Creating a Sense of Community in Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia

Tarte a la Creme et Tulipes

Imagine yourself strolling through a French flower market with rows and rows of beautiful fragrant tulips, roses, and peonies. Where cut stems in clear plastic sleeves draw your attention to vivid colors and fanciful blooms. With your straw basket filled to the brim with mixed bouquets and bundles of cut flowers you stop at a small bistro-bakery for a take-home dessert … a French Crème Tart. You are off to a grand start for a beautiful day in Paris. Well, only for a moment, as the lovely dream of flowers and pastries fades back into reality as you glance at your watch realizing your dinner party is fast approaching.

You may not be in Paris but you can create an atmosphere that makes you feel like you are! Draw inspiration of fresh flower markets and pastry shops by creating your own Parisian elegance for dining with complimentary colors purple, yellow, and green. The centerpiece for this Parisian tablescape features an abundance of fresh cut yellow tulips and deep purple alstroemeria, which help anchor the tulips. Faux wispy stems add dimension and texture while the purple floral base draws attention to the place settings.

Sala lemon leaves line a square placement at each place setting reminiscent of trimmed potted hedges one can imagine to see from a French floral market. The table is set in deep purple and white dinnerware with white lacey dessert plates, perfect for serving a slice of French Crème Tart. White ruffled napkins are furled like a flower and take root in purple globe stemware. Large lemons with hand written names serve as place cards at each setting. The purpose for creating personalized place cards gives guests comfort knowing where to be seated and promotes dinner conversation. It is an old fashioned art of entertaining that is returning with creative ways to seat guests.

While decadent pastry shops have tarts and macrons, this French Creme Tart has everything you have imagined for a tart that you can make in an afternoon. The beautiful tart has two layers of sweet crust and volumes of piped fresh whipped cream, berries, macrons, mini lemon tarts, candies and flowers. It’s easy to make and the crust has just enough sweetness to make all the other flavors stand out. The round shape is made from a cardboard pattern that is used to cut out the dough and baked for 10 minutes. The crust is a Pate Sucree, made with butter, confectioner’s sugar, almond flour and egg, super simple and delicious. This French Creme Tart will allow you to feature fruits and organic or edible flowers each season and for any reason to serve up a sassy dessert.

As the French say, Tartes et tulipes (tarts and tulips). You can embrace Parisian elegance with femininity and fun with simple table decor and tart idea.  Whether planning a mother’s day luncheon or spring garden party, set the table with fresh cut tulips and a French Creme Tart.  You might live in Tennessee but you can still imagine and create French style floral and pastry tarts without leaving home.

Pick up a copy of the May issue to get the recipe for the French Creme Tart.

Share Post
Written by

Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tri-cities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIPSEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to or