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European and Asian Breakfast Pastries


pastrygirl
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I agree with John DePaula: baguette with butter and jam is the most French of breakfasts, with coffee. Yogurt is often on the menu as well, most often plain yogurt served with sugar to stir in, or sometimes fruited.

As for cookies, as far as I can tell the French don't much eat them. There's a brownie craze here, but that's clearly about eating American food. If you're looking for a sweet snack to serve in the afternoon I'd suggest what we think of as a quick bread, which the French call "cake." And yes, it should be considerably less sweet than an American version would be. However, it's much more likely that a French person would have a savory snack with a drink in the late afternoon, as opposed to something sweet. There are tons of savory "cake" recipes online and you'd please a French person by having one available with a glass of wine. Look for "cake salé" recipes if you read French.

For dessert, you could easily have creme brulée or creme caramel and make a French diner happy. Rice pudding is also common, as are floating island-type desserts. Those would all be easy to make with local ingredients. As far as I can tell, the French always eat dessert, but it's not usually something large or fancy.

As a curiosity you might also offer a cheese course, of only local cheeses. A French guest would probably be delighted to try out the local stuff.

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Hmm...have to disagree on that. We definitely think of pancakes as a Sunday morning breakfast in my house, and on pancake day of course. Plus, people eat different things when they are on holiday, and I'm sure the chance to eat proper British pancakes (as opposed to the very different American kind) would be very welcome. When we have pancake day in my house, we always say that we should have pancakes more often!

What is a proper British pancake? So much to learn. The pancake issue came up with an Indian guest recently. She asked for pancakes (not on the menu at that lodge, but that is another story) hoping for something spicy, and got American pancakes. American, British, Swedish, Indian....so many pancakes!

...

I'd say that you would be very unlikely to be offered (typical British) pancakes (like a slightly thick crepe) for breakfast in any UK hotel or B&B - unless it attracted a largely American clientele! Typically, in a hotel, I think they'd be offered as a lunch or dinner dessert course option, and called crepes!

"Scotch pancakes" are smaller and thicker than 'pancakes' - like a bigger and not-so-savoury blini, sweetening optional - and usually served (more often cold than hot) as a mid-afternoon ("teatime") vehicle for butter and jam. Its not impossible that you might be offered these for breakfast in a Scottish hotel, but it would be one with phoney tartan curtains and the like! :raz:

http://bakingforbritain.blogspot.com/2006/...h-pancakes.html

However, I believe in India savoury, spicy, filled Dosa and such are rather normal for breakfast. Particularly in the South?

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I agree with John DePaula: baguette with butter and jam is the most French of breakfasts, with coffee.  Yogurt is often on the menu as well, most often plain yogurt served with sugar to stir in, or sometimes fruited.

As for cookies, as far as I can tell the French don't much eat them.  There's a brownie craze here, but that's clearly about eating American food.  If you're looking for a sweet snack to serve in the afternoon I'd suggest what we think of as a quick bread, which the French call "cake."  And yes, it should be considerably less sweet than an American version would be.  However, it's much more likely that a French person would have a savory snack with a drink in the late afternoon, as opposed to something sweet.  There are tons of savory "cake" recipes online and you'd please a French person by having one available with a glass of wine.  Look for "cake salé" recipes if you read French.

For dessert, you could easily have creme brulée or creme caramel and make a French diner happy.  Rice pudding is also common, as are floating island-type desserts.  Those would all be easy to make with local ingredients.  As far as I can tell, the French always eat dessert, but it's not usually something large or fancy.

As a curiosity you might also offer a cheese course, of only local cheeses.  A French guest would probably be delighted to try out the local stuff.

Excellent suggestions. If you don't read French, you could search for "cake salé" as Abra suggests and add the English word "oil" to exclude French-only recipes. Here's one I found for Cake aux olives over at Sally's Place.

The French really enjoy a Chocolat Moelleux which I'd probably enjoy more if I didn't see it on so many cartes. Lemon Pound Cake a.k.a. 'Le Weekend' might also be popular as a sweet snack/dessert.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Well, from what I know, American pancakes are thicker and spongier than British ones, and are eaten with weird things like bacon  British pancakes, the kind made on pancake day are thinner and have no leavening in them. They are more crepe like. The traditional accompaniment is lemon juice and sugar.

My mom, who is British and my dad, who spent several years there used to make these once in a while. I don't have a recipe, but I can only describe the ones they made as a thick large crepe. No leavening, as you mentioned, but the proportion of flour to liquid must be higher than for a crepe.

There's actually a pancake house chain here in Illinois that makes a pretty good replica, but they call it a 49er flapjack.

I believe my Mum does 2 eggs, 125g of flour, 300ml of milk and some butter for cooking. Something like that.

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I can also go more Asian, too, being in Asia, but I haven't found a whole lot of Asian desserts that I think would sell well on the menu.  I do have The Sweet Spot, and I have gotten a few ideas from there.  If sweetness is the problem, I don't want to get too much into Indian desserts, they are usually way too sweet for me, but something here or there might be OK.

Mini rant:  We all just wish that we could really spell it out to the guests sometimes.  Many of them realize how many challenges we have here and appreciate the food, but a few of them just don't get that the cream won't whip, the fruit is usually mediocre and bruised, imports don't always get here on time, the staff doesn't always get the point, etc etc.  We'd love to import better varieties of mango trees, plant them, wait 5 years, then give you the best mangoes ever for your breakfast, but right now it's just not going to happen - this means you, unsatisfiable British guy from last week!

Help!  And thank you!

Having tried to make Continental and American baked goods in the Philippines (and on a budget too!) I feel your pain somewhat. The asian idea of breakfast and dessert is a lot more fluid, but maybe something like a congee would be welcome in both instances... I love hot tofu in syrup and that should not be too hard to make and hold for service.

That being said, brioche in all its permutations, strudel (both sweet and savory fillings), and of course ice cream, sorbet and gelato in markedly less sweet versions than any American would go for, genoise-or biscuit based cakes, and things based on chocolate/caramel/alcohol flavors (Grand Marnier, Amaretto) were guaranteed to be popular, and don't deend that much on perfect fruit or a steady importing schedule. HTH.

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I've been thinking a lot about making some danishes, and thought it might be a good choice for pastrygirl, too. I think they would appeal to both European and American clients--who doesn't love a good danish? And the fillings could vary--you could use fillings made with local fruits, tropical fruits, etc. for more variation, along with the standard custard cream (nutella would be nice, too!).

Nigella Lawson's Food Processor Danish Dough might be a good place to start. It seems easy enough to not add too much to your workload. It does require a few rounds of folding, turning, and rolling, but no additional butter is involved. I'd make them much smaller than a usual (American-sized) Danish, though, since some people might find them a tad rich or sweet.

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Speaking as a Canadian currently living in Utah, I would say that Americans use more sugar in their pastries and cakes and such than do Canadians.

We were in a culinary emergency last year and bought a commercial angel food cake. I was stunned by how sweet it was. Then we tried a pound cake...same thing. Now I have an oven and can make what I need.

I asked the Utah chocolate couverture supplier about sending me some 70% chocolate...I love it. He said only if I wanted a case. They just don't get any call for it. But then Greweling doesn't seem to use it at all :shock:

It's just what you are used to, what you are raised on. Perhaps that's the sole basis of the European remarks...too sweet for their taste.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I do really appreciate all of the feedback. I rather regret that the mods changed the title to focus on breakfast pastry, but I guess that was the way the responses were leaning, even if that was only part of the question.

I do plan to go through and reduce the sugar in a lot of recipes, I wish I could send out a memo saying 'use 20% less' but not everyone here can do that math (sad but true). It's true that taste is just what you grew up with. I grew up with raspberry pie as an acceptable breakfast option. We had a group of mostly Americans who asked for 3 of my recipes, but then there was just another Brit who found the rum caramel sauce on the tiramisu to be too much. I like sauce on a plated dessert, what can I say? Maybe it should be espresso caramel instead.

For breakfast, I'll focus on more brioche type breads, I already tested a Swedish saffron-raisin batter bread that I think will work. The staff liked it, and they don't like a lot of sweets. Easy and can be adapted to different flavors. Also, I have some ridiculously expensive and delicious hazelnut paste that I better use up before it goes bad, so we'll try a baguette with housemade nutella (but less sweet, that stuff is too sweet even for me!) as an option and see if it sells. And plainer biscuits/scones so they are a better vehicle for butter and jam.

I'm working on cookies, too. The ones based on ground nuts are pretty good, but the sables and plain butter cookies just seem so...plain. I know, I don't have to love everything I make as long as I know someone else will. I'm loving langue de chat (lemon and vanilla so far, green tea and curry coming soon) and Nigella's almond macaroons (ricciarelli). Piped cookies will be good practice for my staff.

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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I'm on the side of the Europeans regarding Tiramisu and sauce. It's so sweet and rich on its own, sauce is overkill. Maybe you could put the sauce in a little pitcher for the server to offer the guest, and for when the guest accepts, have the server pour it or spoon it in a simple but artful way??? I think jumanggy once used cocoa-stenciled stars to decorate a plate of tiramisu. That's a nice idea, too.

I'm in the process of making Nigella Lawson's danishes. I don't think they'll turn out quite right (I used the wrong kind of flour, and lessened the yeast thinking it would be too much), but I'll still eat them!

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