Gâteau Frascati*

Frascati, from one empire to another

During the Premier Empire, the Frascati establishment, named after a famous Neapolitan ice-cream maker, was one of the most popular venues in Paris. First of all, it had a delightful garden, decorated with the busts of the greatest French and English poets, and lit up at night. A tunnel of wisteria and maiden vine, known as “l'ermitage” (the retreat), lent a charming atmosphere to the scene. The house was used as a café and salon de pâtisserie. On the ground floor it offered refreshments and some of the best ice-cream in Paris, with ballrooms. On the first floor were gaming rooms. Paris's smartest set flocked here to spend the pleasant summer evenings. They sought romance and wealth, and were able to watch each other at their leisure, as emphasised by this contemporary notice:

The Maison Frascati closed at the Restauration, following the law closing down gaming rooms.

The new Frascati dated from 1833, and was built not far from the first, on the corner of Rue Vivienne and the Boulevard. The establishment came back into fashion and became one of the finest cafés where all of Paris's literary and fashionable figures would meet up.

One final anecdote, in 1856, the cake known as a “religieuse” (two choux buns filled with crème pâtissière, and stacked one on top of each other) was invented here.

Period Recipe

Cook a delicate orange flavoured sponge in a circular baking tin; on taking it out of the oven, lay it on plate, cutting the top flat. Cut the cake into transverse slices 1cm thick. Divide these slices up into four parts so as to arrange them in the centre of a dish, one on top of the other, and to reform the cake, taking care to pour a few dessert spoonfulls of orange flavoured cold custard onto each slice and scattering minced preserved orange peel on top of each one. When the cake is reformed, surround the base with 'hedgehog' apples. To make hedgehog apples, cook some whole apples in butter. While they are still firm, glaze them with apricot jam and then stick them with dried shards of almond. Dust the whole with sugar and glaze in the oven. Place a half apple on top and serve the cake with a sauce boat containing cold custard.  Bon appétit!  *Frascati, a popular Parisian ice cream and cake parlour. Alexandre Dumas, Grand Dictionnaire de cuisine, Paris: A. Lemerre, 1873, (1156 p.) p. 597

Bon appetit


Type of Recipe