Puits d’Amour Recipe

By 1800FlyEurope in World Cuisine Wednesdays | on February 14th, 2013 with No Comments

amour

This Valentine’s Day bake your love (or family or friends or office) a très romantique treat, which has held a sentimental place in Parisians’ hearts for almost 300 years. Puits d’Amour (translation: wells of love) have been a specialty of the Stohrer Pâtissier shop (the oldest bakery in the City of Light) since 1735. The sweet was originally served at King Louis XV’s lavish dinner parties, and a red currant jam was used for the filling. However, the pastry acquired a suggestive reputation, and vanilla custard has been subsequently used in place of the berry preserves.

If you can’t make it to Paris this Valentine’s Day, you and someone special can still share a delicious sweet that emanates a little essence of France. The following Puits d’Amour recipe combines the elements of time-honored tradition with a twist of modern day baking convenience.

Preparation and Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6

Ingredients

Pastry Cream (this can be prepared up to two days ahead of time)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Pastry Dough

  • Box of puff pastry dough from freezer section at your grocery store

Garnish

  • 6 ounce container of fresh raspberries
  • ½ cup of sugar for caramelized topping

Directions

Pastry Cream

  1. Whisk the egg yolks, corn starch and ¼ cup of sugar together in a large bowl and set aside. Do this just before you are ready to complete the next step.
  2. Stir the milk, vanilla extract and ¼ cup of sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from burner.
  3. Pour about a ½ cup of the milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolk blend and whisk. Continue to combine and whisk the rest of the milk (a ½ cup at a time) with the egg mix.
  4. Return the custard to the saucepan and heat over medium again. Let simmer for about 2-3 minutes, until it thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the butter and continue stirring until the pastry cream has cooled (until it is no longer steaming). This takes about 5 minutes.
  6. If you plan on using this for a later date, cover the bowl with cellophane. Be sure that the plastic wrap is pressed up against the custard, so it doesn’t form a skin.

Pastry Dough

  1. Preheat the oven to the temperature noted on the pastry dough box.
  2. Allow the frozen dough to completely thaw but not to room temperature. It still needs to be cold to the touch.
  3. Roll the dough out so that it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut the dough a bit larger than the muffin tin divot and press each piece into the spaces on the pan. A heart shaped cupcake pan was used in the photo at the top of the page.
  4. Poke several little air holes in each pastry with a toothpick; otherwise the dough inflates too much.
  5. Bake per product’s instructions.
  6. Once cooled, remove the pastry shells from the pan and place them on a serving plate (or within individual cupcake papers). Fill each pastry with about a ½ cup of custard.

Garnish

  1. Place a few raspberries on top of each custard.
  2. Mix a ½ cup of sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan. Stir continuously.
  3. Heat over medium until it boils. Then stop stirring.
  4. At this point, the water is evaporating and needs to simmer for another 8-10 minutes.
  5. Once the sugar takes on a golden brown tone, immediately remove the pan from the heat. (If you are concerned about overcooking the sugar, put the bottom of the pot in an ice bath for 10 seconds.)
  6. Be very careful not to touch your skin to the molten sugar. Drizzle a thin coat of caramelized sugar over each custard cup and raspberries. Enjoy!

While the above recipe is superb, nothing can top an actual puit d’amour direct from Stohrer’s pastry shop. Surprise your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day and purchase a couple flights to Paris for a romantic retreat.

 

Meals on the Fly

By 1800FlyEurope in Lists | on January 21st, 2013 with No Comments

airport food

Eating on the go can get expensive, and healthy food options tend to be quite limited. Many domestic flights don’t serve meals these days, and even if the airline does provide you with something to eat, it’s a bit of a gamble on whether or not it will be to your liking. Keeping in mind TSA’s liquid restrictions, consideration of your fellow passengers, and convenience, the following tips offer easy, carry-on meal options.

Fruit and Veggies

Apples, grapes, carrot sticks, and celery are simple to eat in flight and won’t make a big mess. Peanut butter, salad dressing, cream cheese, yogurt, and apple sauce are all considered liquids by TSA, so limit these items to 3.4 ounce portions. Review the TSA 3-1-1 for Carry-on’s policy before you pack, too. Otherwise it may come down to having to make a decision on whether you should part with your shampoo or hummus at the security checkpoint.

Sandwiches

Roll-ups make a great sandwich to munch on midair, because you don’t have to worry about the bread getting soggy. You can also pick up your favorite sandwich on your way to the airport. Just remember that mayo, cheese and meats have a shorter lifespan. If you are saving the meal for much later, go with a veggie selection.

Non-perishable Foods

Dried fruit and nuts (avoid peanuts) are a much healthier, filling snack choice than potato chips or candy. For those early morning flights, consider bringing a pack of instant oatmeal or cereal. Just ask the flight attendant for hot water or milk during the beverage service.

Empty Water Bottle

Once you have passed through the security checkpoint, you can fill the water bottle up at one of the drinking fountains. There are also terrific products like Camelbak’s stainless steel (BPA free) bottle with a filter, if you aren’t too keen on drinking tap water.

A Few More Useful Tips

  • Pack on the lighter side for international flights. Customs may not permit certain foods items into the country.
  • Don’t bring peanuts with you, as someone could have a food allergy to them.
  • Be considerate of other passengers when selecting food for your travels; if it has a strong odor, don’t bring it. Tuna fish, stinky cheese, garlic, and onions should stay at home.

There’s no need to fly hungry or feel forced into buying expensive food-to-go at the airport. Just sit back, relax with a decent snack in hand, and enjoy the in-flight movie. Call 1-800-Fly-Europe for the best prices on flights to Belgium, Japan, South Africa, and many more international destinations.

 

5 Fun New Year’s Eve Traditions in Europe

By 1800FlyEurope in These Five Things | on January 2nd, 2013 with No Comments

2013

As the second hand rounds the clock and closes in on the final moments of 2012, the festive spirit in the air intensifies in anticipation of the stroke of midnight. From huge outdoor crowd gatherings to more intimate get-togethers at a friend or family member’s home, most of the world will soon be cheering on the approaching New Year. You may not be familiar with the following five fantastic New Year’s Eve rituals across Europe, as tradition varies from country to country and even from community to community.

 

fireballs

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

Fireball Swinging in Northeastern Scotland

While you have likely heard of Hogmanay, (which is what Scotland calls their New Year’s celebration) the fireball swinging event that takes place in Stonehaven may surprise you. As the Old Town House bell strikes twelve, people stand back and watch as a procession of locals light their homemade torches and then march up and down High Street. Attached to several feet of wire or chain, the flames are swung out and around, creating a crowd pleasing fiery spectacle for all. When the group nears the harbor, any fireballs still aglow are tossed into the water.

A male is jumping in fright

Jumping into the New Year in Denmark

In the moment that the year’s last second ticks by, many Danes will leap from a chair. Similar to the superstition as to why a bride is carried over a threshold, the belief is that jumping during this precise time safeguards you from being stuck and dwelling on the previous year’s affairs.

grapes

Consuming Twelve Grapes at Midnight in Spain

This tradition began, possibly as early as 1895, when the vineyards in Spain’s Alicante region tried to up their harvest sales. The gimmick worked, and it is now common practice for Spaniards to eat a grape for each chime of the clock as it approaches midnight. By carrying out this ritual, the hope is that it will bring luck and prosperity in the New Year.

 

dive

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

Diving into the North Sea in the Netherlands

In 1965 seven people decided to dash into the frigid North Sea as a tribute to the start of bathing season. After a toasty warm sauna session, a favorite northern European winter pastime is to cool off by taking a dip outside in icy cold water. Today, the New Year’s Eve dive takes place at 89 locations scattered throughout the Netherlands, and 36,000 people participated in 2012’s event.

bonfire

Christmas Tree Burning in Belgium

Burning Christmas trees is an ancient tradition in Belgium. At one time, it was considered bad luck to have greenery of any kind in the home after the holidays. These days, not only is it a New Year’s Eve ritual but it is also an alternative way to dispose of a Christmas tree.

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? Good memories, food, entertainment and company can’t be beat! This year, make a New Year’s resolution to travel someplace you have never visited before and book flights to Denmark, Spain, Belgium or anywhere else in the world that sparks your interests.

 

Nordic Skating in Sweden

By 1800FlyEurope in Destination Highlights | on December 17th, 2012 with No Comments

This isn’t a visit to your traditional ice-skating rink, and hockey and figure skates need not apply. Nordic skating (also called: trip skating, tour skating, long skating or wild skating) is a sport all its own, perhaps only comparable to cross country skiing. Gliding long distance over natural ice is a celebrated pastime in Sweden. It is a fantastic way to soak up the views of the serene Scandinavian terrain while getting in a great, low-impact workout.

The skates typically used for this sport have longer, more heavy duty blades than a pair of hockey or figure skates. They also have click-in bindings that secure hiking or cross country ski boots to the skate; some have been designed so that the heel can lift freely as your legs push off and you skim across the ice. Poles similar to ski poles are another common accessory. Safety gear is an absolute necessity, and each skater should have a set of ice claws (should you fall through the ice, you would use these to grip onto a slippery, wet surface to pull yourself back up) and a rucksack (a backpack that doubles as a floatation device) on them.

Nordic skating is fun and exhilarating, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. The number one rule when planning a day out on the ice is to never skate alone. In fact, the best way to set off on a skating excursion of this kind is by booking one with a professional guide.

Guided skating tours offer equipment rental and are lead by a local who is knowledgeable about the terrain and ice thickness. Stockholm and Östersund are the most popular Nordic skating locations in Sweden and have many guided tours available (click on the city names to open links to each destinations tourism and skating site). There are even four-day skating excursions like this one (click to open page), by a UK company called Nature Travels.

Skating season in Sweden generally runs from January to April. Book your flights to Stockholm now, and you will be sure to experience a one of a kind winter getaway adventure.

 

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Passengers  Adults
  Children under 11