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Expat Substitutions, France


bleudauvergne
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Merci beaucoup Pitipois and Bleu.

I went to the marché Aligre this morning to get the last ingredients for my pie ( a banana cream pie) and was happy to see the Fruit d'or that Pitipois suggested, however my French friend who was with me made all sorts of faces and couldn't believe I would make a pie crust with it and convinced me into using all butter. I bought creme fleurette to replace the whipping cream and creme fraiche for the sour cream.

I then signed on to eG after baking my pie and am so happy to see Lucy's post because this is EXACTLY what happened. My crust sort of melted and slid down into the plate :huh: .

It was still good though, but now I know to use a French recipe for the crust. It was my first attempt at baking actually, so I was very happy with the finished product.

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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Felice - Lucy

I know you are both far better cooks than I, but at the risk of seeming simple minded here's how I make my pie crust. (Note that this does not include the crusts required to make British dishes such as pork pies or steak & kidney or game pie. Those are a whole different ball game.)

1) put enough flour of any type, except self raising, into your food processor. Experience will tell you how much, but for just a top lid on a 9 inch pie then around a cup will do.

2) add a pinch of salt.

3) drop chunks of unsalted butter in while pulsing the mixer until the mixture starts to have the consistency of cornflour. Quantity is not important give or take on ounce or so.

4) Pour in iced water until the mix just starts to ball up. Take lid off stick a finger in & see if the mix hangs together. If so take it out . If not close back up & dribble a bit more water in.

5) When the consistency is right take mixture out of the processor & place it on cling film (in France you'll need two side by side sheets since the film is narrow) Now fold the film around the pastry ball & knead gently just to form it.

6) pu it into the fridge until needed, then knead, unwrap & roll our to the size you need.

NOTE: If too dry at this stage dip your fingers in water & knead. Repeat until consistency is Ok. If too wet then add bit of flour, knead & repeat if needed.

No big deal & the pastry works well for both sweet & savory dishes.

International method. To my certain knowledge this works in France, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Spain, the Uk, Belgium, The Nederlands, Sweden, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. Can't vouch for anywhere else.

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Felice - Lucy

I know you are both far better cooks than I, but at the risk of seeming simple minded here's how I make my pie crust. (Note that this does not include the crusts required to make British dishes such as pork pies or steak & kidney or game pie. Those are a whole different ball game.)

International method. To my certain knowledge this works in France, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Spain, the Uk, Belgium, The Nederlands, Sweden, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. Can't vouch for anywhere else.

Thank you Dave, that was very sweet of you to take the time to share your recipe. I will print it out for my next attempt at makeing a pie :smile:

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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I'll clarify Dave's terms.

When you are using type 55 French flour, 'enough' for one pie crust is around 160 grams of flour.

Butter about 70g.

salt to taste (I use fleur de sel when making nut pies, you might omit it for a banana cream pie)

- mix to corm meal consistency

- add to the fat/flour mix:

1 egg yolk

1-2 Tablespoons liquid -- In place of water you can also use chilled poultry or veal stock, or creme fraiche.

Duck fat can be mixed with butter to about a 50/50 ratio for a good quiche tart or torte crust. (for using healthier fats :smile: )

When I mix my crust I also do it like Dave, except I don't let it ball up. I just give it a blast of about a second after adding the egg yolk and about a tablespoon of liquid, and then I pat it into a ball right quick and put it in the fridge. It's actually very easy by hand if you don't have a moulinex.

If I'm preparing a sweet dessert I usually leave out the salt (unless it's a nut pie) and add 1-2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the flour. I sometimes add brown sugar.

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Thank you Dave, that was very sweet of you to take the time to share your recipe. I

I'm blushing. Nobody ever called me sweet before.

'll clarify Dave's terms.

You're so diplomatic. Also, very European with all of these metric measurements.

enough' for one pie crust is around 160 grams of flour.

How many cups is that?

Duck fat can be mixed with butter to about a 50/50 ratio for a good quiche tart or torte crus

Only in France. Good idea which I will try if I can get my duck fat pure enough.

Think that between us we're working towards a universal all singing, all dancing recipe. Think we can patent it?

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At the risk of sounding lazy....have you tried the Marie brand pates at the grocery store? The pur beurre ones? I bring those back with me whenever I can. I think they are great and so much easier than making from scratch. I have about a dozen in the freezer at the moment, does anyone know if they keep.

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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They'll keep. But of course the store bought crusts are no where close to the flavor of a home made crust. No comparison. Sometimes when in a pinch I used to get the puff pastry that comes in a block. But then I discovered that most boulangers will sell you the dough. So if you want really good puff pastry without having to make it yourself, next time you go to Paris, place an order with your boulanger - you can also freeze that.

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Lucy,

Thank you! (I had no idea.) Is it the Pate Feuillete (sp?) that they sell? That is what I mainly buy as it is so labor intensive to make.

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Day late & a dollar short. Went to the super market today.

Answer to Felice's original question. graisse vegetale

It is in the dairy case, at least it is in my HyperU, and its called graisse vegetale

genericallly. There seem to be quite a few brands several featuring the fact that they're made of sunflower oil.

Now we know for next time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's an odd one, perhaps:

Ricotta in France, the kind that you can buy at an everyday grocery store, is kind of chalky and nasty. I had been using it (to everyone's disappointment) in lasagna until my husband one day discovered an alternative - cottage cheese.

We buy Longley Farm "natural cottage cheese" which is subtitled in french as "fromage frais 27% fat." It's thicker and creamier than grocery store fromage frais, more similar to the stuff you buy fresh from a dairy or cheese store.

And it's pretty great in lasagna.

Bon App!

Meg

Edited by mzimbeck (log)

Meg Zimbeck, Paris by Mouth

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Here's an odd one, perhaps:

Ricotta in France, the kind that you can buy at an everyday grocery store, is kind of chalky and nasty. I had been using it (to everyone's disappointment) in lasagna until my husband one day discovered an alternative - cottage cheese.

We buy Longley Farm "natural cottage cheese" which is subtitled in french as "fromage frais 27% fat." It's thicker and creamier than grocery store fromage frais, more similar to the stuff you buy fresh from a dairy or cheese store.

And it's pretty great in lasagna.

Bon App!

Meg

The thing to buy for a better ricotta substitute is called "brousse", it's everywhere, and it's the French equivalent of ricotta. Harder to find: get Corsican brocciu or ricotta from an Italian store.

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Check out this link to the authentic recipe for the original whipped cream in the patrimoine section of the  Town of Chantilly Website (its down at the bottom).  The recipe they endorse calls for crème double, which is cut with milk to varying degrees, depending on the taste of the chef.

After visiting the town of Chantilly, I went to my neighborhood dairy/cheese shop and bought some crème cru to make whipped cream. I followed the recipe from the chateau and made (much to my dismay) butter. There's a fine line between dairy products when that much fat is involved!

Edited by mzimbeck (log)

Meg Zimbeck, Paris by Mouth

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Lucy,

Thank you! (I had no idea.) Is it the Pate Feuillete (sp?) that they sell? That is what I mainly buy as it is so labor intensive to make.

If you're talking about Puff Pastry, then ask for 'Feuilletage.' How about the following:

Je voudrais acheter la pâte cru, le feuilletage, s’il vous plaît.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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If you're talking about Puff Pastry, then ask for 'Feuilletage.'  How about the following:
Je voudrais acheter la pâte cru, le feuilletage, s’il vous plaît.

You'll be safe with "je voudrais acheter de la pâte feuilletée, s'il vous plaît." If you say "la pâte cru(e), le feuilletage" just like that, you may meet with a few raised eyebrows before you get what you want. Also "feuilletage" is a professional term that is not really expected from boulangerie clients.

Edited by Ptipois (log)
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After visiting the town of Chantilly, I went to my neighborhood dairy/cheese shop and bought some crème cru to make whipped cream. I followed the recipe from the chateau and made (much to my dismay) butter. There's a fine line between dairy products when that much fat is involved!

Crème Chantilly will be successful with crème liquide or crème fleurette. Crème crue usually won't do it because it's too thick, and the older it is, the less whippable it will be. As it ages, it often gets a little sourish from fermentation and is not suitable for whipping. "Crème double" used to be thinner than it is now, and it was typically unfermented.

If you do find new crème crue from Normandy (still a bit runny), thin it down with a little water (not milk!) in order to give it the consistency of crème liquide. Then whip it, but be careful, it is more likely to turn into butter than crème liquide is.

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Butter is what happens when we whip the cream too long.  Put it in the fridge to enjoy on toast and try again!  :biggrin:

In the case of thick Norman cream (crème crue), the thing is already almost butter, so it doesn't take a long whipping to realize it. I also think it has a lesser water content than crème liquide so it's harder to emulsify and trap the tiny air bubbles in the texture. It is possible to whip crème crue normande in chantilly but 1) the cream has to be new, before the natural hardening stage and 2) you should always add a little water. Of course 3) the cream and bowl should be very cold but that applies to all creams and won't prevent your cream to curdle into butter if it's not the right quality.

The cream subject is really tricky because creams are so dissimilar from one country to another. The multiplicity of ferments, the different states of liquidity in commercial creams, etc. The real crème problem in France is that it's almost impossible to find sour cream. Crème fraîche is a totally different product.

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Butter is what happens when we whip the cream too long.  Put it in the fridge to enjoy on toast and try again!  :biggrin:

In the case of thick Norman cream (crème crue), the thing is already almost butter, so it doesn't take a long whipping to realize it. I also think it has a lesser water content than crème liquide so it's harder to emulsify and trap the tiny air bubbles in the texture. It is possible to whip crème crue normande in chantilly but 1) the cream has to be new, before the natural hardening stage and 2) you should always add a little water. Of course 3) the cream and bowl should be very cold but that applies to all creams and won't prevent your cream to curdle into butter if it's not the right quality.

The cream subject is really tricky because creams are so dissimilar from one country to another. The multiplicity of ferments, the different states of liquidity in commercial creams, etc. The real crème problem in France is that it's almost impossible to find sour cream. Crème fraîche is a totally different product.

Ptipois, you are my hero. How can one person know so much about cream? Thank you!

Meg Zimbeck, Paris by Mouth

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and clotted cream?

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

blog

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  • 1 year later...

I'm living in Limoges, France at the moment and while I have historically concentrated my cooking efforts on meats and sauces, have decided I ought to try baking a few American classics. The problem is that almost every recipe calls for something I don't have. Unlike when I lived in Aix-en-Provence, I haven't found any import stores with American food items here so I'll have to make do with what the French offer me. Amongst my issues

--Brown Sugar. "Sucre roux" is not even close to the same thing. I've read that I can mix white sugar and molasses (for the moment I can not even find molasses), but I don't know anything about quantity. Until I find molasses, can chocolate chip cookies be made with white/roux sugar, and will they taste remotely the same?

--Baking Powder. When I lived in Aix, I mixed cream of tartar with baking soda. There is no cream of tartar here. Someone told me they thought "levure chimique" might work, but I am suspicious of something called "chemical yeast." Is this the same thing?

--Sweetened Condensed Milk: Does this exist in France? What's it called?

--Cream Cheese: I've heard this compared to Neufchatel. Which European cheese would you use in cheesecakes?

--Cherry pie filling: Can I make my own? What's in it besides Montmorency cherries?

That's all for now. I'm sure I'll encounter more as time goes on. Thanks for any help you can offer.

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I am not the best person to answer this, but just in case, it appears that brown sugar is la cassonade and sweetened condensed milk is lait concentre sucre (source: Wiki...). Levure chimique sounds about right.

Cherry pie filling should be cherries, sugar, and a thickening agent such as cornstarch or tapioca.

Sorry for the lame assistance. I hope it helped.

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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I don't know if you've done a search on eG, yet, but the baking powder in Europe thing has definitely been covered, and the proper equivalent was found. I think it was someone in Switzerland who was looking for it, so if you do a search in the "elsewhere in Europe" forum, you should be able to find it.

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Ah, that topic on levure can be found here. Apparently baking powder is sold as (Dr. Oetker Backpulver) Poudre a lever, according to this site.

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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