An Afternoon at La Pâtisserie des Rêves – South Kensington

This weekend, I went to a beautiful place that I have wanted to visit for a loooong time. La Pâtisserie des Rêves in South Kensington.

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I have had the La Pâtisserie des Rêves cookbook for a while, and have drooled over the mouth-watering pictures of delicate pastries, tarts and biscuits, elaborately covered by glass domes. So you can imagine my excitement when I gazed upon  perfectly manicured platters of patisserie set inside a pastel coloured sweet shop for adults.

Shop 1

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The displays were eye-catching and glamorous.

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I felt that I had to try one of the signature dishes, and so plumped for the decadent Paris Brest – a light and airy choux pastry ring, filled with a praline cream and pure praline paste. The dish was very rich and sumptuous, and I am already contemplating a return visit to sample the Millefeuille.

The teaware provided was so stunning. I almost wished they would sell the teapots in store – but no such luck.

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Others in my group selected the Saint Honoré, Vanilla Gran Cru, Baba au Rhum and the Chocolate Eclair.

Saint Honore Grand Cru

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Eclair 1

All of the dishes looked gorgeous and a few more trips are required until I can be certain of my favourite. The staff were helpful and attentive, and the prices were surprisingly good for such high quality of produce. The portions are very generous and so too are the fillings.

I purchased some goodies to take home and share with The Husband. Firstly, a d’Enfants box, filled with miniature versions of full-sized patisserie. Also I bought home a packet of Coconut Marshmallows and three small tins of biscuits (I wanted the pretty tins, more than anything else!)

D'Enfants

Enfant Selection

PB Bite Choc Bite Crop

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Wild Blackberry, Coconut and White Chocolate Blondies

This year, we have an awful lot of weeds in the garden. Luckily for me, some of them are blackberry plants, and in the past few days the canes have been bowing heavily, full of ripe and juicy, blackish-purple fruit.

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SONY DSCSo, what is a girl to do with so many wild blackberries? Well, a thumb through of the Flavour Thesaurus (without which, I am lost), told me that white chocolate is a great pairing and since I have a huge bag of it in the house, my mind was made up!

A quick Google search bought me several recipes for blackberries and white chocolate, including muffins, fools, parfaits and cheesecakes, but I had a hankering for cake or brownie. Something sweet and satisfying, something to give you a hug when you are down, and tastes great with a cup of Masala Chai.

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And so I bring to you, my recipe for…

 

Lightly Spiced, Wild Blackberry, Coconut and White Chocolate Blondies

(makes 9 big or 12 smaller blondie squares)

You will need:

113g Butter (melted in microwave)

165g Coconut Palm Sugar

2 Medium Eggs (beaten)

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

5 Cardamom Pods (seeds crushed finely in a pestle and mortar)

4 small sticks of cinnamon (crushed/ground into a fine powder)

96g Plain Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Salt

64g White Chocolate (chopped)

90g Wild Blackberries

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Then you need to do this:

  • Preheat your oven to 190C (160C for Fan assisted).
  • Grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin
  • Beat together the melted butter, beaten eggs and coconut palm sugar until smooth and lump-free
  • Add the vanilla extract, crushed cardamom seeds and cinnamon. Mix well.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir well.
  • Add the white chocolate, wild blackberries and coconut. Stir gently and combine fully into the mixture.

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  • Pour into tin and level with the back of a spoon. Bake for 25-35 minutes or so. The top should be golden brown and a wooden toothpick placed into the centre should come out relatively clean (a few sticky crumbs is fine).
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes. Then tip out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

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Or cut into squares whilst still lukewarm and enjoy with a cuppa.

The result? A satisfying and soft, fluffy blondie, with the occasional sharp and fruity tang of blackberry, alongside the mellow creaminess of coconut and white chocolate. A beautiful combination.

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Now, if you don’t have coconut palm sugar at home, don’t fret, you can use soft brown sugar instead. I happened to have some Biona Coconut Palm Sugar in the cupboard, and it reminds me of Jaggery, which is used a lot when making Indian desserts. Along with the cardamom and cinnamon, this addition contributes to the really unusual flavour of the blondie. Try it as a dessert after an Indian meal, maybe with some vanilla ice-cream. Yum!

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Also, if you want to add other ingredients or even take some away, then go for it! Just remember to balance out the recipe (i.e. remove some liquid (maybe use smaller eggs) if you decide to take out the coconut).

On to the chocolate, I used deZaan Obsession 30 white chocolate, bought from Keylink (who else!) This chocolate is not as sweet as some shop bought versions, so you may want to taste a few before you choose one to bake with. I have a sweet tooth and I really love this chocolate, even though I find most white chocolate is far too sweet for me.

Finally, as if this recipe wasn’t amazing enough, I realised when tidying up, that my flour was gluten free (Doves Farm – thank you!) and so was my baking powder. So in essence, I managed to make a gluten free recipe, without even trying. Result!

If you do decide to try this recipe, please let me know how you get on. I hope you love my blondies as much as I do.

Now, off to hide them from the husband!

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