Epiphany celebration : the almond pastry pie called "Galette des Rois"...

In the beginning of January, French bakeries are filled with exquisite puff pastry pies that are called “galettes des rois”. It’s for the Epiphany, a traditional Christian feast celebrating the 'shining forth' orrevelationof God to mankind in human form, in thepersonofJesus Christ.  Epiphany is a greek word meaning revelation. It’s based on the biblical story that tells of the Magi orThree Kings- Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar - who saw a bright star on the night Christ was born and followed it to Bethlehem… The Epiphany is celebrated twelve days after Christmas.

At this occasion, families meet to share the traditional “galette des rois”. This puff pastry pie is filled with almond cream and... something else ! It’s time to find the kings. The French call it “tirer les rois”.

The traditional galette is cut in slices (one per person sitting at the table plus one. The slice is symbolic for the first poor person passing by. The youngest person in the room goes under the table, and a…
FRENCH TRADITIONAL « GALETTE DES ROIS » Almond and pastry-cream filling sandwiched by two rounds of buttered puff pastry dough

INGREDIENTS (makes 8 servings) 14 ounces all-butter puff pastry, homemade or store bought, chilled and ready to roll
3/4 cup almond cream
1/4 cup pastry cream
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 large egg
1 trinket (as the one who has the chance to get it, wear the king’s crown)


Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and keep them close at hand. Divide the pastry in half and work with one half at a time. Keep the other half in the refrigerator.
Working on a floured surface, roll one piece of the puff pastry into a circle that is about 1/8-inch thick. Using a pan lid or the bottom of a tart pan, cut a circle that is about 9 inches in diameter. Transfer the circle to a lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Roll the 2nd piece of pastry out in the same manner, but this time cut out a circle that is about 9 1/2 inches in diameter. Place this cir…

French buttered Shortbread

These "petit gâteaux" remind me my childhood... when my Mum baked it and served for my "Goûter" after school !
I make it now for tea time, especially in winter... It smells so good in the kitchen ! Cinnamon, vanilla, orange zests flavors match with freshly baked cakes...
Here the recipe... inspired by Christophe Felder French pastry chef and adapted to my personal tastes.

INGREDIENTS (+/- 50 biscuits)
250g all-purpose flour
125g granulated sugar
65g almond meal
125g soft unsalted butter
1 tsp cinnamon or ginger powder
A pinch of baking powder
A pinch of anise powder
Zest of a 1/4 organic lemon
1 egg + 1 yolk
1 tbsp Cointreau liquor
2 drops almond aroma
1 yolk + 1 tsp crème faiche to glaze


In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, almond meal, baking powder and spices).

Cut butter in knobs (butter at room temperature). Add it to the flour mix with the zests. Knead this mixture with your finger tips first and with your hand palms then until you get a thin …

Cheese Puffs

Thanksgiving amuse-bouche appetizer idea, a tiny delight that family and friends could share in the tradition of gathering in gratitude around harvest abundance...

Ingredients (8 serving) :
250g milk
250g water
200g salted butter
300g all-purpose flour
400g eggs
180g grated cheese (Emmental or Comté)
10g granulated sugar.

Directions :
Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F). In a pot, add water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Once butter has completely melted, take off flame, and slowly pour in flour, stirring constantly. Put pot back on flame and continue to work it with a wooden spoon for less than a minute. Continue stirring and kneading with spoon until the dough dries out and stops sticking to the sides of the potTake off flame. Beat the eggs and add it little by little in stirring energetically. Add thinly grated cheese, and keep stirring.Fit a pastry bag with a tip. Fill it with batter. Squeeze out "profiteroles" onto a greezed baking tray, well-spaced. Bak…

Duck Tournedos, glazed seasonal vegetables

PREPARATION : 30 minutes COOKING TIME : 15 minutes at 350°F (180°C)
INGREDIENTS (4 SERVING) 2 duck breasts
8 mushrooms
12 baby carrots
8 baby potatoes
60g clarified butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 filo pastry sheets
Salt & ground pepper
Grapeseed oil
Brunch of parsley
Plastic film

Step 1: In a sauce pan, melt unsalted butter Heat it until it comes to a gentle boil. The milk proteins will first form a thin white layer over the entire surface, then expand into a thicker foam. The foam will ultimately sink to the bottom of the pot as butter continues bubbling away. It's nearly done when bubbling calms and ceases. Filter the remaining butter to remove the browned bits. Clarified butter doesn't burn when it's cooked.

Step 2: Using a sharp knife, remove the veins and bad parts off the flesh. Cut the sides of each fillet to get a perfect shape. Remove the fat skin. Place the duck breasts on top of each other.

Step 3: Put a filo pastry sheet on the table. Brush it with clarified butter.…

Paris is a feast !

Don’t listen people who says « Paris is not Paris anymore »… Negative guys are wrong. Whether they are food critic or USA President. The reality is that Paris has never been as rich, beautiful and gourmet as now.
Crisis ? Which crisis ? Crisis is in speeches for so long, and it’s its fault when something bad happens. Attacks ? We will never forget, but… the line is still long at Angelina's historic pâtisserie on Rivoli street. The Ritz palace hotel has fastuously reopened last summer with talented Executive Chef Nicolas Sale in the kitchen. Young pastry chefs, mostly trained at starred restaurants, open their own chic pâtisseries with an incredible success. Don’t miss to visit Yann Couvreur’s shop at Metro Goncourt. 
Paris is a style, a symbol, a flag. Queen of the world’s gastronomy, Paris is the temple of rising star young chefs such as David Toutain (awarded Chef of the Year 2017 in Pudlo Paris guide), Akrame, Laurent Magnin who has not turned 30 yet (trained at Violier’s) and exc…

Grand Marnier Soufflé

Certainly one of the most popular French dessert... A soufflé, whose name derives from the French verb "to blow," is an airy concoction leavened by beaten egg whites and oven heat. Soufflés should be served directly from the oven, before they have any chance to deflate. 

Ingredients (6 serving):
120ml Grand Marnier liquor
250ml milk
120g granulated sugar
120g egg yolk (6 eggs)
30g all-purpose flour
15g cornstarch
180g egg whites (6 eggs)
Icing sugar to sprinkle once baked.
50g butter + 100g granulated sugar (for the moulds)

Preheat oven to 190°C (380°F). 

In a pot, pour the milk and bring it to a boil over medium heat. In a bowl, put egg yolks and granulated sugar. Whisk to whiten. Then incorporate the flour and starch that you would have sifted before. Stir to combine. Pour the hot milk on the yolks mixture, stirring all the time. When about half of the milk has been added, place all of the yolk mixture into the pot over medium heat. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes in stirring consta…