Bonjour Praline!

While New Orleans may be known for their delicious fried doughnuts called beignets, they are also home to the famous praline (pronounced two ways: “prah-leen” or “pray-leen”), a type of candy made with pecans and caramelized sugar.

Praline is believed to have come from the French term, praliné, which is the process of cooking nuts with a cream, sugar, and butter mixture.

The original French version uses almonds, while the Belgian praline is a chocolate candy with a hazelnut filling. The American version was developed by French Creole chefs who replaced almonds with pecans, which were abundant in Louisiana.

The first time I tried a New Orleans praline was when my boss brought back boxes of Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines from her trip to “The Big Easy.” I was hooked after the first bite! Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines has been making pralines since 1935. They’re gluten-free and they’re made without preservatives.

When the craving strikes, you can order them online (they ship worldwide). I purchased a box of 12 original pralines recently:

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday. It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of the Christian tradition of Lent. During the Lenten season, many people fast or abstain from indulgent behavior during the 40+ days before Easter. Basically, Mardi Gras (February 16 this year) is the last day to have fun!

Instead of fasting, many people choose to give up something they enjoy, like smoking, drinking alcohol, gambling, social media, using profane language, or eating sweets!

praline crumbled over chocolate chip ice cream

These pralines are so decadent, I just might give them up for Lent! 😉

Petit Pot: Organic French Pudding Made in California

Updated: January 18, 2021

[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Thanks to Petit Pot for giving me samples of Mint Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice pudding. There are no affiliate links in this post.]

Image: Petit Pot

J’adore Petit Pot!

J’adore Petit Pot! I first saw the cute jars of pots de crème at my local grocery store a couple of years ago. As a Francophile, I was charmed by its logo: a blue jar wearing a striped shirt, an orange beret, and a smile. He even has a name: Il s’appelle Louis!

Petit Pot (say “peh-tee-poh”) creates their sweet and velvety French-style custards and rice pudding (riz au lait) desserts using local ingredients! They’re located in Emeryville, California, which is about 10 miles/ 17 km east of San Francisco.

Of the eight flavors they currently offer, my favorite is Dark Chocolate. The desserts are thick, creamy, and just the right size to satisfy a sweet tooth craving (each jar is 3.5 oz/ 100 g).

You can enjoy them as is or put a little whipped cream on top for some added flair!

I love to add fresh raspberries:

Chocolate pudding on spoon with a raspberry

I’ve saved many Petit Pot jars since 2018 and I’m thinking of creative ways to reuse them which I’ll share in a future blog post.

Special Holiday Flavors: Mint Chocolate & Pumpkin Spice

Petit Pot offered two seasonal flavors in 2020: Mint Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice. (Note: As of 01/18/2021, both holiday flavors are out of stock. Petit Pot may bring them back, so stay tuned!)

They are made with organic ingredients, including: whole milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, and cane sugar.

The Pumpkin Spice flavor is made with organic pumpkin purée. Although I could taste more cinnamon than pumpkin, I like its smooth texture; it’s like eating a pumpkin pie.

I love chocolate in general so I expected to like the Mint Chocolate flavor and I was right! It tastes like their Dark Chocolate flavor, but with just the right amount of mint, like after dinner mints. The Mint Chocolate flavor is made with organic ingredients: unsweetened chocolate, natural vanilla extract, and peppermint oil.

To learn about all of Petit Pot’s delicious desserts that use USDA organic, gluten-free, peanut-free, and locally-sourced ingredients, as well as helpful information about their sustainable packaging, shipping schedules, other special offers, and more, visit Petit Pot today!

Have you had Petit Pot desserts? Which flavor is your favorite?

Quiche Vosgienne

I recently learned that when you add cheese to a quiche it’s called Quiche Vosgienne! The name refers to the Vosges area in eastern France, near Germany. I love learning something new every day!

While I’m not a big fan of eggs, I decided to take the learning a step further by trying my hand at making the savory dish. Here is my interpretation of the simple and delicious meat and cheese French tart using a gluten-free crust.

I’ve taken the traditional recipe for Quiche Lorraine (crust, eggs, cream, bacon, salt & pepper) and added a blend of Swiss and Gruyère cheeses.

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Ingredients

  • 1 frozen 9-inch gluten-free pie crust
  • 4 ounces of cubed pork belly (The French call it lardons, the Italians call it pancetta, and I call it yummy bacon!)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese, a blend of Swiss & Gruyère
  • 1 cup of half & half
  • salt & pepper

By using pre-made crust, pre-cubed bacon, and pre-shredded cheese, I saved lots of time.

Instructions

First, I thawed the gluten-free pie crust for 10 minutes. After poking the crust with a fork, I baked it for 15 minutes at 350°F.

While the pie crust was in the oven, I mixed the following ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup of half & half
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

In a small, ungreased frying pan, I browned the pancetta, which I then drained on a paper towel.

Next, I filled the blind-baked crust with a 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese blend:

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I added the pancetta:

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Then, I poured in the egg, cream, and salt & pepper mixture:

Finally, I topped it off with the other half of the shredded cheese:

I baked it for 45 minutes at 375°F and then let it cool down for about an hour.

Et voilà!

Here it is: a Pancetta & Swiss/Gruyère French tart in a gluten-free crust, my interpretation of Quiche Vosgienne!

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Enjoy it hot or cold!

Do you like quiche? What flavor combinations do you like? Tell me in the comments below.

Review: Oui Petites French-style Yogurt

#notsponsored

As a chocoholic and a Francophile, I was naturally charmed by Yoplait USA’s new Oui Petites French-style yogurt in Chocolate with Shavings flavor.

First, the good stuff:

  • Snack sized (3.5 ounces / 99 grams)
  • Glass jars
  • Four flavors available (so far)
  • The foil wrapper has an inspirational quote on it
  • Gluten free
  • Each jar has 140 calories
  • Non GMO

Now, here are a few things I didn’t like:

I read that Yoplait USA is trying to get more people to eat yogurt outside of breakfast hours. I say, if the yogurt is good, don’t worry, people will eat it at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any time in between. I eat yogurt any time of day!

Because of its fancy packaging, I was expecting a fancy dessert. Instead it’s just plain yogurt with chocolate syrup at the bottom and these things called shavings. Wood? Iron? Hair? Oh, chocolate shavings! Why didn’t you just say chocolate shavings?

Why is it “Chocolate with Shavings?” It sounds like each jar contains yogurt, chocolate, and a third ingredient called shavings.

The chocolate bits remind me of the stuff you find in Stracciatella gelato. For a yogurt “inspired by our traditional French recipe” it had me dreaming about an Italian vacation instead.

Conclusion:

I say Non to Oui Petites in Chocolate with Shavings flavor. In my opinion, it doesn’t have a rich enough chocolate flavor. I’ll stick to eating the regular Oui yogurt.

For more information:

  • Oui by Yoplait (link)
  • Press release (link)