Dec 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

No snow, some cold winds, but it definately still feels like Christmas! This year, I'm spending Christmas in Paris, and the rest of my holidays some place else... Each year, one of my favourite things to do is check out the Christmas decoration in the streets of Paris. As it's a must, I checked out the Champs-Elysees and absolutely loved their new lights- lavendar, light blueish dots twinkling in tree branches, and in between lines of "drops" flashing (it's a bit difficult to explain, but it's very beautiful!)

And then, another "must" is walking through what turned out to be a very very crowded Boulevard Haussmann- where the infamous Galeries Lafayette and Printemps shopping department stores lie. As usual, there are always too many people standing in front of the Christmas vitrines, especially the ones full of stuffed animals- thick lines of excited and jumping kids pointing at cute penguins and ooh-ing & aah-ing at gigantic polar bears. To take a picture of those vitrines is almost mission impossible, and trying to step over or push a kid is a no-no, however tempted I sometimes may be... Inside my adult body, I am still a child, and also want to say hello to the bears sitting on ice-cream filled fridges!

The gigantic Christmas tree at Galeries Lafayette- a classic each holiday season

Beautifully styled fashion vitrines

Day-dream like vitrines filled with toys, laughter and imagination

I actually can't believe I am blogging this very minute, a few hours away from Christmas Eve dinner...but I do think this is some good time-off from the fuming busy kitchen. And so very quickly, all I wanted to do is share a photo of the first dessert that is ready to be devoured later tonight, one of my inputs to the dinner table. A big chocolate cake enhanced with many delicious ingredients. And it is not a coincidence that each bite contains Christmas colours- green, white, red...

I am not so much of a buche person, the reason why I went for a "normal" round shaped-cake instead- just that it's dressed in a fancy attire to make a pretty entrance at the end of tonight's Christmas meal! The recipe of this cake is at the end of this post. It is a chocolate cake with a layer of whipped cream, strawberries in cognac, all sprinkled with pistachio and cocoa on a layer of melted chocolate.

On a final note, as this year comes to an end, I am questionning my "culinary orientation"- am I suddenly becoming more of a baker? I've always considered myself as a cooking/salty person, but this year seems to have shown quite the opposite. I have discovered the colourful, beautiful, delicate, sometimes romantic, charismatic side of baking...(as much as I still adore cooking!). So we will see how my kitchen adventures turn out in 2008.
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, happy holiday, and fantastic New Year!

Recipe for my Christmas cake:


  • About 250gr strawberries
  • Half a cup of cognac
  • 4 eggs
  • 110 gr sugar
  • 100gr dark chocolate
  • 100gr butter
  • 120gr flour + baking powder
  • 300cc liquid 30% cream
  • 100gr dark chocolate (to melt over cake)
  • Pistachios- not salty
  • Bitter cocoa (optional)

How to make it:

  1. Clean strawberries and dice. Place in a bowl with the cognac. Set aside.
  2. Whisk liquid cream until it becomes whipped. Set aside in fridge
  3. Grind pistachios until powdery, and set aside
  4. Preheat oven to th5.
  5. In a bowl, add sugar and eggs. Whisk together
  6. Melt the chocolate, and add to bowl along with the butter. Mix all well
  7. Add the flour and baking powder. Mix batter well.
  8. Pour into a cake mould, and bake for about 40 mins
  9. When ready, pull out cake, let cool, and slice horizontally.
  10. On the bottom cake slice, pour over the cognac from the strawberry bowl. Even if it is not enough- that's OK. Little droplets will perfume the cake.
  11. Follow with a layer of the whipped cream, and then add the strawberries.
  12. Close cake with the top cake slice.
  13. Melt chocolate in a bain marie, and add the melted chocolate over the now "closed" cake.
  14. Sprinkle the pistachio all over, and optionally, some patches of bitter cocoa.
  15. Place in fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

Oh and P.S: the "snowball marsmallows" are simply white marsmallow cubes dipped in melted white chocolate, and then rolled in coconut!

1 comment:

santos. said...

felis pasgua, mele kalikimaka, jyeux noel and happy holidays to you!