Divorcé-A pastry to end all disputes.

As an excuse to get acquainted with the local commerces of our new neighborhood, I stopped by a new patisserie to pick up something sweet for my sweetie and me.  He loves eclairs, but I couldn’t decide on either chocolate or coffee.  But I found a way to settle our differences by picking up a divorcé!  Before you start demanding back your wedding gifts, let me just assure you that a divorcé is like a religeuse.  You must be thinking, “Oh no!  First she mentions divorce?  And then religion?  What kind of blog is this becoming?”  But rest assured, I shan’t write about anything that isn’t already napped in frosting.   Nevertheless, a divorcé is a chocolate and a coffee creme puff stuck to together, united with a ribbon of buttercream.  The principle is that when cut in half evenly, each party can walk away fairly on its own terms.  But as an expression of our blissfulness, I rotated it 90 degrees and cut it so we both got a taste of chocolate and coffee.  So far so good…

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A Sugar-Coated Milestone

© Jessie Kanelos

I am happy to announce that today I reached a major milestone in my life in France.   Sleepily ordering a pain au chocolat at the boulangerie this morning, the boulanger turned to me, looked me square in the eyes, and said, “Ca va?”  She asked me how I was!  And not in a “Damn, you look terrible!  Are you still wearing your pyjama shirt?” kind of way either.  France is not the kind of place where you hear “Hi, my name is Anne-Sophie.  How may I serve thee today, chéri?”.  It’s just not friendly.  It’s just that no one cares about a stranger’s day.  Only what they had for lunch.  But 3 years, a lot of pocket change, and bi-daily trips later, we are now kabitzing!  I need a friend like this.  She answers all of my burning pastry questions. “What’s in the chocolate flan?”  “It’s a flan, but with chocolate.”  “How does the viennois au chocolat look when watercolored?”  “I don’t know”  “What’s the difference between brioche and pain au lait?” “Nothing.” It’s a shame we are moving away from my boulanger bff within the next few days.  I should show my appreciation by baking her a cake.  Hmmm, or maybe not.

Spring a Leek!

By George, I’ve sprung a leek! Excuse the unforgivable pun; at least it’s a tad bit more sophisticated than ‘taking a leek’.  Eh? Eh?  Whenever I speak to my parents about one of the lesser-known members of the onion family, it’s the first thing out of their mouths.  Hence, proving my point that Americans are sadly unfamiliar with the said vegetable!  However, it is one of the first things I noticed  in French markets and menus: braised leeks, a light potato and leek potage, and the principle cure of obesity in Mireille Guiliano’s book French Women Don’t Get Fat.  The secret to not plumping up in these conditions is a magical leek soup which allows the occasional taste of wine and cheese with the promise of looking as svelte as one of Godard’s gals.  So I encourage you to take a liking to leeks, too!

When the tough, green leaves are cut off of the leeks, they can be subtle addition to soups, stews, and even salads.  However, I learned the following recipe from an Italian transplant in Paris, which explains the parmesan cheese.  However, you could replace the parmesan with emmental or swiss or simply omit it.  Either way, the leek is the star here !  So enjoy as a light lunch with a green salad.  And according to Mlle Guilano, because you are eating leeks, you are permitted to a little wine and cheese, too.


Any kind of savory pie crust will work here, but homemade is always better.  The egg yolk in the dough makes it both tender and cracker-like.

Pastry :

1 1/4 Cups Flour

4 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into ½’’ pieces

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg yolk, beaten

2-4 tablespoons ice water, more if needed

Filling :

2 large leeks, green tops cut off, white portion cut into 1/4’’ rounds

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup creme fraiche or sour cream

¼ cup milk

4 eggs

¼ cup parmesan, emmental, or any flavorful cheese

1 tablespoon chopped chives

salt & pepper to taste

1.)  Mix flour, salt, and chilled butter.  Using a pastry cutter, two small knives, your hands, or a food processor, cut the butter into the flour until the butter resembles small, pea-sized pieces.  Add the egg yolk.  Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until a soft dough forms, being careful not to overmix.

2.) Turn the dough onto a floured surface and kneed several times until the dough is smooth.

3.) Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

4.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4.) In a saucepan over medium-low heat, sauté leeks in olive oil until soft and caramelized, about 7 minutes.  Let cool slightly.

5.) In a bowl, mix the eggs, crème fraiche, eggs, salt and pepper.

6.)  Roll out the pastry dough to 1/8’’ and spread carefully in a pie pan.  Add the prepared leeks.  Pour in the egg mixture.  Sprinkle on the cheese, it will nice caramelize in the oven.

7.)  Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the custard is set and the top.  Enjoy!