Galettes à l’Orange
I’ll be the first to admit that I eat with my eyes first. What this also means is that I gravitate towards recipes with a pretty picture attached, particularly when it comes to desserts. The process of reproducing or tweaking the look of a cake, say, as captured in a book’s pictures gives me as much pleasure as recreating its taste, as captured in the book’s words. On the rare occasion that I do decide to try something based on the author’s persuasive prose alone, however, I am reminded that judging a recipe by its photograph (or lack thereof) is as silly as judging a book by its cover – I am overlooking a potential goldmine of in-all-likelihood fantastic recipes right under my nose.
Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan is a book I know I should use more often – of the recipes I’ve tried, most have turned out well. While there’s nary a glossy picture in sight, it is charmingly illustrated by Florine Asch, whose watercolours have been commissioned by even the likes of Hermès. Then there’s Ms. Greenspan’s wit and style, rendering photographs virtually redundant in this special instance.
The Galettes à l’Orange are her adaptation of a signature sweet by Eric Kayser. While best known as a boulangerie, Maison Kayser turns out a simple selection of sweets possibly every bit as splendid as their Monge baguette or Le Tourte. Described as "an orange meringue tart masquerading as a cookie", a flaky butter cookie base is spread with a layer of apricot jam spiked with Grand Marnier before being topped by a fat swirl of hazelnut meringue, which bakes up crisp-yet-chewy. This is one teatime treat I plan to revisit.