Paris Was Ours

It’s been awhile since I post Read and Bake. I’ve finished another book by Jodi Picoult titled Sing Me Home. It explores the theme of homosexuality and I’m still in the midst of exchanging emails back and forth with a friend in Singapore (she welcomes the distraction, anything to take her minds off her problem with breastfeeding a newborn). So I am not ready to talk about this controversial topic. But it’s nice to know where I stand on this issue. Just to have an opinion on it.

Anyway, I’ve just started to read “Paris was Ours” or Paris Nous Appartient. It’s a reflection (or a personal essay, if you like) of 32 writers of their time in Paris. They are not talking about Paris in a fleeting courtship like most tourists do, but like a marriage, an irreversible decision that once upon a time they took.

When I read Pas Si Fous Ces Francais! (or the French must be Crazy), I found it entertaining and informative, but nothing really sticks to me. In fact, what is written there was so grossly different from my own experience with French people. Yes, the first question I was asked is my age (not my job, or whatever else I consider to be the definition of me). Yes, the kids are generally well behave. But generally I didn’t see any similarities with what was written with what I see.

But this book Paris Was Ours, judging from just the first 2 chapters alone, is so different. I kept on reading and nodding my head, YES YES YES! You cannot talk about money or price or how expensive things are to Parisian (or French people in general). YES the moment they sense you’re speaking french with a non french accent, they’ll switch to English. And how am I going to practice my french?? YES, they will ignore your request, pretending not to understand your au dessus, just because you keep on pronouncing it as au dessous. Gosh, sometimes I pray French people would travel out of their world more often.

Anyway, instead of baking, this time I’m experimenting with a typical french dessert. How apt, won’t you say? Yes, many french cooking are complicated (especially if you follow the book of Julia Child’s). But many are pretty straight forward too. Like this one. I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I enjoy making H giddy with his favourite desserts.

OEUFS A LA NEIGE AU CHOCOLATE aka snow eggs with chocolate
(from La Tartine Gourmand)
serve 3-4

300 ml full cream milk
3 eggs, separated between the whites and the yolks
1/2 vanilla stick
1-2 cardamom pods, bruised
1/4 cup muscovado
50 gr dark chocolate, grated
1 tbsp caster sugar – I used icing sugar
1 tsp cornstarch, sifted
cocoa powder, to dust

  • In a pot, combine the milk, vanilla pod and seeds, and cardamom pods and seeds. Bring to a boil and then stop the heat. Cover and let infuse for 30 minutes. Filter the milk and reheat it.
  • In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light and pale in color. Pour in the milk slowly while continue beating.
  • Stir in the chocolate and mix until the chocolate is melted.
  • Stir in the cornstarch. Transfer back the mixture to the pot and cook on low to medium heat, stirring, never leaving the cream boil but until it thickens. Let cool and refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
  • In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt/ cream of tar tar. When they form soft peaks, add the caster sugar gradually while continuing to beat.
  • In a pot, heat a large volume of water. When it’s reaching boiling point, reduce the heat so that the water simmers. Drop a large tablespoon of egg whites in the water and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Repeat with the rest of egg whites and set aside.
  • Serve the egg whites on top of the chocolate custard and dust with cocoa powder.

Voila! Tu vois, ce n’est pas difficile, pas du tout!

Kiss your loved ones and have a good sunday!

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