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!