Monday, May 25, 2015

It's 4:00 Somewhere, and I'm Dreaming of Teatime in Paris...

Teatime in Paris, Diamants

It's 4:00 somewhere, isn't it??  Whatever the local time it's always the perfect time for tea, at least in my world.  So, as this year's travel plans are rounding out to be more of a "San Diego Staycation", I'm bringing a little bit of Paris to me with Jill Colonna's new book, Teatime in Paris!: A Walk Through Easy French Patisserie Recipes .

Jill and I go back a long way.  Actually, she and I were BFFs (Best Friends Forever) even before we first became truly acquainted.

Photo Credit:  Lili Auten
You see, I discovered Jill's first book, Mad About Macarons!: Make Macarons Like the French, when when researching the art of macaron making and the book became my constant companion during mom driving duties.

Reading the book from cover to cover in the school pickup line, at the dentist, waiting at dance class, etc, and then perusing her blog and actually watching her on tv (a Scottish morning show - The Hour), Jill and I spent hours and hours together, and I'm positively certain she would have felt the same kinship I did if she had only known I existed! 

Since then we've followed each other through our blogs along with occasional emails and we've watched as our similarly aged girls have grown into lovely young women.  I've virtually enjoyed spectacular days in Paris through Jill's lovely photos (love her instagram!), and I've envied her constant supply of macarons with flavor combos I can only dream of.  Her sense of humor and pure love of life make her simply the best of companions (My dad loves her too!).

Carlsbad Dance Centre Senior Dancers enjoying Teatime in Paris!
But even more excitingly, Jill has joined me once again and spent the last few weeks traveling around Southern California with the launch of her new book, Teatime in Paris!  While she may not be innately aware, her Strawberry Eclairs (pg. 84) tempted the dancers and dance moms at an LA Dance Competition, she's spent hours contemplating Choux Puff technique while lounging on local beaches, and she had Liv's orthodontist captivated with her Fast Fig, Almond and Lavender Tarts.

French Macaron
PC:  Alexis Mertz
However, our most fun excursion by far has to be the visit to Liv's Honors Algebra Class for a Career Day Presentation.  Who knew food blogging would garner such attention?  But with Jill's book in hand, how could it not?

Explaining that food blogging perks include reviewing cookbooks like Teatime in Paris, the kids took the task to heart.  With a plateful of Jill's Lemon and Grapefruit Macarons (yes... I bribed them so I would be the most popular presenter...) and a jar of glistening Diamants (Diamond Biscuits p. 40), these mathletes brought out their creative side as we discussed recipes from the book and food photography, and then set them off to photograph the treats on their own.

French Macaron
Photo Credit:  Meghan Brennan
I had entered the class somewhat confident in my food photography skills - I've had photos published in magazines, splashed on websites and even sold as prints and on cards.  But after seeing the creativity these kids brought for this review, my confidence has been knocked down a peg or two, but I am newly inspired to try different angles and see things in a fresh way.

French Macaron
Photo Credit:  Alexis Mertz
And try new things we did.  Teatime in Paris brings the Pâtisserie to your kitchen, and no, you don't need to be a master chef to taste these treats in your own home.  Thanks to Jill and her easy to follow directions, you can have fresh, crisp Almond Tuiles (pg. 46) with your tea in just over an hour - and with ingredients you probably already have in your own pantry.

Teatime in Paris guides you step-by-step through recipes from simple teacakes through eclairs, cream puffs and the delectable French Macaron.  All are within your reach with Teatime in Paris recipes. 

French Macaron
Photo Credit: Hannah Vandenkolk
Planning a trip to Paris yourself??  Jill also fills you in on some of her favorite, tried and true teatime and Pâtisserie locations in the city along with history and lore of the treats you will find there.

So what are you waiting for?  It's teatime somewhere...  what will be your Teatime in Paris treat of choice?

Teatime in Paris, Diamants
Photo Credit:  Emmy Kim

Diamond Biscuits (Diamants)
A favorite of Jill's daughter, Lucie, Diamants are the French equivalent of shortbread, and rolled in sugar they glisten like diamonds!

While I used a scale to weigh all of my ingredients, I've listed what I think are close equivalents below... best to measure by weight if possible though
Recipe from Teatime in Paris!: A Walk Through Easy French Patisserie Recipes , Jill Colonna
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Teatime in Paris, Jill Colonna125g butter, softened (I used 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup)
45g granulated sugar (I used about 1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150g all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cup)

Mix the butter and sugar until light and creamy, either using a balloon whisk (that's what I did!) or in a stand mixer using the flat (or paddle) beater.  Add the vanilla extract and gradually add the flour.  Keep mixing until the batter forms into a ball.  (At this stage you could add a different flavour such as cinnamon if desired.)

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface, then roll it as round as possible into a sausage shape (log) to about 3cm (1 1/4 inches) in diameter.  Roll in cling film (love the words "cling film" in place of our boring "plastic wrap"!) and chill in the fridge for 25 min.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C/360ºf fan (I used 350ºF for my conventional oven).

Once chilled, unwrap and roll the log in granulated sugar, then cut into 1cm-thick (about 3/8") discs.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper or a silicone mat and bake for about 8 minutes or until golden.


Mrs. Matsubara's 10th Grade Honors Algebra Class
 Math kids showing their creative side with Teatime in Paris recipes!


  1. Glistening biscuits sound wonderful!!! Like something out of a fairy story. :-)

  2. My goodness, Kim. I'm bowled over by your fun and enthusiasm of Teatime in Paris and sharing it with the algebra class and Liv's Carlsbad dancers? This is amazing. Thank you so much, my friend. I can't tell you how much this means reading this and seeing all your fun photos. It's making it all the more frustrating living so far away but hopefully we can remedy that soon. And yes, please say a huge bonjour to your Dad, too! Huge hugs from Paris to Olivia and her talented dancers, sweet maths colleagues and here's to many teatimes in Carlsbad. Hopefully together soon, Jill xx

  3. Kim, fantastic way to present the review through the creative eyes of students! Marvelous work you did on the recipes too. Brava!

    1. Isn't it, Brooks? I still am amazed at seeing the whole class here involved in the process!

  4. Ahh Paris, I wish I could be there always. Alas, I'll have to resort to Jill's books instead! Great review, I will be sure to check it out!

  5. What a great post, Kim. Love all the places your book showed up. I definitely would be perusing the cookbook in algebra class (instead of dealing with numbers).


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