Sunday, July 21, 2013

French Summer tartes

Les Tartes de l'Eté
Today's post is strictly for your edification so don't start salivating. As I was running by my local boulangerie (Alsacian R.Maeder) on the corner.
I noticed a mess of fruity tartes glowing in the window. I had to go back for a closer look.
Last week I met Veronique Marot and Carla Carlson for tea (none of us had dessert by the way). They mentioned, in passing, how French summer desserts were so much better, since they are just a pate sablée base (or a cookie) piled high with fresh fruit and not a lot of extra sugar. Hmm, interesting.
This does seem to be the case. Could they squeeze any more fruit on these things? I doubt it.
Fasten your seatbelts PBers. This picture was shot by the young man behind the counter! He took pity on me and said
'Give me your iPad".
It's true. I do think he was thrilled to try out a mini.
I asked for a box for my 2 small fruity pastries, but no way. You have to buy more than two.That's how it goes in a boulangerie. They don't give away their boxes and fancy ribbons just like that.
My pastries made it home safe and sound but take a good look. These are a bit 'plain Jane' and the fruit is a tad uniform and ordinaire.
When compared to the carefully constructed works of art of Frederic Cassel - definitely haut couture in the pastry world. The point being there is quite a difference in quality and design between the two. The price tag is different too. But in both cases you're getting a lot of fruit and not a ton of icing or other sugary stuff.
Something else made me think...
How come Parisian pastries get to stay nice an cool in glass cases, but Parisians have to suffer the blasted heat sans cesse?
After looking at fans all week and deciding on none, late yesterday I went foraging. It was cooking out there, but Castorama, the Home-Depot of Paris was cleaned out.
"Oh we had 100 fans this weekend but they went. We hope to get more in on Monday or Tuesday".
What? 100 fans only? Grrrrrrr
When I returned to the apartment I noticed some rubbish from renovations. And next to it sat a perfectly good fan. I took it upstairs and 'Ca marche' as they say. It works!
OK it does make a TERRIBLE racket.
Any hints PBers how to fix a noisy fan? 
Does it need a bit of A-1 oil (or is that steak sauce?)
Dog-of-the-day looking cool on the very cool aclimatizatee #2 train. Lecons learned:
Don't wait for a heat wave to buy a fan.
Eats LOTS of fruity French desserts. It can't hurt.


Jojo said...

Lol! A-1 might have found a new use for the steak sauce!!

Parisbreakfasts said...

The heat/Canicule will do that to you... ;)

Anonymous said...

As always, thank you for your posts.
Your fan rattle may be a loose screw or loose cover, tighten your screws and reset the cover. I
think the oil was "3 in1".
Steve FL

Parisbreakfasts said...

I need to get a Phillipshead screw driver tomorrow
Something makes me think it requires internal surgery

Anonymous said...

Package arrived and we love it! So excited to have a piece of your artwork that starts my day almost everyday (Paris Breakfast)
We are returning to Paris in Sept. and have used your site for so many new places to discover.
Thanks so much

Mlle Paradis said...

oh yes, i love those less sugary french desserts. their fruit always seems more flavorful too.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Boy would I love to figure that one out!
Their fruit tastes fruity not like cardboard
And the aromas

La Table De Nana said...

Love the aquarelle!.. and yes I see M.Cassel's pastries are definitely a notch well.. many more above..I do not mean to be unkind to your corner store....but c'est visible comme tout!
And his signature in chocolat..could even be in the shape of an artists' palette.
I asked J about the fan:) he said maybe the blades are off?:)
The fan's not terribly ugly though.. blue:)
The desktop computer is what I ahve to trace upright and a bit away..
Not trying to make excuses..:)
Bon dimanche Carol~

Cobalt Violet said...

Love the watercolor! I laughed at the notion of the people being so hot and the pastries being all cool in behind the counter! They sure look yummy and beautiful though. Maybe I'll at least run over to the farmers market for some of those berries. Mouthwatering!

Connie said...

Excellent advice. Love your fruity painting.

Madonna/aka/Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

Yum regarding the desserts. I could eat my weight in any of those. Maybe a screwdriver and some WD-40? Is that Sharon's dog, Ghetto?

Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

You and Veronique and Carla had NO desserts? Perhaps you should re-evaluate the company youRe keeping ... :-)
As for the hot people and cold pastries...naturellment, les peoples chaud would not want to eat pastries chaud?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link...
very funny "the blasted heat sans cesse!"!!!
We didn't have dessert but we had ice cream!
If you had put those pies in front of me I would have willingly ate them!
After you made those pretty watercolors did you proceed to do so?

Nikon said...

Be careful playing with the inside of the fan - you're not sure how things will end up when you plug it back in.
I hope that it cools down soon for you, we just got a nice blast of cool air here in RI.
The pastries look fabulous!

Judi said...

Fans that make noise could overheat. Would not have it on unless in close attendance. Do they have drugstores like here? Our local has everything - fans, screwdrivers etc. Good luck. Desserts are BEAUTIFUL and mouthwatering. Bisous

Parisbreakfasts said...

I just bought a fan I spotted out walking this morning early.
Now to figure out how to put it together
No instructions natch...

Sue said...

You crack me up--"A1 Oil" do you mean WD40? Hope you get the fan workin' and helping out. We're having tons of rain this summer--this is not Seattle.

Love the watercolor, Carol!


365 Dresses said...

Lovely. I'm so happy you bought/found a fan! It can make it bearable. We are so spoiled with air conditioning everywhere.

Jeanie said...

If you figure out that fan thing, share it! Mine just rattles -- I think it is off kilter, like a chair or table with a short leg and when you move, it wobbles. I use a fan less than 10 days a year -- unfortunately, last week I used up about six of them. Even went to bed with the frozen cooler ice wrapped up in a t-shirt, clutching it to keep cool. Good luck.

Meanwhile, I'll take even the plain Jane pastry over most one can find here! They are wee works of art!

desertwildflower said...

Carol, I just want to tell you how much I love your blog. When you moved from New York to Paris I was a little worried, but of course the blog is even better now.
And I also want to thank you for a couple of books I'd never have discovered if not for you - Vivian Swift's When Wanderers Cease to Roam and Bringing Up Bebe.

Parisbreakfasts said...

I discovered the front cover was on upside down for one
But the wings are bent unfortunately so they scrape the cover just less so now that I switched the cover...

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the fan. If it's any consolation the same situation happens here in Sonoma Co. California each time we have a heatwave. I bought a lovely standing fan at the very beginning of our last heat wave. I RACED in when the temperature in my casa become unbearable - I was lucky to find a great fan on sale. It seems unlikely to feel excited about a fan purchase but I'm sure you understand!
WD40 or the french version of it is always a good place to start.
Also, look for a handy-man also very useful!
Best of luck,

Parisbreakfasts said...

Know any French handymen?
I could really use one!
I got a fan on sale this morning and somewhat fixed the other one so now I have TWO fans.
Plus cross ventilation

Anonymous said...

Good luck, stay cool and I am busy in my kitchen in Los Angeles (with the ceiling fan on) thinking about which tart I want to assemble on top of my pate sable.
Love your blog and your water colors! Thank you.

Patricia said...

WD40 works on anything noisy or stuck.... duct tape for anything you want to stick together. Between the two, you have all of my repair secrets.

French Heart said...


You make me miss having a hubs. I'm like you, not interested in fiddling with mechanical things. That's when it's nice to just hand it to a man. They like that stuff.

French food tastes better as isn't loaded with chemicals, GMO, dyes, pesticides, etc. Here one has to go to the source and buy organic. i.e. I'm in Carmel-by-the-Sea and Earthbound Farms is just 4 miles away in Carmel Valley.

Those pastries look wonderful. So agree...I like lots of fruit, no sugar if possible, and just a touch of crust.

Wishing you cool!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but I am laughing about you finding a fan in the garbage...what would the odds be on the blade hitting the protection cover ?

Parisbreakfasts said...

I know...too bizarre
Surely it was Karmic destiny that brought me to Paris
I never found a fan in NYC! ;))

Cris, Oregon Artist said...

You live a charmed life!! I mean what are the odds of finding a fan in the garbage to use when you needed one even if it did rattle. Now I hope you can get the other one together without it rattling. :)) Was 96 degrees here today. yikes. I even put a fan on our chickens. :)

valerie s. said...

You're pastry photos are always my favorites! I've been trying to find out how to fold one of those paper pyramids, can you help?

Jill Colonna @ MadAboutMacarons said...

I'm addicted to making fruity tarts this summer but now that I'm stuck in bed am salivating at your photos here, Carol. Stay cool. I got my air conditioner during the cool weather when nobody was thinking of it... Scottish reflex?