Let’s take a vacation.
It’ll be fun!
We’ll start in Rome and see the Colosseum, visit the good ol’ Pope at the Vatican, and throw a couple coins in the Trevi Fountain while we wish for an amazing dinner in…
Naples! Where we will obviously stuff our faces with the best pizza made on this Earth, drink really good wine and chat with the locals.
I hope you speak Italian…I know “buongiorno” “ciao” and “grazie.” That won’t get us very far. I’m 100% positive we’d get that “dumb American” look from locals if all we said was “hello” “goodbye” and “thank you” with that eager “excited” look on our faces.
We’ll stop in Venice for a gondola ride and have an Italian man sing to us while we, once again, drink really good wine, eat some amazingly fresh pasta, and finish the evening with either a cannoli or gelato (or both, duh.)
We’ll throw Florence in there too, because, well, it’s Florence and it’s beautiful. Must I justify it? Didn’t think so.
Our next stop will be in Ireland, where we’ll see landscapes greener than Kermit the Frog, and tour giant, beautiful castles. We’ll have a debate about how the interior of our future vacation-home castles will look — keep the stone walls or have an unexpected switch to a modern feel? (Hey, it could happen!)
Not too far from us will be Dublin, where we’ll spend the evening visiting pubs and engaging in Irish debauchery. They’re crazy. It’ll be a bloody good time, you see.
Clearly we’ll have to visit Spain. We can’t pass up the opportunity to see that incredible architecture! We’ll see flamenco shows, run with some bulls, and eat flan and churros until we pass out. ¡Ay dios mio!
Next stop, London! Museums, museums, museums! We’ll get super cultured and by the time we get back to the states we’ll be able to be snobs about it. “Oh, well, whenever I go to London I must visit the British Museum to see the Egyptian antiquities. The trip is simply incomplete without it!”
And finally, we’ll bring our trip to a close in Paris, France. Ahh, Paris. What better way to conclude than in the City of Lights? We’ll visit the Louvre, have a picnic by the Eiffel Tower, play hide-and-seek at Notre Dame, stroll the Palace of Versailles, enjoy a cabaret show at le Moulin Rouge and take a sip of water from a few of the Wallace Fountains.
But of course, the most important part of the Paris trip – dessert.
Chocolate soufflés, creme brûlée, cream puffs, eclairs, macarons, tarts, chocolate pots de creme, and crepes. And don’t you dare forget breakfast! Fresh croissants, pain au chocolat, and the best brioche our tastebuds will ever enjoy.
All of the above will be devoured at a fancy little table outside a French bistro, accompanied by cafe au lait, schmoozie French music, and lots of laughter.
Okay, so, when do we leave? Now? Cool. I’m already packed. (I knew you’d come with me!)
Until our plane leaves, though, maybe we can have these cupcakes to hold us over.
French Fruit Tart cupcakes, that is. Ooh la la!
Trying to come up with a way to make these a reality was a bit of a challenge, but man oh man, they definitely work.
It’s an almond cake filled with custard (which, by the way, is infused with Grand Marnier), topped with strawberries, kiwi, and an apricot glaze. Talk about de. lish. us.
Oh, and homemade whipped cream…which is always a winner.
OH, and a blueberry. Which really doesn’t have that much significance, but really helps with the aesthetics.
OHH! …just kidding, I don’t really have anything else to add.
And of course, the cupcakes look magnifique in the Parisian Party themed cupcake wrappers from Event Blossom! I love these, especially the striped one. Make sure to check out Kim’s blog for more info on how to use these fun kits!
Très chic, oui?
French Fruit Tart Cupcakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 pinches of salt
1 “shake” grond nutmeg (when I say “shake” I mean out of the container. No measuring. It’s just to enhance the almond flavor)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp almond extract
1. Set oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg together until evenly combined. Set aside.
3. On medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated.
5. Add vanilla and sour cream and beat until combined. Continue beating mixture on high for an additional 20 seconds.
6. Alternately, add flour mixture and milk until all ingredients are well combined.
7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 18 minutes. Cool completely.
3 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups milk (any kind – I used 1%)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 heaping tbsp flour
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp Grand Marnier
1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a medium heatproof bowl.
2. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and add to egg mixture. This will form a thick paste that looks questionable but will ultimately taste delicious, don’t worry.
3. Heat milk and vanilla in a saucepan. Once the milk comes to a light boil, remove from the heat and slowly add it to the egg mixture. Whisk constantly to avoid curdling. Add liqueur and mix until combined.
Now, be a smart cookie and strain the custard NOW, not later. I was a dummy and didn’t do it until later…which let me tell you, is annoying and takes for-freaking-ever!)
4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat until it begins to boil, whisking constantly. Once it reaches a boil, continue to whisk until it thickens.
5. Remove the custard from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. You may store this overnight in the refrigerator if you don’t plan on using it right away.
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tbsp water
1. In a small saucepan, heat jam and water over medium heat until it melts.
2. Pour the glaze through a strainer to get rid of any chunks.
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 heaping tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1. Beat cream on high until soft peaks form.
2. Add sugar, beat on high until it starts to become stiff.
3. Add vanilla, beat for another 30 seconds.
BAM. Whipped cream.
That was all pretty simple, right? Now on to the assembly…
With either a cupcake corer or a small knife, cut a hole in the center of the cupcakes. Put the custard in a pastry bag (a ziplock bag will work fine, too) and put a small amount in each, stopping when you feel resistance.
Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the top of each filled cupcake.
Cut strawberries and kiwi into thin slices. Place them on the cupcake in any which way you desire. Coat the fruit with the glaze. Top with whipped cream and that blueberry I mentioned earlier!