Sunday, February 20, 2022

Crème brûlée et les petits plaisirs d’Amélie

 Yesterday afternoon I went to Cafe Saint Regis for a Creme brûlée.

Remember the scene from Amélie where she ponders life's little pleasures? One of them is cracking into a crème brûlée with a spoon. A rich, creamy vanilla-flavored custard covered with crispy caramelized topping. What’s not to love about this classic French dessert. 

Remember designer Pierre Cadeau (in Emily In Paris I) cracking multi-creme brûlées as an anti-depressant when creatively blocked.

For a bit of French culinary history we can thank chef François Massialot, who collected the recipe during a visit to Perpignan. 

Later, wanting to heat up a cold custard cream intended for Philippe d'Orléans, he placed a hot iron on the sugar topping which normally caramelized. He just invented hot/cold, caramelization, and suddenly crème brûlée. 

The recipe was recorded in his book published in 1691, Le Cuisinier royal et bourgeois. At that time, there was no vanilla available. Only lemon and lime for flavoring. By the way Jill of Mad About Macarons has a passion fruit milk chocolate recipe if you’re feeling lavish. 

A cover print of Massialot’s cookbook.

Here’s a more recent (1930’s) less serious cookbook I saw at Bibliomania last weekend. But I’m getting sidetracked as usual. 

 is full of life’s small pleasures. One her favorites as a child was eating raspberries off her fingers. The film’s director, Jean-Phillipe Jeunet said, “For years, I collected a list of things that make me very happy, from private observations to personal memories. So many of these little things, all of them positive and magical, have turned up in some form in 'Amélie.' ''

Amélie sees rabbits in the clouds for fun…

I looked out my window yesterday but did not find any rabbits. Never mind. 

A quote from the film.

These petit plaisirs became my theme for your February letter 💌

Now in my Etsy shop
or in the post 📮

Coming home from Cafe Saint Regis, Parisians were as usual sunning themselves along the Seine. So were 8 seagulls, lined up in a row. Only look you will find les petit plaisirs de la vie 

💌💋😊❤️🐻 Bon Dimanche dear PBers🐻❤️😊💋💌


  1. Love this, Carol! Amélie is one of my favorite movies, ever! I was sold as soon as I saw the scene with the raspberries on her fingertips. And crème brûlée is one of my fav desserts of all time…along with a classic millefeuille. The French do vanilla desserts so well. Your February letter is definitely a pick-me-up…a reminder of petit plaisirs…just what we need right now. ❤️

  2. Annette1:02 PM

    Merci Beaucoup!!!!!

  3. aCArol, I boought the Amelie CD and was listening to it when I openedyour post.Small pleasures make my day larger. Thanks.

  4. Aww…Thanks Bonnie
    I have to say it was impossible toget a good crack from Saint Regis’ Crème brûlée
    I must try elsewhere…

  5. Bravo Sally! You won’t regret it. A great cheerer up at all times.

  6. This post really made me smile, Carol, and reminded me to appreciate the small things in life. Creme Brulee is the one dessert I almost never pass up- my very favorite and one of the best I ever had was at La Closerie des Lilas - it was lemon and basil.

  7. Audrey H.1:11 PM

    You really have captured Audrey as Amelie…so cute! Those raspberries crack me up.

  8. One of my favorite pleasures is reading your blog.
    I have to admit that among all of the fabulous desserts to select, Crème Brûlée is my favorite.
    A mystery to solve.. what in Amelie can we discover your little pleasures?

  9. Anonymous3:13 PM

    Hi Carol,

    Do you remember eating pitted olives from your fingertips? Why don't we do that anymore? Maybe it's time to start!

  10. It's 1am where I live, and I really want a creme brulee!!

  11. Jeanne M5:16 AM

    Amalie---great film, and the Feb post looks to be a divine one.

    So glad to be a part of the Paris Breakfast family as a subscriber!

  12. Beautiful Carol😍💕😋I'm always in search of a wonderful creme brulee'...I never give in Colorado...yet to find one😉...Thank you💕

  13. I added a link to Jill’s recipe if you want to dive in and DIY!
    Bon Courage!

  14. I Loved the history of le dessert, Crème Brûlée, especially photos of antique cook books!

  15. What a great newsletter! I enjoyed your writing about the history of crème brûlée very much. It’s these delicious little morsels that make life fun, oui?

  16. I do remember M Cadeau cracking his treasures..I have watched more than 1 epi in season 2 but I will.Love Améli.In Bonnieux many yrs ago we went to une CO-OP de vin..The girl that helped us was Amélie's twin.Jacques appreciated her help very much:)

  17. Merci Carol for reminding us all to slow down and enjoy our petit plaisirs. Mine include dancing alone in the house, biting into a pate de fruits (occasionally) and enjoying the scent of hot sidewalks after a summer rain. Haven't had a good crack at creme brulee in quite a while, and loved the story of Massialot's cookbook. Would love to hear about your and other subscribers petit plaisirs as well.

  18. C+Y What a good idea!
    My plaisirs keep changing unpredictably. The latest is anything TRUFFLES/truffe❤️❤️❤️
    I put truffle mustard on everything!
    But on Valentines day I discovered an irresistable pain au framboise that I am now trying to avoid…and so close to the post office📮
    Other things…the sound of the birds singing early morning outside my window.
    And any dog that will let me pet them. And silly cat videos

  19. Thank you for sharing the wonderful Amelie crème brûlée story! I love that movie and the soundtrack and of course eating crème brûlée too.
    At the moment my small pleasure is listening to some lovely baroque music from the music group Latitude 37 on Apple Music through my headphones while doing work on the computer & reading Paris Breakfasts blog!


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