Europe 2016 - Picnic in Jardin du Luxembourg

hannahpuechmarin-picnicinparis.jpg

Visiting a Parisian flea market has been on my bucket list for years and years.

So when we made the decision to spend a few days in Paris at the end of our trip, I made it my mission to find a market to visit. Most major markets occur on weekends. However, a good amount of googling revealed Marché D'Aligre, an everyday apart from Monday market, with both fresh produce and a small flea market too.

When travelling, I am not a traditional "wear sneakers, carry a poncho at all times and pay extra for audio tours" type tourist. I always prefer side stepping from the main attractions and pretending to be an actual local. So I made it the plan for our last day in Paris, and of our holiday, to visit Marché D'aligre to buy food for lunch and then catch the Metro to Jardin du Luxembourg to devour our french delights in a luxurious fashion. 

And my oh my, we were in heaven, in awe, in love.

The simple act of displaying the farm produce in wooden crates immediately elevated the markets beyond any status an Aussie market could hope to behold. Not to mention those cute little blackboards with scrawly french and euros... no english words or $ could ever look that good. 

The flea market adjacent to the produce market was also just amazing.. I had to refrain from picking up everything and anything that caught my eye, and made home with a simple french linen tea towel. Next time I plan to spend a full weekend, with an empty suitcase, buying ALL the treasures.

In true ridiculous Hannah fashion, I had bought a picnic rug on the first day of this holiday - the gift shop in Kew Gardens was amazing! So I thought it perfect to lug around on this day so we could lounge around on the grass while eating. 

We set up a beautiful picnic spread on the grass, poured the wine and dug in.. but not before long, a groundsman asked us to move from the grass! Never in my Australian mind would I see any other purpose for a beautiful lawn than to picnic on it. 

Needless to say, we didn't mind so much, simply moving to the nearby seats, using one as a table. 

 

It was perfect. 

 

Beatrice also took beautiful photos of this day and shared on her blog.

#SeasonalBakingStyle: Tarte à la Crème de Marrons

tarte a la creme de marrons - hannah puechmarin

When Beatrice suggested we do something with nuts for our next baking challenge, I knew immediately what I wanted to make. 

This tart doesn't fit the ethos of this seasonal baking challenge we do every month.. local, seasonal, fresh produce.... Créme de Marrons is an imported french food product, and chestnuts aren't even in season here in Australia (are they?). 

I decided to recreate this tart that we ate in a beautiful restaurant in Ardèche, France, just recently. I want to pay homage to it seeing as I bear a french surname, and isn't a lot of french cooking about seasonal produce and preserving it for the months when it is not available? I accept my own excuses. 

 

We had made the trip to Ardèche, a region of mountains in the south of France primarily to visit Sylvette and Claude in their mountaintop home. 

We travelled the windy roads around the mountains, passing many men collecting chestnuts from trees on the roadside. As well as men waiting a boar to be sprung in the woods by their dogs. 

We ate the most "french" meal I had all holiday in a restaurant dedicated to creating a community in an area where "communities" are so small and far between, and serving locally grown and made food. 

This is where I first tasted a slice of Tarte à la Crème de Marrons, with a little vanilla ice cream on the side. It was so so beautiful. 

And really since then, I have thought about finding the recipe for it and making it at home.

tarte a la creme de marrons - hannah puechmarin

After arriving home in Australia I began searching for the recipe, though at first I tried searching in english keywords. I tried all sorts of word combinations, to no avail. 

A few days later, I thought to search in french... for a "tarte" and "creme de marrons" and to my excitement - it was found! 

My french is mostly OK enough to have deciphered the recipe without a dictionary. However there were some translation issues, and I will include the recipe in french here too, because I think they way things are phrased in french are often quite poetic.

I especially love "Monter les blancs en neige", which I initially roughly translated as "climb the whites in snow", it actually just means to beat the egg whites. 

Tarte à la Crème de Marrons  - Chestnut Cream Tart

Tarte à la Crème de Marrons - Chestnut Cream Tart

Translated from this recipe

Ingredients

2 Oeufs - 2 eggs

175g Crème de Marrons - 175g Chestnut Cream

250ml Crème Fraîche

50g sucre - 50g sugar

1 Pâte Sablée - Shortcrust pastry

 

Method

1. Mix the chestnut cream, sugar, crème fraîche and egg yolks. 

1. Mélanger la crème de marron, le sucre, la crème fraîche et les jaunes d'oeufs.

2. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks (I think I overbeat them to stiff peaks and wasn't completely happy with baked consistency - though either way should work).

Fold delicately into the other mixture without breaking the "whites of snow".

2. Monter les blancs en neige.
Mélanger délicatement le tout pour ne pas casser les blancs en neige.

3. Prepare the pastry (I blind-baked store-bought pastry)  and then pour in the mixture.  Cook at 200°C for 30 minutes. 

3. Verser la préparation sur la pâte.
Cuire au four 30 min à 200°C Th.6/7.

 

Serve with good vanilla ice cream! Try not to eat it all at once. This one didn't last 24 hours. 

 

 

 

Check out Beatrice's beautiful Cinnamon Pecan Pie recipe too!