I used to be able to speak French. I was not completely fluent, however I had a few dreams entirely in french and could have functioned with minimal confusion had I gone to France during that time. I did not go to France then, I went years later, when I remembered little, but I still loved it. And contrary to popular opinion, not a single person was rude, nasty, or unhelpful. In fact, it was quite the opposite – strangers helped me when I was lost in Charles de Gaulle (the most confusing airport on the planet) and when I accidentally left my scarf in a restaurant, a quite handsome Garçon literally ran out of the place and chased me down the street, shouting “Mademoiselle! your scarf!” I love the french.
Anyway, I’ve decided to relearn French. There are a few contributing factors to this decision, one being that I think everyone should know at least 2 languages, another being that I’ve always j’adored everything French, even as a jeune fille. However, as I learn more and more about pastry-making, things seem to be getting more and more French. And je me sens triste when I don’t know what these words mean, nor can I figure out how to pronounce them. So, I’ve decided to remedy that, with a little French refresher course, a book on conversational French, and ultimately, a trip back to the country itself sometime in the next year (woo hoo!).
One of these hard-to-prounounce-and-even-harder-to-make french desserts that just crossed my path in my class is a Croquembouche. The name literally translates to ‘crunch in the mouth’, and had I still retained any French, I would have figured that out on my own. However, I would never have been able to figure out how to make the thing on my own. Personally, I’m not even sure one person can make it. We made our Croquembouche as a team in class, dipping cream puffs filled with creme mousseline into caramel, and stacking them up into a cone-shaped tower, the caramel forming the glue. This, my friends, is no easy feat. Stacking them evenly, leaning them in just so the cone shape is achieved, not getting scarred for life by burning hot caramel…these are things that come with practice. However, I was proud of my team’s first ever Croquembouche. And we had fun making it. :)
Vivre la vie, mes amies! And try some Croquembouche. Not only was it magnifique, but it was also tres delicieux (and I should know as I ate tres much of it)!