Because life is short, and you always just do what you must.
Because you are practical, responsible, with common sense coming out of your ears.
That’s most of us.
You bake a pan of Brownies for the kids (scrupulously from scratch, please!), stirring the melted butter and chocolate with a spatula, in a pot on the stove, already visualizing the little dark squares that you have been making for twenty odd years.
Suddenly, the bubble of routine and intense boredom has become intolerable, and the urge to take that panful of molten monotony and shove it out of the window is nearly irrepressible.
So, you make Le Fraisier.
In fact, I bake quite often, but generally I go for simple, hearty breakfast cakes, the ubiquitous Brownies, a pound cake baked in a spectacularly intricate Bundt pan, to obtain at least a visually inspiring product.
Naturally, the time factor is the culprit, plus the constant exhaustion, as we zombie our way through life, our only purpose survival of another day.
Following one of my favorite TV programs, The Great British Baking Show, while partially dozing, due to the above-mentioned exhaustion (and perhaps the oversized glass of Pinot Grigio), I perked up when I watched the
mesmerizing preparation of the stunning Fraisier, one of the glories of French Haute Pâtisserie.
In the ‘old days’, before my life became so fast-paced and maddening complicated, I used to dedicate long, enjoyable, hours to the preparation of elaborate cakes and tarts, following lengthy recipes in my enormous cookbook collection. I became quite an accomplished pâtissière!
Then life caught up with me.
Well, I’m rebelling. I’m not making Chocolate Chip Cookies this time, but a stunning Fraisier! And I don’t need a reason for it.
I did some research in my French baking books, surfed the web, till I found a video that seemed quite reliable. I watched it very carefully, then wrote my shopping list, hit the stores for a few items I didn’t have at home – strawberries, almond flour, milk (yes, milk: nobody drinks milk in my house), then began the methodical prepping of the various components. It took a couple of days, stealing time from this
and that; prepare the almond genoise (French sponge cake), the crème pâtissière, the mousseline, the simple syrup, the marzipan. A serene joy filled my heart as I watched each creamy, velvety concoction turn out beautifully.
The little things.
The final assembly was perhaps the most heart-fluttering and dramatic stage of the process. The exquisite beauty of a well-executed gateau makes one feel, well, worthy.
Damn, I still got it!
I invited my whole family over for cake, the day after. Just because.
Le Fraisier became only a memory in thirty minutes flat! Thank goodness for smartphones.
Make a Fraisier, my friends. Good for the soul.
(If you want to give it a try, here is the link to the professional video I followed to the letter. Have fun!)