I made this Raspberry Cream recipe from “The French Country Bistro” book on February 5, 2012. This recipe is one that is used all over France. It’s used with the fruit that is in season depending on which region of France it is made in and what time of year it is. It is also often used with creme fraiche as the cream in the dish.
This was a very simple recipe. I nearly doubled it so I could serve it to more people. I didn’t have a blender or an electric beater, so I had to do everything by hand. It made the cream a bit thinner and soupier than it should have been, but it was still very tasty. The cream was a bit rich tasting, but the mint sprig helped to offset that.
Creme aux Framboises:
12 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen and thawed, plus 1 small basket of fresh raspberries
5-6 tablespoons sugar, to taste
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 egg white
sprigs of mint, to serve
- Put the raspberries in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, then press through a strainer to obtain a smooth puree; you should have about 1 cup. Stir in 4-5 tablespoons of the sugar. Set aside.
- Put the cream in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it holds firm peaks. Set aside.
- Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of the sugar until it holds firm peaks. Fold the beaten egg white and raspberry puree into the cream.
- Divide the mixture between 4 serving glasses, filling half way. Set aside 4 fresh raspberries, then divide the remaining fresh ones between the glasses and top with the remaining raspberry cream.
- Decorate the top of each with fresh raspberry and a mint sprig. Chill for up to 6 hours. Serve cold.
I made this Butter Spongecake from the Julia Child’s cookbook on February 5, 2012. This is a typical French cake. It’s a popular French dessert recipe due to the methods by which it is made. Particular attention is paid to the way the egg whites are beaten, and this cake recipe is very similar to several other recipes that this book offers.
I left the recipe as it was because it was to be baked. I didn’t have an electric beater or a proper wire whip, I ended up just using a wire beater. It made it so that I could not form the peaks with the egg whites, but it didn’t seem to affect the taste or texture of the cake in the end. Some of the egg yolk got into the egg whites, but it didn’t affect it at all.
The cake was very delicious and I will probably make it again.
Biscuit au Beurre:
A round cake pan, 10 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep
4 Tb butter
A 3 quart mixing bowl
An electric beater or large wire whip
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
2 Tb granulated sugar
A rubber spatula
3/4 cup cake flour
A cake rack
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter and flour the cake pan. Measure out the ingredients.
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
- Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks, add the vanilla, and continue beating for several minutes until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and forms the ribbon.
- Beat the egg whites and salt together in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Scoop one fourth of the egg whites over the top of the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Sift on one fourth of the flour, and delicately fold in until partially blended. Then add one third of the remaining egg whites, sift on one third of the remaining flour, fold until partially blended, and repeat with half of each, then the last of each and half of the tepid, melted butter. When partially blended, fold in the rest of the butter but omit the milky residue at the bottom of the pan. Do not overmix; the egg whites must retain as much volume as possible.
- Turn into prepared cake pan, tilting pan to run batter to the rim all around. Set in middle level of preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, is lightly brown, and has just begun to show a faint line of shrinkage from the edges of the pan.
- Remove from oven and let stand in the pan for 6 to 8 minutes. It will sink slightly and shrink more than the edges of the pan. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse on cake rack, giving the pan a sharp little jerk to dislodge the cake. If cake is not to be iced, immediately reverse it so its puffed side is uppermost. Allow to cool for an hour or so.
- Shake powdered sugar over the cake.
I made this Gratin Dauphinois recipe from the “Paris” cookbook on February 1, 2012. This potato dish originated in the “Dauphine, a region of mountains, forests, and pasturelands that lies between the Savoy, with its alpine lakes and snowy peaks, and Provence.” There are several variations of this recipe, depending on which area of France it is made in.
I made this recipe with the same serving size because I only had a very small casserole dish with which to make it in. I forgot to save extra chives from the omelet recipe so I could only use parsley as the topper. It didn’t really affect the taste of the dish though.
I ended up cutting myself twice with this recipe, once with the peeler and again with the knife. They were very easy to patch up though and it didn’t affect the way I made the recipe.
Everything else went well with the recipe. I ended up having extra potatoes left over in the end.
3-5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 1/2-4 lb russet potatoes, peeled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh chives and flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375*F. Butter a large 3-qt baking dish about 3 1/2 inches deep. Sprinkle about half the garlic over the bottom and sides of the dish.
- Using a mandoline or a shark knife, cut the potatoes into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Arrange a layer of potato slices in the prepared dish, slightly over-lapping them if desired, season with salt and pepper, and pour a few spoonfuls of cream evenly over the potatoes. Sprinkle lightly with some of the remaining garlic. Repeat the layering until all the potatoes and garlic are used. Pour on the remaining cream and dot with the butter.
- Bake the potatoes until they are very tender, have absorbed all of the cream, and are golden brown on top, 1-1 1/2 hours. To help the gratin develop a nice brown crust, raise the heat to 400*F for the last 10-15 minutes.
- Serve the gratin directly from the dish, sprinkling each portion with some of the chives and parsley.
I made these French Fries from the “Paris” book on January 30, 2012. I wasn’t sure that French Fries were actually French until I saw the recipe in this book. According to this book, the French and the Belgians have been arguing over who invented the “French fry.” “The French claim that they were first cooked near the Point Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, in the mid-nineteenth century.”
This recipe called for beef suet as an optional flavoring, but I decided not to use it to make this a vegetarian recipe. I didn’t have a deep-frying thermometer, so I just turned the heat up to high to make sure the temperature was warm enough. I figured it was okay to not have the thermometer since the recipe only used potatoes and it would be safe if they were undercooked. Other than that, everything else in this recipe was used and everything went well with the cooking process.
I ended up using more than the called for amount of potatoes, but it didn’t affect anything but the amount of time it took to cook them.
6-8 russet or other baking potatoes, about 2 lb total weight
Canola or olive oil for deep frying
2-3 oz beef suet (optional)
- Peel the potatoes if desired (the French prefer them peeled). Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, cut them into thin julienne for shoestring potatoe, batons 1/4-1/2 inch thick for standard French fries, or ovals 1/8-1/4 inch thick for pommes soufflees. Place the potatoes in a large bowl of salted water and let stand for at least 1 hour or for up to 3 hours. If desired, change the water once or twice to remove the excess starch. Drain the potatoes well and pat dry with paper towels.
- Pour oil to a depth of 4-5 inches into a deep, heavy saute pan or a heavy saucepan. Add the beef suet, if using, to the cold oil and heat over medium heat to 325*F on a deep-frying thermometer. Working in batches, add the potatoes, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry the potatoes, stirring them once or twice, until they are almost tender but still pale and waxy. The shoestring cut will cook in about 2 minutes, the batons in 6-8 minutes, and the ovals in 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet that has been lined with paper towels to drain. Let stand for at least 5 minutes or for up to 3 hours.
- Just before serving, reheat the oil to 375*F. Again working in batches, fry the potatoes until golden brown. The shoestring cut will cook in about 1 minute, and the batons and the ovals will cook in 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet lined with fresh paper towels. Season with salt and serve while sizzling hot.
I made these herb omelets from the “Paris” cookbook on January 29, 2012. This omelet recipe is often used for a quick meal in Paris. The ingredients are few and east to find and it takes little time to actually prepare and make. This is a traditional Parisian omelet because of its use of eggs and fine herbes and nothing else.
I decided to keep the recipe the way it was and to instead just make smaller omelets to serve more people. I did not use the chervil, which was fine because it was only optional in the recipe. I also just used one large bowl for all of the eggs, but it didn’t affect the recipe. It was very easy to make and tasted very fresh and light.
Everything went well with this recipe. None of the omelets ended up burnt or undercooked. It was a very tasteful and easy recipe to make and took very little time for me to prepare and serve.
Omelette Aux Fines Herbes:
8-12 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cervil (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
About 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Using a separate bowl for each omelet, whisk together 2 or 3 of the eggs just until blended (separate bowls make it easier to prepare individual omelets). Whisk one-fourth of the parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil (if using) into each bowl, and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a 7- or 8-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Put about 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan. The moment it melts, tilt the pan to coat the bottom and sides. When the butter sizzles but has not yet begun to brown, remove the pan from the heat and pour in 1 bowl of the egg mixture. Immediately return the pan to the heat and tilt it so the bottom of the omelet browns lightly but the surface remains runny; this should take no more than 15-20 seconds. When the center is the consistency of very soft scrambled eggs, using a wooden spatula and keeping the pan tilted, roll the omelet toward you, a little at a time. Let the omelet cook for a few seconds longer once it is rolled-the bottom should be pale gold and the center should be creamy-then, holding a warmed plate in one hand and the handle of the pan in the other, and positioning the lip of the pan near the center of the place, lift the pan so that the omelet falls, seam side down, onto the middle. The whole cooking process should take no more than 2 minutes.
- Serve the omelet at once, then repeat with the remaining bowls of egg mixture, adding an additional tablespoon of butter to the pan for each omelet.
I made this apple tart, tarte tatin as it is better known, from the Julia Child’s cookbook on January 26, 2012. This popular French recipe has its origins from the beginning of the 20th century. Two French sisters, Stephanie and Caroline Tatin, made this in their small hotel in a town outside of Paris. These apple tarts were a specialty in the area, attracting attention and customers from even Paris. It is now considered a Parisian classic.
The original recipe was meant to serve 8 people so I kept it as it was. Also, since it was being baked, I did not know how much room I would have in the pan if I altered the recipe. I did not have a sieve, so the preserves were a bit thicker than they should have been. However, this did not affect the taste or texture of the tart. I also opted for the vanilla extract over the alcohol to make it more school-appropriate. I served it with whipping cream to mimic the taste of creme fraiche.
I actually cut my finger while I was cutting the apples, which was a bit surprising as I’ve never cut my finger while cooking before. It was easily patched up though.
Aside from that, everything went well in the recipe. I ended up having extra apples left over, along with extra filling and apple topping. The consistency of the tart was not what I expected it to be. When I cut into the tart, it did not come out in clean slices. It ended up falling apart as I tried to get it to the plate, but it still tasted good and that was only a minor setback that could easily be ignored.
A 10-inch partially cooked pastry shell set on a baking sheet
4 lbs firm cooking apples (Golden Delcious)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tb granulated sugar
A 2-quart mixing bowl
A 10-inch heavy-bottomed pan: enameled saucepan, skillet, or casserole
A wooden spoon
1/3 cup apricot preserves, forced through a sieve
1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy), rum, or cognac; or 1 Tb vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 Tb butter
- Quarter, core, and peel the apples. Cut enough to make 3 cups into even 1/8-inch lengthwise slices and toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice and sugar. Reserve them for the top of the tart.
- Cut the rest of the apples into rough slices. You should have about 8 cups. Place in the pan and cook, covered, over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Then beat in the ingredients at the left. Raise heat and boil, stirring, until apple-sauce is thick enough to hold in a mass in the spoon.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread the applesauce in the pastry shell. Cover with a neat, closely overlapping layer of sliced apples arranged in a spiral, concentric circles, or as illustrated at the beginning of this recipe.
- Bake in upper third of preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the sliced apples have browned lightly and are tender. Slide tart onto the rack or serving dish and spoon or paint over it a light coating of apricot glaze. Serve warm or cold, and pass with it, if you wish, a bowl of cream.
1/2 cup apricot preserves, forced through a sieve
2 Tb granulated sugar
A small saucepan
A wooden spatula or spoon
- Stir the strained apricot preserves with the sugar over moderately high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until thick enough to coat the spoon with a light film, and the last drops are sticky as they fall from the spoon. Do not boil beyond this point or the glaze will become brittle when it cools.
- Apply the glaze while it is still warm. Unused glaze will keep indefinitely in a screw-topped jar; reheat again before using.
This is the French Onion Soup recipe I made from the “Paris” book. I made it on January 22, 2012. It became famous during the popularity of Les Halles, Paris’s former wholesale food market, and was served all over the city. It is still popular today in the city as a late-night snack.
I nearly doubled this recipe so that I could serve it to more people. I also made it vegetarian by substituting the beef stock for vegetable broth. It changed the flavor of the dish but did not make it taste bad. I also could not find the cheese the recipe called for so I replaced with a cheese that would have a similar taste and texture. I used Fontina cheese and it had a very nice taste. I also used olive oil instead of canola oil, but it did not seem to affect anything. I did not use ovenproof bowls and did not put them in the oven to melt the cheese. Instead, I just let the soup stay on the heat until I served it so it would stay hot and would allow the cheese to melt.
Soupe a L’oignon
2 1/2 lb yellow onions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups (16 fl oz) light red or dry white wine
8 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
6 thick slices coarse country bread, each 1 1/2 inches thick
3 cups (12 oz) shredded Comte or Gruyere cheese
- Using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice the onions lengthwise. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the onions, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, adding the sugar and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, until the onions are meltingly soft, golden, and lightly caramelized, 25-30 minutes.
- Add the wine, raise the heat to high, and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, 8-10 minutes. Add the stock and bay leaf, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the soup simmer, uncovered, until it is dark and fully flavored, about 45 minutes. If the liquid is evaporation too quickly and the soup seems to taste too strong, add a little water, then cover the pot and continue cooking.
- Just before serving, preheat the oven to 400*F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Remove the bay leaf from the soup and discard. Ladle the hot soup into ovenproof soup bowls arranged on a baking sheet. Place a piece of toast on top of each bowl and sprinkle evenly with the Comte. Bake until the cheese melts and the toasts are lightly browned around the edges, 10-15 minutes, Remove from the oven and serve at once.
This is the Quiche au Roquefort recipe I made from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” I made it on January 21, 2012. A quiche is a “mixture of cream and bacon, or cheese and milk, or tomatoes and onions, or crab, or anything else which is combined with eggs, poured into a pastry shell, and baked in the oven until it puffs and browns.” What is put inside a quiche depends on the region of France in which it is made. This particular recipe was made with a type of cheese called Roquefort, which is found in the region surrounding Roquefort-sur-Soulzon.
This recipe turned out extremely well. It was actually my favorite recipe that I’ve made so far. It was very easy to make and was similar to baking, which made it more fun and interesting for me to make. It was different from any quiche I had had before because it was slightly tangy due to the blue cheese. I did not use a sieve to remove the lumps from the batter but it did not affect the taste or texture of the quiche.
Quiche au Roquefort
3 ounces (6 Tb) Roquefort or blue cheese
6 ounces (2 small packages) cream cheese or cottage cheese
2 Tb softened butter
3 Tb whipping cream
Salt and white pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 Tb minced fresh chives or 1/2 tsp minced green onion tops
An 8-inch partially cooked pastry shell placed on a baking sheet
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Blend the cheese, butter, and cream with a fork, then beat in the eggs. Force the mixture through a sieve, to get rid of the lumps. Season to taste and stir in the chives or green onion tops. Pour into the pastry shell and set in upper third of preheated oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until quiche has puffed and top has browned.
So this recipe was a walnut cake recipe from “The French Country Table” book. I made it on January 18, 2012. This is a traditional French dessert in the south-west of France but is made all over France. It’s traditionally made with a fresh vanilla bean and the walnuts would be a nut native to the region. It’s used as a light dessert that can compliment a coffee or afternoon tea.
This recipe was pretty simple to make. I ended up having to grind the walnuts myself but that was not too difficult. The only small problem that occurred was that my cake cracked when I attempted to move it to the plate, but that didn’t affect the taste or look of the cake. The cake was also a bit dry, but I’m not sure if that was because I did something incorrectly while making it or if it was just meant to be a bit drier than most cakes.
Gateau aux Noix:
1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted, softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise with a small, sharp knife
4 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces, ground
walnut halves, to decorate
1/2 cup sugar
a squeeze of lemon juice
2/3 cup heavy cream
A cake pan, 9 inches diameter, greased
- Preheat the oven to 400*F
- Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until fluffy. Use the tip of the knife to scrape in the vanilla seeds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a spatula, gently fold in the flour and ground walnuts. Transfer to the prepared cake pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, until browned and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool slightly, then unmold while still warm.
- To make the caramel frosting, put the sugar, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons water in a heavy saucepan and cook, stirring, until it turns a light caramel color. Carefully add the cream (it can splatter), stirring until blended.
- Put the cake on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to cake the drips. Pour over frosting in a thin, even layer. Decorate with walnut halves and leave for at least 2-3 hours before slicing, until the frosting has set.
I made this Aubergine Farci recipe on January 14, 2012. This particular recipe came from a website called Provence Beyond. It is a traditionally Provencal dish because it uses tomato sauce, anchovies, and olive oil as part of the dish. These three ingredients are very common for this region. It could also be made by both royal chefs and peasants as it is relatively simple.
This recipe took me a little longer than was necessary because I didn’t have a big enough pot to blanch all of the eggplants together. I had to boil and blanch each of them in pairs of twos, which took up a lot of time.
When I went to cut the eggplants, some of them were too soft for me to scoop out so I ended up not being able to use them when I stuffed them. It turned out well though because I only ended up needing the ones I had used for the amount of people who showed up.
Here is the recipe I used for this stuffed eggplant dish. I did not end up using the anchovy or lean salt pork because I made this recipe completely vegetarian.
50 g lean salt pork
2 filets anchovy
100 g parmesan
5 garlic cloves
6 leaves basil
Olive oil for cooking
- Remove the stem and any spikes or hard parts from the skin. Wash and dry off. Blanch thoroughly 15 minutes in water with the garlic and the quartered onion.
- Slice the aubergine in half lengthwise, and remove the contents.
- To prepare the stuffing:
Wash the anchovy filets in fresh water, clean, and mash into a paste. Mix together the anchovy paste, chopped meat, beaten eggs, parmesan, aubergin contents , tomato sauce, and bread crumbs.
- Stuff the aubergine, then cover and bake in a low oven for 40 minutes. Uncover, cap with bread crumbs and bake in a high oven for 20 minutes.