Sunday, June 20, 2010

pas si doux


Often orthographically confused with desert (ironically the cake I baked last night was both desert- and dessert-like)

Can be used as a weapon (see: pie in the face)

From the French word desservir meaning to clear what has been served


Dessert has signified to me many things: a naughty treat gulped down in secret; a harbinger of gluttonous excess and inevitable belly aches; a marker of a good time had by all; a short-lived reward.
For so long, dessert has been an enemy. Something I shouldn't touch. Something I would only eat during my permitting moments when, in desperation, I threw out all the rules and loaded high my plate. 

Now, no food is off limits. I have stripped food of all emotional attachment (well, I'm getting there). I can eat as much dessert as my body wants. And there's the rub: my body doesn't usually want a whole lot. Why? Too. much. sweetness. Body. can't. handle. Water. now. please.

Driving home from a graduation party last weekend, my body slumped in the back seat in full sugar-crash mode, I complained to the universe: Why must it be this way? The desserts, oh, how delicious they looked. And oh, how lousy I feel.

Desserts are hard to ignore. In fact, I photograph the most irresistible:
A rum-soaked cake in Mainz, Germany:

A cherry custard in Berlin.

Apple strudel...

and Black Forest cake from somewhere along the Rhine.

I'm kind of obsessed with desserts. But their aggressive sweetness has really been bringing me down (literally). 


So, I've decided to begin a daring new venture: a baking business that specializes in desserts (namely, madeleines and cakes) made with local and/or organic ingredients, and, most importantly, natural sweeteners instead of that old ball and chain, refined white sugar. I want to create baked goods that are aesthetically stunning, ethically produced, and not quite so offensively sweet. No more sugar crashes: just a delicious dessert that treats your body well.

I've finally taken the vaidya's advice: I'm identifying a new passion (baking! making bodies happy!) and committing to it. Look for the Pas Si Doux Bakery (that's French for "not as sweet") at the Providence Farmers' Market in the fall. 

Madeleines are the new cupcakes, y'all.


  1. What a fabulous idea! I hope you'll share more here as the business develops and I so wish that I lived just down the street from that Farmer's Market. Very exciting times!

  2. I will be coming to this market in the fall! I cannot wait to eat the madeleines. Please do keep us posted on this (and, of course, continue your other posts, too).

  3. Will this be the downtown Friday one or the Saturday Hope St. one?

  4. Thanks, Rosie! I'm apprehensive, but mostly just very, very thrilled with possibility. Eventually my husband and I plan to move down south (possibly VA), so if maybe one day I'll be coming to a' market near you :-)

    K, I am irrationally excited that you'll be so close this fall. I'm not sure yet which market -- I'm still looking into costs, etc. but I'll let you know. I'd honestly prefer the Saturday one (the park is really beautiful) but it may be that I won't be ready to go live until the indoor markets begin (there's one in Pawtucket, RI and another in Cumberland, RI, both quite close to Providence).

  5. Way to go! I am so excited for you. Do you take orders from, oh, Ohio?! :-)

  6. Thanks, Nicole! And yes, absolutely! Hopefully soon I'll be able to take orders from friends who don't mind being guinea pigs :-)

  7. oh how i wish i were in your kitchen on test days. i'm a really good taster. :)

  8. Elyssa!!! How exciting!!! I can't wait to see pics from this new venture...and place some long-distance orders for baked goods!

  9. What a great idea, Elyssa. I'm cheering for ya:) And of course I look forward to sampling those 'not as sweet" goodies!

  10. Kate: There will be madeleines waiting for you in September!

    Anna: I definitely want you to sample them! I'll be baking another batch later this week and will post the results.

    Cassie: Thanks so much; and I'll for sure be sending some down South. I just need to figure out how to transport them properly :-)