Book Club- The Paris Book Shop

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This month we read The Little Paris Book Shop by Nina George. This book was “fluffier” than the last few books we’ve read so it was a nice break in that regard.  It was the story of Jean Perdu and the love he’d lost. He is the owner of the Literary Apothecary, which is a little boat he sells books on.  We (me and the other three ladies in book club) all appreciated the French scenery described in the book. However, we found that we couldn’t relate to the most of the characters.  We were all glad we read it, but most of us probably wouldn’t read it again.  I will, however, be reading the appendix again. It has a unique glossary of book recommendations and several French recipes I’d like to try sometime.

Book rating: would not read again (6/10)

Since the book took place in France, I tried to theme our menu around French food, or items that were in the book.  Here is what we had:

  • Homemade croissants (I used the America’s Test Kitchen recipe)
  • Trio of French cheeses
  • French paté
  • Candied orange
  • Amarena cherries
  • Lemon Macaroons with Blackberry Filling (recipe below)

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Buttery goodness!

 

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To go along with the theme, I bought a French wine for book club.  It was the Le Grand Courtage Blanc de Blanc Brut.   It is a slightly dry and light sparkling wine.  One of the ladies commented that she liked that it wasn’t too sweet so it paired well with the food.

All of the ladies said they would drink it again.  However, when I asked if they would buy it again (it was around $14 at Whole Foods), they all said no.  I thought it was worth it, but it depends on what you’re willing to spend on wine…everyone’s threshold is different.

Wine rating: would drink again 8/10

 

What’s your favorite French food? Do you have a book you prescribe for specific ailments or moods?

The next book we’ll be reading is  American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Life of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales.

 

 

Lemon Macaroons with Blackberry Filling

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Macaroons were the first dessert that came to mind when I decided to make something sweet and French for book club.  Of course I wanted to incorporate blackberry jam (I’m obsessed!), and I thought lemon would be a complementary flavor.

I used Martha Stewart’s recipe as a starting point and then tweaked it accordingly.

First, blend the powdered sugar and almondIMG_1933 meal (this is the same almond meal used in the Tilapia recipe from Wednesday) in a food processor to get rid of the lumps.  If there are more than 2 tablespoons left, sift the mixture again.  This step is important because it will prevent lumps in your finished product.  No one wants a lumpy macaroon (trust me on this one).  Set the mixture aside.

Then you put the egg whites and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl and whip by hand to combine.  Turn the mixer on medium and beat for 2 minutes.  Beat another 2 minutes on medium-high, then beat another 2 minutes on high.  While the eggs are whipping, cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper. You’ll know the egg white mixture is ready when it holds stiff peaks.

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Stiff peaks

 

Add 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest and mix until it’s incorporated into the egg white mixture.

Fold the almond and powdered sugar in to the egg whites mixture.  It needs to be folded in gently, so the egg whites don’t lose a bunch of the air you just worked into them. Do this about 30-40 times until the almond mixture is completely mixed in to the egg whites.

The next part just seems tricky, but I promise it’s really not- trust yourself and you’ll do just fine 🙂 Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. IMG_1934

There are several options for piping bags.  You can typically find reusable ones in the baking aisle at the grocery store.  There are also disposable ones available at most specialty shops or online. I prefer the disposable ones because you don’t have to mess with the cleaning when you’re done.  In a pinch you could also fill a Ziploc freezer bag and cut the tip off one of the corners.  This would be your piping bag.

Push the mixture down towards the tip of the piping bag and twist or fold up the end. Pipe the mixture onto the parchment-lined cookie sheets in about 1 inch wide circles.  Leave at least an inch between them.  Once you’ve filled one cookie sheet bang it on the counter hard 3-4 times.  This gets any air pockets (and your frustrations for the day) out.

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Before

Put it in the oven and work on filling the other cookie sheet.

The macaroons are done when they have risen and are just set (firm to the touch).

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After- nice and golden!

While the cookies are cooling, make the filling.  Put the jam in a small bowl and add the rest of the lemon zest  Stir to combine.  Give it a taste and if you want it more lemony, just add more zest.

Top a cookie with a small spoonful of the jam filling and top with another cookie to make a little sandwich.  Do this with the remaining cookies.  There may be a little of the jam mixture left, depending on how full you made your sandwiches. You’ll end up with 15-20 sandwiches.

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Lemon Macaroons with Blackberry Filling
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup blackberry jam
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°
  2. Blend the powdered sugar and almond meal in a food processor to get rid of the lumps. If there are more than 2 tablespoons left, sift the mixture again.
  3. Put the egg whites and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl and whip by hand to combine. Then turn the mixer on medium and beat for 2 minutes. Beat another 2 minutes on medium-high. Then beat another 2 minutes on high. While the eggs are whipping, cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper. The egg white mixture is ready when it holds stiff peaks.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest and mix until it's incorporated into the egg white mixture.
  5. Fold the almond and powdered sugar in to the egg whites mixture gently. Fold about 30-40 times until the almond mixture is completely mixed in.
  6. Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
  7. Push the mixture down towards the tip of the piping bag and twist or fold up the end. Pipe the mixture onto the parchment-lined cookie sheets in about 1 inch wide circles. Leave at least an inch between them. Once you've filled one cookie sheet bang it on the counter 3-4 times.
  8. Put it in the oven and work on filling the other cookie sheet.
  9. The macaroons are done when they have risen and are just set (firm to the touch).
  10. While the cookies are cooling, make the filling. Put the jam in a small bowl and add the rest of the lemon zest Stir to combine. Taste the mixture. If you want it more lemony, just add more zest.
  11. Top a cookie with a small spoonful of the jam filling and top with another cookie to make a little sandwich. Do this with the remaining cookies. There may be a little of the jam mixture left, depending on how full you made your sandwiches. You'll end up with 15-20 sandwiches.
7.6.5
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http://www.rachelpounds.com/2016/04/29/welcome-to-book-club-the-paris-book-shop/

3 Comments

  1. OH WOW! I need to read this book and have a party like you did!
  2. Pingback: Blackberry Jam – By the Pounds

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