Hi, friend! How did your August start off? We spent the whole weekend lounging on the couch and going on long nature walks with our temporary dog, Hanky! It was blissful and full of cuddles! Except for when a scooter or skateboarded whizzed by and Hanky would go temporarily insane. I’m trying to recover from puppy withdrawal and overcome the sadness I feel when I realize she isn’t on the couch to snuggle with me anymore. Gosh, I miss her already. We will always have the memories from this weekend though : ) Ugh, I’m being dramatic.
Thankfully, it was super beautiful and fairly sunny all weekend for our long walks. It’s been characteristically chilly in our neighborhood lately, which makes me just want to roll up in a blanket and stay inside. But that’s not how you’re supposed to do summer, I guess… There’s only 1 1/2 months of Summer left and I’m going to make it a priority to spend as much time outside as possible! As long as Karl the Fog plays nice and doesn’t ruin my plans.
I see more weekday lunch breaks in the park and weekend picnics with Reuben! I love eating outside. If I could eat outside for every meal, I would! So when Bonne Maman ask me if I could plan the ultimate summer picnic using Bonne Maman INTENSE Fruit Spreads, I thought I was dreaming! I was born to pack cute picnics! To be honest, not every picnic needs to be quite so fancy, but I’m going to go through my picnic essentials and must do’s for a wonderful sunny meal in the park!
The Ultimate Summer Picnic Menu
When planning a summer picnic menu, I like to make sure I pack these 3 components for a well-rounded picnic.
Carbs to Munch On - could be bread and cheese, crackers and salami, or milk bread and butter!
Something Savory - just something salty and filling so you feel like you actually ate something and not grazed all afternoon like a goat.
A Special Sweet Treat - berries and fruit are great, but having a designated dessert makes everything feel so much more special.
Then you should also think about hydration. Brings some water so you don’t feel so crappy after a few sips of wine.
I invited a few of my girlfriends over to the neighborhood park and had ourselves a lovely little picnic!
this was our menu!
Homemade Milk Bread with Bonne Maman INTENSE Blueberry Fruit Spread
Spicy Tofu Lettuce Cups with all the Fixings
Apricot and Jasmine Crepe Cake with Bonne Maman INTENSE Apricot Fruit Spread
Milk bread was my carb of choice because I’m on a milk bread kick and find myself almost making it on a weekly basis now. It’s a fun alternative to a classic baguette. Plus it’s so soft you don’t need to pack a bread knife! The soft and fluffy milk bread goes perfectly well with a side of butter, condensed milk, Bonne Maman’s INTENSE Blueberry Spread! I’ve been a huge fan of Bonne Maman for years and didn’t think their preserves could get any better… until I tried the Bonne Maman INTENSE Fruit Spreads! They are made with more fruit and 39% less sugar than regular preserves! You can definitely taste the difference too. You know me, I’m not a huge fan of sugary sweet things, so I was pleasantly surprised that their preserves just taste like incredibly fresh and ripe fruit!
You can find a recipe for my homemade milk bread here. Just omit the sambal and cheese, divide the dough into 9 buns, and place in a 9”x13” baking tray lined with parchment. Bake for 28-34 minutes.
You can make this bread the day before to spread out your prep, or even prepare the dough the night before and bake it in the morning!
Spicy Tofu Lettuce Cups
Next we have the spicy tofu lettuce cups. I’m not really sharing a real recipe for this one because it’s almost too simple to make. All you do is take 1 block of firm tofu. Wrap it in paper towels to absorb liquid for at least 15 minutes. Cut the tofu into 1/2” slices. I also cut the slices into triangles… just because. Throw the tofu in a ziplock bag or shallow rimmed dish and add in some soy sauce, Sriracha, sesame oil, pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Let that tofu marinate for 30 minutes.
After the tofu has marinated, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add a single layer of tofu and sear the tofu on both sides for a few minutes each, until the edges are crispy.
Serve the tofu in lettuce cups with pickled veggies, fried onions, and cucumbers!
I would make this the day of your picnic and just package all the individual components in separate containers so your guests can assemble the cups themselves.
Apricot and Jasmine Crepe Cake
Alright. Now time for the highlight of this picnic! The crepe cake! I love making crepe cakes because they look impressive but are actually quite easy to make! You don’t have to bake even cake layers and assemble them with mounds of unnecessary buttercream. YES!
Before we get to the crepe part of this crepe cake, let’s work on the Jasmine Whipped Cream. Yeah, you heard me. JASMINE WHIPPED CREAM. Again, it sounds fancy, but it only requires 2 extra steps than if you were going to make regular whipped cream. All you do is take 1 jasmine tea bag and simmer it with some heavy whipping cream in a small sauce pan for a few minutes to infuse the cream with jasmine flavor. Take the cream off the heat and place the cream and the tea bag in a container to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hour or overnight. When you’re ready to assemble your cake, just whip it up until it’s light and fluffy!
The crepes can also be made in advance! You want your batter to be thin so that it can easily swirl in your pan to create a thin crispy edged crepe. I use an 8” nonstick pan without any oil or butter to cook the crepes and it works like a charm! Place the crepes on a baking tray and allow to completely cool before assembling.
To assemble the cake, place a crepe on a plate and apply a thin layer of whipped cream. Place another crepe on top and apply 1 tbsp of Bonne Maman INTENSE Apricot Fruit Spread. Repeat the alternating layers until you’ve used all your crepes! Top with whipped cream and a few slices of fresh apricots!
I love being able to see all 20-something layers in a crepe cake. Better yet, I love getting all the layers on my fork! The whipped cream is HEAVEN. It’s just barely sweet, creamy, and beautifully scented and flavored with floral jasmine tea. Then the crepes are thin and delicate - a little eggy and chewy, which works so well with the soft whipped cream! If it’s an incredibly hot day out, keep the cake in a cooler until you’re ready to eat. If it’s just a regular sunny day or if you have a shady spot, the cake will be just fine sitting out with you.
In addition to the food, you will also need to pack some other key essentials!
Summer Picnic Checklist
Picnic Blanket - for obvious reasons.
Cutting boards - you’ll be thankful for the flat surfaces!
Bottles of water - hydration!
A small knife - wrapped in a kitchen towel so it’s safe to carry around.
Little jars - for all your extra fixings like butter, crunchy lettuce cup toppings, and pickles!
Plastic glasses - I love our plastic glasses because you don’t have to worry about breaking them when your in transit or actively picnic-ing.
Utensils from home + a ziplock baggie - I like to use the utensils from home so I don’t have to buy more deposable plastic and just throw them in a baggie to take home at wash.
Trash bags - you always forget about this one!
Sunscreen - gotta be prepared!
Napkins - just in case you drop some fruit spread on your white shirt…
I know it may seem a little labor intensive, but that’s why we’re calling this the “Ultimate Summer Picnic” and not “just your regular sunny day picnic.” NOTHING wrong with the latter picnic, but if you’re going to put all that effort into putting real pants on and leaving the house then I think you can make a nice a spread of food for the occasion! Maybe you can split up the efforts with all your pals? Don’t just be the fruit or wine person. I believe in you and you can do so much more!
Apricot and Jasmine Crepe Cake
makes 1 6” crepe cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 cups of milk
2 tbsp oil
1/3 cup water
Bonne Maman INTENSE Apricot Fruit Spread
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 jasmine tea bag
2 tbsp powdered sugar
Make the jasmine whipped cream first. Place cream and jasmine tea bag in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over. Remove the cream from the pan and place in a container with the tea bag. Place in the fridge to chill for 2 hour or overnight.
Discard the tea bag. Pour cream and sugar into a large bowl. Whip with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Place in the fridge to chill until ready to assemble.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together eggs, milk, oil and water in another bowl. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until there are no more lumps. Let the batter rest in the fridge for an hour.
Heat an 8" nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Pour in a little less than 1/4 cup of batter and swirl to cover the whole pan. Allow to cook for 15-20 seconds, until the edges get slightly brown and crisp. Flip and cook for another 15 seconds. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a baking sheet or wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter. You should get around 23-25 crepes.
Allow all the crepes to completely cool before assembling. Place one crepe on a platter. Layer on 2 tbsp of whipped cream. Place on another crepe and layer on a tablespoon of fruit spread. Repeat crepe layers with alternating fillings of whipped cream and compote. Top the cake with one last layer of whipped cream and some apricot slices.