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Mixed Berries Sorbet with Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Berry Sorbet


When I called my mother yesterday I had a burning question to ask her. As soon as we started talking, I completely forgot. I was outside on the deck and heard a plane over my head. Felt a cool breeze through the pecan tree and just sat there. It took me back to our chalet in the Alps on a hot summer day. Gliders brushing the mountain sides, kids biking furiously to the pool. I got pensive. Mostly I had a smile on my face.

I got quiet for a little while and she asked if I was getting sad as we talked about summers, the cousins growing up, their travel plans, etc… I mumbled "I’m fine! I am testing the mixed berries sorbet I just made!" She asked if I could focus on the conversation to which I replied "no can’t do. Do you still have your T-Fal sorbet maker?" I had remembered my, well at least to me, burning question.

Berries


Her turn to get quiet for a while "I have no idea. Why do you ask?". I knew I had piqued her curiosity. "No reason. Everytime I make sorbet I think about that darn sorbetiere and how much we’d crank it up in the summers. It was cool. It was special." It was special indeed. I’ll always remember the day my mother brought that sorbet make home. Homemade sorbet anytime we wanted? As kids it was like Christmas in July!

See, in France, desserts eaten at home during the week are not buttery flaky pastries bought at the corner bakery on the way home from work. Those are for Sundays. No, desserts often consist of a dairy product and a fruit. I grew up on homemade yogurt and fruit for dessert. Ice creams and sorbets were not only specials, they were a once a year kind of thing. They spelled Summer.

Berry Sorbet


It was a special thing indeed to have sorbet or ice cream or pastries back home. I do the exact same thing here. The weekends and dinner with friends are meant for special treats. And for good reasons. Time on slower motion is something to be celebrated (I’m always on even when I’m off. Can’t help it). Time spent with friends is celebrated. The generosity of their sharing our table, their time and stories with us. I want to acknowledge that by making them something special.

Enter sorbets, ice cream, tarts, mousses, and all sorts of goodies I enjoy making. I enjoy seeing their shoulders drop and their pupils scintillate as they dig in the first bites. I enjoy that pause as the flavors wraps around their taste buds, the scents and aromas arousing their senses. I am at my happiest when I gather people I love and respect around food. I know that’d make my grandmother smile.

Berries


There were so many luscious berry baskets at the farmers market this past week that I got a lot of everything. Blueberries, blackberries (twice), strawberries (again), raspberries (always). Stone fruits and rhubarb also ended up in our basket but that’s for another get together later this week. It’s summer! The house is open to anyone with a good story and a smile.

This sorbet is my go-to recipe as I can change the fruit according to the season and always get the same delicious result. Tart and sweet flavors. You can really taste them all separately and together with every bite. Paired with a simple vanilla shortbread cookies and you have one of our favorite summer treats.

Berry Sorbet


Now…I need to fly home and find that sorbetiere my mom bough when we were kids…!

Berry Sorbet



Mixed Berries Sorbet, adapted from Richard Leach in Sweet Seasons:

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients:
3 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries of your choice
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
zest and juice of one lemon

Directions:
In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, place the berries and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Puree until smooth in a blender or food processor and then strain through a fine mesh chinois (strainer). Process in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies:

Makes about twenty 2-inch round cookies.

Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
2 egg yolks
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup milk (optional)

Directions:
In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and egg yolks together on medium speed until creamy looking. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds with the back of a knife and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix for 10 seconds. Add the millet and sweet rice flour with the mixer still on low speed. If the mixture feels too crumbly add a little bit of milk to obtain a smooth but not too wet dough. Start with one tablespoon at a time.
Gather the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
When ready to bake, turn the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Roll the dough in between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll to about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Cut cookies out in the dough and place them on a parchment lined baing sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
Serve with the sorbet.

Vanilla Rice Pudding & Chocolate Panna Cotta

Vanilla Rice Pudding & Chocolate Panna Cotta


Yes, I am giving away a box full of chocolate donated by Scharffen Berger in San Francisco. Head toward the end of the post for details on how to participate.

Back in June (wow that feels like an eternity…) I was part of a food blogging panel at Evo 10 with two wonderful ladies, Jane and Helen Jane. Yep, I am not making this up. We clearly sounded like a tribe "Hi! I’m Helen!" "And I am Jane!" "And I’m Helen Jane". They were handling the blogging part of our workshop and I was doing the photography part. Lots of fun and new friendships came out of this. Honest, comfortable and packed with belly laughing punctuated conversations.

There is a myriad of ways to blog and find your peace and balance. I don’t think on it much. I am thrilled to make you discover bits about my home country, new recipes and techniques. It’s a place for me to practice my crafts and hopefully to give you something enjoyable to look at and tempt you as well. I put a lot of hard work and dedication into this space and it has given me so much in return. Most of all, the possibility to connect with wonderful people all over the world and be able to live all sorts of experiences.

Vanilla Rice Pudding & Chocolate Panna Cotta


However, when Jane sent me an email asking me if I wanted to help her organize a little party during BlogHer Food this weekend, my first reaction was "ugh…I don’t really have time to plan right now" but Jane came back with the words "what if it is a swanky chocolate filled little shingdig?". My reply? "go on, I’m listening…"

I have no idea how it all happened but before I knew it, I was part of a team of talented and generous ladies getting together venue, foods, libations and gifts for a party. I got worried that we would have to sell our souls to the Devil to make it happen but Jane & Kristen calmly said "We won’t do any of that. Just sit pretty and eat your chocolate. Scharffen Berger is giving us tons for the party".

I am a milk chocolate kind of gal if you must know. I don’t eat that much chocolate but when I do, it’s the creamy kind that gets me all tingly. Add nuts and caramel bits and I will do just about anything…

Chocolate Panna Cotta


And that I did. And still do tonight as I am finishing packing for BlogHer Food. I can’t wait to be there and see familiar faces and meet new ones. People I’ve been reading for years becoming even more real. I love that my schedule this weekend is a nice balance of work, play and unexpected.

There was a tad bit of planning to be done on the home front before heading out though. Mainly stocking the fridge with good foods and making sure that the important things were right in front of his eyes if B. opened up said fridge. There are now eight Vanilla Rice Pudding & Chocolate Panna Cotta facing him. Don’t worry, he’s got more nutritious foods to dig into.

I have no idea what got into me to combine panna cotta and rice pudding except my deepest love for both. I figured with the weather finally changing a bit we could try to get into Fall mood a little too and start simmering, stirring, chocolating again after the heat of the summer. It does feel nice to finally have that little crisp in the air as the sun rises over the water.

Vanilla Rice Pudding & Chocolate Panna Cotta


So I am not going to tell you that this post was made possible by the folks at Scharffen Berger who sent me chocolate because I would have made this recipe without them sending chocolate anyway. But…I would have used high quality chocolate like theirs nonetheless specifically because chocolate is in the front seat in this one.

What I am going to tell you is that they make some mighty fine chocolates and by using the 70% bittersweet chocolate bars, the panna cotta packed a good chocolate punch while remaining smooth as silk. To make sure you get the chance to feel the way we feel after sharing one of these, I asked if they’d let me have more chocolate to give away to one of you. I asked for "some chocolate" and they are sending a box full.

That’s also why I love them. They know how good their craft is and are all about getting us addicted to it…eheheh. Did they ask or demand I post about them? Nope. I volunteered. That was a no brainer for me. Eat chocolate and giveaway some more on your blog. Make someone else happy.

Rice Pudding & Chocolate Panna Cotta


I am happy to be giving away a mixed box of Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder, 99% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar, 62% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate Baking Chunks and a few of their eating bars in various percentages courtesy of Scharffen Berger. To enter, you have until Monday October 11th, midnight Easter standard time to leave a comment on this post. (No anonymous comment). The winner will be picked at random by the closest person to me in the room (not kidding) – I’ll be in San Francisco until Tuesday but I will make sure to get in touch with the winner.

Vanilla Rice Pudding & Chocolate Panna Cotta:
Serve 6 to 8

For the rice pudding:
1 cup rice (really the kind you like best)
1 1/2 cups (315ml) whole milk (I used raw)
1/2 vanilla bean, split open
1/2 cup (60ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup (50gr) sugar
Pinch of salt

For the chocolate panna cotta:
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin (2 sheets gelatin)
1/4 cup water
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup honey
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 cup Greek yogurt

Cocoa nibs, dusting of cocoa powder and fresh whipped cream (optional garnish)

Prepare the rice pudding:
In a stainer, rinse the rice under cold water for a minute to remove some of its natural starch.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the rice, milk, cream, sugar to a simmer. Scrape the seeds from inside the vanilla bean and add to the pan with the salt. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally for about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let cool for a few minutes and divide the pudding evenly among ramekins. Cover with a layer of plastic wrap until you are ready to pour the panna cotta on top of the rice pudding.

Prepare the panna cotta:
Place the water in small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Reserve.
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan placed over medium heat, bring the milk, heavy cream, and honey to a simmer. When the cream is hot, remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted. Add the reserved gelatin and stir until it is completely dissolved. Add the yogurt and whisk vigorously until well blended.
Divide the mixture over the rice pudding ramekins. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving to let the cream set properly.
Garnish with cocoa nibs and whipped cream if desired.

Full disclosure:
The chocolate, cocoa powder and cocoa nibs used in this recipe were given by Scharffen Berger at no cost.

Celebrating A Birthday With Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes


I don’t make cupcakes very often. Rarely. As in four times a year maybe. I have nothing against cupcakes. I am as picky with them as I am about any small bite I make, bake or eat. They’d better have a higher interestingness to frosting ratio for me to pay attention. In about everything I do, I go straight for the good stuff. I skip the fluff (rhyming unintentional) but today is special. It’s my dad’s birthday!

Joyeux Anniversaire mon p’tit papa!

I wasn’t going to say anything or blog about it but I know I have written Mother’s Day posts and birthday posts to my maman before, made macarons and cakes for my brother, shared a tear with you reminiscing about my grandparents but never about my father. Time to fix this wouldn’t you say? Note to my family: don’t expect a post per family member’s birthday or it would be the only thing people would read. I’d rather make lemon curd instead, ehehe.

Lemon Curd


My father. The unsung hero of this blog seems like! Without diving into the melodramatic, allow me to put down in writing a few things about him. These cupcakes made me think of him in many different ways. They are soft like his hugs. Tangy like his sense of humor. Creamy like…well if I say love, it sounds tacky, right? Well then, be it. Now that years have softened him. Or he’s always been a softie but spent a great deal of effort hiding it? I don’t know. All I know is that he deserves to be in the spotlight for a little while. If only on his daughter’s site.

To know my father, Jacques, is a gift I hope many more people would experience. To say that I am 50% my father and 50% my mother is no understatement. I am as reserved as I am public. I am as righteous as I am mischevious. I am as poised as I am exuberant. I am as leveled as I am dramatic (my dad being the first of all these adjectives).

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes


My father lost a lot in his life. He’s also gained the never ending respect of his family by the way he’s always conducted himself. I could give you a few very sad sad stories to illustrate this point but like him I’d rather look on the brighter side of things so here goes the moment I realized at 6 years old that my dad would always be a "put your money where your mouth is" kind of guy. That story that makes us laugh a great deal now even if I get red cheeks every time it goes around.

I call it "the day I got (justifiably) whipped back into shape for misbehaving".

One evening my parents had an important dinner on Base (my father is a General in L’Armee de L’Air), my brother Thierry was put on babysitting duty of my brother Arnaud and myself. Everything was just dandy until I thought it’d be hilarious to throw peas across the table with my spoon, catapult style. My brothers got quiet. My father looked at me straight in the eyes and said "you do that one more time and you will get spanked. Bare bottom." For my father to say that, you know I had crossed some major line. I looked back as straight as I could hold it, lifted my fully pea-loaded spoon and catapulted them across the table.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes


Silence fell upon the room. My brothers were looking at me like as if I was a green alien with red antennas. Without flinching my dad commanded me to come see him after I was done with my dinner. Going up the stairs to meet my fate felt like the 12 steps up to my room suddenly were 120. Five minutes later, I was sporting my father’s hands neatly and naturally tatooed on my derriere. The one and only time this would ever happen.

However difficult it was for him (and he told me so years later), he was right. We both had to own it. He did gain my respect and my trust forever. Different times, different ways. Let me end by saying that this blog is not the place to have a "how to raise your child, slapping-no slapping" argument. This is just a story of why every time I see parents counting to 3 and then 3 more I think about that day almost 30 years ago. Not sure it would have worked the same with my brother though.

Note to my dad: it had the desired effect but no need to slap me to get your point across anymore. Bringing me chocolate will, ahaha!

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes


My father is one heck of a man. He’s resilient and patient. He wrote a novel. He paints beautiful sceneries that my mom frames. He’s patient. Yes, I know. I’ve said it just a second ago but that’s because I debited a lot of my "father’s patience" credit this past year without collateral. He did not say a word and let me find my way and establish myself in my work. I hope that being too busy to call as promptly as before is a good indicator that I am paying him back rightfully. I hope so.

I love you Papa! Hope you spend the rest of the week celebrating, you deserve it.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes


Cupcake liners from Bake It Pretty.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes:

Makes 24

Note: for non gluten free readers, replace the sweet rice, millet, sorghum flours and cornstarch with 3 cups all purpose flour. Omit the xanthan gum.
I use sucanat for the lemon curd which gives it a bit of a molasses taste and a darker color but regular sugar works the same.

For the cupcakes (adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home):
1 cup superfine sweet rice flour
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons coconut oil (solid stage preferably)
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
6 egg whites (use the yolks in the buttercream)

For the lemon curd:
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup sucanat (or sugar)
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the buttercream:
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean

Prepare the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter 24 cupcake liners.
Sift together all the flours, cornstarch, gum, baking powder and salt. Reserve.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, coconut oil and 1 cup sugar at medium speed until pale and thick. Add the vanilla, then the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the milk. Transfer the batter to a separate bowl and wash your stand mixer bowl very well.
In that clean bowl, whip the egg whites to a foam at medium speed. Increase the speed and slowly add the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until you get a glossy and firm meringue with stiff peaks.
Fold 1/3 of the whites into the flour batter to lighten it and then fold in the rest carefully not to deflate the meringue completely.
Divide in between the prepared cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes.
Let them cool completely. In the meantime, prepare the curd and buttercream.

Prepare the lemon curd:
In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together the lemon zest, juice and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk to break them up. Beat some of the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook stirring constantly until it thickens up, about 5 minutes. Remove the curd from the heat, let cool five minutes then whisk in the butter slowly, one tablespoon at a time. Let cool completely before using.

Prepare the buttercream:
Place the yolks in a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.
Bring the sugar and water to 238F in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Slowly pour the hot syrup over the egg yolks and continue to whisk until cold. Change to the paddle attachment and beat in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Split the vanilla bean open and scrape the seeds out. Add to the butter mixture. Continue to beat for a few seconds until completely smooth.

To assemble:
With a pairing knife or the large opening of decorating pastry tip cut a whole in the center of the cupcakes. Fill with lemon curd and top the hole back with the cupake piece you just cut. Frost as you like either with a straight or star tip or just by "spatulating" some buttercream on top.

French Word A Week: Glace A La Vanille

Retro!


I’m always fascinated to see how events, things and people come together sometimes. I remember when I was still working in a restaurant kitchen that I could spend one night plating nothing but fancy chocolate cake adorned with pretty caramel twirls and the next the only thing people wanted was two scoops of sorbet. What bug was whispering the same thing to their ears the whole time? How could a dozen people at once get the same fancy for chocolate cake or ice cream?

Ever wondered why in one day or one week a lot of the same thing surfaces over and over again?

Here it was ice cream this week. Lots of it. For us, for work, for fun. It made me realize that some of you might be visiting France in the summer and what better words to learn than "Vanilla Ice Cream"? You never know…

So here it is: Glace a la vanille!

One evening my dear and lovely gave me his best smile (the one I can’t say not to) and asked "have you ever thought of making gluten free ice cream sandwiches?" "Hmmm…yes," I said "the thought occured to me. And your point is?". Once again, he gave me the grin and I acquiesced."Alright, alright….I give up. Ice cream sandwiches coming right up".

It really helps that I am up for any sort of sweet concocting and experimenting in the kitchen…Ahah!

The ice cream sandwiches in the picture above are from a feature with a retro theme I did this week. I was handed a plate of ice cream sandwiches made by one of the chefs on staff and they were good, or so I hear. I then proceeded to a gluten free version once home, down to the dotted look, (fooled B!) which I will post next week.

Have a great weekend!

P.S: Lots of you asked where I got the green cups in the previous post (Anthropologie – I also have the brown set which I love) which made think of posting my sources whenever I can remember (some are old – some are new -some are from antique stores – some are from home).

Flower bud vase: Wal-Mart
Mini cake stand : Sur La Table
Straw:
Bake It Pretty

Vanilla,Salted Butter Caramel and Chocolate Mousse And A Giveaway

Vanilla, Caramel & Chocolate Mousse


When I asked Bill what he would like me to prepare for him while I am gone for a few days, his answer was an unequivocal "Mousse please!". Yes, he is a softee and I know his mom spoiled him with homemade desserts pretty much all his life so his answer did not come as a surprise. I did prepare a few things to warm up after work during the five days I’ll be gone but I know Bill. When I showed him where everything was in the fridge, his eyes immediately landed on these Vanilla, Salted Butter Caramel and Chocolate Mousses. And they were all the way in the back. Of course.

So where am I going for 5 days that he needs a fridge full of goodies? San Francisco! I am attending the 2009 BlogHer conference which will be held on Saturday. I am also one of the speakers at the conference! I am so psyched about this event for so many reasons. For starters just take a look at the program here. All these amazing bloggers giving of their experience and expertise, I am honored to be among them and hope to contribute as much as they are.

Then there are all these attendees that I will finely get to meet in person and finally hug silly until they call security because Tartelette is cutting their air supply from excitement! Friends kept tweeting they wanted to meet me, well I want to meet them just as much.

Making Mousse


Last May, I was supposed to join Bill on a working trip near Jen from Use Real Butter and we immediately made the plan that I’d stay with her a few days while he’d work. That plan fell through. We were both upset at the circumstances and she asked if I’d be coming to San Francisco for BlogHer. She was. Maybe we could meet up there. This summer has been financially sucky so we were pretty much tied down not going anywhere for a long time. She emailed back the same day and said in her usual ways "Damn it Helen! You’re going! Here are Frequent Flyers miles we are not using and you are sharing a room with me. Get a conference ticket and we’ll figure something out."

Yes. That is the kind of chick Jen is and I am proud to call her my friend. She rocks. Period.

Man! Those tickets were hotter than the best Nutella crepes on a street cart in Paris. They sold out before I could even log on the computer. So waitlist it was. Drats! Then my name got tossed in the hat for potential speaker and the wait began. Either a ticket would come open or I’d be a speaker in which case I would not need one. Nothing happened on either front for a very long time. Then, I finally scored a ticket and three days later got an email about being a speaker (in case you are wondering, that ticket went back in the ticket pool).

Vanilla, Caramel & Chocolate Mousse


So here we are…On Friday I get to squeeze silly one of the best gals I know and on Saturday I will be talking about "Your Blog is Great…now what? Letting your blog lead the way to new opportunity". I am honored, ecstatic and nervous all at once. Sharing this panel with Jaden and Amy gives the chance to see three different people with different opportunities, different paths and at different pit stops on their careers. I have no doubt this panel will be informative and fun. Did I say I was psyched already? Ok, ok….

Well, I am not done being psyched because my friend Anita from Married With Dinner extended an invite to stay with her a couple for a few days passed the conference and of course I jumped on it! Finally we get to hang out! We have plenty of fun things planned and I can’t wait to tell you about it through pictures and emotions. There will be plenty of dinners, lunches and stories shared with friends and strangers and I hope to post a few fun shots while I am gone.

I know by now you must be pretty tired about me gushing about the next five days, so I will shut up and give you back some of the "good schtuff" I am lucky to experience everyday by hosting a little giveaway.

Aprons sample, for more colors and motifs, check The Hip Hostess website.

To win one of these adorable demi style aprons by The Hip Hostess (winner’s choice) all you have to do is leave a comment on this post between Thursday September 24th and Sunday September 27th, midnight Eastern Time. My dear husband will draw the winner at random and I will put her/him in contact with The Hip Hostess to pick the preferred demi style apron. But that’s not all! Deborah from The Hip Hostess generously offers all the readers of Tartelette a 15% discount on any order throughout October 15th 2009. Use the promo code TART (all caps) at check out. Very cool!

Enter Jen’s to win an Ipod Nano and enter here to win a fabulous apron handmade by The Hip Hostess, so you can bake and groove in style. And no, we did not plan it, would not have worked, ahah!

Now you can understand why I loaded the fridge with tons of good things for Bill to eat while I am gone. I am sad he won’t be able to walk around SF with me but I know he is not yet prepared for a room full of people saying "Oh my god it’s you!" and hugging you every 5 minutes. He said mousse was just fine. Especially one that starts with a soft and silky Bavarian cream and combines delicious layers such as vanilla, salted butter caramel and chocolate…

Vanilla, Caramel & Chocolate Mousse


Vanilla, Salted Butter Caramel and Chocolate Mousse:

Serves 4 to 6 depending on the size of your ramekins

Notes: you want to prepare the caramel part of this triplr mousse first as it needs to cool down properly before being incorporated to the rest of the base.

For the caramel:
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) water
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or fine sea salt
1/4 cup (60ml ) heavy cream
2 teaspoons (10gr) unsalted butter

For the chocolate:
4 oz (120gr) dark semisweet chocolate

For the vanilla mousse base:
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 gr) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1 Tb (7gr) powdered gelatin, sprinkled over 3 Tb water
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream

Prepare the caramel:Place the sugar and water in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to cook until caramel in color. Remove from the heat and add the salt, heavy cream and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Prepare the chocolate:
In a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Prepare the mousse base:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale. In the meantime, in a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk and the vanilla bean (split open and scraped over the milk) to a boil. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon (as if making creme anglaise). Add the softened gelatin and stir until melted completely into the cream. Let cool to room temperature.
Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold it into the cooled cream base. Divide the base into three equal portions (one will stay untouched).

Assemble:
Add a couple of tablespoons of the base to the caramel to lighten it a bit and stir with a spoon. Gently fold the rest of the alloted mousse base into the caramel with a spatula.
Do the same for the chocolate portion.
Layer all three parts evenly into dishes or ramekins and refrigerate for an hour.

Matcha And Peach Pate de Fruit Macarons

Matcha & Peach Pate de Fruit Macarons


When Spring and Summer roll around, I think in shades of pinks and reds. When Fall and Winter point their nose, I am all about the blues and the purples. Greens are oranges are not my colors. Nope. And yet, the first thing I thought about with the first sign of cooler mornings and breezy nights were Matcha and Peach Pate de Fruits Macarons. Enjoying the last bit of summer produce while cozying up to the subtle taste of matcha tea.

Lately, the mere mention of tea evocates long talks on the porch and a light chill on a late night walk. You can feel the air changing. I can finally feel some coolness under my feet when I let the dogs out early in the morning. I can almost hear the grass crisp up as we come down, ready for us. These first few days of September have really been quite Fall-ish and are probably temporary due a hurricane being just around the corner. Nevertheless, every time this lovely Fall breeze enters the house, we just stop whatever we are doing and enjoy for a few seconds. Even if it is short lived it is worth those few seconds in the day.

Matcha & Peach Pate de Fruit Macarons


When I went to teach Veronica a three dayPastry Bootcamp, she not only gifted me with her hospitality and friendship, but with also a few stashes of vanilla beans, some saffron and a brand new can of the matcha she preferred to use in her macarons. I can see why. From the can to the finish product I could taste and smell the wonderful grassy properties of matcha. If you have never had it before, you might go "wow! what is that?" but trust me it grows on you real fast. It’s unpretentious and absolutely delicious in pastry.

I know that our Southern peaches are near their end and I have been stocking, preserving and canning as many of them as I could. This season has been particularly prolific and tasty and as much as it pains me to say goodbye to stone fruits I am happily getting my taste buds ready for pears, pomegranates, apples and pumpkins. Each season is a new palette. Even if it makes me paint in greens and orange which I am so-so about! One thing I have made a couple of times recently is peach pate de fruits. It keeps well, makes great little gifts for my students and is just plain good when the fruits are ripe.

So…in my usual ways, peach in one hand and matcha macarons in the other, I decided to marry the two together in one little perfect bite, mending the bridge between Summer leaving and Fall approaching. Alright, so I was helped by a little mascarpone and vanilla cream in the middle. I had no idea that peach and matcha would be that delicious together. They are. I am making more this weekend!

Peaches


On a side note, I know that Caitlin and Y are going to be disappointed that I did not do a talking picture post as we joked about while Twittering one night. I was starting to crack up looking at some of the shots and started playing around with captions. Here are some of the outakes for the macarons "beauty" shoot.

One more little thing though before the recipe. There are people you want to meet and there are people you want to meet, eat and laugh with and learn from. For me, Tish Boyle is one of those people. I remember the morning I opened my emails and found one with her name as the sender. I did not click for a few seconds. Really. I turned to Bill and said "if this is not a joke, she emailed me" pointing at one book I love and that she co-authored, Chocolate Passion. I carefully clicked and held my breath. I turned to Bill with the biggest smile ever and said "Tish Boyle wants me!". And we both laughed. Or I snorted my coffee. I can’t quite remember. She wanted an interview for the print magazine Desserts Professional, alongside David Lebovitz and Michael Laiskonis. Without hesitation, I emailed back "Yes!" before adding "I love your work". When she responded "I’m honored you even know who I am", I fell in love with her even more, if that was possible. Ugh, hello! I am supposed to say that! Thank you Tish, I am honored beyond belief to be in such good company in a wonderful magazine. You can check the article in their August issue.

Matcha And Peach Pate de Fruits Macarons:

Notes:
Use eggs that have been preferably aged 3-5 days in the fridge. Pierre Herme uses eggs that are aged until they are almost like water, about 5 days. If it’s good for Pierre, it’d good for me! The humidity, folding, aging of the eggs (the macs here were made with fresh whites) will affect the outcome. It’s all a balancing act of chemistry and action.

For the shells:
90 gr egg whites (30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds
1 tablespoon matcha powder

For the pate de fruits:
Notes: I use Certo liquid pectin so I can’t vouch for how others might behave. I use a large stainless steel pot so the evaporation and cooking could happen faster.
For a superb pectin free recipe, follow this recipe posted by the awesome Anita from Married with Dinner.

13 oz (380gr) peach puree (weight after you remove skin, pits and processed)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups (400gr) sugar, divided
3-4 tablespoons liquid pectin

For the mascarpone – vanilla cream:
8 oz (210gr) mascarpone, at room temperature (or substitute cream cheese)
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
or 1/2 vanilla bean, seeded
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Prepare the macarons:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Place the powdered sugar, almonds and matcha in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue along with some food coloring if using, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 280F. When ready, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.

Prepare the pate de fruits:
Line a 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Plce the peach puree in a heavy saucepan and add the lemon juice. Stir in 1/2 cup (100gr) saugar and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook until its temperature register 113F, stirring constantly. Add the remaining 1.5 cups (300gr) sugar and the pectin to the pot and slowly bring the mixture to 200F, still over medium high heat while stirring constantly. Turn the heat down a bit and keep the mixture at 200F for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat back up and slowly bring the mixture to 223F. Keep it there for an additional 2-3 minutes (turn the heat down if necessary to do so). Remove from the heat and immediately pour the mixture into your pan lined with parchment paper. Let set for a couple of hours. Cut shapes with a sharp knife and roll the pieces of pate de fruit in sugar. Refrigerate if not eating all of them at once.

Prepare the mascarpone-vanille cream:
In a large bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and the heavy cream and whisk until all the ingredients are incoporated. Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe a dollop of cream onto half of the macarons. Top with a square of pate de fruits and another macaron shell.

Riz Au Lait Vanille – Remembering A Grandmother’s Embrace

Rice Pudding


Type. Backspace. Type. Backspace. Type. Just keep putting one word in front of the other. Like your feet. That’s how life is. You walk, you run or it passes you buy. I run. I laugh. I breathe. I stand straight. My grandmother used to tell me that all the time. No kidding. "Just keep walking. Stand straight. Breathe". To make sure I’d get the day’s lesson right, she would sweeten the tone by giving me something sweet to nibble on. Most often it was her vanilla rice pudding. "Riz au lait" as we call it in France.

Today I am borrowing some of your time to pay tribute to my grandmother, Paulette. No tears. No drama. No long drawn out sadness on my part. I am over all that. I have been over it even before she passed, three years ago. Quietly. Softly. That’s how I am spending my day. Flipping through photo albums. Trying to sort emotions, thoughts and feelings about her. Smiling. Mostly smiling. And I am finding a bit of comfort by preparing some rice pudding like she used to make us when we had a rough time.

Like many of you, a lot of my memories evolve around food. Some bring me back to her apricot tart, some to her floating islands. And many colds, sore throats and heartbreaks to her rice pudding. There is something about the smell of milk and vanilla simmering on the stove that instantly calms me down. Its simplicity and the memories associated with the gestures of making "riz au lait" helps me focus on the important. It’s nothing fancy, but simply good and homey. Like Mamie Paulette.

Rice Pudding


I was here when my mom called me to tell me she had passed. We were actually packing our suitcases to go on a short vacation. I remember calling the airline to immdiately change my plane ticket and actually tell the agent on the other end "I don’t care if I am being a pain. No one messes with me today." She would have said it just like that too. A few hours later I was on a plane, doing what I had done just a few years before for my brother. Yep, August could clearly suck if I did let it get to me. But it does not. Not anymore.

There are birthdays to be celebrated. There are dinners and get togethers to be had. Most importantly there is plenty of sun to be enjoyed. And for my grandmother, if there was any of the above in her day, she was happy. I am like her in that way. In many other ways too as Bill likes to remind me constantly (some are not that endearing mind you!). I like that.

Today I am happy because I have all three. A good dinner is planned with friends and I am making another batch of rice pudding for dessert. It may not be a summer dessert per se but I know our friends will enjoy it. The slightly intoxicating smells of vanilla beans, the simmering of a good story to go along with it. I am also serving it with some citrus spiked caramel sauce tonight. I don’t remember Mamie ever making it like this but that’s my way of creating new memories.

Vanilla And Rice


I called my grandfather this morning (he’ll be 99 in wo weeks!). My mother was there too. As were my uncles and cousins. We shared a few chosen moments that defined grandma for us. We laughed and we smiled, exactly like the day we told her goodbye. All is well.

As bloggers, we are here for the good times and the bad. There are a couple of posts that struck a cord with me this week. We all are comfortable enough with you, readers, to give you the upbeat, the fun, the creative but also the truth that sometimes, we don’t really feel like jumping and down. But we feel enough at ease to tell you so because the good moments as well as the harder ones define our personalities and how they come throughout our blogs, throughout the days. Thank you for that.

We all celebrate the ones we love in different ways. That’s why we and they are unique. If you have a minute, leave a note to Marc who is paying tribute to his wife and blogger Bri from Figs With Bri (warning: I sobbed for a few minutes) and to my bad-ass chica, Jen from Use Real Butter who is remembering her lovely sister Kris. I also would love to hear about some of the memories you may have. Good or bad.

Here is one about my grandmother everytime I make Floating Islands. My space is yours.

Rice Pudding


One year ago: Roasted Apricot and Lavender Panna Cottas.

Riz Au Lait A La Vanille – Vanilla Rice Pudding:

Serves 4

For the rice:

1/2 cup (100gr) arborio rice
1 1/2 cups (315ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (60ml) heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split open and seeded
1/4 cup (50gr) sugar

For the citrus caramel sauce: (optional)
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 tablespoons water
zest and juice of one lemon

Prepare the rice pudding:
In a stainer, rinse the rice under cold water for a minute to remove some of its natural starch.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the rice, milk, cream and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add the sugar, stir briefly and remove from the heat. Let cool for a few minutes and divide the pudding evenly among ramekins. Let cool to room temperature and serve with the caramel sauce.

Prepare the caramel:
Place the sugar and water in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture becomes a golden amber color. Carefully add the lemon juice and zest (it will splatter so stand back a little). Stir the caramel until completely smooth again. Remove from the heat and let it cool until ready to serve.

Weekend News Bulletin With A Scoop Of Ice Cream

Cover Girl


This is just a quick news bulletin of sort as I have been busy preparing plenty of sweet treats for Bill’s birthday. It’s not until Monday but we are celebrating all weekend. The man deserves it!

First, you might want to update your readers, feeds, urls, links, etc…as Tartelette is now a .com, as in www.mytartelette.com , complete with a new header. Woot! I have confirmation from my team of engineers that all the redirects are working fine but might as well update the link.

Now, if you are looking for great and tasty recipes to make this weekend, check out the latest issue of Desserts Magazine. Inside the online magazine for which I photographed the cover picture (shameless note to make my mom proud!), you will find a plethora of recipes for all things chilled, cold and frozen. I have already bookmarked a dozen and the ice cream maker is ready to roll.

The ice cream on the cover shot is a tasty strawberry vanilla ice cream I made a couple of months ago that is now on rotation at the house. We just can’t get enough of it but here is the recipe in case you get sidetracked flipping through the magazine! Hope you enjoy it too!

Have a wonderful weekend and I hope you will join me on Monday to wish Bill a very happy birthday and maybe help me convince him to shave the beard he decided to grow this summer!!

Strawberry Vanilla Ice Cream

Strawberry Vanilla Ice Cream:

4 egg yolks
1 cup (100gr) + 2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
2 cups half and half
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeded
1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and one cup of sugar until pale and thick. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the half and half and vanilla bean to a simmer, without letting it come to a full boil. Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg yolks mixture while whisking to temper the egg yolks. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream coats the back of spoon. It should register 170F on a candy thermometer. At this point you have made a custard sauce, also known as "creme anglaise". Let cool completely, strain and refrigerate until cold.
While the custard cools, prepare the strawberries. Place the quartered strawberries and the remaining measurement of sugar into a small heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook just long enough for the strawberries to soften and to release some juice. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once both the fruit and the custard are cold, process the custard first according to your ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions and toward the end of the churning period, throw in the strawberries.

Vanilla Tapioca And Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux

Vanilla Tapioca and Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux


Update 6/18: You can head over Simply Hue written by the adorable Vicki to read a little interview she did with me about work, dessert, inspirations and passions. Then come back here for dessert, ehehe!

Thank you for all the good vibes you sent throughout the weekend, they were truly uplifting. You can trust that they are already bottled up and ready to be used for the next phase of whatever this is we are in. One sure thing for Bill and myself right now is that our marriage is stronger than ever, our couple and friendship thicker than glue. If a dessert could define it in a nutshell, it could well be these verrines of Vanilla Tapioca and Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux.

Can I be annoyingly tacky by saying that our relationship is as comforting as vanilla tapioca pudding? Will you believe if I added that it has this sexy layer of milk chocolate cremeux to it? And that we still find a way to add a little spice and humor to life like adding lime to chocolate? I can, I am and I stand by the comparison. It certainly got B. to say outloud "These are so good! Will you marry me? Again?"

Tapioca Pearls and Chocolate Cremeux


I did smile at that one because at that precise moment I was reading a very interesting email and knew he’d giggle with me. It was a marriage proposal. From a reader. Oops! A "back-up" of some sort. A quite funny note actually ending in "you know, just in case things don’t work out for you guys" that just about made me bust my sprained rib again. He looked at me, grabbed my shoulders and pretending to be mad exclaimed "who have you been baking for? Ha ah!!" followed by "are there anymore of those tapioca chocolate thingies?" Yep, that’s him, my man, never losing sight of what’s important!

I did make those little pots with him in mind knowing that where I could not fix what was broken, I could certainly ease his worries for a brief moment. Chocolate is always a good start, wouldn’t you say? Milk chocolate to be exact. He loves it, I love it. Can’t get enough of it but we are picky about it and usually keep the good quality kind for special occasion. Now is a special occasion.

Vanilla Tapioca and Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux


A milk chocolate cremeux is the most perfect way to say "you’re smooth man, I love you". Add a bit of lime zest and you round it up with that little touch of sass that keeps things interesting. He loves tapioca pudding, I love riz au lait made with arborio rice, which is a little bit more toothsome this way. I found a pleasant compromise by using large tapioca pearls instead of the fine grained kind but both work equally well here.


Hard to describe the pleasure of digging your spoon in such a creamy chocolate layer before the contrasting layer of tapioca and vanilla. As if it was possible to be improved upon, a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche on top actually makes them even better. That little bit of acidity is perfect to set off the creamy chocolate and round up the touch of lime.

Vanilla Tapioca and Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux


One year ago: Cherry Orange Blossom Cakes

Vanilla Tapioca With Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux:

Makes 6 to 8 depending on your serving dishes.
Note: it is best to prepare this the day before and let the cremeux get a bit firmer in the fridge overnight. Not quite a pudding, not quite a cream but the perfect cousin to both.

For the vanilla tapioca:
1/3 cup (60gr) large tapioca pearls
1 cup (250ml) water
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (12gr) sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded

For the milk chocolate lime cremeux:
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
zest of one lime
5 egg yolks
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
4 oz (120gr) good quality milk chocolate, chopped

Prepare the vanilla tapioca:
In a medium bowl, soak the tapioca pearls in the water for an hour. Drain and discard the water. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the tapioca, milk, sugar and vanilla to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until the tapioca looks translucid. Remove from the heat and place a piece of plastic wrap right on top to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Once completely cooles, divide the tapioca in between your serving glasses or ramekins.

Prepare the chocolate cremeux:
In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the cream and lime zest to a simmer.
In the meantime, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and sugar until pale. Once the cream is hot, slowly pour it over the yolks and sugar, stirring constantly to prevent curddling. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium low heat until thick ( a bit thicker than creme anglaise but more fluid than pastry cream), stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate to the pot. Let stand a couple of minutes then stir until completely smooth and the chocolate is completely incorporated. Let cool to room temperature and divide the mixture evenly on top of the tapioca. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until slightly firmer, preferably overnight.

Strawberry Charlottes

Strawberry Charlottes


I know it’s really Spring when strawberry season starts around here. I think I could live on strawberries alone until the end of June! I almost did on Sunday actually. We went to friends' house for brunch and as we were talking outside on their patio, I dawned on me that it was also the weekend of the Strawberry Festival when strawberry picking really kicks off. We hopped in the car and loaded our baskets! I have already baked a couple of things with local strawberries I got both there and at the farmer’s market but in the meantime I wanted to share these Strawberry Charlottes.

As you can guess, the little bit of fun we had today with our friends was extremely welcome. I have to say, with last Sunday I am loving how such good weekends are giving me so much energy during the week. Welcome Spring!! Sorry Jen…we are not making snow angels in the snow but rolling in wild flowers. I keep filling the house with all sorts of buds and flowers that I find in the wood across the house. Bailey also makes sure that the ones from the florist are as tasty as the ones on his morning walks.

Unexpected


I made the Strawberry Charlottes a few weeks ago but did not get to post them until today. I have become so OCD about backing up text and picture files for the book that I did not realize I was backing up a bunch in the wrong folder including these. They were so good that I was getting a little sad knowing I would not have much time to make them again soon, until I looked under the "house stuff" folder. Why did I file them there, I don’t know…Actually I do and it scares me a bit so close to being another year old..

Strawberry Charlottes


I am getting mushy brains for sure. No, it’s not that I am losing it but I notice that my focus is so tense on the thing I am working on at a particular time than anything that does not relate to that is relegated to a dark part of my brain. My inner dialogue goes something like this these days "Phone bill? What phone bill? Keys? Where the heck did I last see them? Speaking of which…where are my dogs?"

All day today I wished I still had a couple of these to share at brunch. I got inspired one more time by Japanese Pastry Chef, Hidemi Sugino who captured the essence of charlottes as my grandparents and their parents before them would have had them. Before people started using ladyfingers to build the charlottes, the most usual way to make them was actually to line your mold with day old bread and let the juice and moisture from your feeling permeates the layers to make them soft. Times have changed but Sugino had a recipe in one of his books using that idea which I interpreted my way by using angel food cake that I had leftover instead of bread. The filling is a simple vanilla pastry cream. Simple, clean, delicious

Strawberry Charlottes


One year ago: Macarons 101.
Two years ago: Banana Pistachio Bonbons.

Strawberries and Vanilla Charlottes Recipe:
Makes 4 to 6
Note: for this recipe I used cake that I had already baked just to eat as is, that’s why it’s made only for 4 to 6 cakes. Angel food cake gets its name from the quantity of egg whites used. Homemade beats store bough, hands down and it makes a lot to share with friends. Freeze the yolks for a later use or make custards, puddings, ice creams, creme brulee, etc…You can use pound cake, yogurt cake, day old bread, like an uncut loaf of pullman bread, etc…Since I was talking about leftovers, I still felt it was courtesy to give the recipe for angel food cake.

For the Angel Food Cake:
18 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 (300gr)cups sugar
1 cup (140gr)cake flour, unsifted
1/2 cup (60gr)confectioners' sugar, unsifted
1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the Pastry Cream:
½ vanilla bean
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
2 tablespoons (16gr) cornstarch

1/2 pound to 1 pound (250gr to 500gr) strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
Powdered sugar

Make the cake: preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Sift together the cake flour and confectioners sugar together. Reserve.
In an stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or with hand held beaters), whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until foamy (think cotton candy). Gradually add sugar while beating, and continue to beat until very stiff (think shaving cream).
Carefully fold the egg whites into the reserved flour mixture along with the lemon zest. Pour into a 10 inch tube pan lightly spray with cooking spray.
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove it from the oven and invert the pan and set it over a longneck bottle (water or wine). It is necessary to invert the pan when making angel food cake because while it cools, the weight of the cake is enough to collapse it if you let it sit on the counter top. Upside-down, the weight of the cake will keep the cake tall. Release the cake from the pan when it is completely cooled. Cut four to six 2-inches thick slices. Place a 3-inch cookie cutter on a slice of bread, insert and run a knife around the cutter to form one cake base. Hollow out each cake with a spoon or melon baler. Repeat for the other slices. Place the powdered sugar on a large plate and roll the cakes in it. Reserve.

Make the pastry cream: on a flat surface, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the pod.
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and vanilla bean seeds and pods over medium high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
In the meantime, whisk together the egg and the egg yolk with the sugar and cornstarch.
Once the milk mixture is hot, remove the pod and slowly pour it over the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low and cook whisking constantly until the mixture thickens to a thick pudding like consistency. Transfer to a container. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the cream to prevent a skin from forming and let cool completely before using. Fill the cavities of each reserved cake. Decorate with the strawberry slices.