Our first homemade buche de Noel

When we lived in Paris we opted for ice cream bûche de Noël from Picard. Not necessarily traditional, but soooo yummy! This year we decided we’d bring a little of the tradition back and try our hand at making the homemade cake version.

I searched online and finally settled on this recipe, basically because it calls for a cream cheese filling instead of whipped cream. Oui! The cake isn’t all that hard to make, just a little time consuming. Do make sure to generously grease the pan and the waxed paper. I thought I’d gone a little overboard, and it actually could’ve used more!

For the filling, I would recommend a thick layer and going almost all the way to the edge. We left the suggested 1 inch and it seemed like a bit much. The cake itself isn’t that sweet (or moist) so I feel like having more of the filling really helps.

James and I made the cake together one morning, but he gets all of the decorating credit! Isn’t it amazing! He cut off a couple inches of one end to make the little stump and then used more cream cheese icing to cover the entire cake. He sprinkled on some powdered sugar and green sprinkles, and voila, parfait!

Favorite crepe pan

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Happy Fall!

One of our favorite wedding presents so far is this fabulous crepe pan. It may not look like anything fancy, but it is so much better than using a regular skillet!

We pour in about a 1/3 cup of batter (I always use this simple recipe that makes great savory and sweet crepes), coat the pan, wait a couple of minutes and flip (my MIL gave us this wooden crepe turner and it it wonderful as well). They turn out great every time!

I also love it for making pancakes, omelettes, and egg sandwiches. Highly recommended!

(One of the Amazon reviewers said that the Teflon flaked off easily, and I have not seen this happen at all. We do wash it by hand though, so that could make a difference.)

Bon app!

Chocolate pear gâteau

A few months before we moved back to the USA, I tried a piece of chocolate pear cake from a random boulangerie/patisserie not too terribly far from our apartment. It was amazing! I managed to go back a few times before we left, but they never had the cake again.

My cake had a crust (maybe I should be calling this a tarte?!), but was not at all custard-like (the chocolate part had a cake-like consistency).

(also pictured: a raspberry éclair and a lime tarte – all delicious!)

Now that I’m back to a full kitchen and all sorts of cooking supplies, I’ve been on a mission to re-create my beloved cake/tarte.  I found this recipe while searching Pinterest, and I have to say, it’s quite close!

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The only change I made was substituting semi-sweet chocolate for dark. Also, make sure not to over cook it. The first time I made it I cooked it too long and the edges were very dry. Take it out when the middle is still slightly gooey (about 33 minutes for me).

Here are a few other recipes I plan on trying: Chocolate Pear Tarte, Martha’s version, and one that seems a little more complicated, but looks soooo much like my favorite!

Opera – Palais Garnier

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Last Wednesday James and I went on a guided tour of the Palais Garnier…and it was amazing! It’s the first time either of us have been inside and it hasn’t been high on my “things to do in Paris” list basically because of the price (It’s 13 euros a person when you reserve a guided tour online. You also have the option of an unguided visit for around 8 euros, but I really thought having the extra information was worth it. ). I would have definitely have done the tour earlier had I realized what an amazing place it is! Continue reading