November 2012 Visions of Thanksgiving are likely already appearing in America. Heck, I saw Stollen in some of the supermarkest in France in early Oct

       
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November 2012

Visions of Thanksgiving are likely already appearing in America. Heck, I saw Stollen in some of the supermarkest in France in early October. So American's aren't the only ones getting a jump on the holidays. However Thanksgiving is one of my favorite jours fériés of them all because it's always so much fun to bake all those pies and cakes and cookies and candies, like candied ginger, or churn up a batch of cinnamon ice cream to serve alongside it all. Gosh, I've both excited - and exhausted - thinking about it. And it's only November 1st!

For some reasons, Americans often ask me "What do Parisians do for Thanksgiving?" And I hate to admit it, but it's often hard to hide my astonishment that folks would not know that there isn't a global celebration of the harvest and bounty of the formative years when America was being founded. Consequently there are no jumbo-breasted turkeys or sweet potato pies with marshmallows on top in the markets or pastry shops in Paris. And canned cranberries? Those are usually stockpiled during the year on trips back to the states to avoid having to pay €8/can at the expat stores, the ones which specialize in American ingredients and likely support themselves during the other eleven months from the November sales alone.

(I've been know to fondle the crinkly bags of Pepperidge Farms stuffing mix at them, which go for the price of one of those swanky handbags in the window at Hermès. So I usually sniff them through the packaging, then leave them behind.)

I was planning on perhaps making a quick trip to the states. But something happens to me when confronted with an airline website: My brain freezes. (Kind of like it does when I get a letter from the government.) I sit there looking at all the numbers and prices and cities, and I start searching. Then the overload kicks in, and half the time, if I decide to buy, I click and get an error message that I have to start over. (Whew!) Or else I chicken out, because – as you know – once you hit that "SUBMIT" button, you're committed. So I avoid flying anywhere and just stay home.

But home ain't so bad. I can bake in my own kitchen, I can sleep in my own bed, and I don't have to sit immobilized in a seat for thirteen hours while the seat back in front of me is making a permanent indentation in my forehead.

Since I am the only person in Paris with two ovens, I may be the designated turkey – uh, I mean – turkey-baker, and T-day may be at chez David. Unless I build up the courage to revisit the United Airlines website. In which case, wish me luck!

-David

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Paris Pastry App and Guide v2.1 - Updated...again!

Paris Pastry App

For those of who who have my Paris Pastry App, I couldn't resist doing another update. There were a few new places I found, plus the developer made some improvements so that it works faster, giving you more time to run around Paris and treat yourself to your favorite pastries and chocolates!

If you don't have it...it's just $3.99! And if you want to try it out, there's a free Paris Pastry LITE version. No committment required.

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Favorite Posts & Recipes From October

October was a lot of fun, in spite of the rapidly changing weather in Paris. Here are some posts and recipe that were fun to share:

-Disneyland Paris: I finally hit Disneyland Paris, where the foot-long hot dog didn't do it for me, but the Tower of Terror did.

-The Scofflaw: My friend Forest came over and mixed up cocktails on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And I developed a taste for rye.

-The French Dictionary: I love old French dictionaries with their gorgeous color plates. And who knew the French loved to jump so much?

-Harvest Tart: A perfect dessert for the holidays, featuring pears, walnuts, and a swirl of crème fraîche. From my friend Kate, in the south of France.

-Char Sui Ribs: A simple jar of Chinese bbq sauce turns ribs into an easy weeknight dinner. So good!

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Fresh Ginger Cake Recipe

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Whose happier than I am, that my book Ready for Dessert, came out in an oversized paperback version? Answer: Me.

It's all my favorite recipes in one place, many from my books Room for Dessert and Ripe for Dessert, which are no longer in print - as well as a few news ones and a couple of favorites from my website.

(Hint: It makes a great holiday gift.)

As a bonus, here's my most popular recipe from it: Fresh Ginger Cake. It's rich, moist, and spicy, courtesy of a generous dose of finely chopped fresh ginger – and some black pepper! It goes well with anything, from poached pears to a dollop of lemon curd, or a scoop of pumpkin ice cream.

I usually bake it in a round pan, but if can be baked in loaf pans as well, shown above. Or even in smaller pans, in individual versions. Baking time will vary, of course, so check for doneness if using smaller pans. But no matter how you bake it, everyone loves it – including me!

1 cup (250ml) mild-flavored molasses
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 cup (250ml) vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups (350g) flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup (250ml) water
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 ounces (115g) fresh ginger, peeled and minced (you can use a food processor)
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (22-23cm) cake pan. (If using a springform pan, wrap the bottom well with foil, in case of leaks.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the molasses, sugar, and oil. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and spices.

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda, then whisk it into the molasses mixture along with the chopped ginger.

Gradually sift the flour mixture over the wet ingredients, whisking to combine. Whisk in the eggs thoroughly.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Storage: The cake will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature, if well wrapped.

(Adapted from Ready for Dessert)

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