There isn’t quite a word for “pie” in French. Tourte describes a double-crusted, enclosed pastry of some sort, but isn’t quite the same as pies in the States are. Like dishes from other nationalities and cultures, pie represents a tradition to Americans. Pies are a dessert we looking forward to baking when fruit and berries come into season, and they are an essential part of our holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, as they represent something greater than two pieces of dough with fruit baked between them.

While classic pies will never be out of favor, a new generation of pie makers are mixing things up. There are my pals at Butter & Scotch, mixing booze and butter, The Art of Pie is a guidebook to making the basics, and I just got a preview of The New Pie by two non-professional piemakers that are shaking up the pie world.

So I was intrigued by Sister Pie, which sort of blew me away when I opened it. This pie book is different. What’s new about pie? Plenty, it seems.

Continue reading…

People don’t associate French cooking with grilling. But if you go to any neighborhood festival in the summer, out in the countryside, there’s invariably a grill covered with sausages, including merguez, lined up and sizzling away, as well as a broche with something turning on the spit, being lapped with flames, roasting to perfection. Another thing that people don’t know, including me, was that you can…

Continue reading...

A few months ago, I started following an interesting-looking Instagram account of a bakery in Paris that was making all their breads using natural leavenings, rather than commercial yeast. I didn’t know anything about it, but not only were they showing impressive loaves of just-baked breads, but they were also experimenting with croissants made with levain (sourdough). The results looked promising. After they opened, I…

Continue reading...

People are impressed with (and a little envious of) the French and their relationship to food, especially a meal. So much so that UNESCO added the gastronomic meal of the French to their list of Intangible Cultural Heritage designations. The gathering around the table to eat is something most cultures engage in, of course, but it seems to carry special importance in France. A French friend…

Continue reading...

While my computer is still in the shop (it’s going on week three…) I’ve been eking out posts while praying to the gods, or technicians at Apple, that I get it back soon. In the meantime, it gave me a good excuse for a cocktail. It wasn’t just the frustration; as soon as I got 3-Ingredient Cocktails: An Opinionated Guide to the Most Enduring Drinks in…

Continue reading...

Once again, I found myself with an overload of fruit. Sure, I like pears and apples, which show up at the market on the cusp of autumn. But I want summer to last as long as possible. So when I see good nectarines, peaches, and plums lingering at the market, I pack my market basket to the brim, carefully making sure the delicate fruits aren’t going to get…

Continue reading...

When it was on the cusp of popularity in the U.S., I sort of introduced crème brûlée to a restaurant where I was working at the time, and, predictably, they took off. So much so, that most of my nights were spent torching crème brûlée as fast as I could. Finally, I put an end to that (popularity is overrated), and that was that. There…

Continue reading...

What to do when people call you thirty minutes before you’ve invited them for dinner? It’s something I don’t understand. If you’re anything like me, during those precious few minutes before everyone arrives you’re racing around (probably not entirely dressed…) trying to get everything together so you can at least attempt to give the appearance that you’re relaxed when they arrive.  There are a couple…

Continue reading...

This is my favorite, go-to salted butter caramel sauce. There are no real tricks or fancy techniques. And while staying in friend’s houses, I realized I didn’t have my usual arsenal of equipment so was limited in what I could make. This post raised the ire of some, who thought it wasn’t polite to bring cooking equipment when staying with others, but if you’ve tried…

Continue reading...