Le Paris Cheesecake

DSC_3648MadCharlotte’s Le Paris Cheesecake like her New York sister is baked and creamy as. What makes her Parisienne to MadCharlotte? It’s the addition of fresh fruits. In France, we are in July/August which means we are right in berry season. Those red fruits, the raspberries…. oooh…just so damn beautiful that it seems an injustice ONLY to eat them alone. If berries are speaking to me they’re definitely saying “Put me with an already awesome dessert and together we’ll totally kick-asse”.  And as I know the Frenchies are huge fans of the old New York Cheesecake, I thought about how I can marry a little anglo with a little franco… Et Voila! 

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Strawberry Saint-Honore

DSC_3586Laduree, Champs-Elysee the year 2009. I discovered the famous French dessert classic, Le Saint-Honore. There’s more, it was the flavour combinations that caught my attention. I’d never tasted ROSE. I’ve certainly never tasted raspberries and rose together.

“This officially is my favourite dessert. I must learn to make it”. It all began here. Laduree, Champs-Elysee, the year 2009.

It was not only the flavour combination but the textures. All that is so great in French pastry I believe to be in this one dessert. At least all my favourite things of French desserts. Let’s break it down.

A Saint-Honores comprises of:
– a flakey and crispy base called mille-feuille 
– Profiterols or en francais “choux” round air pastry balls
– Pastry cream, creme patissiere  or creme anglaise intense with fresh flavours fills les choux
– Coulis, a jam adds to a more intense flavour and another dimension of texture
– Chantilly, a foamy whipped cream because it adds lightness to the whole dessert
– Real fruits add freshness

It’s a lot of work. But it’s well worth it. I really enjoying making this particular dessert because it involves so many aspects of patisserie. I will of course be making more of the Saint-Honore in different flavours and styles.

The styling for this particular photo comes from an influence of now living in Versailles. Le Chateau de Versailles is only footsteps away from my studio and I’m feeling very much like Kirsten Dunst in her role as Marie-Antoinette.

But more recently the Chateau de Versailles celebrated its annual event, Le Grand Bal Masque (The masked ball) with attendees dressed up in costumes of the time, Baroque style which includes wearing masks all evening leaving much intrique to a very fun and perhaps naughty evening.

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Strawberry mille-feuille


Strawberry creme patissiere is the star of my mille-feuille. It’s summer in France and we are swimming in a sea of red fruits. A whipped vanilla cream chantilly, Gariguette strawberries and mini-mint leaves as decor.

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a mille-feuille. At Ferrandi we rolled out pastry with a rolling pin, our hands and our arms attached! Muscle in! It’s long, lengthly and terribly time consuming. In the real world of boutiques, hotels and restaurants in France, there is the pastry roll-out machine. But for a one-man show it’s the old rolling pin, hands and arms.

I remember those Ferrandi days. I was in the slow section when it came to understanding the technique called the “turns”, a folding and turning technique in order to achieve those “thousand layers”. There are the double turns and single turns. How many to do of which? Which way to turn? Thankfully those confused days are behind me now. Now, it’s just a matter of time.

Achieving your first mille-feuille is like doing your first magic trick. Something about being let-in on a secret. Then once you’re in, you’re hooked. However, it does require day planning because it takes about 1 day. For me, with other things on my plate, I’m doing it over 2 days, that includes the puff pastry plus preparing the creams and decor.

For the moment it’s a personal Miss Pirisi dessert. Will need some time before I hand it over to MadCharlotte.


Café République

DSC_3236MadCharlotte’s Café République Pavlova [Fancy way of saying French Coffee Pav.]

Crunchy meringue exterior with its gooey soft marshmellowy centre is the signature of a good old Aussie pav. Although to be a MadCharlotte pavlova it needs that touche francaise because after all she is tres gourmande! A pavlova centre filled with a dark French couverture chocolate ganache that only the previous day was infused with roasted coffee beans, then over the ganache a swirl of whipped cream.. again… infused with those gorgeous roasted coffee beans, and with that, a happy dose of very delicious coffee cream liqueur.

Oh..my…… I’ve died and gone to MadCharlotte heaven!

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MadCharlotte in MoulinRouge


MoulinRouge MadMinis are Can-Can dancing all over the place! They’re loving life because roses are in full season and raspberries are spreading their beautiful red blush all over the French markets. Et ce soir it’s La Fete de la Musique en France!

As I walk down the winding staircase of our  1700s Versailles building I can smell the roses that are in abundance in the central garden courtyard 2 floors down. l find it strange –  I don’t think I’ve ever smelt so much natural rose in actual nature, only ever from a  bottle.

Why MoulinRouge (no space)? Her elegance, her bravery, her bright reds, she shouts for attention but in an ever so classy yet cheeky way. The green tige hula hoops in a cercle or gives us a straight kick up in the air like a Can-Can dancers legs. She wears also black, like the fishnets that form the dancers and gold like the dancers in all their fabulously wild accessories. Chic and sexy, after all she’s for the lucky few to see and enjoy.

MoulinRouge is a dessert perhaps limited to this season, we’re in June and I think having her for a short time makes her even just that more special. Now back to smelling the roses. J’adore!

La..la..la..lah…lah…lah..la..!! WhoHo!

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MadMini Praliné-Citron


MadMini’s: Praliné ganache. Lemon zest ganache. It’s the perfect duo to bring together a gooey praliné interior hidden inside a hazelnut Friand (Financier en france) cake base. Oh la la la…!!!!! MadCharlotte is NUTS for HazelNuts!

I’ll be honest. Mastering the “duo” effect is not as easy as it seems. Trying to get the conistency of two types of creams – one who’s features are more like a ganache and the other a softer-lighter “creme montée” (mounted cream) – is a challenge. However, it’s going to have to stay on the menu because it really is delicious. Praliné (almonds/hazelnuts) and citrus flavours make for a perfect combination.

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