Where does Marjolaine come from?

Ah yes, a good question indeed. Marjolaine is the invention of the late French master chef, Fernand Point, whose restaurant La Pyramide outside of Lyon was widely considered to be France’s premier eating establishment from the close of World War I up until Point’s death in 1955. It was there that Marjolaine was invented and named (so reader Lee tells me) for one of Chef Point’s, how shall I say, special female friends. Though I’ve never seen the original recipe, I’m told it is quite vague, which explains why Point’s most famous pastry has been so widely interpreted. From what I’ve been able to ascertain, the original seemed to employ meringue layers and buttercream filling Point made by beating butter into already-whipped cream. Exactly how that worked is a bit beyond me. Subsequent versions (many of them also quite famous) called for lighter pastry cream fillings, which is the direction I’ve decided to take. It’s not that I don’t like buttercream (heaven forbid!). It’s just that this pastry has an awful lot of filling in it, which would mean quite a lot of butter. Chef Point died at the age of 57, having attained a girth that exceeded that of the mighty Orson Welles. I confess that gives me pause.

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