I know what you’re saying, why on earth would I ever want to go to an American style bakery when I’m in Paris and delicious French pastries and sweets can be found at every corner shop? Well, for one, David Lebovitz said it was good, and anything he says must be true 😉 Second, while I was in Marseille, Charlotte kept telling me that having a bakery in France with all the cookies and things I like to make, such as snickerdoodles and pumpkin cake, would be something out of the ordinary in France, so I had to go check Sugarplum out.
On a side note, the street numbers in Paris are so confusing. I’m walking down the street with the numbers going up and I notice that number 63, where the bakery is supposed to be, but it is not there. Hmmm… I say to myself. I kept walking and good thing I did as for some reason, 63 was two blocks past 61 and 65 on the other side of the street. HOW CONFUSING! Anyway…
Inside is cute and similar to many bakeries back in NYC that I like so frequent, such as Cupcake Cafe and Butterlane. They have miss-matched chairs, a huge chalkboard with the extensive coffee and tea menu and a lovely counter full of all sorts of traditional American treats. They had cupcakes and scones, a huge tray of rice krispies and towering cakes that are reminiscent of the cakes from BAKED in Brooklyn.
I was so happy to be able to sit down a write for awhile while enjoying my oreo cupcake and espresso. I still haven’t quite gotten down the whole coffee ordering thing yet. I really need to remember that I like cafe au lait here, not just straight espresso. Whoops! In my usual snooty cupcake ways, I thought the cake itself was a little dry, but the frosting was delicious. And they use mini jars for their drinks – my favorite! My bakery will absolutely have mason jars for drinks and miss-matched plates and silverware for all the cookies and other things I decide to make. I will definitely come back to try the rice krispies – one of my favorite treats.
And I found this little treasure on my way out…
Sugarplum Cake Shop
68, rue du Cardinal Lemoine (5th)
Tél: 01 46 34 07 43
So I’ve always been a big fan of scones. Well, actually, more my dad is a big fan of scones, which in turn has led me to become a big fan of scones. Last year, I found a recipe that I personally thought was fool proof. It was super easy, you could add any additions you wanted – blueberries, blackberries, chocolate chips – and they almost always turned out scrumptious. This past weekend, I decided to take a chance and try a new recipe. I decided to use Alton Brown’s recipe. I love his recipes, and this one was no exception. There is really never any excuse not to make fresh scones, because they are so easy and quick to make. I added some frozen bluberries to mine, cut them up into circles (I usually make triangles), popped them in the over, and voila – delicious scones.
This is bound to become my go to scone recipe from now on. I used low-fat cream but stuck with both shortening and butter. I’m sure you could just go with butter if you didn’t want to use shortening, but I had both on hand, so I figured why not. I also brushed the tops with some a little bit of left over cream to give them a bit of a shine when they were done. All in all, very good 🙂
(Adapted from the foodnetwork.com)
- 2 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 3/4 cup cream
- 1 egg
- 1 cup addition of choice (I used blueberries)
1) Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2) In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well.
3) Cut in butter and shortening.
4) In a separate bowl, combine cream with beaten egg then add to dry ingredients. Stir in fruit.
5) Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll dough out and cut into biscuit size rounds. Brush with extra cream.
6) Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.
So I’m not going to lie, I have no where near enough time to bake as I would have liked now that I am in college. Everything just seems to be work work work and read read read with no time for baking. That being said, this past Thursday, during an afternoon when my writing class happened to be cancelled, I decided to make some scones. My dad tells me every day I should make scones and my suitemates seemed to like the idea of some pastries in the house as well.
I was about to venture out and use a new recipe, but after having already purchased the ingredients a few days prior, I just fell back on the classic recipe that I use all the time and never ceases to fail me. ( I didn’t make the glaze and used blueberries instead of strawberries) While the recipe never fails, our oven does. After keeping the scones in for longer then I ever do – and I even cut them smaller – they had still not baked all the way through. The dial said it was at 400 degrees, but I find that very hard to believe. Oh well. They were a little gooey, but still sweet and yummy.
This week has gone by mad crazy fast! I can’t believe it’s almost Friday. I only have about 3 weeks left of school. Hallelujah! In some ways, it is a little bit sad, but honestly, I can’t wait until summer and then NYC in the fall – although with the 80+ degree weather that is expected this weekend, I would say summer is already upon us in full force.
Anyway, enough reminiscing and on to more interesting things – baking that is. Today in french class, Ms. Jones was out with the french exchange students at the beach and we were left to basically fend for myself. Of course I spent half the period doing nothing and half the period looking at recipes. I then realized that Friday morning we have french first and I immediately blurted out “Who wants scones tomorrow?” Almost everyone’s response was a hearty “yes,” and so began my adventure of making scones.
I have never made them before, but they didn’t seem all that hard. Batch one turned out great, a little undercooked maybe – or so my dad said – but other wise good shape and form and nice aroma. The second batch, using a different recipe was a complete disaster. Note to self – never use fresh strawberries in a blender; everything gets mushy and unusuable. So after a failure batch, but still boxes of left over strawberries, I went back to the first recipe again. All of this result in one set of yummy blueberry scones and another set of what appear to be rather good looking strawberry scones, although the strawberries do look a little mushy. I hope they like them in the morning!
adapted from the foodnetwork.com
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1 cup fresh blueberries (or 1 cup of fresh strawberries – whichever you prefer)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 lemon, zest finely grated
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.
Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.
Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape.
Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.
Mix the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Add the lemon zest and butter.
Nuke it for 30 seconds on high.
Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.