Orange Almond Tart- French Friday #2

This week's French Friday recipe is the Orange Almond tart.  It's been a busy week surrounded by chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.   This recipe was a nice change of pace, and still very sweet and romantic.

I've made many almond cream tarts. This almond cream is very soft and rich.  It's also called Frangipane.  Dorie's tart uses an interesting crust very similar to shortbread.  It was very straight-forward, and delicious!  Two methods were suggested for putting the crust into the tart pan.   I used the press-in method.  The dough is very soft and this seemed much easier.

One on my favorite things to do in the pastry world is cutting perfect little orange segments from the orange.  This recipe used 3 oranges.  After trimming all the peel from the orange, I slid the knife just inside the membrane on each side and lifted out the the perfect orange pieces.  I don't know why that's so fun, but it is!

The smell and taste are amazing.   The dessert was the finishing course to a great dinner with freinds.  Of course, a Valentine's weekend dinner needed chocolate of some sort, so we made sipping chocolate and had a box of chocolate caramel bon bons from earlier in the week.

For anyone looking for something delicate, delicious, and not too difficult, this is it! 
From my kitchen to yours, Happy Valentine's Day!

Time for Apple Pie

Welcome to The Little French Bakery Blog! It's such a great time of year. Perfect for starting new projects and trying new recipes.

As many of you know, Gary and I just returned from Italy. We attended an amazing cooking class on wood-fired cooking. It was so fun to get up every day and fire the oven with the residual heat from the day before. We roasted, baked, grilled and learned many great new recipes. One of the best days was learning to remove all the bones from a chicken and roast it under bricks in the oven. I did it! A few years ago, I was wearing gloved to remove the neck from a chicken if there was a little left. Now... ta da! It's hard to believe that a whole chicken can be roasted in just 12-18 minutes, and be so delicious.

Another of my favorites was an apple crostada. A simple tart crust filled with apples and set on on the oven floor to bake. The first half of the baking was on parchment paper, then 2nd half directly on the oven floor. Wood fired cooking adds such a great dimension to food. Not smoky, but just moist and flavorful.

We arrived back at home just in time for fall and the start of apple season here in Wisconsin. I love apple pie! I've picked up some Cortland and yellow Delicious and am ready to start baking. This time, I'm going to try a new recipe, and bake in the outdoor oven. I'll give it a try and post the recipe if it turns out!

As you bake your apple desserts this fall, try adding some creme fraiche as a topping. It goes so well with apples. Another tip for a new taste is to omit the cinnamon and "usual" spices. Just add vanilla. The French aren't crazy about cinnamon and only use it sparingly. Once you try an apple dessert without cinnamon, you might be hooked.

To make creme fraiche: 2 cups heavy cream 1 T buttermilk Stir together and allow to rest overnight (not refrigerated). In the morning, stir the thickened creme fraiche and refrigerate, covered. It will continue to thicken and sour over the next few days. It can be kept up to 10 days or so. It can be whipped slightly for topping, or added to warm dishes as you would cream/sour cream without separating. Enjoy!