Last week Graham and I went to dinner at Cosmos restaurant in Minneapolis where my friend Khanh Tran is the pastry chef. She is a brilliantly talented woman and all of the desserts were breathtaking. I am not generally this liberal with my praise of sweets. I’m often disappointed and rarely quiet about it. Khanh has managed to balance the art of beautiful presentation with deep and true flavors. The last thing we ate that night was a plate of mignardises (small bite sized desserts) and on the platter were two of my all time favorites: French macaroons and citrus fruit pâtes.
My husband quickly claimed the pâtes and I got only a small taste. I decided at that moment I would make my own. I got out my dog-eared 1979 translation of Gaston Lenôtre’s book on candy making. He is the ultimate French pastry chef, old school for sure, but his recipes are tried and true and used by just about every pastry chef cooking today. I’ve tried to make his recipes as simple as possible so you can recreate them easily at home. I’ve also added twists to the flavors to breath new life into this traditional candy.
It is the season of citrus still and the blood oranges are abundant. They make the most beautiful red juice with a slight perfume scent to it. Kumquats are also available and lovely combined with the rich aroma of vanilla. Lastly I combined the floral tartness of Meyer lemons with Rosemary. This one would make a great palate cleanser between courses, or just a lovely light dessert!
Here are the recipes: