French Recipes


Pompe à l’Huile – Sweet Olive Oil Bread

Pompe à l’Huile – Sweet Olive Oil Bread

The name pompe à l’huile is an indication of how this Provençal specialty is made: dough pumped full of oil. Might as well be proactive and drown the bread in extra-virgin olive oil ahead of time if you’re going to do it anyway.
Saveur describes it as a cross between a focaccia, because it is shaped [...]

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Radish Herb Butter

Radish Herb Butter

The classic French preparation involves nothing more than radishes, butter, and salt. Fearful of not quite “getting” it, I tried out this minted radish butter recipe from Green City Market instead.
You don’t need to be French to appreciate these crunchy clusters of red, pink, and green. The radishes, herbs, and spritzes of lemon lightened the [...]

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Sautéed Morel Mushrooms and Fava Beans

Sautéed Morel Mushrooms and Fava Beans

Buttery fava beans still in its pale green skin are added to sauteed morel mushrooms in this recipe. Crème fraîche, a cultured cream, gives the dish a rich tang. It’s a simple way of enjoying what is arguably the most coveted of spring produce.
When it comes to fresh ingredients, sometimes the simplest recipes are [...]

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Grilled Chicken with Espelette Pepper

Grilled Chicken with Espelette Pepper

You’ll likely spend more effort looking for the key ingredient than preparing this simple grilled chicken (see below for a substitution suggestion). The original recipe mentions Fox & Obel, a Chicago grocer that makes Whole Foods seem like Cheap Eats Galore by comparison, as the only source for Espelette peppers around here ($17.99 for 45 [...]

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Croque Madame – Grilled Cheese, Ham, and Egg Sandwich

Croque Madame – Grilled Cheese, Ham, and Egg Sandwich

A Croque Madame is a grilled cheese and smoked ham sandwich topped with a sunny side up egg. I used Black Forest ham, Gruyère cheese, and whole wheat sourdough bread because I want to be known as That Guy who makes a mean sandwich.
Within minutes, this mini-sandwich was reduced to traces of errant crumbs and [...]

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Sourdough Italian-Style French Bread

Sourdough Italian-Style French Bread

Do you notice how these pane francese photos seem to be taken at a peculiar angle? How they show most of the loaf surface area but not quite the entire picture? There’s a reason for that. The hidden cropped areas is where the bread exploded like bats out of a cave.
The original recipe specifically advises [...]

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Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents

Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents

Preparing a Tarte Tatin in this way guarantees a crisp and flaky crust. Unlike traditional Tarte Tatin recipes, the puff pastry crust is baked separately from the caramelized apples. The basket-shaped puff pastry crust is made ahead of time and filled right before serving.
In addition to looking spiffier than the typical brown disk, I think [...]

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Pain à l’ancienne Baguettes

Pain à l’ancienne Baguettes

The dark blistered crust pockmarked with fissures gives pain à l’ancienne a look some might call rustic, a polite way of describing misshapen food. Crudely shaped through stretching, these baguettes have thicker ends and seem unrefined at first glance.
What pain à l’ancienne lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in taste. If you [...]

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Pain d’épices – Fruit and Spice Cake

Pain d’épices – Fruit and Spice Cake

If you replace molasses with honey and add rye flour to your old-fashioned gingerbread recipe, you’ll end up with a basic pain d’épices, the French take on gingerbread. As its name implies, “bread of spices” is all about the fragrance and warmth of ground aromatics. There are endless spice mix variations and each recipe seems [...]

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Chocolate Mint Bûche de Noël

Chocolate Mint Bûche de Noël

This contemporary version of Bûche de Noël is the perfect opportunity to make something extra festive for Christmas. Instead of a roulade and buttercream icing in the traditional French yule log, this modern take is composed of a silky mousse layered with crème brûlée and crispy chocolate praline.
I decided to set the entire mousse cake [...]

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Apple Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

Apple Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

This cake reminds me of Iron Chef: Battle Apple and Chocolate. I kept thinking that apples and chocolate can’t possibly pair well because I couldn’t think of any recipes that highlight both ingredients. Think of apple desserts and caramel likely comes to mind. As far as chocolate desserts go, even if many fruits taste great [...]

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Yeast-Raised Cornbread with Brown Butter

Yeast-Raised Cornbread with Brown Butter

This loaf makes great toast because it’s not only crackly on the outside, but also has crunchy bits on the inside. In this yeast-raised cornbread recipe from Jeffrey Hamelman, fine cornmeal is added to a basic white wheat dough for texture and that freshly made tortilla smell.
I couldn’t help but think of popcorn so I [...]

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Pumpkin Pavé – Spiced Pumpkin Filling on Streusel

Pumpkin Pavé – Spiced Pumpkin Filling on Streusel

Are your attempts at pumpkin pie dough getting you down? Can’t roll it out because it’s either too tough or crumbly? Is it sticking to your counter and rolling pin even with heavy dustings of flour? Did the crust turn into a soggy mess after baking?
Ditch the pie dough and bake it on streusel instead.
Baked [...]

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Pumpkin Spice Brioche

Pumpkin Spice Brioche

Pumpkin puree and its familiar spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger are kneaded into buttery dough in this seasonal take on the classic brioche. This recipe makes so much sense to me – winter squashes simply roasted with butter is always comforting when in season . These soft yellow puffs topped with crunchy [...]

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Pane Francese – Northern Italian French Bread

Pane Francese – Northern Italian French Bread

Pane Francese is the bastard lovechild of the baguette and the ciabatta, melding the best qualities of each iconic bread into rustic loaves. Shaped into long sticks like its French archetype, the crust-to-crumb ratio is maximized, making it a great accompaniment to rich soups and stews. The high hydration characteristic of the ciabatta, at 76% [...]

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Eric Kayser’s Ciabatta au Levain Liquide

Eric Kayser’s Ciabatta au Levain Liquide

No, I didn’t confuse my (non-existent) French and Italian. This formula for Italian ciabatta uses French terminology because it’s from Eric Kayser, well-renowned in Paris for his breads and pastries. In a city saturated with driven artisans dedicated to their craft, Maison Kayser still manages to consistently rank high among the best Parisian bakeries.
Even more [...]

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Chocolate Pots de Crème

Chocolate Pots de Crème

Chocolate pot de crème is my dessert of choice for intimate gatherings because it is easily scalable and can be made a day in advance. A silky custard baked in single-serving portions, pots de crème can be topped with fresh fruits, whipped cream, or chocolate shavings to make a dainty-looking but unfussy dessert.
You may already [...]

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Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé

Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé

Making pâte à choux has always been intimidating but now that I’ve tried it once, I can’t wait to use it again. Gazing at the colorful options behind glass display cases in local pastry shops, I’m thinking, “I can’t make any of this.” Now I can proudly cross out éclairs, cream puffs, profiteroles, and Paris-Brest [...]

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Eric Kayser’s Baguettes Monge

Eric Kayser’s Baguettes Monge

The minute just prior to loading a scorching 500 degree oven with delicate shaped baguettes is a case study in coordination and multitasking. You need to move quickly in a controlled manner — proofed baguettes can easily deflate if handled roughly and should be baked immediately to maintain its cylindrical shape. Several things should also [...]

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Sables à la Poche Cookies

Sables à la Poche Cookies

The thought of gently clasping a star-tipped pastry bag to make cookies was laughable until fairly recently. It may not seem obvious from posts that involve feats of manual dexterity and shameless whipping, but I am, in fact, a red-blooded male.
While I appreciate any passing mention from fellow bloggers that find my posts somewhat amusing, [...]

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Blueberry Mint Brioche Pudding

Blueberry Mint Brioche Pudding

What can you do to make buttery brioche buns better? Why, soak it in vanilla-infused cream and milk, of course. Adding fresh antioxidant-rich blueberries isn’t such a bad idea as well, mainly so you can convince yourself that the resulting mess of creamy goodness is somewhat healthy.
Since this is based on a Daniel Boulud recipe, [...]

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Poilâne’s Mint Brioche

Poilâne’s Mint Brioche

Shaped into petites brioches à tête, these minty balls of eggs and butter are perfectly portioned into small rolls meant to be savored in moderation. Unless you’re French, that is, in which case you’re likely immune to the unsavory side effects of rich foods.
High red wine consumption is supposedly the main factor behind the French [...]

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Poilâne-Style High Extraction Miche

Poilâne-Style High Extraction Miche

Pain Poilâne is a naturally fermented French country bread that weighs in at a hefty two kilograms. The flour used for the bread is high extraction gray flour, containing some but not all of the wheat bran. High extraction flour is not likely to be available at your local grocery store but Peter Reinhart suggests [...]

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Peter Reinhart’s French Bread

Peter Reinhart’s French Bread

When I first got interested in making bread, I found baguettes to be the most intimidating. How can I get irregular holes in the crumb? How can I get regularly spaced slash patterns? How can I get a golden crackly crust?
It took more than a few tries to make passable baguettes with this recipe from [...]

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