Purple Plum Tart

  So much depends on the plums for a tart, they should be almost bursting at the seams with juice. Their season is short, but when the moment strikes, a rare treat awaits with this simple tart — the dough is like a sugar cookie, with only the butter holding it together. I suggest a

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Apricot and Custard Tart (Tarte aux Fruits Alsacienne)

The local fruits in Alsace—apricots, bilberries (blueberries are a close relation), and half a dozen varieties of plum—are so juicy that cooks go to great lengths to avoid a soggy crust. They use a puffy yeast dough (popular, too, with German cooks across the Rhine) that soaks up juices from the fruit with help from a

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Jam Tarts

  I’m amazed that jam tarts haven’t migrated to America, they are a staple on English tea tables, needing only pastry and fruit jam, preferably homemade from raspberries, tangy and brilliant red. For the pastry, you can either make your favorite dough, or try this crumbly English dough that uses butter and lard. Makes 12

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Fat Rascals

In my childhood, Fat Rascals were a favorite of mine, currant-spiked buns resembling a sweet scone but with more butter. The dough is mixed just like scones.  Rascals are best eaten very fresh, perhaps warm from the oven. Ingredients: 2 cups/250 g flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 cup/125 g butter, diced 1/3 cup/75

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Guinea Hen with Ceps

When I go to southern France and mushrooms are in season, I look forward to the particularly meaty, pungent ceps (also called boletus and porcini or “little pigs’, the Italian name). Ceps dry wonderfully well, an intense, fragrant addition to sauces and soups. They are outstanding with game birds such as guinea hen or pheasant,

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Choux Pastry

Choux Pastry is the foundation for so many delicious pastries, including one of my favorites – gougères.  The key to making this light pastry dough well is to measure extremely accurately.

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Mayonnaise

Everyone should know how to make a good mayonnaise. The key is to add the oil in slowly at the beginning so that the mixture emulsifies. 

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The Forgotten Sauce

Whether you call it by its classy French name Béchamel, from the 18th century French Marquis of the same name, know it as “cream gravy” as they do in Texas and much of the South, or simply call it White Sauce as the English like me do, I’m struck by how it’s become the forgotten sauce.

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Raspberry Valentine

For the perfect pink for Valentine’s Day, I’ve layered a mixture of fresh raspberries, whipped cream and grated chocolate with a few flaked almonds for texture. to display the layers, you can use stemmed wine glasses or even clear glass tumblers instead of the traditional soda glasses I suggest here. Long-stemmed spoons are a good

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