Mardi Gras King’s Cake – Sweet memories of the Big Easy

Mardi Gras King’s Cake

Mardi Gras King's Cake - Tartine & Maple

Happy Mardi-Gras (Fat Tuesday) everyone!!!

I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but I did live in New Orleans, AKA “The Big Easy”, for about 18 months, and that’s where I met my husband! It was also right around the time of 9/11 and followed by a SuperBowl! Needless to say, we went to some real ups and downs during that time. Thankfully we had left before Katrina, but I remember sobbing uncontrollably when watching the news during that time…

Mardi Gras is such a huge deal for New Orleans, and after Katrina, for many years, everyone would say that it just wasn’t the same. But nowadays, for what I can gather  the party is fully back on and the decadence is back in the street full force! When I say decadence, I mean it! It was borderline intimidating sometime to be out there!!! But so much fun! A life experience for sure!

But do you know why Mardi-Gras is celebrated? A little bit of history for you:

Mardi-Gras (literally “Fat Tuesday”) is originally a catholic event which marks the end of the “week of the seven fat days” which were known as “jours charnels” (meaning carnival) in the old days. Before Ash Wednesday, the start of the fasting period of Lent, people celebrated in many diverse ways as it was their last chance until Easter to eat meat.

The word “carnival” derives from the Latin “carnelevare” meaning “to take out the meat”. Indeed, meat was banished from the table during the whole period of Lent, as was sugar, ingredients containing fat, eggs and dairy products. If in Europe, the religious observance of Lent is followed by a rather small group of people, the celebrations around Mardi-Gras are still an opportunity  taken by many to enjoy outdoor feasts, masquerade processions, masked balls, parades, pageants, jugglers, magicians and stilt walkers. This is what French people call “le Carnaval”.

Alongside crêpes, two other closely related treats are prepared on Mardi-Gras: waffles andbeignets.

Mardi Gras kings cake - Tartine & Maple

The story about the Mardi Gras King’s Cake is actually the same as of Epiphany French King Cake, but celebrated on different dates! If you want the full story, you can visit this page. But just like it, we hide something in the cake, here it is usually a little plastic baby, and the one who finds it, has to bake or buy the next King Cake. The tradition runs from the beginning of the year all the way until Mardi Gras Day.

The cake is a brioche type of dough, rolled with a sweet mixture of sugar cinnamon and nuts. It is baked and covered in icing and colored sugar, the colors you find EVERYWHERE in New Orleans at this time of the year: Purple (representing Justice), Green (representing Faith) and Gold (representing Power).

Mardi Gras kings cake - Tartine & Maple

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Nutella Panna Cotta – Quick fix for enjoying Nutella Day!

So yesterday February 5th, was World Nutella Day! Yep, it’s an official food holiday!!! They even have a dedicated web-site, specially for that day: http://www.nutelladay.com. On which I had the pleasure to see that my recipe from last year, the Nutella Brownie Ice Cream, was featured! Among hundred of other recipes, but still, what an honor! It was an amazing recipe, honestly, this ice cream was amazingly decadent!!! Have a look below!

Nutella Brownie Ice Cream, Spontenious Decadence

Before the celebration begins, here are a few facts and history about this delicious paste:

Nutella, manufactured by the Italian company Ferrero, was introduced on the market in 1963. The recipe was developed from an earlier Ferrero spread released in 1944.

A few fun facts about Nutella:

— Nutella’s 40th anniversary celebration is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest breakfast, having hosted 27,854 people at the AufShalke Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on May 29, 2005.

— The amount of Nutella produced worldwide in one day is equivalent to nearly three times the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

— More than 70 million hazelnuts are used worldwide each day in the production of Nutella.

— The number of jars sold annually, if lined up, would wrap around the moon four times.

— The amount of Nutella produced in a day could provide every person in San Diego with one jar.

– In France, senator Yves Daudigny proposed a tax increase on palm oil from €100 to €400 per metric tonne. At 20%, palm oil is one of Nutella’s main ingredients and the tax was dubbed “the Nutella tax” in the media. (that’s nuts, right??? Those crazy French and their taxes…)

For more fun facts, check out Nutella’s website, Nutellausa.com.

Now, about the recipe…

I have been thinking about what recipe to do to celebrate that special day, for a long time… But then I ran really short on time, and when I finally had a chance to sit down and decide on something, it was 9:30pm on Monday night! Thankfully, I found a very easy Panna Cotta recipe, made with 3 ingredients and requiring only 10 min of prep!! perfect! I changed it just slightly of course, so I wrote the different options you can go with. It came out amazing!!! It is very rich, but really good! Next time, I might try half milk half cream, or light coconut milk, or, instead of dividing in 4 serving, I think I’ll do 6… Also, gelatin sheets are hard to find here (bought mine in France), but you can substitute with powder gelatin or agar-agar. Anyway, for the short prep time and ingredient list, it’s definitely a keeper!!!

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La Chandeleur – French Crepes Day

French Crepes

French crepes - Tartine & Maple

Bonjour! Today in France, everyone is celebrating La Chandeleur!

La Chandeleur (Candlemas in English) , is observed every year on February 2nd, just like Groundhog day in North America, and both celebrations share some similarities. They both mark a time when winter comes to a turning point, and both celebrations have this folklore belief based on the weather of that day or the shadow of the groundhog, which are supposed to indicate if the winter will either end or goes on. Here is a bit of history on the French Candlemas tradition:

The origins of the Chandeleur in France date back to a pagan feast: according to local customs, candles had to be lit at midnight as a symbol of purification. Chandeleur comes from the latin “candelarum” as does the English word ‘candle’.

The Church adapted the tradition into the blessing of the candles, which were to repel Evil, thus reminding all that Christ is the light of the world. Christians would then come back to their homes with the blessed candles in order to protect them.

It was also at that time of the year that the winter seed-time started. The surplus flour was then used without too much risk of shortage and crêpes were made as a symbol of prosperity for the coming year.

Not only do the French eat a lot of crêpes on Chandeleur, but they also do a bit of fortune telling while making them. It is traditional to hold a coin in your writing hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year.

There are all kinds of French proverbs and sayings for Chandeleur; here are just a few. Note the similarities to the Groundhog Day predictions made in the US and Canada:

À la Chandeleur, l’hiver cesse ou reprend vigueur
On Candlemas, winter ends or strengthens

À la Chandeleur, le jour croît de deux heures
On Candlemas, the day grows by two hours

Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte
Candlemas covered (in snow), forty days lost

Rosée à la Chandeleur, hiver à sa dernière heure
Dew on Candlemas, winter at its final hour

But for the French, the best part of Candlemas is obviously the crepes!!! In France  we have different recipes whether you want to to enjoy them with a sweet or savory filling. Today we have done sweet crepes, and I’ll share with you my favorite recipe, it’s a rule of 3; infallible, easy to remember and delicious! We haven’t done savory crepes in a while, but you’ll find the recipe below. Savory crepes are made with buckwheat flour, and usually filled with whatever you like, folded and served with a green lettuce salad and apple cider (the kind with alcohol in it…). My favorites savory, are filled with an egg, ham, mushrooms and cheese! For the sweet, although I love Nutella filled crepes, my favorite has to be with fresh lemon juice and sugar ;-).

What is your favorite filling??? I would love to know!

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Tartine’s 2013 resolutions: having an epiphany!!!!!!!!

Epiphany 2013 & Galette des Rois

Galette des rois

Well hello everyone, Happy New Year, and happy epiphany to anyone who is celebrating!!!

Talking epiphany, I think I had one recently: I need to write again… yeah, it’s been 2 and half month… sorry! What happened? Well life did caught up to me and it was just getting too much. I guess I owe you, my fellow readers, an explanation…

I love writing this blog. Writing a blog is a lot of work. Especially when you write about something that you do! You got to pull the recipe, make it, take pictures, write the recipe, blog it and market it!!! Yeah, lemme remind you, I have a full time job, which is not blogging!

I got inspired by some amazing cooking blog, where the writer will write 2 or 3 times a week, post amazing pictures, write a story with it, organize contest, blog roll, link parties, etc… But then, for what I can gather, those bloggers do not have a full time job. I, at some point, did write a couple of posts a week, then it all caught up to me: I just don’t have time.

I would spend literally all my free time outside of work and mum duties on the blog work. In the end, I stopped doing a lot of things I was doing before: gardening, visiting friends on the week-end, yoga and sports in general (imagine more baking and less sport= disaster in the skinny pants) and less quality time with the hubby. It really hit me after my 2nd Baker’s Market; I just can’t do it all!

Regrets? Not at all! I learned a lot! I have gained you, my followers, and even though I haven’t wrote for so long, I have gained more followers during that time! Pretty cool huh! I mean mostly on Facebook and Twitter, where I will still post regularly, but still, super cool! And now I know my limits and I have learnt that has long as this hobby will not bring bread to the table, it just cannot cause me unnecessary stress.

So my resolution is to keep writing, but with the following changes:

–          It will be more personal, what really happens in the kitchen

–          It will not be in contest to attract more viewers: you like it, you’ll follow!

–          I will post whenever I have time, sorry no target here J

–          I am not going to re-write the recipe, but link to where I found the inspiration and just share my changes and tips

–          It will not only be about recipes, but our adventure in different diets, reviews on products, stores, restaurants, my founding on using natural medicine etc…

To catch up, in the past 2 months, a few things have happened: I met great people who give me inspiration to try different things: natural ingredients, medicine, different diet, and different way of cooking. I have always wanted to try different things and always been attracted to the most natural way to taking care of our health, but that’s a resolution to apply it to my daily life!

I bought my first laptop, and my first iPhone! Whoa, been playing way to much = not time to write J. I even have a Bluetooth speaker now, so I bring my music right next to the action, all the time! That’s cool! I know, I’m braging here, but that’s major changes!!!

A lot has happened at work, but work is work, whatever… A lot has happened at my son’s school too! School concert, holidays festivities, volunteering with my mum… oh yeah, my parents spent 2 weeks with us over Christmas, that was really great! My dad is a chef, perfect timing for the holidays 😉

This means needs for a diet… seriously, I never diet, ever, I am just usually careful. But I am not in a happy place in my pants. I am the kind to never go on a scale, but I will try those famous skinny jeans, with no stretch in it, from before having kids: that’s the test! So starting next week: cleanse! That’s right! Who’s with me??? It’s going to be a tough one for sure, I know myself, no self-control!!! But I will give it a try… oh, and going back to yoga and zumba (BTW, started zumba not long ago, LOVE it! Make me feel like one of those hot dancers in music videos!!)

So anyhow, here it is. I hope you still want to follow me after all that! Then I’ll really love you back! In the meantime, let me share with you the first cake of the year. Eh, I did say diet starts next week!!!

Galette des rois

“Galette des rois” or a French king’s cake made of almond and puff pastry, hummmm. For the full story about this tradition, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_cake and skip to “french king cake”. The recipe used is pretty much this one: http://www.easy-french-food.com/king-cake-recipe.html#.UOpeOW_onXc . I added some almond extract and vanilla. It’s a great tradition that brings me great childhood memories… Hope you’ll enjoy it!!!

I wish a really good 2013 with real achievable resolutions too! The most important is to do what makes you happy!

XOXO

Tartine

What happened to Tartine? Is she in the jam?

Well, pretty much, yeah!!! If you follow me on Facebook, I warned you! October was going to be a busy one!!! And that was no joke. I mean, the month is not over, but November, can not be as busy…

This month, I had My daughter’s 3rd birthday, my husband’s, huh, birthday, a lot of events at work, and my 1st Baker’s Market!!! But let me show you in pictures:

Daughter’s 3rd birthday:

Hello Kitty Cake Pops - Tartine & Maple

 

Check out my Kitty Cake Pops how-to and my Hello Kitty birthday cake!!!

It was all about Hello Kitty this year! The cake that I wrote about previously, was for our family celebration, just the 4 of us. But we also had the kiddies party, and if you remember, I had set myself on doing those Hello Kitty pop cakes from Bakerella. Well, I’ve done them, and never again!!! Why? Of course they are adorable!!! But holly waste of time!!! See, I consider myself a good baker, but when it comes do decoration, not so much… I also have limited patience, and time! But I was really happy with the results of course, and so was my daughter, her little friends, and even the grown ups! A great party, happy baby girl and good people all around!

No need for me to re-write the recipe here, I followed Bakerella’s to the T, so just go there if you want the directions.

The cake made of those pictures, is a red velvet cake (minus the red colorant, I just can not justify wasting a entire bottle of red colorant for a cake that is just delicious as is) and cream cheese frosting, both from Martha Stewart. That was a hit with the adults! One of my favorite cake to make, and the recipe goes really well for cupcakes too!

Hubby’s birthday: 5 courses tasting menu at Diva at the Met

The Metropolitan Hotel, that’s where I work. In there, the restaurant, Diva at the Met, is one of the best restaurant of the city!!! I’m not just saying! It’s true! The chef, Hamid Salimian, has invited me so many times to come over, but you know, family, work, and life in general, keeps you from doing those things… So we used my husband’s birthday as an excuse to finally go there. And, whoa, it was so worth it! I haven’t had such an amazing meal in ages! Magical combination of ingredients, ideas and inspiration. Is was a one of a kind experience! Paired with wines, specially chosen to compliment the dishes, DELICIOUS!

For more info about Diva, check out the web-site! If you ever want to try it, and you should, really, let me know!

Events at work

Well, if you don’t know yet, baking and blogging are actually not my job… One of the reason why my blogging is so inconsistent; I do actually have a really busy day-time job! And although I often complain on how busy and crazy this job is, I do love it! But most of it, I love the people! Great team really, no haters in that bunch! We do have quite our share of fun! And that’s really important, don’t you think? Mostly when your job is quite stressful, ours is, joking around helps to relax and reconnect. We had people leaving us, not that fun, but still calling for Party! Birthdays (in the picture, my colleagues trashing another co-worker’s desk for her birthday) and month-long fund-raising for BC Hospitality Foundation. To raise money, me and my team did a bake sale. We collected $220 in one day, not bad huh?

The Bakers Market

Here I am finally! I had been anxiously waiting and getting ready for this event! It is the first time that I got total strangers tasting and buying my baked goodies! It was an amazing adventure!!! Very tiring though! After coming back from my day time job, I was getting ready all last week for that (here is another reason for the lack of posts lately…) preparing and choosing recipes, baking, marketing, finding props, and just getting organised! It went great, I did really well, and I really think people liked my stuff! The best seller was undoubtedly the lavender shortbread! I also met other fellow bakers with very creative ideas! Visit my facebook page to read about my favorite bakers!

I have one more to do! I will be back at the Bakers Market on November 3rd, so again, you might not hear from me til then… But it’s all good, I love being busy, and getting all this buzz! I will also soon create a new page to the blog for people to see what items can be ordered…

In the jam, huh? Yes indeed. Also because I’ve been canning a lot. The latest: vanilla spices peach jam and apple butter! I don’t really have recipes for those to give you, as I pretty much started with very basic recipes, and just added spices to taste as I went… Sorry…

Here are the latest adventure of Tartine, still alive, just busy and loving it!!!

XOXO Tartine

 

For Hello Kitty tutorials, check those posts:

Kitty Cake Pops how-to

Hello Kitty Birthday Cake how-to

Hello Kitty Cake for my sweet Baby’s BD

Hello Kitty Cake

Here she is, 3 years old already! Hard to believe, my sweet baby is growing so fast! I have been wanted for ever to bake Hello Kitty stuff, because:

1) My daughter loves the Kitty

2) It’s really cute and totally suits a little girl’s BD theme

3) it’s a pretty easy design, and mostly white = not too hard for a beginner decorator

4) There are tones of ideas on the internet!!!

So here, it’s done! And really, it was not that hard at all! Trust me, I’m a good baker, but I really have no experience in decorating! Just found a picture on the net and cut out some fondant (which I also used for the 1st time…). No crazy piping, shapes and gimmick, just a nice cake, some white fondant and food coloring, and you can do it too! Here is how:

First of all bake your cake. I used the yellow buttermilk cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart, divided by 2, that’s enough for my small cake. BTW, I love that recipe, and use it often for cupcakes and cakes, it’s so versatile and moist! When the batter is done, I divided it in 2 and colored each with different food coloring, pour in a round 9″ pan, and cook for about 25 min at 350.

After cooked and cooled, I slice the rounded top of each cake to make them even and flat.

Then I prepared a vanilla buttercream frosting, got the recipe from Paula Deen. I used only 6 out of the 8 cups of confectioner’s sugar (I know, 8 cups, really!!!)  and a little less milk, and it was still too sweet for me and husband, but the kids loved it! and added a bit of pink food coloring.

Then frost your cake! First, one layer between the 2 cakes,

Then cover the whole thing!

Print 2 sets of Hello Kitty face, like this one: Kitty. One, cut it all around, you will use that as your template to cut the fondant for the whole face. The other, I did cut out the bow and used it as a template to cut a bow out of fondant. Then I carved out the eyes and whiskers to use that as a guide for coloring those with an edible black marker. That was super easy by the way, I love that marker!

After cutting out the bow, I colored it with a brush and red liquid food coloring. Let the coloring dry, and do the finishing touches with the black marker. Did the same for the nose, with yellow.

Using my cut-out template, I cut the kitty face in rolled-out white fondant, by following all around with a small sharp knife. Then colored the whiskers and eyes with the black marker.

And “voila”!!! Cool huh! If you want to secure the bow and nose, just place a bit of honey of something sticky underneath before placing on the face. Then you can slide the whole thing on the cake!

Note that if the fondant is slightly bigger than your cake, the fondant will get soft and fold over the side after a while. I realized that the next day, after I stored it overnight in the fridge…

Now, just enjoy the smiles!!!

Check out also my Hello Kitty Cake Pops!

Hello Kitty Cake Pops - Tartine & Maple

Joyeux anniversaire ma princesse!!!!

XOXO

You may also like:

Kitty Cake Pop How to

Hello Kitty Cake Pops

Shared on those parties:

Too Much Time On My HandGingerbreadSix Sisters’ StuffBe different… Act NormalI Heart Nap TimeAddicted to RecipesThe Foley FamCraft O ManiacSumo’s Sweet StuffSkip to my LouWatch out MarthaFlour me With LoveThe Winthrop ChroniclesLove Bake Good CakesNap Time CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxChef in TrainingReasons to Skip the HouseworkFunky Polkadot GiraffeCrazy for Crust33 Shades of GreenLil’LunaDJ Sugar ShackLady Behind the CurtainA Little NoshSomething SwankyMichelle’s Tasty CreationsFive Little ChefsWhat’s Cooking LoveBloom DesignsThe Real Housewives of Riverton

Peach Crumble and Lavender Ice Cream

Peach Crumble and Lavender Ice Cream

Ok, I might be going lavender crazy… but the more I experiment with it, the more I love it! And then I learn it just doesn’t go with everything. Like this morning when I topped my morning latte with left over lavender whipped cream. Hu! To the sink!!! But with peaches? Oh my… yummy! While everyone seem to be rushing into fall desserts with pumpkins and apples, I nostalgically stick with end of summer ingredients, and decide to ignore those first few leaves on my lawn…

First, why crumble and not cobbler, or crisp? Well, there are differences between all of those,  and if you want the full run down, visit the very informative post from The Kitchn that explains all those desserts. Crumbles are my favorites, because I really like the top to be CRUNCHY!!!

And because I also made the lavender ice cream that day, I decided to go for a deconstructed look, layering peaches, lavender ice cream and crumbles, nicely presented in a glass (or a mason jar, fashionable as it is lately). It went so well together, even my husband, who claims not to be “into flowers”, appreciated it!

Below you’ll find the options for either baking your crumble as a whole in a dish, or the deconstructed way. You’ll also find the recipe for Lavender Ice cream here, on my Recipage.

Enjoy what’s left of summer!

Ingredients (6-8)

    Peach filling

    • 8 peaches
    • 1 t vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)
    • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar

    Crust

    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 stick butter + more for dish
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 pinch of salt
    • cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg spices (optional)

    Instructions

      Peach filling

      • Peel and cut peaches in desired size. Place in a large pot with the 2 sugars and cook on medium, until slightly caramelized.
      • Transfer to a buttered oven dish or individual dishes.

      Crust

      • Place all ingredients in a big bowl and mix with your hands until mixture forms clumps.
      • Alternatively, faster method, which works great if your butter is cold: place all ingredients in a food processor and process until mixture look sandy. Then press the mixture between your fingers to form larger clumps.
      • Spread the mixture on top of the peaches.
      • Bake in oven at 350 for about 20 min (less if using individual dishes) until peach filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. You can finish with 2 min under the broiler for maximum crisp!
      • Serve warm with a side of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or Tartine’s lavender ice cream (find my recipe on Recipage)

      Deconstructed crumble option (look great as individual serving in a glass dish)

      • Spread clumps of the crust mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-15 min until clumps are golden. Let cool completely.
      • In a glass cup, or mason jar, alternate layers of cooked peaches with layers of crust crumbles. You can also layer whipped cream or ice cream in between!

      Find the easy to print, share and e-mail recipe on my Recipage. Lavender ice cream recipe here.

      You may also like:

      Lavender French Toasts

      Lavender Panna Cotta

      Raspberry & Rosemary Sherbet

      Linked to those parties:

      Cherished TreasuresI Heart Nap TimeAddicted to RecipesSumo’s Sweet StuffCraft O ManiacToo Much Time On My HandSweet as Sugar CookiesBe different… Act NormalSix Sisters’ StuffWatch out MarthaSkip to my LouThe Winthrop ChroniclesLove Bake Good CakesBack 4 SecondNap Time CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxChef in TrainingCrazy for CrustLil’LunaDJ Sugar Shack, The Real Housewives of RivertonFoodie Friends FridayRattlebridge FarmLittle Becky HomeckyTatertots & JelloCrumbs & ChaosTutus & Tea PartiesCraft O ManiacI’m Topsy TurvyFunky Polkadot GiraffeNot just a housewife

      http://tartinemaple.com/2012/09/16/peach-crumble-lavender-ice-cream/