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Galette des rois

Starting in late December, pastry shops in Paris start jumping the gun, and windows and showcases begin filling up with Galettes des rois, or King Cake, in anticipation of the celebration of Epiphany, on January 6th. Because it’s such a popular treat, and lucrative for bakeries, the period of availability seems to extend a few more days every year and it’s not unusual for find…

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French Apple Tart: Tarte fine aux pommes

Come fall, you’ll see tartes fines aux pommes in bakeries across France. In contrast to fancy pastries many pastry shops are known for, these thin apple tarts are French baking at its most basic, and at its best. A thin crust of buttery, crackly puff pastry with a fan of baked apples on top, then glazed, these simple tarts are normally served without any accompaniment,…

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Caramelized Endive and Blue Cheese Tart

When I first heard about tarte Tatin, nothing sounded better to me. What first seems like way too many apples packed into a skillet, then caramelized and baked under a blanket of buttery pastry, then turned out and served warm, became one of my favorite desserts. I’ve had recipes for them in several of my books, but also enjoy the savory version. I’ve seen upside down…

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Nopi, in London

I was a big fan of Ottolenghi even before I stepped into one of their restaurants. When I got a copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s first book, I was blown away by the photographs of gorgeous dishes, heaped with generous amounts of fresh chopped herbs, irregularly cut vegetables often seared and caramelized, and roasted, juicy meats accented with citrus or unexpected spices, usually with a Middle…

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Inside the Kitchen of the Queen Mary 2

The phrase “runs a tight ship” isn’t applicable anywhere more than in the kitchens of an ocean liner. When you’ve got over two thousand guests to feed, plus a staff of around a thousand or so, a “tight ship” is essential. But also having the right temperament to deal with various needs that might arise is important, especially when you’re dealing with a multicultural staff,…

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A Great Kouign Amann, in Paris

I’m not going to say a thing, because I’m certain I did the same thing back in the day. But a lot of people who are en route to Paris ask me where they can find things like bouillabaisse, a true salade Niçoise, or Kig ha farz, and when I answer, “You can’t”, they either don’t believe me, or get irked because they think I’m…

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Kouign Amann Recipe

[Note: This recipe was first published on this site in 2005, when few people had heard of this pastry. I’ve reworked it substantially to make individual pastries (shown above), and that recipe is in my book, L’appart.] Is there anything more fabulous than something created through the wonder and miracle of caramelization? Are there no means and ends that one won’t go to, to experience…

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