• The winner of Minette's Feast was Kate. Thank you to everyone who left a comment for the book giveaway!
I just made Julia Child's Charlotte Chantilly aux Fraises, a recipe from Julia's classic, best-selling book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking. What better way to celebrate a book giveaway of Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat, than to make a French dessert? Minette's Feast by author Susanna Reich is the first-ever children's book written about Julia. I am so excited about this book, and so very excited about giving a copy to one Passions to Pastry reader! All you need to do is write a few words in the comment section of this post by the end of the day August 1st -- Tell me your favorite Julia Child recipe. Tell me about your cat! How about a favorite meal, here or in France? Or, just say "hello". A winner will be chosen through a drawing and is limited to U.S. residents only.
read the PRESS RELEASE ABOUT THE BOOK below...
100th Anniversary of Julia Child's Birth
Celebrated with Delicious New Picture Book about the Beloved Chef and her Cat
"Julia Child, the celebrated chef, author and television personality, would have turned 100 in 2012, and eight years after her death, she’s more popular than ever. Her demonstration of how to make an omelette has been viewed more than 1.5 million times on YouTube, she’s been portrayed by Meryl Streep in the movie Julie and Julia, and her 1961 cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is still a bestseller. Now, kids can get to know the iconic chef in an irresistible new picture book, Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat (Abrams Books for Young Readers), written by award-winning author Susanna Reich and illustrated by New York Times best-selling illustrator Amy Bates. It’s the first-ever children’s book about the beloved chef.
Minette’s Feast takes place in Paris, France, where Julia and her husband Paul lived in the late 1940’s and adopted Minette, the first of their many cats. In a picturesque old apartment one block from the River Seine, Julia cooks while Minette catches mice. Even after Julia enrolls in the Cordon Bleu and becomes a kitchen virtuoso, her cat prefers mouse! Will Julia ever be able to whip up a meal that will entice Minette?
Publishers Weekly gave the book a boxed review, calling it "cozy," "lyrical," "playful," and "charming," while Horn Book writes that "Reich has a storyteller’s instinct for entrancing incident and a poet’s gift for sound and sensory detail." The book has also received starred reviews in Booklist, School Library Journal (a "feast for the senses"), Shelf Awareness ("delectable"), and Kirkus, which raves, “A fine recipe for pleasure. Magnifique!"
This delectable and hilarious story will delight not only kids, but foodies, Francophiles, Child fans and cat-lovers, too. The playful, poetic text is peppered with quotes from Child’s letters and memoirs, and illustrated with watercolors that perfectly capture both Minette’s antics and the warmth and charm of Julia Child and the City of Light. With author’s note, bibliography and glossary."
And now, the recipe...
I made Charlotte Chantilly aux Fraises with my prized French Biscuits Rose de Reims, carried home from Paris in my luggage. I lined my French Charlotte Mold with the biscuits, filled the mold with whipped eggs, heavy cream, and strawberry purée, and held my breath as I unmolded the chilled dessert the following day. It was a drop-dead beautiful Charlotte, and I probably stood a little too long gazing at my achievement when I noticed the biscuits ever-so-slowly shifting. I ran for a ribbon, but when I returned to the kitchen my Charlotte had (gasp!) collapsed into a pile of soggy biscuits. (I think this is why I see so many Charlottes tied with a bow.) Sigh... The cream and strawberry filling was too good to not make another attempt, so I took the few remaining biscuits from their bag and lined an individual soufflé dish, scooped filling into the center, and chilled -- really chilled (in the freezer) -- the rescued Charlotte. It was also beautiful when unmolded, although on a much smaller scale. When I make another large Charlotte in the future, I will have a ribbon near-by to wrap around the biscuits (or possibly use gelatin in the filling, as is done in many of the French Charlotte recipes I have read). Bon Appétit!
click "read more" below for the recipe
• Charlotte Chantilly aux Fraises •
"Here is another handsome molded dessert; this one is also relatively quick to execute. But unless the egg yolks are well thickened, and then chilled before the cream is folded in, the dessert will collapse rather quickly. If you do not wish to serve it unmolded, turn the cream into a serving bowl or into dessert cups. You may use frozen fruit instead of fresh, but be sure the fruit is well thawed and most thoroughly drained, otherwise the purée will be too liquid." -- Julia Child
-- This may have been my Charlotte's downfall since I used strawberries that I froze after picking "up north".
For 8 to 10 People
• a round of waxed paper
• a 2-quart cylindrical mold about 4-inches high and 7-inches in diameter, lined with ladyfingers (they must be of excellent quality, not the soggy, baking-powder variety) -- or, line 8 to 10 individual soufflé dishes with the biscuits for mini Charlottes
• 1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries (see Julia's quote about the berries above)
• a wire whisk or electric beater
• a 3-quart stainless steel mixing bowl
• 2/3 cup instant sugar (very finely granulated) -- I pulsed my sugar briefly in a blender
• 8 egg yolks
• a pan of not-quite-simmering water
• a large bowl of ice cubes with water to cover them
• 2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
• a 4 quart metal bowl
• a chilled beater
• extra ladyfingers
• a round of waxed paper
1. Line the bottom of the unbuttered mold with the waxed paper and line the mold with up-right ladyfingers.
2. Stem, rinse, and drain well the berries. If using frozen, be sure to drain juices completely before proceeding! Force them through a mesh sieve, into a bowl. You will need 1 1/4 cups of the purée. Chill.
3. Using a whisk, beat the sugar into the egg yolks and continue beating until the yolks are pale yellow in color and create a ribbon that falls back onto itself when the whisk is lifted from the mixture. Place the mixing bowl over the simmering water and whisk continually until the mixture is hot to the touch. Set the bowl in the ice water and beat until cold and mixture again forms a ribbon that falls back onto itself; continue folding with a spatula until thickened and chilled.
4. When the egg mixture is well-chilled, beat the heavy cream until it form stiff peaks.
5. Fold the chilled strawberry purée into the egg-yolk mixture, then gently fold in the whipped cream. Turn the filling into the mold (you will most likely not use all of the filling). Place additional ladyfingers over the cream to fill the mold almost completely. Trim ladyfingers around the edge of the mold to fit snugly. Cover with waxed paper and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
6. When ready to serve, remove the waxed paper and run a knife around the edge of the mold. Place chilled serving plate or cake stand on top of the mold and invert to release the Charlotte. My suggestion would be to immediately wrap a decorative ribbon around the Charlotte to secure the biscuits. Decorate the top of the Charlotte with fresh berries. Chill Charlotte if not serving immediately.
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