Flan Parisien

When people inquire about recipes from the pastries on offer in Paris pastry shops, I look at the recipes we used when I went to pastry school at Ecole Lênotre and it’s hard to imagine cutting down a recipe that makes a hundred canelés into a recipe that makes six or eight for a home cook, who likely doesn’t want to go out and buy…

When people inquire about recipes from the pastries on offer in Paris pastry shops, I look at the recipes we used when I went to pastry school at Ecole Lênotre and it’s hard to imagine cutting down a recipe that makes a hundred canelés into a recipe that makes six or eight for a home cook, who likely doesn’t want to go out and buy a hundred copper canelé molds at 35 dollars (or even €10-15) a pop. Professional bakeries don’t make a single gâteau Opéra or eight éclairs; it’s might be a dozen cakes, five or six dozen éclairs, and hundreds of caramels. So paring down a recipe that won’t overwhelm the oven, kitchen…or budget…of a home baker can be a challenge

Professional bakeries also make components separately as part of their schedule, and in large quantities, and will start the puff pastry or make the pastry cream for a cake or tart in advance, then assemble them over the course of several days. Often recipes depend on techniques learned over a period of time, such as macaronage, the proper stirring and folding of macaron batter, and aren’t just a list of ingredients. So as wonderful and generous as bakers tend to be, not all professionals can share (or in some cases, are willing to part with) the secrets of their success.

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Tapisserie

Years ago, at a flea market in Paris I pickup up some old metal letters from a bakery in France that spelled out PATISSERIE. Being a baker, of course I was thrilled (although still despondent that someone else snatched up the matching BOULANGERIE letters…) and proudly displayed them on the shelf of my apartment. Since my apartment at the time was so small, shelf space…

Years ago, at a flea market in Paris I pickup up some old metal letters from a bakery in France that spelled out PATISSERIE. Being a baker, of course I was thrilled (although still despondent that someone else snatched up the matching BOULANGERIE letters…) and proudly displayed them on the shelf of my apartment. Since my apartment at the time was so small, shelf space was at a super-premium. Yet I was happy to give a lot of it up to have those letters reminding me of my métier.

When I lent my apartment to some visiting friends, I noticed the P and the T had been reversed, and it spelled TAPISSERIE. I got a kick out of it and thought that was very clever. When a new bakery in Paris called Tapisserie from the team of a noted restaurant, I figured it wasn’t a place to purchase a tapestry, but a clever – and original – place to get terrific desserts.

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Let’s Eat France!

Of all the books I own on French cuisine, Let’s Eat France is one of my favorites. First up, the book is huge. I don’t mean in terms of scope, which it is. But physically the book is enormous. Think the size of the tablet listing five of the ten commandments, and just as heavy. The book is 13+ inches (33cm) tall and clocks in…

Of all the books I own on French cuisine, Let’s Eat France is one of my favorites. First up, the book is huge. I don’t mean in terms of scope, which it is. But physically the book is enormous. Think the size of the tablet listing five of the ten commandments, and just as heavy. The book is 13+ inches (33cm) tall and clocks in at 5 1/2 pounds (2,5kg). Let’s Eat France certainly merits the heft; each page is crammed with interesting information, well laid out for reading, with plenty of places on the 431 pages for sidebars, anecdotes, photos, charts, asides, maps, and recipes.

You don’t often come across books on French foods that are this much fun. The French certainly have a jovial attitude about food, but usually in the written world, there’s more reverence than irreverence. There’s a lot of like about French food it’s fun to see someone like François-Régis Gaudry, and his friends who contributed material, have fun with the topic.

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Chocoflan

A few desserts on this blog stick with me, often because I posted them a while back, with a lingering feeling they could be improved upon. As anyone who cooks or bakes knows, things change over time. New ingredients get introduced (such as bean-to-bar chocolates) and we learn better or faster ways to do things the more we make our favorite recipes. Chocoflan has always…

A few desserts on this blog stick with me, often because I posted them a while back, with a lingering feeling they could be improved upon. As anyone who cooks or bakes knows, things change over time. New ingredients get introduced (such as bean-to-bar chocolates) and we learn better or faster ways to do things the more we make our favorite recipes.

Chocoflan has always fascinated me and over eleven years ago, I posted this recipe, based on one by my friend Fany Gerson in her terrific book My Sweet Mexico. When I got her book, I was wowed by it immediately. I was so taken with her book that I asked the same photographer, Ed Anderson, to shoot my next book, which was My Paris Kitchen. I’m happy the pastries of Mexico have been adequately explored in a whole book, with recipes from a notable pastry chef to boot.

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