Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Paris L'Abricotage

Making Abricotage, watercolor. 9" x 11"

A reader said...your eye for detail is something special! I would hate to have to try to sneak past you...

One thing I noticed alot in Paris - an obsession with GLOSS, sheen, shine, and sparkle.

It's called "abricotage" or abricoter when you glaze a tarte with a syrup made of apricot confiture/jam.

Here's a "before and after" shot from cuisine-facile.com. Plus visual instructions on making your own abricotage glace. It's not rocket science. I made it :)

Do Paris' grey skies make Parisians long for sparkle?
Do Parisians need cheering up?
Is glossiness the answer?

Shine and gloss can be found even at your average Paris cafe.
In New York, if you look for gloss you must go to a nail salon :(
In Merisi's Vienna there's an obsession mit schlage/whipped cream not gloss.

If you see your reflection in the top of a French tarte,
a pastry chef has achieved the Nirvana of pastrydom...
I attended the
Lyon World Pastry Cup in '95.
Those pastry chefs welded 10" wide bristle brushes of abricotage like it was the World Series. I was taking pictures but I missed that shot. 12 top chefs sat at a long table in full view of the audience, judging and tasting the various team's desserts. Was "gloss" was a factor in judging on a scale of 1 - 10?
Gloss/abricotage is on Pierre Herme's pastry palette.



Jeanne said...

Everything looks so elegant and delicious!

Anonymous said...

Thats like buying Apples..Dont you go for the nice shinny polished looking one over a dull lack luster apple even tho it should have the same taste? and the operative word is SHOULD. ;-)
My mouth is watering now. Just from the pictures. ;-)
Cris in OR

Paula In Pinetop said...

Love the gloss.

But I've got to say, as much as I LOVE the gloss it is your images of cups that take me away. Isn't it funny, the things that will get people all excited? Cups, I love those cups. Maybe it is the fantasy of sitting there on the street having the coffee and the satisfaction of the empty cup. I don't know, maybe it is because it seems the french don't fool around when it comes to cups, they are sturdy and they seem to say "I mean business". *sigh*

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Carol for a minute I thought you were gonna dip your paintbrush into the confiture!
Who ate that strawberry tart? I know. Research.

Linda said...

They are too pretty to eat and, yet, somehow we do.

Di Overton said...

Each time I treat myself to one of the glazed tarts in Paris I try to leave some of the glaze on my lips and it is THE BEST EVER lip gloss as it tastes divine. One problem - bees love it.

Anonymous said...

I definitely can see my reflection in these!

xxxxx said...

Oh la la... votre blog... quel délice !

html test said...

The way the dish looks and how appetizing it looks is a big factor in all these cooking competitions. It's crazy really, but if you see all the entries in competitions like that one and other ones like the "Best French Artisan" competitions, you realize quickly that it's so hard to differentiate between 18 different versions of the same dish, that any little bit helps. I love to abricoter. But on strawberry tarts I do it with Strawberry jam...évidemment =)

Anonymous said...

Yow Carol!
I like your watercolor today but...
You lined up everything along the horizon line?
What's up with that?

Anonymous said...

I really don't like all that glazing.
There is a fabulous bakery between Maury and Perpignan.
They have the biggest wood oven I've ever seen.
Their breads and pissaladiere are great but it's the tarts, esp the pear or walnut that bring me back.
No glaze.

Jann said...

Everything looks soooo good~you are absolutely correct about the French and their passion for "glossiness." I was able to pick up a glossy-mixture at the grocery over there trying to duplicate this incredible topping look~i think it requires one to be a hell of a baker~I am not! Your pictures are wonderful!

FrenchGardenHouse said...

killing me! you are KILLING me...I am on a "you-know-what" and this is just cruel and unusual punishment!

I am going to view all those tarts as A*R*T...like you do. They are gorgeous, aren't they? Mouthwateringly gorgeous. And the abricotage, yummiest ever!
Maybe when I have been really really good for one year, and dropped some weight, I can go to Paris and have just one slice...:)

Merisi said...

"In Merisi's Vienna there's an obsession - *rofl*
You are something!
Did you know that, after poor Marie Antoinette had exported the art of making apricotage to the French Court, the Viennese had to think of something new, something special to top the French, and voila', Schlag entered the scene. Historians are still puzzled why Marie Antoinette only would have them "eat cake", when she knew very well, that "cake with Schlag" tastes so much better! ;-)

(ulqmtkwm = word verification excess *g*)

Merisi said...

"La Vie en Rose" -
I cried buckets too.

Your painting is very beautiful, Carol!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the shiney start to my morning. I am with Merisi....I have a whipped cream obsession! I can't wait to see La Vie en Rose...thanks for the sneak peak!

Helene said...

When I was a kid I used to hate that shiny glaze...I still do actually! Never understood our obsession with it either!

tlchang said...

Shiny! What is that made of anyway? It does make it look beautiful...

Anonymous said...

That glaze is the final touch, it is like adding pearls to a woman's neck, it dresses up the occassion.
Your painting in those pales tones of apricot is a delicious treat.

ps And you don' miss a trick, nor a beat!

Anonymous said...

The Abricotage post...
One of my specialities...
L'abricotage it´s the"secret"of my glossy Tarte de Pommes.
Alors,ma petite,je te quitte.
Have a nice day!!!
asuncion aranda

John Ryan Elward said...

Beautiful photos. I love France. Thanks!

freefalling said...

I've just been torturing my husband with these photos - he was born to eat like a Parisian!