Although it doesn’t quite translate, Dieu merci, c’est vendredi – or as I’m going to say in English, Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF), because it’s been quite a week. (On a related note, I was recently informed by a French friend that a 4-day weekend is not a vacation – it’s just a few days off, or a pont (bridge.) But even though I took an actual vacation, it’s been tough getting back up to speed.

fig cake

Since we all live in a 24/7 society, as you likely can attest to, just because you go away doesn’t mean you can “get away from it all.” There is always something to deal with; urgent recipe questions (It’s funny when people say something food-related is “urgent” – unless there is a famine or a natural catastrophe…or another disaster of similar proportion, I’m not sure it quite qualifies as “urgent”), paperwork, sorting through pictures, and dealing with travel arrangements, including the all-important act of making sure you have a decent seat on the plane home.)

can we talk?

Then there is a pile up when you get back; stuff that needs to be dealt with right-away; a backlog of mail, correcting typos and grammatical errors in blog entries, accepting invitations, declining invitations, writing back to the response you’ve gotten after you’ve declined, reading and responding to the response asking if you’re available another time, figuring out why teenagers would congregate in the alcove down the street that smells like pipi, realizing that there is a near-urgent need for you to restock your butter supply, and testing some recipes that have been on your mind for your blog.

Green figs

The fun of having a blog is that you get to try to share recipes that you find interesting. I try to put a mix of original recipes, recipes from recent cookbooks, a few oldies but goodies from cookbooks in my collections, and occasionally one from a cooking magazine that catches my eye. Along the way – especially this week – there have been a couple of goofs. The King Arthur Flour company always presents a hilarious round-up of their test kitchen goofs each year on April Fool’s Day. But since I can’t wait that long, I decided to share a few.

I was recently inundated with a few barquettes of fresh figs that I bought at a local flea market, where all of the vendors seemed to be from the countryside (who, as this map points out, Parisians consider paysannes, or peasants.) Call me a paysan, but I happen to like them regardless of what other’s say or think, and as I picked up a number of vintage jam jars, I also was able to trade valuable jam-making tips with some of the friendly men and women selling their wares.

Oberkampf flea market

One guy had three barquettes of figs and because he’s not Parisian and in a constant hurry, he had to count out each fig, one-by-one, speaking aloud about what kind of price to come up with, and how he needed to charge me per-fig. (We have a lot of fees and stuff in France, so at some point, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised when there is a per-fig surcharge.) Um, okay. He slo-o-o-wly told me about the history of each fig as I stood there hyperventilating because of the all the bargains that were being snapped up around me, and my shoulder ready to fall off with my bag-full of heavy glass jam jars and the Saint James marinière (striped sweater) that was almost new and was a mere 50 cents, which I got so I can look a little more French. Although I’d have to stop shaving for three days if I really wanted to complete the look. (I also saw a hipster wearing a half-length cape the other day, and I’m not ready to go there, either.)

almond batter

Scruffy-faced or not (or caped, or not), I’m never at a loss when faced with too much fruit and there’s always room for jam. Except now, when my coffers are bursting with confitures a-plenty. (And please don’t ask why I bought a dozen more jam jars: I got asked the same question when I got home.) Yet at dinner the other night, a friend told me that David Tanis had a Fig and Almond Cake recipe in the New York Times so I took a look and decided that it was for me. And for my figs. I worked with David for a number of years and am a big fan of his cookbooks, and him, and his recipes are always ace. So I gathered up the ingredients, grinding the almonds, melting the butter, and slicing the luscious, ripe figs into gorgeous rounds. As I stirred the nutty mix around the big stainless steel bowl, I knew something was up with the recipe read “pour the batter in the pan.” Still, I persevered, trying to mix the pourable batter – until I, and my spatula, snapped.

spatula fail

As the cake went into the oven, I went to the Times website and read the comments, to see if anyone reported any problems. None. Zip. Perplexed, I went back to the kitchen and started cleaning up, and noticed….

3 eggs


The cake had been in the oven for just 5 minutes or so and I wondered if I could get away with picking off the figs, scraping everything back into the bowl, adding those eggs, and hoping for the best. I won’t go on except to say that when a recipe calls for eggs, you should, indeed, add the eggs. And since I said earlier on that there are few food “urgencies”, I won’t say it was a disaster. In fact, the egg-free version of the cake was a big hit with some friends that came by.

fig cake fail

Because I always try to see things on the positive side, I was happy to have 3 eggs leftover for another baking project. Then it was on to fudge. A lovely chocolate book had been sent to me a while back and I was anxious to try something from it. Since I’d been busy, it sat patiently on the bottom of a stack of cookbooks, until I pulled it out this week and landed on the chocolate fudge recipe, which piqued my American interest.


I was hesitant to use the last bag of pecans someone brought me from the states, so I went with walnuts. (Which they’d also brought me, but I’m less-inclined to swoon over walnuts than I am over pecans. And when I recently saw American pecans in Paris…priced at $15.99 per pound, no doubt in anticipation for the upcoming fall American holiday season, where expat bakers go to great lengths – and at great expense – to recreate all-American desserts for celebrations, I wanted to hang onto my last bag even more urgently. Uh, I mean, more fervently.)

toasted walnuts

The instructions said the cook the ingredients to a certain temperature, which would take 15 minutes. After 3 minutes of cooking, the temperature of the ingredients was right there.

butter for fudge

So I semi-urgently scrambled to follow the rest of the recipe, adding my precious (and only half toasted) organic walnuts and the chocolate, then letting the mixture rest, then pouring it into the prepared pan. Am not sure what happened, but the vaguely chocolate-colored mixture didn’t resemble the photo in the book (my first clue might have been that the recipe had less than 1/4-pound of chocolate in it), and the tray of fudge had shiny slick on top.

fudge fail

But I’m going to call it my fault as well, especially considering my experience with the fig cake. And I should give both another shot. But first….I had something else to take care of…

dishes and pots and pans

But just to prove that the week wasn’t a total loss. I got back on my horse and re-made the Fig and Almond tart. (Even though my French friends loved the first one, it was harder to palm off American fudge on French folks.) With the three eggs added that I had leftover, the nutty batter was – as promised by the recipe – pourable. And fortunately I keep plenty of back-up spatulas (and figs) on hand, so into the pan the nutty batter and figs went.

nutty fig cake batter

As the fudge set, which I was happy to find out, it did, I was able to slice it and it was tasty, although I may stick with marshmallow fudge as my default.

fig cake

As for the cake, I was thrilled to pull it out of the oven and find it had baked beautifully and tasted great. The only thing I need to do is get my oven rack leveled. But I’ll save that for next week.

Never miss a post!


  • Fiona
    September 27, 2013 11:40am

    I love hearing your stories. When I was about 11, a friend and I made a cake and we decorated the top with coloured sugar. After the cake was in the oven and we were cleaning up we realised we had only put in one of two eggs. We weren’t as wise as you, we got the partly cooked cake out and mixed the second egg in, mucking up our lovely patterned top. When the cake was done there was a strange shiny multi-coloured film on top. The cake tasted fine, but I learnt, once a cake is in the oven, that’s it, you can’t add anything! Particularly not eggs :)

  • phanmo
    September 27, 2013 12:22pm

    A couple of years ago I was at a friend’s place for (Canadian) Thanksgiving. She had been given a book of her french-Canadian family’s recipes by her sisters and wanted to try out the recipe for “tire Sainte-Catherine”, a kind of pulled taffy. Knowing that here in France recipes are in Celsius, whereas in Canada they tend to be in Fahrenheit, they had converted the temperatures. Unfortunately, with this specific recipe they had changed the F to a C while forgetting to convert the actual temperature.
    Trying to heat up several cups of sugar, corn syrup and molasses to 260C (500F) is not a good idea!

  • ClaireD
    September 27, 2013 2:27pm

    What beautiful figs! And what a mountain of dirty dishes! I had to laugh at your leaving out the eggs in the first go-round of fig tart. My very first baking experience, when I was around 10, was making oatmeal cookies with the girl down the street. For some reason we decided that the recipe called for sifting the oatmeal. Well, let me tell you it was a chore! But we got it done. Those cookies could have been used to patch flat tires, they were so rubbery and tough! Adventures in baking is what I call it!

  • September 27, 2013 2:37pm

    Love the perspective on urgent recipe questions. I had quite a chuckle. This is when we drop the “first world problems” comment.

    Saving the world one teaspoon of nutmeg at a time!

  • Will L
    September 27, 2013 2:57pm

    Your posts always put a smile on my face and makes me long to be back in Paris. Our front yard contains a huge fig tree that gives the same golden/green figs shown in your pics. I’m going out to pick figs to make the same cake right now!!!

  • Amanda
    September 27, 2013 3:37pm

    Thank you for this. A good laugh is just what I needed this morning. It’s a good thing I don’t have any figs, or I’d probably blow off everything I’m supposed to be doing and make that cake instead.

  • Rus
    September 27, 2013 3:50pm

    Made that Tanis tart when we had too many figs, took a picture and posted it to Facebook. Others asked if I could provide the recipe, I posted a link to the Times article. Anyway, long story short, that recipe has legs!

  • Morgan Kelly
    September 27, 2013 4:15pm

    Hi, do you mind me asking where the flea market was where you got your jam jars?Im going to be in Paris in a week or so and wanted to go along.

    • September 27, 2013 4:29pm
      David Lebovitz

      It was the Richard Lenoir flea market (vide-grenier/brocante) which only happens a few times a year, although I’m not sure exactly when they are – I just see signs for it. There are sites that list the Paris flea markets, although some are more like antique shows (ie: expensive.)

      • Morgan Kelly
        September 27, 2013 4:34pm

        Many thanks. According to people on Tripadvisor, it’s twice a week Sundays and Thursdays although that might be the regular market rather than the brocante. Still it’s in the 11th arrondissement which is near my hotel so I’ll have to go along and have a look.

        That’s the Bastille food market, which is will worth a look (if you can go Thursday, that’s better as Sunday is much more crowded – although more lively.) -dl

  • Lucy
    September 27, 2013 4:18pm

    Wow- I didn’t realize how much I was missing yiu after google blog reader went off air- but I am glad I found my way back- such fun writing and self depreciating humor. Thank you! Incidentally I am using the pulse app now to read my blogs and love it- for anyone out there looking for a new option :)

  • Vicki B
    September 27, 2013 4:19pm

    Better the rack than the floor!

  • diana
    September 27, 2013 4:23pm

    POETS day: piss off early, tomorrow is Saturday!
    Always enjoy your post. thnaks

  • Skip
    September 27, 2013 4:29pm

    I’ve done the NY Times fig almond cake three times in the past few weeks because of an ongoing gift of freshly harvested figs from a friend’s orchard. The cake is wonderful and unusual. Guests here for dinner have loved it! With a dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream. Happy you’ve made many more people aware of this great dish.

    • September 27, 2013 4:32pm
      David Lebovitz

      I did add a few tablespoons of chopped candied orange peel to the dough (both times!) which is a nice little boost of orange flavor in there. I was thinking it’d also be good with a few ground anise seeds or maybe a shot of ouzo in the batter.

  • js
    September 27, 2013 4:38pm

    You should have gotten that cape and worn it, then you would have had success the first go around with your recipes!. Reassuring to see that even very good cooks/chefs make mistakes in the kitchen like the rest of us plebes when it comes to cooking.

  • Sarahb1313
    September 27, 2013 4:41pm

    Well, not TGIF for me: gourmande tour de France ends on the plane tomorrow. I am glad they don’t weigh me- I would have extra duty to pay. Thanks for all the Paris tips in the blog- really helpful. I will tell you I had the most incredible tarte aux abricots in my life (my favorite) at a place called Besnier on rue de Bourgogne in the 7th. When I went back (completely out of my way) to day to get another, they were already sold out. I started to tell the woman working there, but she finished my sentence- “delicieux!” so I grabbed the last rhubarb one, I assume it will be great too.

    Thanks for your post- I hate when I am in a rush and leave stuff out, or am in a slow daze, and mess it up. Love the photos. My friend made that fig cake 3 times last month before she was happy with the outcome :-)

  • bobbie joh
    September 27, 2013 4:50pm

    please, please tell me that is NOT an orange enamel cast iron pot with POLKA DOTS!!! you are going to hear me all the way to Paris if I missed that beauty..

  • suedoise
    September 27, 2013 4:50pm

    When matters are as they are, do get thee to Raimo´s ice cream parlor on the
    boulevard de Reulliy in the 12 th arrondissement., .

  • Linda H
    September 27, 2013 4:50pm

    The unfortunate thing that has happened to the price of pecans is that the Chinese have discovered them and love them. Now a lot of the American pecan crop is shipped to China, raising the price.

  • September 27, 2013 5:09pm

    Someone made me a fig salad two weeks ago and now, every where I look I see figs, and everything I eat could be better with a few figs. All week I’ve been saving up recipes to try over the weekend. Thanks for another to add to my list!

  • kathryn
    September 27, 2013 5:11pm

    The cake looks great but, oh David, that sweater is just divine! Great good luck in finding it.

    • September 27, 2013 5:16pm
      David Lebovitz

      There was a big pile of clothes, (oddly) a bunch of Banana Republic clothes and some badly tailored Armani suits, for practically nothing that people were madly digging through. I got elbowed twice in the head (on both sides – so at least it was symmetrical) but I scored a Lacoste shirt that was too large and a linen shirt that was also too large. But for 50 cents each, what do you expect? : )

  • elaine
    September 27, 2013 5:13pm

    The photos of the market are exactly what I needed today with my morning coffee.
    Thank you for another wonderful post.

  • Anne
    September 27, 2013 5:24pm

    That map of France made my day – thanks! Glad your recipes eventually turned out well. I love reading your posts even though I’m not a fan of sweet stuff.

  • September 27, 2013 5:40pm

    Thank you for the great post, David. I love figs so much. I tried my best to grow them in Seattle but never could get them to ripen. People gave me all kinds of advice and tricks to try but I finally cut the tree down and gave up. Now living in Paris without an oven in my apartment I am willing to give this recipe a go, using my small convection/microwave. It just looks too good to pass up!

  • Michele
    September 27, 2013 5:44pm

    When I first met my husband, I began bragging about my cornbread. It took six times for me to make correctly for him a recipe I’d been making for 20 years. And I can personally attest that one can grab a recipe of blondies out of a hot oven after five minutes, scrap them back into a bowl, whip a (forgotten) egg into the batter, scrap them back into their baking pan, and have them bake up just fine…


  • September 27, 2013 5:48pm

    Figs with everything right now, my tree is dropping gorgeous. Made this recipe my go-to dessert while they last.I did add a spoon of pastis to the batter for a Provencal taste – very good!

  • Mary
    September 27, 2013 5:50pm

    David, any diagnosis on why that fudge went south?! My mother, who had for years been famous at parties for her fudge, stopped making it years ago after several batches manifested that same slick on top. She’s convinced they re-formulated the butter, but I don’t know.

    If you can give me some pointers on how to avoid that nasty oil layer next time, perhaps my mama can be persuaded to bring back her heavenly fudge!

  • susie
    September 27, 2013 5:52pm

    Have you ever tried to pick out 2 cups of chocolate chips after pouring them into the batter directly out of the bag and saw, as you stirred them in, that they had a dusty white film indicating they were stale? I poured the whole thing out onto my clean counter and managed to pick them out and then added a fresh bag of chips. It only took 45 minutes! Lesson: check the chips!

  • September 27, 2013 6:53pm

    hahahaha the slanted surface conclusion is hilarious :D. I really love those goofs :D.

    for the list of vide-greniers, garage sales, flea markets and all, I love It is quite well made, with a newsletter you can receive that list all the events in the département(s) of your choice. the site can also geo-localize the events and tell you which ones are in a radius of 30km of your home, for example :D. they also offer a map of the events so you can decide from the location rather from the title.

    it is one of the bigger sites and the most complete I think. The dates are crowed-sourced so some may be missing, but there will be less problems about this in paris and other big cities.

    (I don’t own actions from the company, but I go foraging in brocantes each sunday since a few years, and I think this is a valuable tool :) ).

  • Bebe
    September 27, 2013 7:13pm

    David, it’s wonderful to find an “everyone is human” vignette in order to stop beating oneself about the ears. I have left out an occasional egg – or other critical ingredient. We all know the sinking feeling when we find our error – still sitting there on the counter.

    We also know about using recipes from monthly magazines like the wonderful old Gourmet and finding the corrections in an issue a month or even two down the road.

    I cleaned up a kitchen like that this morning, left behind after a baking project last night. I am printing off your photo and may frame it. For inspiration.


  • Ruby
    September 27, 2013 7:31pm

    I guess the best translation would be “grace de Dieu, c’est vendredi”. Not quite as catchy, but it has a certain elegance to it!

    I love reading your blog, David. I just came back from a semester abroad in Paris, and reading your posts make me so nostalgic for the Bastille and Monge markets and open-air cafés! This fig tart looks divine. I’ve heard and found to be true that the the figs get better in the mid-fall season rather than at summer’s end, so I’m waiting it out, but I can’t wait to try this out!

    • September 28, 2013 7:33am
      David Lebovitz

      I think it’s a quirk of the language. My best guess/translation, was that dieu merci was the closest approximation. But French / English don’t always have direct translations. So one could interpret & translate it in other ways.

  • September 27, 2013 7:38pm

    I left out the baking powder when making corn bread because I was out-talking my friends and not paying attention. It looked like a hockey puck,so my friends dried little circles of it, painted it and gave it to me for Christmas as an ornament. I am sorry for your oops, but I feel comforted that I am not the only one. I love seeing your equipment and bakeware.

  • Diana Leon
    September 27, 2013 7:38pm

    A dear friend who is a great cook has saved me from terminal frustration when baking and forgetting one thing to the detriment of the end product. I now decant every little ingredient into containers, usually my collection of porcelain lab dishes, and line them up in the order of addition. It really does not add much to the clean-up and keeps me sane.

  • Bernadette
    September 27, 2013 8:02pm

    David I am so sorry about your uncommon and unfortunate mishaps but it is reassuring that even the pros have off days. About a week or so ago, I was making chocolate pudding and bought a different brand of baking powder. It was about the same size as the cornstarch container I use. Three times I made the pudding with baking powder and not cornstarch, I felt like the biggest tool when I finally figured out what I was doing.

    I had to laugh out loud at your mariniere sweater comment–besides your kitchen itself, that’s one photo I’d love to see!

  • Jeni
    September 27, 2013 8:20pm

    I must admit from experience that you can ‘re-bake’ pumpkin pies if you forget the eggs. They will not EVER set without them….. ;) I literally poured the pie filling back into the blender, added the eggs, poured back into the pie shell and ‘re-baked’. No one was the wiser, if fact I receive a couple compliments on the lovely pies.
    ps. I really enjoy you stories!! Thanks

  • Danette Campbell
    September 27, 2013 9:03pm

    David – I am so glad I found your blog just in time for our three week sabbatical trip to France. I read your book Sweet Life in Paris on the plane ride over to CDG. My husband and I spent last week in Normandie and are now settling into our two weeks in Paris. I loved the map of France from a Parisian viewpoint. Had to look up branleur and menteurs. It reminds me of how we Midwesterners feel the people on either U.S. coast perceive the country in between. You make my day end with a laugh. Thanks

    • September 28, 2013 7:31am
      David Lebovitz

      It’s a pretty funny map! Since you live in the Midwest, I feel guilty because I felt that way, too, in the US. Until I visited places like Detroit, Chicago, Ohio, etc..and had some amazing farm-grown food, and lovely goat cheeses, fresh produce, and more. (I had real buttermilk…with bits of butter in it!) Since then, I’m a fan of the Midwest : )

  • September 27, 2013 9:47pm

    Ha, I have definitely had that happen to a spatula before…my favorite spatula of course. And I am glad to know that even a professional sometimes leaves out key ingredients!

  • Dina
    September 27, 2013 10:11pm

    hahahaahhaha I will let my sister know she’s not the only one forgetting the eggs. LOL In her defence, she was trying to follow my mother’s recipe.. haha oh, David…. :)

    As for the tarte, there is a recipe in LCBO’s “Food and Drink” magazine, that is with walnuts and figs. It is SUPER YUMMY. They don’t slice the figs. They cut them down (but not all the way down) in 4 ways, so they open like a flower, you tuck them in, with the uncut bottom (at the bottom) in the walnut mix and in the oven they go! Yummyummyummuymmyummyummmmmm…..

    :) At the first photo I thought it was zucchini! :)

  • Jeanne
    September 27, 2013 11:18pm

    Could you please show a picture of these famous jam jars. And please continue shaving. Enough “scruffy faced” individuals around.

    • September 28, 2013 7:29am
      David Lebovitz

      Here’s a picture of my haul that day!

  • Liz Haden
    September 27, 2013 11:23pm

    Oh David, you do make me laugh! What a tonic at the end of a hard day of work. I can’t help but think of my first scratch lemon meringue pie. I must have been twelve. Mum brought it to the dining table, cut into it and knew at once that there was a problem. She gave the “knowing” look to my father and the “dare to be evil” look to my brothers, then served the pie. I had neglected to include a pie crust. I had, however, mastered lemon curd and meringue!

  • Judy Chaffee
    September 27, 2013 11:44pm

    What a WONDERFUL story/laugh for the end of the week. Thanks for your humility and dedication to all of us!

  • Gavrielle
    September 28, 2013 12:49am

    Gorgeous shirt! Now you just need a string of onions for your bike and you’re all set:). Speaking as someone who once got a carrot cake out of the oven halfway through baking to add the forgotten sugar, I can only sympathise with your egg mishap. And I hate to laugh at your misfortunate, but thanks for the giggle with your oil-slicked fudge!

  • hng23
    September 28, 2013 2:04am

    Ever since I dusted a lemon pudding cake with baking soda instead of icing sugar, we’ve referred to it as ‘fizzy cake’. Your fig cake looks divine; it may be on the dessert table for (Canadian) Thanksgiving, in 3 wks.

    • September 28, 2013 7:28am
      David Lebovitz

      A classic pastry chef mistake is to add salt instead of sugar. Usually it happens when someone refills the sugar bin with salt (usually by someone who doesn’t work in the pastry department…) and you arrive to work and put together a bunch of desserts and recipes. Then a few hours later, you wonder why all your cakes, cookies, tarts, etc…don’t look quite right… #aargh!

  • Darlena Mixson
    September 28, 2013 2:21am

    Thoroughly enjoy your blog. When my grandmother made “real” fudge (4T cocoa, 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup milk & 2 T butter) after cooking to soft ball stage she added the vanilla, allowed it to stand until fairly cold, and then beat until creamy and pour into a pan. She used a wooden spoon and it was work…seems like it took 10 min. or more. It sure was good.

  • September 28, 2013 3:35am

    I really enjoy reading your blog. I can relate to forgetting the eggs. Last Thanksgiving I forgot the sugar in the Pumpkin Pie…my daughter still hasn’t forgiven me.

  • Heidi
    September 28, 2013 5:06am

    Wow. Fabulous photos. I feel like I could reach right in, pluck out a walnut and eat it straight away. Wonderful reading too. Thanks yet again.

  • Erin
    September 28, 2013 7:05am

    Love that you added some booze to fig tart. Since figs in Sydney are currently $9 for two, I’m using apples, ha.

  • Jennyd
    September 28, 2013 9:48am

    Always enjoy your post, it lit up my Friday night. Thanks!

  • September 28, 2013 10:26am

    The cape. C’mon, you know you want to. I can totes see you swishing around in one.


  • September 28, 2013 10:31am

    Thank you for a wonderful post! I was smiling myself down the page, and even heard a happy laughter leaving my lips. I love the balance of humour, seeing things in a broad perspective (i.e. what is really a food-disaster), the nice way you express things, the professional pictures, the recipes one can trust. I am inspired! And I will bring the good feeling along into the next post on my own little Norwegian food-blog. Thank you once again :-)

  • September 28, 2013 2:15pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one. Two weeks ago, making a red velvet cake, I noticed that the batter was quite thick, but still went ahead and put the cakes in the oven, only to discover the eggs were never put in. I did get them back out, scape into the bowl and add eggs. They came out fine, but I had to laugh because it was a birthday cake and that’s when I tend to screw up the most (when it’s for others). I would so lose my patience at a French market, but the redemption is that it’s a real French market.

  • Susan
    September 28, 2013 4:27pm

    There really are times when there is an urgent food thing. It occurs for me when I’ve found a recipe that really appeals and I think about it for a while, look at similar recipes of the same name and finally am overcome by the urgency to make it. Sometimes I am so overcome by that urgency that I fail to make sure I have all the necessary ingredients or hardware and haven’t read the recipe as well as I thought I had, but go for it anyway. What ticks me off more than wasting ingredients on my failure, is having to clean up my kitchen which looks a lot like your kitchen photo above. I must admit, those lessons usually make me work smarter most of the time, but when that urgency to make something strikes again…out goes the lesson!

  • September 28, 2013 8:30pm

    Your post put a smile on my face. Love your truthfulness about the mess and little disaster. That happens to me all the time. TGIF!

  • Gunny
    September 29, 2013 12:02am

    I loved your story. Thank you, David! And the photos were beautiful, esp. the figs. As for myself, I probably would have eaten the figs fresh. Somehow I always feel sorry to use the most delicious and tasty fresh fruit for baking. That maybe explains why I am not a baker?

  • Paula
    September 29, 2013 12:54am

    I had a fig tree in my garden and made jam often. There was such an abundance and everyone used to eat then off the tree.
    I thought the price of figs in Paris was high seeing I never had to buy any.
    However, I now live in Oz and the Paris price was a joke compared with the cost here.
    I love them and often look at recipes that call for figs and laugh when it says take 10 figs at $2 each and …..!!!!!!!

  • Geraldine in Spain
    September 29, 2013 10:02am

    Hi David,
    We get Pecans in Spain. They can be found in the Boqueria in Barcelona at 15 euros a kilo this is of course in the shell. We also have them right here at Courte Ingles in Jeres. I was astonished the other day by their appearance, bought a kilo. This was also 15 euros.

    If you are desperate get in touch.

  • Geraldine in Spain
    September 29, 2013 10:05am

    Where is my editor when needed!!!! Forgot a comma and JEREZ is JEREZ….heh, heh. heh.

  • latafiolesucree
    September 29, 2013 6:52pm

    for me it’s enfin vendredi! or enfin le week-end! i try to keep “god” out of it wherever possible. it’s the anti-cleric in me.

  • Oonagh
    September 30, 2013 5:08am

    Haha, too funny…I was making banana tarte tatin at the weekend and checking several wet caramel recipes to see if there was a consensus on how to do it – I ended up putting 60g of butter in instead of 15g by accident…the tarte came out floating in molten butter!
    Of course I drained it, flipped it, and rearranged the bananas – it tasted delicious!

  • Cathg1g2
    September 30, 2013 7:00am

    Oh what is funnier , the blog post or the delightful readers comments and then some more of your comments? So love this blog.

  • September 30, 2013 2:51pm

    i really appreciated the dirty dishes photo!

    so often i’ve thought about all the perfect blog pics — not only of finished dishes, but the carefully set up scenes of the cooking process that are also de rigueur — while staring down the miserably crowded counter and overflowing sink in my own kitchen.

    thanks for that bit of reality as well as the great story.

  • Bernadette
    September 30, 2013 3:05pm

    Very funny entry David, thanks for sharing your humanness with us–nice to know the pros do it, too! I think we’d all love to see a photo of the scruff on your face and in that shirt, maybe someday!

  • Sue in Pleasanton
    September 30, 2013 4:38pm

    David, you and your readers have made my day! I have chortled my way through your wonderful blog and the delicious comments. I simply must bake your fig and almond cake–may even try both versions! The figs I’ve gotten from my Farm Fresh To You box are organic tiny bits of heaven. By happy accident, I discovered that washing and drying them, then freezing them on a plate before bagging them produce petite fig-sicles, with the stems being perfect handles. On a really hot day in San Francisco’s East Bay, those delectable fresh fruit popsicles are wonderful. I grew up in northern Minnesota, and didn’t eat a fresh fig untill moving to California, at which point I became madly enthusiastic.

  • Beth in Paris
    October 1, 2013 1:31pm

    David, I always enjoy your blog. As a fellow American in Paris, and amateur baker to boot, I can totally relate to saving the pecans over the walnuts, both for economic and rarity reasons ! My larder is not a larder anymore but a hoarding site for all sorts of goodies I bring back over. The standard answer to the visitor’s question “what can I bring over ?” is “chocolate chips, angel flake coconut, pecans”. Having all these ingredients and many more to-hand is a source of great comfort to me. Even after having lived more than thirty years in Paris, and seeing all these products slowly appear here in stores, but in tiny packaging quantities, I still bring most of it back from home. Don’t change a thing in your blog. I think it just keeps on getting better.

  • clbtx
    October 2, 2013 1:52pm

    There’s a great middle eastern grocery store near Charles Michel in the 15th that stocks all kinds of nuts, including pecans. They’re not cheap, but it’s less expensive than other places I’ve seen seen. It’s called “Les Delices d’Orient.” I would guess would see similar stock/pricing at similar ethnic grocers around Paris.

  • October 3, 2013 8:35pm

    Now I need to make fudge – minus the walnuts! I just took a look at the Marshmallow Fudge – yum – can I come and be a construction worker at your house please?

  • Denise
    October 8, 2013 5:56pm

    I’m the same way with my pecans! Does this dish really have to have them? But I would like to know where you found pecans for 15/lb. They’re 50€ a kilo at my local grocery store. I bought some at whole foods in London last time I was there, and they were about half that price. Imported from the US of course.

  • October 8, 2013 9:24pm


    I’m glad to read you make mistakes like the rest of us! I have certainly left out eggs on more than one occasion.

    And I imagine you’ve already discovered this recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi, but if not, his fig cake is delicious too:

    Thanks for all the great posts!

  • October 9, 2013 5:50am

    Your posts always put a smile on my face. Thank you for that. This fig almond cake looks very delicious!