"Once in a young lifetime, one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold." ~ Judith Olney
Emma's recent 10th-birthday celebration -- a French Patisserie Tea Party -- allowed us to sample a variety of delectable sweets. Today I am sharing our menu, along with recipes and sources for the delicious fare that had us dreaming of Paris.
In lieu of birthday cake, we served a variety of petit fours prepared by local bakeries.
These strawberry and vanilla dainties are from Edgar's Bakery, one of my favorite Birmingham eateries. Roses, daisies and monograms highlight these petit fours.
Pastry Art's decadent Baby Bites offered a heavenly taste of chocolate. Created by pastry chef Carol Gregg, these tasty morsels are offered in a variety of flavors.
Here is a view of our buffet, ready for the party! Offering a variety of desserts ensured that all of our guests would find a tempting treat.
A display of macarons served as the centerpiece of our offerings. The acrylic tower was the first purchase I made for the party, and I am hoping my friends who enjoy entertaining will also be able to use it for upcoming birthday parties, showers and weddings.
A simple platter of fruit complemented the heavier offerings on the menu.
The day before the party, Emma and I made 32 of these yummy tarts by filling baked pastry shells with Quick and Easy Homemade Lemon Curd and handfuls of fresh berries.
A little intimidated to tackle making macarons in my short time frame, I looked for options for purchasing these locally. A frozen brand from Walmart turned out to be the most economical choice and coordinated with our pastel palette.
Boxes of bonbons, also from Walmart, allowed each girl to indulge in a bit of candy.
Available in the frozen section, Looka macarons are sold by the dozen. Each box offers three cookies of each flavor: chocolate, vanilla, raspberry and pistachio.
Balancing the sweets were cheese and crackers. Emma was quick to suggest a cheese ball from Edgar's -- one of her favorite holiday appetizers!
Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries provided a healthy snack. For our beverages, we served bottles of sparkling French lemonade from Trader Joe's -- another fruity treat in our favorite shades of pink!
Days after the party, Mary Ashley discovered three more boxes of macarons in our freezer. I was disappointed that we could have added another tier to our tower, but I am excited that we already have sweets for another teatime! (And, as you can guess, I don't think this post can have too many photos of macarons!)
A magazine stylist who often works with us at Victoria suggested I add chocolate eclairs to our menu. According to Marie-Paule, eclairs and cream puffs are all the rage in Paris. A frozen option from Walmart brought the trend to our buffet. Baking palmiers filled our home with the enticing aromas of cinnamon and citrus. I will definitely make these again!
Enjoy these lightly sweet pastries any time of day with a cup of tea.
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
Zest of 2 oranges
2 sheets puff pastry
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2, In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and orange zest.
3. Sprinkle one-fourth of sugar mixture over a clean work surface. Top with first puff-pastry sheet, and sprinkle one-fourth of sugar mixture over puff pastry. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an even 1/8-inch-thick rectangle, pressing sugar into the dough. Using your hands, roll each long side of dough toward center, jelly-roll style. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat process for remaining sugar mixture and remaining sheet of puff pastry.
4. Unwrap puff-pastry rolls. Using a serrated knife, slice rolls into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Re-roll spirals, if needed, and place slices on prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, turn over slices, and return to oven until cookies are golden brown, 4-7 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
The girls seemed to enjoy trying our bounty of desserts, and I believe they all found some treats they appreciated. One enthusiastic guest proclaimed, "I loved everything, and I have decided I want to be a baker when I grow up now!" Others -- upon seeing their mothers arrive at the end of the party -- left by way of the dining room, where they couldn't resist picking up one final macaron on their way out. I couldn't help but smile seeing their delight over our menu of delights and hope you will try some of these classic sweets for an upcoming event!
Still to come, our party fun and favors! For more French inspiration, visit this post for a chance to win a bundle of magazines.
Photos by Nathan Prichard. Used with permission.