Category Archives: Desserts

Tarte aux abricots amandine

A highlight of the French summer is the rosy-cheeked apricot, which arrives from the south, generally Provence, and appears in abundance at farmers’ markets at this time of year. And a delight of the French table is a tart of … Continue reading

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Tiramisu

Can you imagine that tiramisu, the ubiquitous feather-light confection, did not exist half a century ago? It certainly was nowhere to be found in Paris when I arrived in the 1970s, having only just been invented (apparently), although its origins … Continue reading

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Mousse aux châtaignes

For an original winter dessert that’s fun to make, why not try your hand at chestnut mousse? Preparation time is reduced by using canned or frozen chestnuts. The chestnuts are boiled until tender and then puréed. You mix the purée … Continue reading

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Tarte Tatin

This classic French apple tart is said to have been invented about 130 years ago by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin, at the country inn they ran about 100 miles south of Paris. It’s an upside-down tart in which … Continue reading

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Clafoutis aux cerises

Cherry pie, cherry cobbler, cherry tart, cherry mousse, cherry soup, yes, but cherry clafoutis? Why such an odd word for one of France’s favorite homespun desserts, cherries baked in a batter of eggs, milk and sugar? Clafoutis (pronounced clah-foo-TEE) comes … Continue reading

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Meringues aux fruits des bois

What do the French mean, exactly, by fruits des bois? ‘Fruits of the forest’, yes, but then? Originally the term meant wild berries, but today it encompasses strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and perhaps the occasional red or black currant — … Continue reading

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Fromage blanc aux pistaches et miel

I first discovered this light dessert at Yard, the erstwhile restaurant of Shaun Kelly, one of my favorite Parisian chefs. Crushed roasted pistachios and honey marry marvelously atop a bowl of fromage blanc, the fresh and creamy cheese that is … Continue reading

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Gâteau de fête au chocolat

Valentine’s Day is coming, and what better way to express your love than a magnificent chocolate cake decorated with hearts or flowers? This is not an everyday recipe — it does take time. But it’s fun. The cake, a chocolate … Continue reading

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Mendiants

Sometimes words beggar translation. I can remember, as a student of French, being taught that gourmet meant someone with a discriminating palate, but gourmand meant a glutton. So you can imagine my confusion when, aged 25, out to dinner in … Continue reading

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Prunes poêlées à l’eau de vie

Okay, okay, plums are no longer in season — at least, in the northern hemisphere. But when I happened upon some beautiful blue plums (imported from Spain) at the market last Sunday, I couldn’t resist … because I’d seen a … Continue reading

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