The story of The Queen's Dollmaker rated **** in my book.
I'm joining Food for Thought
the brainchild of the very talented Jain from Once in Blue Moon
and of Food With Style.
I'm also linking to
Lori of All That Splatters who is hosting this week's Saturday Blog Showcase.
Claudette is imprisoned & sentenced to death but is rescued at the last moment by the love of her life, whom she then marries & *lives happily ever after*. Its a well written rags to riches fairytale.
The author, Christine Trent, has made Claudette a very realistic, talented & hardworking character in this saga. I thought the author did a great job in describing the unstable post-revolutionary Paris, a time about which I knew very little. The cruelty of that era was gut wrenching & almost too vividly portrayed. The execution of some historical figures & the atrocious murder of the Queen's friend, the Princess of Lamballe was enough to give me nightmares!
They had some very unusual food items mentioned in the book. I opted to focus on the elegant gowns made for the dolls as well as the desserts & French pastries rather than eel, stuffed partridges in aspic, goose, pike fillets & roasted larks!
I chose to make tiny little oval shaped jam filled cookies or tarts to serve to my granddaughter Caroline at a tea party with her dolls. Monique, author of the beautiful blog, La Table de Nana, posted some gorgeous photos of pineapple tarts that she made with these darling little cookie cutter molds.
She didn't give an exact recipe so I used an old stand-by but I'm giving Monique all the credit & picking her blog for my link in the Saturday Blog Showcase.
I ordered both the heart & the oval mold cutters from Biodiversitybaking & found them to be the perfect dainty size for a tea party. Since Monique didn't give an exact recipe, I used a sugar cookie recipe that holds its shape & I felt it worked really well. (Recipe at end of post) I used an apricot filling & look forward to trying them with pineapple, strawberry or grape jam the next time.
Come meet our guests!
This is Miss Barbie in her custom made (by Nana Rett) white-on-white cotton gown with lace trim on both cuffs & hemline, hand smocked with bullion roses.
This is Miss Hanna, a very delicate porcelain faced doll, dressed in white fur & red velvet with gold ribbons adorning both the waistline and her lovely matching hat.
Meet Miss Elizabeth, who is Caroline's favorite but please don't tell the others...we wouldn't want to hurt their feelings!
She is wearing a white silk gown with a gold flocked organza overlay as well as having gold lace around the collar & cuffs. Very elegant & stylish!
This last lady is Miss Cinna, who is the oldest & tallest of all the dolls. She used to be as tall as Miss Caroline, but has been passed by a recent growth spurt. She is a very graceful ballerina & wears her pale lavender tulle tutu & silk ribboned ballet slippers to every event.
Her hair, piled high on her head & beribboned with various silk ties most approximates the elaborate hairstyles of the French during the period of Queen Marie Antoinette.
Our glass table in the sewing room was lit from below to accent the vintage lace tablecloth that once belonged to Miss Caroline's great-grandmother. We also had chocolate dipped strawberries to go with our tiny cookie tarts.
The tea set is Willow Blue by Johnson Brothers. It comes in its own hat box style carrier.
The little plates we used were found in an antique shop & each one depicts a different French couple in a garden scene, much like those written about in the book.
This one reminds me of the Queens favorite little rustic retreat, Hameau de la Reine where she kept sheep & horses.
The Queen’s Dollmaker was an interesting and historically enchanting book that held my attention, even more so toward the end.
Christine Trent's next novel The Wax Apprentice is scheduled for release in 2011.
& thanks to Lori & Ann for doing the Saturday Blog Showcases.
Caroline & I both thank YOU for visiting the Gazebo House &
please help yourself to a cookie before you leave!
Makes about 48 cookies, depending on cutter size
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl each time, then add vanilla.
- Add flour mixture and mix at low speed until dough just comes together.
- Knead a couple of times just until smooth, then pat into a flat disk, wrap in plastic and chill until firm enough to roll.
- Roll and cut as desired and place on parchment-lined sheets.
- Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes.
* When filling the molds, be sure the jam is touching all the edges of the indentation or they won't look pretty.