RSS Feed

Tag Archives: orange

Tartelettes à l’orange


One French Word: tartelette, a French recipe: tartelettes à l’orange

When I first worked in Paris, rue de la Glacière in the 13th arrondissement to be precise, and to be even more precise, this was almost 50 years ago, there was a pâtisserie diagonally across the road from my office. I discovered orange tarts there, and it soon became an afternoon ritual to pop out and indulge myself at tea-time! It says a lot about the relaxed working atmosphere in France at the time, that it was not considered at all unusual to leave the workplace to buy a little something to eat at (almost) any time of day.

The French language bit:

tartelette (feminine noun), une tartelette, la tartelette, les tartelettes = little tarts (of the pâtisserie kind of course!)

We looked at diminutives a couple of weeks ago, here’s another one. Une tarte is a tart, une tartelette is a little tart, a tartlet, an individual portion.

And an expression: Ce n’est pas de la tarte = (roughly) it isn’t a piece of cake, it isn’t simple

Oranges are in season in France, they are juicy and full of flavour. Here is a recipe which is a little bit different, and which could quite well grace your table around Christmas time. I advise you to take the trouble to do individual “slices”, that is, to make une tartelette for each of your family members or guests. One large tart is so difficult to cut, the orange doesn’t come apart willingly, and you are likely to mess up all your hard work.

Buy your oranges untreated if possible. In any case, wash them thoroughly because you will be using the skins. Use freshly bought oranges, not ones that have been sitting forlornly in your fruitbowl for a couple of weeks (or more…).

Home candied orange slices

Home candied orange slices

Ingredients per person:

  • 1  orange
  • A rectangle of good quality puff pastry, made with pure butter 12cm x 20cm (about 5″ x 8″). This sounds a lot but you will be rolling the edges inwards to form a ridge all the way round.
  • 1tbs of your favourite orange marmelade
  • 1tbs crème pâtissière (optional but moister, see recipe below)
  • 100gr sugar and a wineglass of water


To prepare the orange pieces:

  • Wash the orange and cut into fine slices (about 3mm). Recuperate the juice. Cut each slice carefully into four quarters without tearing. It doesn’t really matter if your slices become irregular towards the end of the orange!
  • Boil up the sugar with any orange juice and the water to make a syrup, put the orange pieces into this syrup, lower the heat and simmer gently, stirring regularly to ensure even coverage of the pieces, for 15 minutes or so. Do watch them so that they do not burn. They should be soft and translucent, and almost all of the syrup should have gone.
Candied orange ready to dry

Candied orange ready to dry

  • Place the orange slices with tongs on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper  to dry a little in the pre-heating oven. It doesn’t matter if they start to colour. Just 5 minutes. Don’t let them dry too much or they will become stiff and crunchy.

Pastry ready to cook blind

To prepare the tarts for the oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  • Cut the rectangles of puff pastry, roll the edges to form a ridge, prick with a fork, brush the edges with an egg yolk beaten with a little milk, fill with dried peas or beans and cook blind for 8-10 minutes. There is a very fine line between undercooking (the underside is not completely cooked) and overcooking (the pastry is as hard as a board). Better slightly on the undercooked side, in my opinion.

Pastry ready with chickpeas

  • Remove from the oven, take out the beans or peas, when cool spread the bottom of the tartlet with 1tbs marmelade, then a thin layer (about 3/4cm, 1/4″) of crème pâtissière if you are using it.
  • Finish with a layer of orange slices, placed in an attractive pattern like little fans.


For the optional crème pâtissière (makes about 500ml (1 pint), so do divide the ingredients according to the number of people you are feeding.

  • 500ml (1 pint) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 50gr corn starch
  • 60gr granulated sugar
  • 1tsp freshly grated orange rind
  • 1tsp vanilla powder

Place all the ingredients in a mixer and mix for 4 minutes. Pour into a saucepan and heat over a moderate flame, never ceasing to stir, until the mixture thickens. A WARNING: if you heat too fast, or stop stirring, your eggs will scramble and you can start all over again. When the mixture coats a spoon thickly, remove from the heat and allow to cool.

This cream can be used to stuff éclairs, sponge cakes or as an ingredient of ice cream. I found this recipe, which is much quicker than other recipes for crème pâtissièrehere    (the site is of course in French).

Now, I didn’t use crème pâtissière, and the result was delicious, but it is definitely moister if one does add a small tablespoonful under the orange slices. The choice shall be yours!


Bon appétit!


One French word: acidulé, a (French) recipe: petite salade acidulée

Acidulé, adjective (acidulé (m.), acidulée (f.), acidulés (, acidulées ( = a sharp, sour, tart taste (pronounced assi-du-lé, as it is written, no particular stress).

A word used mostly of fruit, sometimes of sweets (candy), cf. English acid drops (in French, bonbons acidulés).

A very short entry today, a super simple recipe, more of an idea really. My English grandmother, who only learnt to cook in the 1950s because up to then she had always had a staff, had a standard list of very few, very easy recipes, which were usually quite successful. This one of hers is a simple salad to go with rich food such as duck, goose, pork, even English sausages. It takes the edge off the richness of the rather fatty meat. It is a salade acidulée aux oranges et à l’ail.

Salade acidulée

This is one of those recipes where I don’t need to give you ingredients (but they are oranges, a lime, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper). I hardly need to give you instructions in fact. Just take an orange per person, a nice juicy one (blood oranges are good for the colour they add); don’t skin it with your fingers in the usual manner, but take a sharp knife to it and trim off the skin and the pith at the same time. If your oranges are large, cut in half and then slice fairly thickly, about 0.7cm per slice and arrange in individual dishes. Pour any juice back over the orange. Squeeze some lime juice, drizzle olive oil, add salt and pepper and a little grated garlic.

Some of you may recognize English sausages – one of the things I miss about England!

Each person will toss his or her invidual salad as and when. Try it, it’s really good, refreshing and light with the meats mentioned above, as well as any other vegetables you may choose.

And here with duck breast and chips

Bon appétit!

One French word: fenouil, a French recipe: salade de fenouil à l’orange

  • Fenouil (masculine noun, le fenouil) pronounced f (as in fern, without the ern) nou y (as in your without the our),  f-nou-y, with the stress on the “nou” = fennel, a bulbous, aniseedy tasting vegetable used in salads or cooked, whole or sliced. It is good with fish when cooked, with duck and other fatty meats when in a salad. You don’t really say “un fenouil“, or use it in the plural. Fennel seeds (des graines de fenouil) help the digestion and may be used scattered over a salad, or cooked with cabbage for instance, or even in a herbal tea (tisane). Here I am talking about garden fennel, but it grows wild in a lot of places in France (du fenouil sauvage). In this case the stems and flowers are used, often for barbecuing fish: a fairly thick layer between the fish and the embers gives a satisfying flavour and the smoke smells lovely too while you are waiting, drink in hand, to eat.

Image via Wikipedia

The recipe I’m going to give you today is for a fennel and orange salad: salade de fenouil à l’orange.

You will need, for 4 people:

  • 1 good sized bulb of fennel (or two smaller) with some nice green fuzzy leaves
  • 2 oranges
  • a small amount of sprouted seeds of some kind to garnish
  • 1 tsp of chopped red onion
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the vinaigrette


Wash the fennel, remove and reserve the nice green shoots, trim any dry bits at the top of the stalks. Slice the fennel vertically. This is important. It is much less stringy this way and makes prettier slices. Sit the fennel on its bottom, stems upwards, and slice downwards into very fine slices, no more than 2mm thick. Arrange tastefully in the centre of a serving dish.

Fennel orange salad

Salade de fenouil à l’orange

Peel and slice the oranges, removing as much pith as possible.  Cut each one in half (following the direction of the segments, that is, top to bottom, not side to side). Lay each half on its flat side and slice (no more than 3mm). Arrange these slices either side of the fennel. Pour any orange juice over the fennel and orange.

Roughly chop the green parts of the fennel and sprinkle over the top. Add the chopped red onion. Garnish the dish with the sprouted seeds, either sprinkled or in one ball.

Make a dressing (vinaigrette) with half a tablespoon balsamic vinegar (vinaigre balsamique), one and a half tablespoons of olive oil (huile d’olive), salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over the salad, but do not toss until everyone has admired your presentation. The pale green of the fennel and the orange look wonderful together. Si simple, si bon! (so simple, so good!)

Bon appétit.

%d bloggers like this: