Obviously awesome food and photography – you have a real eye for composition.
I moved from England to Seattle 6 years ago, and go through similar things. I immersed myself in life over here, and that really helps. I also found that I remembered England through rose tinted spectacles – it wasn’t quite as amazing as I remembered when I went back 😀
Anyhow – happy 14th.
Half Baked July 16, 2008 um 11:57 pm
I LOVE the SassyTartey! Hope you had a happy bastille day:)
Jaime July 19, 2008 um 7:03 pm
sorry i didn’t win but those berries and cream look perfect for summer 🙂
kickpleat July 21, 2008 um 9:05 pm
i picked a ton of berries this weekend and eating them with cream sounds fantastic. i’m bookmarking the pastry cream stat. yum.