Sunday, January 18, 2015

My patisserie challenge

With the start of a New Year I decided I needed a new challenge and wanted something totally different from this time last year when I gave up alcohol. Having thought long and hard I decided that 2015 will be my year of the patisserie and I’ve challenged myself to discover and devour more of Bernadette’s patisseries from our village boulangerie. It is with quite a bit of shame that I must admit to having lived only two doors from the boulangerie for over ten years, but have sampled very few of their sweet treats. It’s not that I’m not a cake person (ha ha) as I love a small slice at lunchtime, but I do tend to prefer a lightweight treat (like my fat free cherry cake) that isn’t too sweet. Over the years it has become routine to bake my own where I can experiment with reducing the quantity of sugar in the recipe until I’m happy. Now it’s time to let go and enjoy the simple pleasure of treating myself to something different every Sunday and I will of course be sharing my experience with you. Let the challenge begin.

French Village Diaries patisserie challenge 2015 buchette de noel
My patisserie challenge, the buchette de Noel

As our boulangerie is a small family run business the patisseries are only available at the weekends, and on a Sunday morning when I’m there buying the croissants for breakfast I have often gazed at the vast array of patisserie treats on display. Having worked hard to lose weight and keep it off I have always been good and up to now I’ve only ever bought something for Ed. His favourite has changed over the years from the éclair au chocolat (chocolate éclair) to the capitole framboise (raspberry cake) to the forêt-noire (black forest gateau). I was therefore a little disappointed at the beginning of January when I arrived keen to be tempted and found only a very small selection to choose from. However then I realised that with the extra baking involved for Christmas with the buche de noel  (Yule logs) and then the galette des rois, there is only so much two pairs of hands can make. It gave me the perfect opportunity to start my challenge with the buchette de Noel, a perfect miniature version of the French traditional Yule log.

I had the choice of coffee, chocolate or vanilla flavour and decided on chocolate, and wasn’t disappointed. The layers of genoise sponge were light and fluffy and filled with a chocolate cream that gave a silky and luxurious texture that was very easy to eat. The chocolate topping was beautifully decorated, generous and not too sickly or sweet, even for me. It was a just the right size, looked lovely on the plate and was certainly a real treat for me and a great start to my patisserie challenge.

Please come back next Sunday to help me munch my way through my next patisserie. Keeping to the sweet theme, here a few related books you might be interested in. I will be reviewing Paris, My Sweet soon and if you want to know more about Jill from Mad About Macarons! you can read my France et Moi interview with her here.