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Dorie Greenspan

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Everything posted by Dorie Greenspan

  1. Emily, your tart really does look great. And Patrick, I'm with you on the amazingness of the lemon cream. I used to think that if that were the only recipe in the book, the book would be worth buying. It's astonishing what adding the butter at the end does and how much better the cream is whipped rather than just stirred. At first it all seems like extra work -- waiting for the cream to cool before adding the butter, then whipping, whipping, whipping. But the fact that the butter is not melted, as it is in a traditional lemon curd, is what makes this so special, don't you think?
  2. Bon voyage, bon appetit and bonne anniversaire Andy! Hope you enjoy every minute (and every morsel) of your trip -- can't imagine you won't.
  3. The main dining room at Le Meurice is grand in that over-the-top mosaic and gilt way old French dining rooms can be. But it's also beautiful -- in that same over-the-top way -- and not at all intimidating. We ate there shortly after the new chef arrived and I remember feeling very comfortable, in large measure because the staff was so accomodating and seemed as excited about the food as the diners were. My two-cents worth is that if you're going to eat at Le Meurice, you should consider breaking the bank, if you can, and eat in the main dining room, because that is where you will get Alleno's "real" food. Although he may be overseeing the kitchen in the Winter Garden and although he might make the best tomato and mozzarella salad in town, a dish like that is not really his style and you won't get a taste of what he really can do.
  4. Patrick, Mama and Seth -- I giggled when I read your comments about being surprised at how light the ganache tasted and felt. For a long time I've referred to Pierre's desserts as dangerously or deceptively light -- they have an incredibly light feel and they never taste heavy, so you eat and eat and eat and completely forget that you've used the equivalent of a day's production from a large dairy farm to make the little sweet. For all the recipes of his I've made, I've never figured out how he manages this cunning culinary slight of hand.
  5. It doesn't make pretty quenelle-ish portions, but I really like the Chef'n ice cream scoop -- it has a little assymetrical point that burrows its way through any ice cream, even one with lots of chips and chunks.
  6. Seth -- the pave looks terrific! You're right about it being a good do-aheader. Not only can you make all the elements ahead, you can make the whole cake ahead and freeze it.
  7. Just got back from a new chocolate shop in Paris: Patrick Roger, 108 Blvd. Saint-Germain, in the 6th. He's a meilleur ouvrier de France -- the fact is announced on all his packaging and his award is in the store window -- who's had a shop in Sceaux for several years. Pierre Herme told me his chocolate caramels are "to die for", but I got that tidbit of info to late to do anything about it, I'd already bought a selection sans the caramels. However, I can report that his version of chocolate-covered wafer-thin butter-nut crunch was pretty swell.
  8. Pave bakers-to-be -- You're right, you can make the pave in any size pan and just adjust the baking time accordingly. If you make one larger cake, you should have enough syrup, ganache etc. to finish it properly, since the original recipe makes two small cakes. This was one of my favorite cakes from the book -- it's hard to beat the combo of chocolate, caramel and apricots and the caramel ganache is so, so good -- but I haven't made it in a while because I've been working on new recipes for my next book. However, now that I see it again, I want it again! If only I didn't have tons of people coming for New Year's -- maybe I can bake it next week, in which case I, too, will have to make a pan-size adjustment, because I don't have the right size pan in Paris!
  9. Ellie -- Your macarons look spectacular! It's not easy to get a dome as perfect as yours or "feet" as frilly. In fact, just yesterday, my husband and I were looking in the window of a pastry shop in Paris and commenting on how motley their macarons looked -- they were flat topped and wrinkled! Bravo. Just a note -- this recipe was the hardest one for my to get. I made it 13 -- count'em -- 13 times before I thought I'd gotten it right. And even now, when I make them -- a rare event -- I'm sometimes faced with the dread wrinkled top. Again, congratulations.
  10. Nightscotsman, while you're gushing, I'm blushing. Thanks -- lots. Richard, your chocolate crust for Nayla's Tart has me stumped, but I can think of a few things which make tart crusts, in general, behave the way yours did: 1) Rolling the crust out when it is very cold. Crust dough needs to be chilled and chilling it overnight as you did is a good thing. But, a dough that's very cold will crack when rolled. The best thing to do is give the dough a good chilling, then leave it on the counter for 15 or 20 minutes before starting to roll it out. 2) Having a dough that is too dry. Dryness can be a result of the type of flour used, or, more likely, a mis-measurement. Richard, is there any possibility that you were too generous with either the flour or the cocoa? 3) Having butter that is too cold. While cold butter is usually just what you want for crusts, with this crust you need room temperature butter that can be beaten until it is soft and airy enough to blend with the sugar and take in the flour and cocoa. 4) The crusts gods are feeling mischievous. Crusts are such tempermental things and often, even crusts you've made regularly will give you a hard time. When the gods are against me, I often stop rolling and just pat the crust into the pan. Wish I could be more helpful. Looking forward to someone else's ideas on what might have happened.
  11. Sinclair, I thought only my mother owned all my books. Thank you. Right now I'm working on a book which, for the moment, is called "Baking, From my Home to Yours" and will be published in 2006 by Houghton-Mifflin. It will have tons -- i.e. 300 -- recipes, mostly very simple, homey, make-em-everyday kinds of sweets, a fat glossary of terms, ingredients, techniques and gear, and some baking stories. It's been a while since I've done a book "sans chefs" and it's a very different experience, but one I'm really liking -- I'd almost forgotten how much I love recipe development.
  12. Joyeux Noel to all -- a little late but I only got back to Paris and my computer last night. The holiday pix look sooooooooooooooooooooooo great.! The oohs and aahs must have been deafening.
  13. Les Papilles might be a good choice for a light meal. It's essentially a wine shop with take-out foie gras, hams and charcuterie, but in the evening there's one set dinner menu (about 30 euros, I think) and a small menu of simple "assembled" dishes like smoked salmon, Spanish ham, salads etc. For wine, you just pick what you want from the selection on the shelves (they add 6 euros to the retail price -- at least they did the last time I was there). The shop/restaurant was opened earlier this year by two former Taillevent cooks and is located on rue Gay-Lussac, close to the Luxembourg Garden. Not on your side of town, but ... Le Verre Vole, in the 10th, is a similar kind of place. Primarily a wine shop, it, too, offers tasty assembled dishes, a couple of hot plates and a really good choice of wines. In neither place will you have to have a "traditional" multi-course meal. If you decide you've got room for a bistro meal, you could just walk out Le Meurice's back door and go to L'Ardoise (on rue du Mont Thabor). I haven't been there in a while, but it continues to get good reviews. Finally, going to a great seafood restaurant, like Le Dome, and ordering a bunch of oysters or a plateau fruits de mer, could be a great way to finish what should be a pretty delicious day.
  14. I'd add Pierre Marcolini to the list. His elegant shop is on rue de Seine, close to Blvd. Saint Germain and just up the street from Gerard Mulot's patisserie. His truffles are quite wonderful.
  15. I'm so sorry to be so late adding my praise to that of the many others who've viewed this thread, but as they've all said, "You're amazing!" To a cookie, what you've baked has looked sensational and it's a thrill for me to see these pictures and to hear how happy you've been with Pierre's recipes. I'm also sorry not to have come onto the thread earlier so that I could have clarified a few points at the start. Not that you really needed me -- you seem to have figured everything out correctly for yourselves. Working under the better-late-than-never assumption, here are comments on a couple of topics you raised: o CHOCOLATE PERCENTAGES AND CHOCOLATE CHOICES: Pierre has preferences for certain brands of chocolate and strong ideas about what chocolates taste best in specific desserts or with particular ingredients. In order to have the recipes in CDBPH produce desserts that come as close as possible to the desserts Pierre produces in Paris, we tested the recipes with -- and specified -- the exact chocolates Pierre uses in his shop. However, the success of a recipe doesn't depend on using the precise chocolate. In fact, you might not even like the chocolate Pierre proposes. Knowing this, Pierre fully expected that home bakers would use the chocolates they liked best, the chocolates they could get and the chocolates that were most affordable. Yes, the desserts made with these chocolates won't be exactly the same as PH's, but if you get the spirit AND you get the taste you like, then all is well with the world. A final word on chocolate (at least for this post): Just because two chocolates have the same percentage of cocoa solids doesn't mean they are the same chocolate. With chocolate, so much depends on the type of cocoa bean, its quality, drying, roasting and finishing, that just substituting one 70% chocolate for another might not give you the results you want. The best general rule is to use chocolate that has a flavor you like. After all, in most deeply chocolatey chocolate desserts, there is little to interfere with the taste of the chocolate. o COCOA POWDER When Albiston made the chocolate loaf with apricots and ginger the question came up about whether the cake looked paler than the cake in the book because of the cocoa. The answer is yes. Valrhona cocoa is very, very dark -- darker than most other cocoas on the market. o THE 7 1/2-INCH LOAF PAN AND PICTURES OF SKINNY LOAVES Seth wondered why I didn't adapt PH's recipes that use 7 1/2-inch loaf pans so they would use pans of a more usual size. If I had known it was so difficult to find that size pan I would have made an adaptation. But, because I owned pans that size and had seen them when I was working on The Cook's Catalog, I assumed they were easily findable -- sorry. In general, the hardest recipes to adapt were the loaf cakes because, as K8 noticed in the photos, French loaf pans are thinner and relatively longer than our American pans. While plain loaf cakes are among my favorite sweets, I dreaded each loaf cake that came along because of the difficulty of converting pan size and figuring out how much batter to make. o MINI CAKES IN DESSERTS BY PIERRE HERME KTHull said she thought the desserts photographed in DBPH looked like mini versions and, in many cases, she's right. The photographs were done in Paris and the photographer and stylist convinced the art people that the desserts would look best scaled down. And, they do look adorable. But it's a problem for the reader/baker, which is why everyone working on Chocolate was given specific instructions to keep things "real" -- and they did. Someone said he or she would have liked to have seen all the desserts photographed whole, rather than in wedges or in production, and yet, we've had people tell us they would prefer that none of the desserts be photographed whole because they look too daunting that way. One reader even said she didn't want to see finished photographs because they cramped her decorating style. I love the photos in the Chocolate book and I love the process by which they were done. All of the desserts were made in the photographer's studio in Paris. Whenever the photographer saw something he liked -- whether it was chocolate being poured or a tart coming off a butter-spattered baking dish -- he'd stop the action and shoot. While we chose which desserts we wanted photographed, we rarely chose how they would be shot. This was the photographer's decision and it was most often made in the heat of the kitchen when inspiration struck. I'll be traveling in France for the next couple of weeks, so I don't know what my internet availability will be. But I will try to follow the thread and, if there are any questions you think I might be able to answer for you, I'd be happy to try. Again -- BRAVO!!!
  16. Devlin, I'm blushing. Thank you very much. Yes, I was part of the filming of Baking with Julia. The series was shot over the course of 7 1/2 unusually hot summer weeks in Cambridge, MA, in Julia Child's beautiful old house. Julia writes about this in the Introduction to the book, explaining how her basement became the prep kitchen, her dining room the control room and her kitchen the set. Each chef arrived a day ahead, so that while one chef was downstairs prepping another was up in the kitchen taping. The action would be taped in the morning -- taping usually took between 4 and 5 hours (I think I'm remembering this correctly) -- then we'd break for lunch -- everyone would eat in the backyard -- and then the crew would shoot the "beauty shots" in the afternoon. The beauty shots are the still life shots you see at the beginning of the shows, a composition of everything that was made in the morning. Of course, all the food that was shot for "beauty" was real food and, if anything was leftover, it would be served with coffee the following morning. In the book, the black and white photos on the recipe pages are taken from the taping. The technology that allowed these "video grabs" was fairly new and it was very exciting to have this material available for the book. The wonderful color photographs were done in a studio in New York in the fall.
  17. Thank you seth g, alacarte, arbuclo and devlin for your responses. There are lots of stories attached to the making of Baking with Julia and, when I can and when the stories seem to match what’s up on the thread, I’d be happy to tell them. Re Seth’s question about wanting to do things differently from the way the bakers did them or learning from the bakers – as I think you can imagine, working with the bakers/pastry chefs in the prep kitchen and watching them work on set was one long, fabulous learning adventure. Every baker/p-chef has his or her way of doing just about everything and there was rarely a day when I didn’t pick up something. Seth asked if there were things I would have changed had the project been mine alone. The question reminds me of some of the circumstances that made developing and writing Baking with Julia so unusual. From the proposal stage, the goal was to create a book that could stand on its own. Obviously, it had to work as a tv companion book, but we really wanted it to be usable by home bakers who weren’t familiar with the shows. (For sure, we never thought it would be used as it’s being used here.) To put together a book that would hold up as a "real" book, we made a list of the "lessons" we wanted to teach on air, such as meringue, quick breads or pies. Then, we found chefs to match each area. When I spoke to the chefs about their topics, I asked them if they’d submit an additional recipe, a favorite that could – or could not – fall within their assigned area. This was how I was able to expand the books’ scope. Seth asked if I changed or would have changed anything in the recipes and someone elsewhere on the thread commented that techniques are not consistent from recipe to recipe. Well, those recipes that aired – and that’s the majority of recipes – had to be written to conform to what was done on camera; “extra” recipes could be modified if necessary, but there was no way to make methods more consistent without running over the chefs’ styles, something I never wanted to do. In the end, I hope the differences made the book more interesting and more useful. And, while I didn’t change methodologies, I did give the recipes a single voice and did try to reconcile differences and variations by writing additional how-to and why material and putting extra info in the headnotes. I also wrote a Baking Basics chapter with extensive information on terms and techniques. Finally, of course, there were some things I was itching to change and, when I could, I did, but only when changes didn’t conflict with what aired -- and, if any change was substantial, only when the chef gave it the ok. Hope this answers your questions -- Dorie
  18. Dear Bakers, I've been popping in and out looking at what you're doing and each time I've been so excited -- the pictures of what you've made are phenomenal! The mixed-starter pix are especially swell. Mixed-starter is not exactly the easiest bread to tackle, but it is one of my favorites in the book -- and it almost didn't make it into the book. When I called Steve Sullivan, the "papa" of the mixed-starter bread, to ask him if he would participate in the Baking with Julia television series and book, his first response was a firm no. He said he didn't think the kind of bread he made could be made at home and he didn't want people who knew his breads to be disappointed in what they'd produce. We talked and talked -- actually, he talked and I begged -- and, finally, he agreed to make a couple of things at home in his ordinary oven and get back to me. A few weeks later, he said he thought it was possible and we set up a date for him to come to Julia Child's house in Cambridge to do the taping. The day he arrived, the temperature in Cambridge was almost 100 degrees! Not ideal weather for slow-rise breads but he had lots of batches of dough in the works and rising all over the house, inside and out. Steve, who is an extraordinary baker, a wonderful teacher and, ordinarily, a pretty calm guy, was just a little stressed out about his doughs. Because we had only one day to prep, and because the mixed-starter dough needs such a particular rise and so much time, we all knew there'd be no do-over if it wasn't right. But the morning of the taping, he was ready to go, if still a little anxious -- by then, the anxiety was mostly about the ovens. He and Julia worked away on the breads -- everything on Baking with Julia was real and pretty much taped in real time. -- and they were great together. Then came "the moment" -- Steve pulled the bread out of the oven and it was fabulous. Julia smiled her wonderful smile and Steve almost giggled in disbelief -- up until that very last minute, I don't think he really believed the breads could be made at home, but he did it. And now you've done it, too. They look great! Dorie Greenspan Author, Baking with Julia
  19. Hello, I’m the author of Baking with Julia and I’m thrilled – happy, excited and tickled, too – to see what you’ve been doing with the book’s recipes. When Julia and I first talked about the book (in 1995), we were like all authors – which means we were like all soon-to-be parents – we had hopes for the book’s future and the biggest hope was that it would be used as a how-to-bake primer. That you’re doing this is so, so wonderful. Make that spectacular! And that the results look so great is even better. I’m in Paris now, where it is way past pumpkin time (and certainly past the hour when I can be articulate), but I’m looking forward to reading through the thread and seeing what you’ve tackled. I came in at the end -- foccaccia, brioche and apple tart -- tomorrow I'll start at the beginning. Dorie Greenspan
  20. Cabrales, to answer your query about what we ate at Hiramatsu (is it too late? have you already been?) -- our three starters were the terrific foie gras and oyster combo; a dish that was billed as ravioli with saint pierre and, I think it said, confit of legumes, which turned out to be a thin blanket of pasta covering saint pierre and a nicely done ratatouille; and the seafood salad, the one real disappointment, although the olive oil that is used in the salad -- and in several other dishes -- was so good we asked for the name (and then forgot to collect it at the end of lunch -- aaarrgggh!). For mains we had the venison en croute with crushed chestnuts and a little caramelized onion filled with a veloute (precious but yummy) -- the winning dish; the bar with lemon confit, the lemon confit being the stand-out in the dish and having nothing to do with salt-cured citron confit -- instead, it was a lemon puree mounted with butter and that same great olive oil; and I never got to taste the third dish and can't remember what the fish was, but it was in a mustard and gazpacho nage. At the sommelier's suggestion, we drank a Condrieu from Yves Cuilleron -- not a hardship. I'm in Paris now and have a reservation to return to Hiramatsu for lunch Wednesday. I'm anxious to get a second taste, especially after Francois Simon's article in yesterday's Figaro, which said that Hiramatsu had, with the restaurant's luxe fittings and its "bubbly" cuisine, "trapped" the Michelin into giving him the star. According to Simon, the French were only too willing to fall into the trap, too. In his lead, Simon notes that Hiramatsu is a very successful businessman in Japan and that he has even had success with Italian restauranta, so Simon wonders if Hiramatsu didn't say to himself, "Why not try for a starred restaurant in Paris?" I look forward to Cabrales' post on her meal and will check in after I've had mine. Thanks for the welcome, Bux.
  21. On the question about Japanese influences chez Hiramatsu:Last month, before going to Hiramatsu for lunch, my son and I decided to have dinner at Nobu -- we were thinking it would be fun to have back-to-back (or belly-to-belly) fusion-ish meals. When I got to Hiramatsu the following day and the first thing I saw was the gleaming silver and wood cheese cart, all thoughts of fusion flew from my head. I don't think anyone would call Mr. Hiramatsu's cuisine a fusion of French and Japanese. Perhaps someone could detect a Japanese sensibility. But this kind of conjecture seems so beside the point after the first spoonful. We were three for lunch and, to a person, we spent most of the three hours we were there bordering on giddy. The food is extremely elegant but there is, as Regina said in her Times piece, a playfullness. The combinations of ingredients are wildly inventive without being in any way bizarre and the giddy delight comes from these surprising combinations that are not easily surmised. In addition, the room is beautiful and very comfortable and the service is warm and extremely attentive, just as you would expect it to be in a place with 18 seats and 14 staff members. (Actually, lunch is limited to 10 covers because the full staff is not available in the afternoon.) Finally, the wine list is extraordinary. All through lunch we had the feeling that we were getting an early taste of what would be a grand success. It was the same feeling I had when I first ate at l'Astrance, a few weeks after it opened. And, Cabrales, if the menu hasn't changed, you should have the chestnut dessert and the orange mille-feuille and the dreamy coffee dessert and the chocolate cake, too (even if you do stop at Berthillon first). Then taste the niblets that come with your coffee. The sweets are as surprising as the savories.
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