Dorie Greenspan has more than a few recipes up her sleeve. She's written 10 cookbooks and was proclaimed a "culinary guru" by the New York Times. In her latest book, Greenspan focuses her aim on French desserts.
"Baking Chez Moi: Recipes From My Paris Home To Your Home Anywhere" offers an uncomplicated take on contemporary recipes that emphasize the French knack for elegant simplicity.
Greenspan joined "CBS This Morning: Saturday" to offer a few of her favorite recipes, from entrees to a signature French dessert. Here's how she makes chicken in a pot, Gougères, a big garden salad, garlicky crumb-coated broccoli, Laurent's slow-roasted spicy pineapple and lemon madeleines.
Chicken in a Pot: the garlic and lemon version
"I can't remember exactly when I first made a chicken cooked in a casserole that was sealed tighter than the ancient pyramids, but I do remember that it was called Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic and that the recipe came from Richard Olney's deservedly classic cookbook Simple French Food. In his version of this traditional dish, the chicken is cut up and tucked into a casserole with four heads of garlic, separated into cloves but not peeled; dried herbs; a bouquet garni; and some olive oil. Everything is turned around until it's all mixed up, the casserole is sealed tight with a flour-and-water dough, and the whole is slid into the oven to bake until the chicken is done and the garlic is cooked through, sweet and soft enough to spread on bread. It's a masterpiece of simplicity, and when the seal is cracked at the table, the poof of fragrant steam is mildly theatrical and completely intoxicating.
"Olney's recipe was the first of I-can't-even-count-how-many chickens in a pot I've made. I've cooked chickens whole and in pieces, with a garden's worth of vegetables and with only garlic, with hot spices and with fragrant herbs, with and without wine, and with and without the dough seal (with is better). I've cooked the chicken in a heavy Dutch oven (my favorite), a speckled enamel roaster (not the best), and a clay cooker (my second favorite; if you use a clay cooker, though, omit the dough seal -- the clay is too fragile). And I've cooked it in every season -- it's just as good in the summer as in winter.
"This, my garlic and lemon rendition, was inspired by a dish made by Antoine Westermann, a chef with a Michelin three-star restaurant in Alsace and a bistro in Paris. That there's nothing Alsatian about his use of Moroccan preserved lemons and nothing particularly French about the addition of sweet potatoes makes the dish even more fun."
Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
1⁄2 preserved lemon, rinsed well
1 cup water
1⁄4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and each cut into 8 same-sized pieces (you can use white potatoes, if you prefer)
16 small white onions, yellow onions, or shallots
8 carrots, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
4 celery stalks, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
4 garlic heads, cloves separated but not peeled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 thyme sprigs
3 parsley sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
1 chicken, about 4 pounds, preferably organic, whole or cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
1 cup chicken broth
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
About 11⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
About 3⁄4 cup hot water
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Using a paring knife, slice the peel from the preserved lemon and cut it into small squares; discard the pulp. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, drop in the peel, and cook for 1 minute; drain and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the vegetables and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are brown on all sides. (If necessary, do this in 2 batches.) Spoon the vegetables into a 4 1⁄2- to 5-quart Dutch oven or other pot with a lid and stir in the herbs and the preserved lemon.
Return the skillet to the heat, add another tablespoon of oil, and brown the chicken on all sides, seasoning it with salt and pepper as it cooks. Tuck the chicken into the casserole, surrounding it with the vegetables. Mix together the broth, wine, and the remaining olive oil and pour over the chicken and vegetables.
Put 1 1⁄2 cups flour in a medium bowl and add enough hot water to make a malleable dough. Dust a work surface with a little flour, turn out the dough, and, working with your hands, roll the dough into a sausage. Place the dough on the rim of the pot -- if it breaks, just piece it together -- and press the lid onto the dough to seal the pot.
Slide the pot into the oven and bake for 55 minutes. Now you have a choice -- you can break the seal in the kitchen or do it at the table, where it's bound to make a mess, but where everyone will have the pleasure of sharing that first fragrant whiff as you lift the lid with a flourish. Whether at the table or in the kitchen, the best tool to break the seal is the least attractive -- a screwdriver. Use the point of the screwdriver as a lever to separate the lid from the dough.
Depending on whether your chicken was whole or cut up, you might have to do some in-the-kitchen carving, but in the end, you want to make sure that the vegetables and the delicious broth are on the table with the chicken.
If the chicken is cut up, you can just serve it and the vegetables from the pot. If the chicken is whole, you can quarter it and return the pieces to the pot or arrange the chicken and vegetables on a serving platter. Either way, you don't need to serve anything else but some country bread, which is good for two things: spreading with the sweet garlic popped from the skins and dunking into the cooking broth. One of the reasons I like to bring the pot to the table is because it makes for easy dipping.
If you have any leftover chicken, vegetables, and broth (what we call "goop" in our house), they can be reheated gently in the top of a double boiler or in a microwave oven.
You can save yourself a little time and some cleanup by using store-bought pizza dough to seal the pot. If you use pizza dough, it will rise around the pot.
"When you're an American in Paris, there's nothing more flattering than to have French people ask you to share your recipe for one of their national treasures. Of all the things I make for my French friends, this is the one that gets the most requests.
"The easiest way to describe gougères is to call them cheese puffs. Their dough, pâte à choux, is the same one you'd use for sweet cream puffs or profiteroles, but when the pâte à choux is destined to become gougères, you fold in a fair amount of grated cheese. In France, I use Gruyère, Comté, Emmenthal, or, just for fun and a spot of color, Mimolette, Gouda's French cousin; in America, I reach for extra-sharp cheddar, and sometimes I add a little smoked cheese to the mix.
"Gougères are made everywhere in France (and can be bought frozen in many stores), but their home is Burgundy, where they are the first thing you get when you sit down in almost any restaurant. In Burgundy, gougères are often served with the local aperitif, kir (see box, page 6); chez Greenspan, while I serve them no matter what I'm pouring as a welcoming glass, my favorite sip-along is Champagne. I love the way Champagne's toastiness and gougères' egginess play together.
"Although you must spoon out the puffs as soon as the dough is made, the little puffs can be frozen and then baked straight from the freezer, putting them in the realm of the doable even on the spur of the moment."
Ingredients (makes about 36 gougères)
1⁄2 cup whole milk
1⁄2 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
11⁄2 cups coarsely grated cheese, such as Gruyère or cheddar (about 6 ounces; see above)
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Bring the milk, water, butter, and salt to a rapid boil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over high heat. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low, and immediately start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk.
The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring -- with vigor -- for another minute or two to dry the dough. The dough should now be very smooth.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or into a bowl that you can use for mixing with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and elbow grease. Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next, and don't be concerned if the dough separates -- by the time the last egg goes in, the dough will come together again. Beat in the grated cheese. Once the dough is made, it should be spooned out immediately.
Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougère, drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between the mounds.
Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are golden, firm, and, yes, puffed, another 12 to 15 minutes or so. Serve warm, or transfer the pans to racks to cool.
Gougères are good straight from the oven and at room temperature. I like them both ways, but I think you can appreciate them best when they're still warm. Serve with kir, white wine, or Champagne.
The best way to store gougères is to shape the dough, freeze the mounds on a baking sheet, and then, when they're solid, lift them off the sheet and pack them airtight in plastic bags. Bake them straight from the freezer -- no need to defrost -- just give them a minute or two more in the oven. Leftover puffs can be kept at room temperature overnight and reheated in a 350-degree-F oven, or they can be frozen and reheated before serving.
Big Garden Salad
Big basket of bread
"Because roasted peppers are so attractive, it's easy to forget that they can be delicious and that they can stand on their own as a starter. At least I think it's easy for us Americans to forget -- we never seem to use them for anything but color.
"Not so the French. In France, roasted red peppers, slicked with olive oil, sometimes scattered with garlic, and often speckled with herbs, are a time-honored bistro dish; they're served as a starter with a fork, a knife, and plenty of bread. They make an appetizer that couldn't be plainer, but we order them often at a favorite restaurant in Paris, Brasserie Fernand. It's also a dish that delights everyone when our friend Martine Collet makes it.
"When Martine serves roasted peppers, she makes them look like jewels. She roasts lots and lots of them, arranges them in beautifully overlapping rows on a large platter, interlaces the rows with herbs, gives each row a gloss of olive oil, and finishes the platter with a scattering of small black Niçoise olives. It's a lesson in how to give something simple some dazzle.
"While you can certainly prepare green peppers in this fashion, their flavor is a bit strong for the dish. The best peppers to use are the thick-fleshed boxy Holland peppers and, while red is the color you see most often in France, yellow, orange, and purple peppers roast nicely too.
"This recipe can be multiplied, and multiplied and multiplied."
Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
5 large bell peppers, preferably not green (see above)
Salt, preferably fleur de sel, and freshly ground pepper
Fresh parsley, basil, rosemary, or thyme leaves, or a combination, plus extra for serving
1-2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and very thinly sliced (optional)
About 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, parchment paper, or aluminum foil (this is a good job for nonstick foil).
Wash and dry the peppers, put them on the baking sheet, and roast them, turning them every 15 minutes, until some of the skin on every side of the peppers is blistered, 45 to 60 minutes. The peppers may collapse and some may seep some juice -- that's fine. Transfer the peppers to a bowl (be careful -- that juice is very hot), cover the bowl with foil, and let the peppers rest until they are cool enough to handle.
In the meantime, pull out a Pyrex loaf pan or, if you plan to serve the peppers soon, a large platter, preferably one with a slightly raised rim. Working with 1 pepper at a time and working over the bowl, remove the stem, let the liquid drain from the pepper, and separate the peel from the flesh. You can usually do this with your fingers, but if a little peel sticks stubbornly, scrape it away with a paring knife. Cut the pepper open along its natural separations -- depending on the pepper, this will mean cutting it in half or thirds -- and scrape away the seeds and ribs on the inside. Place the pepper pieces cut side down in the loaf pan (or on the platter), season with salt and pepper, strew with herb leaves and garlic slices, if you're using them, and pour over some olive oil. (If you're working on a platter, you can just brush the peppers with oil.) Continue until all the peppers are in the pan (or on the platter).
If you've got time, cover and chill before serving, garnished with fresh herbs.
If you haven't already done so, arrange the peppers on a platter, moistening each layer with some of the oil. Scatter over fresh herbs and serve with a peppermill and some plate-cleaning bread. The peppers are fine at room temperature and nice slightly chilled.
Covered well, the peppers will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days. If you plan to keep them this long, you might think about packing them in a canning jar and making sure they're covered with oil.
Bonne idée- Roasted Pepper Vinaigrette.
If you've kept the peppers for a day or more, the oil you poured over them will be extremely flavorful and make a delicious vinaigrette. I make my vinaigrette in a mini processor using 1⁄2 roasted pepper, 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (you can use Champagne vinegar), 1⁄4 cup of the pepper oil, and salt and pepper to taste. If you'd like, you can make the vinaigrette without the roasted pepper -- it will be more subtle.
Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli
Rolling broccoli around in some buttery bread crumbs flavored with garlic, lemon, and herbs is quick, easy, and transformative: the everyday vegetable is suddenly ready for company.
Ingredients (makes 6 servings)
11⁄2-2 pounds broccoli, trimmed and cut into 6 stalks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter
3 small garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and finely chopped
1⁄2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
Finely chopped or coarsely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint or parsley
In a steamer or a pot fitted with a steaming basket, steam the broccoli, covered, until the stalks are just tender, 7 to 9 minutes. You should be able to pierce the stalks with the tip of a knife. Transfer to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels, drain, and pat dry. Season the broccoli with salt and pepper and set aside.
Put a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-low heat and add the butter.
When the butter's melted, add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, just until it is softened but not colored. Add the bread crumbs, season with salt and pepper, and toss the crumbs with the garlic until they are well blended, moistened with butter, and toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the zest and mint or parsley.
Add the broccoli and turn it around to coat the florets with crumbs. Transfer the broccoli to a serving platter and spoon over any crumbs that remain in the skillet.
The broccoli is particularly good with fish or chicken, grilled or sautéed, and nice alongside omelets.
You can steam the broccoli a few hours ahead, but once you've coated the stalks with crumbs, get the dish to the table.
Laurent's Slow-Roasted Spiced Pineapple
"Laurent Tavernier isn't even my hair stylist, but he knows that I love food, and so whenever I'm in the salon for a cut, he takes time tochat with me about what he's made over the weekend. When he gave me this recipe, I didn't wait for the weekend to try it. The dessert is simple enough: a slow-roasted ripe pineapple with a thick aromatic sauce. As it roasts, it's basted with orange juice, booze, jelly and a mix of spices until it is fork-tender and almost confited, or candied. How much juice? "Oh, about this much,"
"Laurent said, making finger measurements that wavered. How much booze? "About the same amount." And what kind? "Whatever you've got." And the jelly? "Oh, you know, apple or quince or apricot or, no matter." (Two tries later, Laurent told me that I should use a whole jar of jelly.) And the spices? "Again, whatever you've got--even a hot pepper!"
"I've given you a real recipe (kind of ), but my inclination is to tell you to take a leaf from Laurent's book and let inspiration and whatever you've got in the cupboard guide you. Having made this so many times with so many combinations, I can now say with confidence what Laurent told me when he first described the dish, "You'll love it."
"A word on size and servings: In Paris, I make these with the small pineapples known as Victorias. They're squat and compact and one fruit serves two to four, depending on what else is on the dinner menu and who's around the table. In the United States, where pineapples are much larger, I figure one for six to eight people, usually eight. If you'd like, you can roast two pineapples at a time--the syrup multiplies easily."
1 ripe pineapple
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) Cognac, brandy, Scotch, Grand Marnier, bourbon, rum or other liquor (or an equal amount of orange juice)
1 jar (about 12 ounces; 340 grams) apple or quince jelly, apricot jam or orange marmalade
1 moist, fragrant vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
Whole spices, lightly bruised, such as a few each of star anise, cardamom, coriander, pink peppercorns, allspice or cloves (no more than 3); fresh ginger slices; a cinnamon stick (broken); a small hot pepper (just 1 or a piece of 1); and/or black peppercorns (just a few)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple. Stand it upright and, using a sturdy knife, peel it by cutting between the fruit and the skin, following the contours of the pineapple. With the tip of a paring knife, remove the "eyes" (the tough dark spots).
Cutting from top to bottom, quarter the pineapple and then cut away the core. Place the pineapple in a baking dish or small roasting pan that holds it snugly while still leaving you enough room to turn and baste the fruit.
Whisk the juice, liquor and jelly, jam, or marmalade together. Don't worry about fully incorporating the jelly--it will melt in the oven--you just want to break it up.
Pour the mixture over the pineapple, toss in the vanilla bean, if you're using it, and scatter over the spices. Bake the pineapple for about 2 hours, basting and turning it in the syrup every 20 minutes or so, until it is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. The fruit should have absorbed enough of the syrup to seem candied. Allow the pineapple to cool until it is comfortably warm or reaches room temperature. Laurent strains the syrup and discards the spices, making the dish more elegant, but I leave them in because I love the way they look speckling the sauce; if you're going to strain the syrup, do it while it's hot -- it's easier.
The temperature you serve this at is, like so much of this recipe, up to you--warm or room temperature is best, but chilled is also good.
"Madeleines are the ne plus ultra of teacakes. Made with a buttery whole-egg sponge cake batter, spooned into shell-shaped molds and baked until they turn golden on their shell side and grow a large bump on their bellies, madeleines have long been a touchstone sweet among pâtissiers and pastry lovers.
"I don't know if the bosse, the bump or hump, was as iconic in the eighteenth century--the time when madeleines were first made--as it is today, but that dome has become the holy grail of madeleine bakers. And, like everyone else, I'm a seeker.
"I'd been making madeleines for almost forever and then, in one year, mine took a giant leap, thanks to tips from two of Paris's most talented pastry chefs: Philippe Conticini of Pâtisserie des Rêves and Fabrice Le Bourdat of the matchbook-size Blé Sucré.
"Philippe taught me to bake the chilled batter in a cold pan on a very hot baking sheet--it mimics the heat of a baker's hearth oven, the way a pizza stone does.
"Because of this tiny but monumental tweak, my madeleines, which had always had respectable bumps, are now so bumpy they're in danger of rolling over from top hump heaviness.
"It was Fabrice who showed me how to glaze madeleines, accentuating the domes.
"It's true that the cakes are luscious unadorned and pretty with just a dusting of confectioners' sugar, but they're almost jewel-like and even more elegant when glazed.
"Merci, mes chers pâtissiers."
Ingredients (makes 12 madeleines)
For the madeleins:
2/3 cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon fleur de sel or a pinch of fine sea salt
1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
2 tablespoons whole milk
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
For the glaze (optional):
1 cup (120 grams) confectioners' sugar, sifted
About 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
To make the madeleines: Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
Working in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs and whisk energetically. You want the egg-sugar mixture to thicken ever so slightly and pale just a little; this could take a couple of minutes (if you'd like, you can use a mixer). When the whisk leaves tracks, beat in the honey and vanilla. Using a gentler touch--and a flexible spatula, if you'd like--fold in the dry ingredients, folding only until they disappear into the batter. Finally, fold in the warm melted butter and, when it's incorporated, the milk.
You'll have a smooth, shiny batter. Press a piece of plastic film against the surface of the batter and chill for at least 1 hour. (The batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
An hour or so before you're ready to bake, butter the molds of a 12-shell madeleine pan, dust with flour and tap out the excess. Even if you have nonstick or silicone madeleine molds, it's a good idea to give them the butter-flour treatment.
(Alternatively, you can use baker's spray, a mix of vegetable oil and flour.) Spoon the batter into the molds--don't worry about spreading it evenly; the oven's heat will take care of that--and refrigerate for 1 hour more. (You can cover the batter lightly with a sheet of wax or parchment paper, but inevitably some of the batter will stick, so I leave the pan bare.)
Center a rack in the oven, put a large heavy baking sheet on the rack and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the madeleine pan on the hot baking sheet and bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and the big bumps on their tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a table knife. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow them to cool to room temperature. (If you're not glazing them, you can serve them warm. Unglazed madeleines are nice with a dusting of confectioners' sugar.)
To glaze the madeleines: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil and put a cooling rack on it.
Put the confectioners' sugar in a bowl that's large enough to allow you to dip the madeleines into the glaze. Whisk in the lemon juice a little at a time until you get a glaze that's about as thick as heavy cream. (You'll have more glaze than you need, but it's hard to work with a smaller amount.)
One by one, dip (don't soak) the bump side of each madeleine in the glaze and put them bump side up on the cooling rack. Slide them into the oven, close the door and stay put: It takes 1 to 3 minutes for the glaze to melt and coat the madeleines, and you want to be there to pull them out of the oven at the first sign of a bubble in the glaze. Remove from the oven, lift the hot rack with the cakes onto another cooling rack, to protect your countertop, and let cool to room temperature.
Generally served with tea, madeleines are good any time of day or night, with anything from coffee to Cognac. They are a delight warm or at room temperature and even still nice when they're slightly stale--and perfect for dunking.
You can make the batter up to 2 days ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator, but once baked, madeleines are best the day they're baked.
Desserts excerpted from: BAKING CHEZ MOI, (c) 2014 by Dorie Greenspan. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Savories excerpted from: AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE by Dorie Greenspan. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.