I have this love-hate relationship with Paris. I’m not sure exactly how the scale is tipped, but let’s just say that the majority of the love comes from various forms of pastries, cookies, art museums, and long walks through streets lined with beautifully designed buildings... (I mean really, this is my walk to school:
... but I have a bit of frustration sometimes with the Parisians themselves. I try my best not to judge. Really, I do. But, sometimes...
However, lately, as in the last few weeks, I’ve been actually quite pleased with Paris, and, savour this moment because I don’t say it often, French people. I don’t know what happened? Perhaps it could be the insert of the holiday season: Christmas lights lining the streets, the Christmas markets placed all around the city (ooh and the glorious hot wine stalls that accompany the markets), and the endless supply of my favourite chocolates placed into advent calendars mirrored after every French cartoon ever created. (Literally, they have aisles of these guys in every super market.)
Now, small confession: I’m obsessed with “This American Life”, and I was listening to it the other night whilst doing random administrative nonsense, and I heard the name of Ira Glass’ wife. Obviously needing to know more about the lucky lady who is conjoined to Mr. Glass, I googled. And, she has a website! Woah – inspiration x 10000. Love it. (AND YES – I am aware this is targeted for teenage girls. I’m only 23, and I still act like an 8 year old the majority of the time, so if you average those two facts together, I'm basically a teenager.)
Anyway, a bit of exploratory blog action lead me to this post: http://rookiemag.com/2012/05/everyday-peopl/, which had the story: “Old Man on the Champs-Élysées”. And after reading this, I just smiled. I have a SLIGHT tendency to end every other sentence by sighing “French people”, and although it is a great excuse when you’re a frustrated Anglophone living in a dense and fast moving French city where everyone overtly judges your llama sweater and hot pink pants ensemble, but secretly wishes they had their own (ahem, my personal opinion), it just MAY overestimate the typical stereotype given to Parisians. Maybe. Perhaps. Don’t quote me on this quite yet – I still have another half a year to solidify the rectification of my original misconception (?) of Paris.
Despite my rambling, the point here is: there ARE good people out there. Nice ones, considerate ones, and selfless ones… you get the point. They exist everywhere, even if sometimes I feel that they’re hiding in little candle-lit cocoons knitting, drinking tea, and eating cookies. And, it’s sad that I need to be reminded of this from time to time, but because of my lack of patience (which I’m working on), I am dedicating this one to, I can’t believe I’m saying this, French people. (Small side note: I may rephrase this post after I have my visa appointment on Monday. Terror.)
Adapted from "The Art of French Baking", by Ginette Mathiot. (quite possibly the most awesome comprehensive book of everything good about the French.)
Pistachio Madeleines - What you need:
- 125 grams of butter melted, then cooled (plus more for greasing the madeleine molds)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 150 grams of caster sugar
- 125 grams of sifted flour
- 25 grams of finely grounded pistachio
- zest from one lemon
Pistachio - Madeleines - What you do:
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs are sugar for around 5 minutes until pale, light, and tripled in volume. Fold in the flour and pistachio. Then, add the butter and slowly combine. Finally, stir in the lemon zest.
Refrigerate the madeleine batter for at least two hours prior to baking.
After the batter has sat in the fridge, preheat your oven to 200c. Grease the madeleine molds (optionally: lightly flour them as well. I have a teflon madeleine mold, so I skipped this step.) Pour the batter into the mold, filling only half way. These guys will expand while baking.
Bake at 200c for 10 minutes. Allow to cool before enjoying.
This should make 16 madeleines.
The original recipe, for your madeleine curiosities, was for normal madeleines. It had 150 grams of flour instead of 125g, and no pistachios added. You can flavour these anyway you want by adding a dash of vanilla extract, lemon juice, or a pinch of salt!
I used to bake these all the time last year, so I wanted to see if my madeleine abilities still existed. Now that I'm reassured, I will tinker with vegan versions!
Baking soundtrack - Tunes to inspire your inner (French) baker:
Pink Martini - Je ne veux pas travailler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7kzsM05Yso
^ Because I'm up to my nose in exam stress!, even though I think smoking is horribly bad for you.
Raphael - Caravane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHJoY0oSD_Y
(I am totally in love with song. Still. Since I was like 16. It's great. Shh...)