I dedicate this post to my sisters, my cousins, friends who shared our summers in France and everyone who loves France!
Ever since we were so young, our summer destination was always France. Most probably because my aunt has an apartment in Saint Genis Pouilly (a village close to Geneve).
Riding our bicycles in the neighborhood.
Daily trips to the boulangerie to buy bread and a few sweets for the day.
Peeking out the window and spraying people who pass with water.
Freaking out from our neighbor The Photographer.
enjoying fresh produce on the Sunday Market, meeting new friends and just being carefree!
Eating Carambars, Smurf Gummies and chewing Hollywood gum.
These summers still hold a special place in my heart!
As we grew older, we were then introduced to Paris! And Oh what did Paris do to me! I fell in love instantly!
The cold winters with winds that gnaw on your bones yet you welcome them and nearly give them your arm and say Bon appétit!
Then there were those hot summers, the sun so hot you feel droplets of sweat trickling down your back! Well not really, that happens in Dubai… and not to me, I probably am some sort of reptile! I barely sweat! (Thank God)
The last time we visited Paris, I was 6 months pregnant with a bump so huge and swollen ankles! Every time I go up the steps of the metro stations, I need to lean on my husband or stop every few minutes! It’s not Dubai metro where you can walk as you wish! It’s Paris! People will stomp you!
All my previous visits to Paris I never went on the metro, I used to hate them. The train once closed on my shoulders in Germany! Half of us went to one city and the other half was stuck!
This happened to me in Dubai Metro too! One son with the father on another station and one son with me!
I have been fascinated with French pastries for a very very long time and have reminisced on one day joining Le Cordon Bleu! But as they say in Arabic: The wind may blow against the wishes of the ship.
But I’m very thankful to what life has brought to me and where I am now. Cordon Bleu can wait!
When I read on Jamie’s (Life’s a Feast) that she was hosting Meeta’s (What’s For Lunch Honey?) Monthly Mingle and it was about Paris, I definitely wanted participate. It was nearly the weekend and we were off to the beach house. I took that time to remember all the sweet memories of Paris and what I wanted to bake.
If you went to France as a child or have taken your children there, you might have come across the very famous French caramel sticks Carambar!
We grew up having those caramels, stocking ourselves with them when we leave to Dubai and ask everyone visiting France to get us some!
What would be more delicious than a Carambar Pie!
I have never imagined myself eating a pie that had chocolate in it and not fruit!
More importantly, I have never made pie before!
That’s my sister Shamma’s specialty!
I woke up yesterday morning, all geared up to start baking when Shamma brought her Galaxy Tab and said I should watch this French movie she had downloaded last night and watched. Perfect timing!
A great movie! Worth watching!
When I started to watch I noticed something but stayed quiet. Cried and smiled inside. Then Shamma said… Look at the Omar Sy’s smile. I quickly said Marwan. Not wanting her to talk more about it or else I would have cried!
I enjoyed the movie twice as much as anyone else probably would because the Omar Sy’s eyes and smile reminded me of my cousin who passed away in October 2008. I have been missing him dearly.
Baking, watching this movie, and wanting to be in Paris with them made everything perfect! Even the Carambar Pie!
CARAMBAR PIE – Recipe adapted from Larousse
For the Crust:
1 Vanilla Pod
5 TBS Sugar
1 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Butter – Softened and cut in small pieces
For the Carambar Ganache
1 Cup Heavy Cream
30 Carambar Caramels
400gm Milk Chocolate Chopped
Prepare the pie crust:
1. In a small bowl, add the sugar and scrape the vanilla seeds into it. With your fingertips, rub the vanilla seeds into the sugar.
2. Sift the Flour directly on your work surface then rub the butter into it with your fingertips until you reach the consistency of fine bread crumbs.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, then crack the egg into it and add the sugar. Mix with your fingers making sure you don’t knead the dough. Flatten the dough with the heel of your hand until it becomes even-textured. Form it into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 175C. Butter/Spray and flour the pie dish you’re using.
5. Roll out the dough and place into the pie dish and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Prepare the Carambar Ganache:
1. Place the cream in a saucepan and add the Carambars over low heat until melted. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate pieces.
2. Mix the chocolate with a wooden spoon until melted and the ganache looks glossy.
3. Pour the ganache onto the pie crust and allow to set for 3 hours.