Une religieuse et bonne année!

Une religieuse et bonne année!

Look at that. I’ve been in France so long, my blog no longer recognizes me. It made me identify myself. I could not entirely *remember* my identity, right off the bat, but it slowly came back to me. I’m sure there’s symbolism there somewhere.

I wanted to offer my profound condolences to all my blogging friends who didn’t get Lexuses (Lexi? sounds like Superman’s nemesis & a cloning machine collided) for Christmas. I just know what a blow it must have been after all those ads made us aware that’s what we were supposed to be getting.

I did not get one EITHER. BUT, I did get Christophe Felder’s book on chocolate. THAT is what I call a smart present on Sébastien’s part. It is the kind of gift that keeps on giving–back to the giver. He will be tasting my attempts to imitate recipes from a great chef for at least a year before I run through all 100 of them.

Here’s the first one–look what we had at our New Year’s party last night!


Please do not withhold your applause. I worked for hours on those réligieuses! That photo was taken by our friend Dwayne right off the table, of the very last one. You can tell what a good photographer he is, because there were toys and half-empty plates and glasses pretty much EVERYwhere on that table, but he still managed to get one of those cover-worthy shots.

No, I did NOT burn the choux.� If you’re familiar with the traditional réligieuse, you’ll notice that the choux for this one have been chocolified. Christophe Felder adds a tablespoon of cocoa to the dough.

If you’re not familiar with the pastry, you should try it.� It is Sébastien’s all-time favorite in the world, the one he immediately gets on arriving in France every time.� Réligieuse also means “nun”, and the pastry is named, by most accounts, for its resemblance to a stout nun. Often you see little dots of whipped cream at the top and wreathing the base of the top choux, evoking, I assume, the white of the wimple. The inside is stuffed with chocolate crème pâtissière exactly like a REAL chocolate éclair, the French kind, NOT like the éclairs you get in the U.S., which always have a vanilla cream.

More news later, but I had to make sure to start everyone’s New Year off right.� You know how in the South, we say you have to eat lots of collard greens to be wealthy in the new year?� My neighbors used to say that for every collard green, you would be a dollar richer, but that was 20 years ago and I’m assuming there’s been some inflation.

I loathe collard greens and black-eyed peas both, so I have adapted the tradition thusly:� In order to make sure you are wealthy in chocolate in the coming year, eat as much as you can the very first day.� Consider it a warm-up.

Hey.� It works for me.� So please savor the réligieuse and best wishes for lots of good times, good people, good food, and maybe even a couple of happy adventures for you in 2008.

Happy New Year!� Bonne année!

  • Happy New Year to you as well. Even though you’ve made me hungry for that delectable-looking concoction up there, and I’m pretty sure I can’t just go whip that up, even assuming I had the recipe. My husband gave me two knitting-related books, very selfless of him, because I don’t really knit him anything. I know when I go tell him what Sebastien got you, he’ll nod and say how smart your husband is!

    January 1, 2008 at 8:24 pm
  • I am applauding, Laura! Oh, those look so good.

    I got a mandoline for Christmas, and one of those chef’s gel mats – my feet should feel good, even if I slice a finger off.

    Happy New Year!!!

    January 1, 2008 at 10:24 pm
  • Fortunately I love black eyed peas and collard greens (greens of any kind for that matter) and so I ate enough of both for both of us today. But I don’t want to take any chances of being chocolate poor in the coming year so over my bedtime reading I’ll eat the last two pieces of fudge and some chocolate covered ginger and maybe some Orange candy chocolates from Trader Joe’s (just to make sure I’ve got some fruit in my diet as well). That should cover things nicely. Although speaking of covering things, my jeans seem to be covering things a bit more snug than they were BEFORE the holidays. Which has nothing to do with anything – except maybe eating chocolate.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:46 am
  • Look at that. She’s taunting us with wonderful chocolates again. Mmmmm, yum.

    January 2, 2008 at 7:51 am
  • Happy New Year to you too!!!

    and wow, that religieuse looks awesome!! but what was the tasting verdict? Does it taste as good as it looks? and LOL, for a moment, when I first read chou, I thought you meant the vegetable (you know, like lettuce)… so I kept wondering what was the chou you were referring to!!! LOL 😛

    January 2, 2008 at 9:40 am
  • Felicitations on your first réligieuse!
    She appears to have had a little too much champagne…
    Very sweet though…
    Lucky you to be in France right now.
    How’s the weather?
    Bonne Annee

    January 2, 2008 at 11:27 am
  • Laume, you know my policy on chocolate–it can’t possibly make anyone’s jeans snug. Must be something else. 🙂

    That would be a good joke, Nath–a religieuse made of the original vegetable “choux.” 🙂 I can just see some chef’s take-off now–or maybe with brussels sprouts, since that would be a more manageable size. Of course, the chocolate-filled choux taste much better! This recipe worked very well, I thought, very darkly chocolate-y; but time-consuming to make! Although I think it would have gone faster if I didn’t have a toddler regularly interrupting the task.

    Mimi, I want a mandoline, too! You have to show us what you make with yours!

    Very cold, Carol. Very cold. But we’re back now, albeit our jeans are a little snug, too, after all the holiday foie gras, etc.

    Amy, your husband knows what you love, all right! 🙂

    Happy New Year everyone!

    January 2, 2008 at 1:28 pm
  • A stout nun, someone made a pastry that resembles a stout nun, tooo funny. Happy new year !!!! Clarice

    January 2, 2008 at 3:50 pm
  • Hey Laura!!!! Bonne annee to you too! I’ve been meaning to get over here and see what has been going on 🙂 Chocolate I should have guessed 🙂 That works for me…
    Anxious to hear some tales of France! Avec les photos…

    January 2, 2008 at 4:13 pm
  • Happiest New Year!

    A book on Chocolate sounds good, especially if your are baking and I am licking the bowl!

    Are you still in France? Are you in my neck of the woods?

    January 3, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Sebastien is a very smart fellow indeed! 🙂

    Happy New Year Laura. I wish you every ounce of chocolate that you wish for this year.

    January 6, 2008 at 9:08 am

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