Pate à Choux to Profiteroles 101

A letter of gratitude to Jacques Pepin.

finished-single-pate-a-choux-min 300As I embark on teaching a French cuisine course for the first time, I want to say “Thank you, Jacques Pepin.” You are  the teacher of all teachers when it comes to so many things French, including a great pate à choux.

Your recipes always work, and for that I’m eternally grateful. As my Saucy Guy partner always says, “His recipes are foolproof.” They are perfect for me, a self-declared non-baker, who bakes only what she likes to eat and only as part of a practice in the discipline of measurements and mental clarity. Your recipes always give me confidence and calm reassurances at every stage. The final products always look good enough for any local patisserie.

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When Simple is All You Need: The Grace of a Well-Cooked Egg (Egg Primer 101)

Daniel making eggsSome say that the numerous pleats of the tall, chef’s toque hat is a nod to the gastronomic wonder of the numerous ways to cook an egg. Even after culinary school, I can neither confirm nor deny whether there are more than a 100 ways to cook an egg. Investigative reports thus far seem inconclusive. See http://www.bonappetit.com/people/chefs/article/why-are-there-100-folds-in-a-chef-s-toque.

I only know that I love a well-cooked egg. It’s beautifully packaged and complete unto itself.

The other day as I sat with a small panel of chef instructors to taste students’ final presentations of their French cuisine menus, a conversation around eggs began. We were tasting exciting dishes such as

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