Dorista Celebrations {ffwd}

Palets de Lille

Today is a day of many celebrations for French Fridays with Dorie. First of all, we’re celebrating Dorie Greenspan’s birthday! Next, we’re celebrating Dorie’s new book, out this month, Baking Chez Moi. And, finally, we’re celebrating four years of French Fridays as we move into the fifth and final year of cooking our way through Dorie’s book Around My French Table.

All of these reasons make it a special Friday for me: I love birthdays, especially mine, but I do love anybody’s birthday. I love cookbooks, having hundreds on the shelves (and the floor, and the counters, etc.). And I love my wonderful Dorista friends and being part of French Fridays.

How are we celebrating all these things? Well, we’re actually stepping outside the box for the day. Rather than making something selected from Around My French Table, we’re baking something from the new book, Baking Chez Moi, which comes out next week. There are several recipes from the book that are available on the internet, so we’re making a choice from those.

Stiff Batter

I decided to try Palets de Dames, Lille Style, an iced cakey sugar cookie. The stiff batter is mixed up in a stand mixer before chilling. Then you shape the cookies into small balls. The cookies spread quite a bit, ending up rather flat, so be sure to space them far apart. I baked one dozen at a time on a half sheet pan. For the first tray, I used my smallest cookie scoop, but they baked up into irregular shapes. For the remaining trays, I used the cookie scoop to approximate portioning, but rolled the dough into uniform balls between my hands. Even then, the cookies in the middle spread into nice circles while the ones on the edges were more oval. I think the baked cookies gave me a map of the unevenness inside my oven.

Ready to Bake Balls

Once the cookies cooled, I mixed up the simple sugar-milk icing. I didn’t have any milk, so used heavy cream instead. I had to use at least twice the amount of liquid called for to get the icing to the right consistency, perhaps because the cream was thicker than the milk.
Surprisingly, it is the flat side of the cookie, the bottom, that gets dipped into the icing, changing to the rounded top to the bottom, so they roll around a little bit on the plate. (From official photo of these cookies, it looks to me like they were done the opposite way.) For a festive touch, I sprinkled some of the cookies with some colored sugar.

While I prefer a crisper or chewier cookie, these are perfect with a celebratory cup of tea: light, not too sweet, and delicately pretty. If you’d like to try them yourself, you can find the recipe here.

So, happy birthday to you, Dorie, and congratulations on your newest book! I look forward to baking more recipes from it. And to my Dorista friends, here’s to another year together. It’s been quite the unexpected ride over the past four years.

To see what other delicious birthday treats were baked up this week, check out my Dorista friends below, or follow their links here.

Mini Cannel├ęs

Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone Filling

Paletes de Dames, Lille Style

Brown Butter-Peach Tourte

roasted jerusalem artichokes with garlic {ffwd}

Gnarly Roots

I’m thinking that this October French Fridays with Dorie is running an “ugliest vegetable” pageant. Two weeks ago, it seemed clear that celery root was a clear winner, but with this week’s introduction to Jerusalem artichokes, there’s some competition! (And dare I mention that I have some kohlrabi bulbs in my fridge?)

Jerusalem artichokes are the tuber (or root) of the helianthus tuberosus, a native sunflower that grows along some of my daily dog walking routes. The sunflower provides the origin for its nickname, sunchoke. In the back of my mind, if I wasn’t able to find this vegetable in the store, I considered digging some up, but fortunately, I found some on my first try. It came from California, so not as native as down the street, but organic, and probably a little safer to eat than whatever I might have dug up from the side of the road.

This plant has been eaten as far back as the Native Americans, who taught early settlers to eat the roots as well. For me, this was the first time I’ve eaten it. The roots resemble gnarly, warty ginger roots. In fact, the cashier initially rang it up as galangal, another rhizome related to ginger. They were hard to peel because of all the bumps. I did my best, as Dorie counseled, and didn’t worry about it too much.

Raw

Raw

The preparation was simple. Jerusalem artichokes, quartered lengthwise, were tossed with slivers of garlic (done with the vegetable peeler because I was sure doing it with the mandoline would result in a hospital visit), olive oil, sprigs of thyme and rosemary, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. This roasted in the oven for 45 minutes, until tender, tossing it once halfway through.

Cooked

Cooked

The flavor was nutty and earthy, definitely reminiscent of an artichoke. They added a touch of the homemade to a meal of leftovers from a restaurant meal. Though we enjoyed this new taste, I’m not sure I’d make a point of making these again. Peeling them was a pain, and at $5 a pound, I’m not sure I like them that much more than potatoes or other root vegetables. It was fun to try something new though.

You hardly need a recipe for this, but if you want one, you’ll find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To check out what the Doristas thought, check out their links here.

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