French

  • Raspberry Sweetheart Cookies (or, palmiers) Raspberry Sweetheart Cookies (or, palmiers)

    Raspberry Sweetheart Cookies (or, palmiers)

Raspberry Sweetheart Cookies (or, palmiers)

I made these in February, which, admittedly was weeks ago. But this isn’t the first time I’ve made palmiers, nor will it be the last. If you have a box of puff pastry in your freezer, and sugar, and I always do, palmiers are very easy to whip up. I was inspired to make these heart-shaped cookies from this Today’s Parent recipe. But you should know, any time you use puff pastry, that the directions will need to be modified based on your oven. Read on to find out more. Substitutions: If possible, I like to think of the the first batch as a test one, when it comes to any recipe using puff pastry. It gives me the opportunity to figure out whether I need to adjust the time in the oven and the thickness of the palmiers. In this case, for the second round, I cut my palmiers […]

  • Marie-Helene’s apple cake Marie-Helene’s apple cake

    Marie-Helene’s apple cake

Marie-Helene’s apple cake

  It’s been nearly a year since I made this cake for my father’s birthday and I’ll admit part of the reason why I haven’t written about it until now is because I’m disappointed in the photo. But this cake was so simply delicious I’d be remiss in my duty to my blog readers if I skipped it entirely. I made this cake around the time Dorie Greenspan’s “Around the French Table” came out, a book that has not once disappointed me. A book you must purchase if you haven’t already. I’ve written about Dorie Greenspan several times already and there’s good reason for that. She’s a true francophile who writes recipes for the everyday person but works with the top professionals. Her recipes turn out. Every time. How many times can you say that about someone else? In any case, the reason why I baked this cake for my […]

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  • Dark chocolate and hazelnut mousse Dark chocolate and hazelnut mousse

    Dark chocolate and hazelnut mousse

Dark chocolate and hazelnut mousse

  On my ever-growing list of items I need to get to on my white board in my office: Cleaning and organizing my drawers. I’ve been staring at those words for months. My bathroom drawers. My kitchen drawers. My en suite bathroom drawers. Don’t even get me started. No, I’m not going to tell you I got around to doing that. Instead, I’m going to alleviate some of my guilt by cleaning out my virtual drawers. I’m getting around to blog posts I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time. I first made this at a French bistro cooking class more than two years ago but then made it again more recently when I had some francophile friends over for dinner. I’ve made chocolate mousse before, and blogged about it but this recipe tops the other one, easily. When it comes to creme brulee, I’m a puritan. I don’t like any […]

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  • Poilane’s Punitions or Punishment Cookies Poilane’s Punitions or Punishment Cookies

    Poilane’s Punitions or Punishment Cookies

Poilane’s Punitions or Punishment Cookies

  Punitions means “punishments” in English. I’m in a sour mood today, it’s raining and it’s grey. And I had the day off from work but sure enough my son woke up sick and lethargic. Now that he’s asleep, I decided it’s time to blog about my experience making these small buttery French cookies a few weeks ago. This recipe comes to us via Dorie Greenspan’s book “Paris Sweets.” Which I’ve referenced time and time again. It’s adapted from the classic recipe from the world-renowned Parisian bakery Poilane.When I started mixing the dough, I thought “Punishment? The French are sooo ironic, what a clever name!” When I began rolling it out, I thought “Punishment huh? Okay, so this isn’t that easy. But I’m working out all my frustrations, so this is actually great.” And then after I baked these cookies, I thought. “Punishment. Yup. These kinda suck.” They were plain old […]

  • Dorie Greenspan’s coffee eclairs Dorie Greenspan’s coffee eclairs

    Dorie Greenspan’s coffee eclairs

Dorie Greenspan’s coffee eclairs

  I never really liked eclairs until recently, when I discovered coffee eclairs (aka eclairs au cafe) at my local tea shop. They were a revelation. Until then, I always equated eclairs with those whipped cream-filled spongy concoctions you can find slowly drying out behind your nearest donut shop counter. You know the type. You take a bite and get a mouthful of too-sweet cream and cake. I gag slightly just thinking about it and I have a serious sweet tooth. But the real thing, authentic Parisian eclairs, are airy eclairs filled with the lightest of light custard or pastry cream. With eclairs au cafe, both the glaze and pastry cream is accentuated by the inclusion of espresso, introducing just the right amount of sharpness to mellow out the high sugar content.I know what you’re thinking. I haven’t yet addressed the rather interesting shape of these eclairs. I have no idea why but […]

  • Chocolate & Zucchini’s Canelés Chocolate & Zucchini’s Canelés

    Chocolate & Zucchini’s Canelés

Chocolate & Zucchini’s Canelés

  It was love at first bite. Sorry I can’t resist a cheesy play on words. Back to the batter at hand (tee hee). I first made canelés, if you might remember, at Bonnie Gordon’s School of Confectionary Arts. I signed up for the two-day course mainly to learn how to make macarons. And I did, and they were delicious, and I had rave reviews. But. As soon as I had learned how to make the macarons, all I could think about was how delicious these unassuming canelés are. Sure enough, they are near-impossible to find in Toronto (only at Nadege Patisserie I believe – that’s Nah-dej, not Nah-deh-jeh). So I had been craving them ever since. Even the stash I brought home didn’t  last very long because these are best eaten hot, on the same day. You should know however, that the crepe-like batter is forgiving and will stay in the […]

  • Hazelnut-almond financiers redux Hazelnut-almond financiers redux

    Hazelnut-almond financiers redux

Hazelnut-almond financiers redux

  I am a micromanager at the best of times and one of the ways that manifests itself is my obsessive checking of my blog stats. I can’t help but wonder – who keeps misspelling my surname as Nercessian to come to this blog? And who are the readers in Afghanistan? Also, are financiers molds really that hard to find that so many people find my blog by Googling those keywords? (Please, for the love of all things chocolate, reveal yourselves!) In fact, they are hard to find and I bought my silicone financiers molds at eBay from a purveyor in New York City. And after many, many, many months I used them.Many moons ago I used the recipe from Clotilde Dusoulier’s book to make financiers and blogged about it. I followed the recipe almost exactly last time, and they were delicious and impossibly moist, but I couldn’t help but think […]

  • Dorie Greenspan’s Nutella Tartine Dorie Greenspan’s Nutella Tartine

    Dorie Greenspan’s Nutella Tartine

Dorie Greenspan’s Nutella Tartine

  Where a North American after-school snack might be a glass of milk and cookies, the French goûter is often a pain au chocolat. Sometimes, Dorie Greenspan says in her new cookbook “Around My French Table” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) it might even be an open-faced chocolate sandwich. This may seem ridiculous to Canadians, and Americans, but it’s not unusual in Europe where Nutella is as popular as peanut butter is here. Even in the Netherlands, my good friend Elsbeth served me chocolate shavings on toast for breakfast when I stayed with her in Utrecht. This recipe is French pastry chef Pierre Hermé’s interpretation of the after-school treat (you may know him as the master of macarons).I still need to review Greenspan’s book, which came to me via the good people at Thomas Allen, but in the meantime I am imploring you to make this, eat this, even if you make nothing else off […]

  • Barefoot Contessa’s brioche loaves Barefoot Contessa’s brioche loaves

    Barefoot Contessa’s brioche loaves

Barefoot Contessa’s brioche loaves

I made this recipe out of laziness. I couldn’t find any brioche or challah to buy for one of Dorie Greenspan’s tartine recipes in either of my local grocery stores and I didn’t feel like driving to my favourite French bakery to buy any. So, I made some myself. Once again, Ina Garten’s “Barefoot in Paris” book came through with a fail-proof recipe. It sounds like a lot of trouble to make, but it’s nearly effortless. If you’re not familiar with brioche, it is a French bread verging on a sweet with a high egg and butter content that translates into a tender crumb and a dark, golden, flaky crust. It’s ideal to use when making French toast, bread pudding, or even to toast and spread with a thin layer of butter. I used to wonder what all the fuss was about when my mother would fall into raptures over brioche. Even […]

  • French pastries day 2: Guimauves and madeleines French pastries day 2: Guimauves and madeleines

    French pastries day 2: Guimauves and madeleines

French pastries day 2: Guimauves and madeleines

  Day two of my French pastries course at the Bonnie Gordon school started quietly enough. We were to finish decorating the macarons we made the day before, and we were to bake the canelés batter sitting in the fridge. But in the middle of our demo on guimauves, I realized what I dismissed as a mere headache was quickly becoming a migraine, an ailment I had avoided since becoming pregnant and having my baby. At lunchtime, I swallowed a couple of pills thanks to a classmate, had a decent meal, drank some strong espresso and pretty soon the edge of my migraine had worn off. Thank goodness. Because making passion fruit, raspberry, and strawberry guimauves (French for marshmallows) is no laughing matter. You have to be vigilant every step of the process. But really, it’s not has hard as you may think. Once again, I will not supply the recipe […]

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