From May 2003 to July 2005, I spent my life away from the United States living and working with a church in Strasbourg, France. It was an incredible and life-changing experience that left me with a new appreciation of the French language, culture, and people. The one thing I missed a lot when I was in France was celebrating American holidays. Obviously France does not think anything of July 4th. To them it is just another day. But July 14th is a completely different matter. Just 10 days after the United States’ beloved national holiday, France celebrates its own independence from the monarchy. Also known as Bastille Day, July 14th is a huge holiday for the French. It involves fireworks and parades and all kinds of festivities not unlike the ones most of us are accustomed to. And since France’s colors are also red, white and blue, it was easy for me to feel right at home even while celebrating in another land.
This year in honor of le 14 juillet, I decided to make a red, white and blue dessert. These pastries have absolutely no tie to France. I actually got the original recipe (which I tweaked slightly) from Visions of Sugar Plum. The original recipe was for a blueberry pastry with lemon cream cheese icing. But I decided to make half of these strawberry and to leave out the lemon flavor altogether. The results were good. This was my first time working with puff pastry, though, and honestly I expected it to be a lot more convenient than making my own pie dough. While I’m sure it did save me some time to have the pre-made dough, I still had trouble rolling it out and cutting it into uniform squares for the pastries. In the end, I think they turned out alright.