One day, I will throw my dream party, at which I will serve just three things: Champagne, appetizers and desserts. That way, the sweet confections will get their due instead of being picked at by overstuffed guests who wish they had room for more.


Quince 101

Quince can be a hard sell because…well, everything about quince is hard. The fruit itself isn’t just firm, like a pumpkin. It is dense and murder-weapon hard. (It could easil [...]

October 17th, 2019|0 Comments

Santiago Almond Cake

Once in a very rare while, a recipe found via internet search resonates in such a way that it seems Fate has guided the algorithms and web crawlers to bring it to you. That’s [...]

April 19th, 2019|0 Comments

Rhubarb Tart with Fresh Goat Cheese

I have found the secret to the universe, and it is 8 oz. (200 g.) of fresh goat cheese and 2 eggs. Yes, that is an exaggeration, but when an easy-to-remember ingredient combi [...]

April 8th, 2019|0 Comments

Extra-Buttery Crust Dough

All credit for this ultra-buttery, easy-to-work-with dough goes to my friend Donna Meadows, the best pastry chef I know. In addition to being extra rich and flaky without any [...]

April 7th, 2019|0 Comments

My All-Time Favorite Chocolate Cake

Dense, rich, not too sweet...this is the chocolate cake I have requested for my birthday ever since I can remember. The original version (more on this distinction below) is c [...]

March 28th, 2019|1 Comment

(Irish) Scones

I’m taking the liberty of calling these ‘Irish Scones’ after they got the ‘Just like my Granny’s!’ seal of approval from my Irish friend Janet. (I also think of them as Irish [...]

March 15th, 2019|0 Comments

Persimmon Pudding

The recipes for persimmon pudding I’ve come across are all very enticing to food historians. They go on and on about its old-fashionedness, its popularity in Indiana (There’s [...]

December 9th, 2018|2 Comments

Apple Tarte Normande

The French apple tart most people have heard of is la tarte Tatin, a caramelized upside-down creation that is the stuff of culinary legend. Less attention is paid to la tarte [...]

November 14th, 2018|0 Comments

Whole Apple Applesauce

The very best applesauce is made with whole apples. This I discovered when making apple butter. The process calls for cooking quartered, unpeeled apples—cores, seeds and all— [...]

November 3rd, 2018|1 Comment

Rhubarb Tarte Tatin

Take two classic French tarte recipes and what do you get? This rhubarb tarte tatin, which is so very easy... and effortlessly beautiful. The French are BIG rhubarb fans. The [...]

June 4th, 2018|2 Comments

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

When my friend Elodie asked for a recipe that would use up leftover Easter candy, I knew just what I wanted to make: Chocolate Biscuit Cake. Chocolate biscuit cake got a lot [...]

April 22nd, 2018|2 Comments

One-Banana Bread

This recipe is proof positive of why every cook should know how to make—and use—a vegan egg. I always seem to have one over-ripe banana. There it will sit, on my counter, get [...]

April 6th, 2018|0 Comments

Teurgoule (Norman Rice Pudding)

What is the matter with Mary Jane? She's crying with all her might and main, And she won't eat her dinner - rice pudding again - What is the matter with Mary Jane? From ‘Rice [...]

March 21st, 2018|0 Comments

Green Rhubarb Lattice Pie

As I do my best to get through the hungry gap, I’ve been digging into my freezer to see what treasures I stashed there last summer. And….score!! Two pounds of frozen rhubarb [...]

March 14th, 2018|0 Comments

Spice (Nutmeg) Crinkles

Tender and buttery, this old-fashioned snickerdoodle cookie recipe is ideal for trying out new flavors like nutmeg in baked goods. Cardamom, long pepper, and black pepper can [...]

December 7th, 2017|0 Comments

Lemony Lemon Cake

...because you can never have too much lemon in a dessert. Little motivates me more than a dessert that should have been better than it was. It wasn’t even a complicated cake [...]

November 11th, 2017|0 Comments

Le Financier (Almond Tea Cake)

Everybody’s always going on about macarons and madeleines, but if you ask me, the real superstar of the small pastry world is “le financier." Financiers (pronounced fee-nahn- [...]

November 4th, 2017|0 Comments

Wine-Poached Pears

Now that I've worked out this recipe, my goal is to have wine-poached pears in my fridge all winter long so that I can serve them and cook with them regularly, the way I did [...]

November 4th, 2017|0 Comments

Homemade Apple Butter

Each year, I make more. I have not yet reached the apple butter output of nearby villages in Brittany where le pommé (the local term for apple butter) is simmered and stirred [...]

October 30th, 2017|0 Comments

Breton Buckwheat-Apple Cake

It is so very, very rare that a recipe one imagines turns out just right the very first time that it’s important to call it out, celebrate it, tell everyone about it. ‘Cause [...]

October 17th, 2017|0 Comments

Real Brownies

I would have KILLED to have had this brownie recipe when I first arrived in France. Back in the dark ages before internet shopping gave expats access to Reese’s Peanut Butter [...]

August 22nd, 2017|0 Comments

Wild Plum Compote

I have been wracking my brain for a way to make ‘compote’ sound sexy. Exciting. Like something you want to jump out of your chair and make immediately. And I keep coming up w [...]

August 2nd, 2017|2 Comments

Homemade Custard

This is the pitcher I picked up at an antique gallery (Christian La Brocante) in nearby Saint-Coulomb. I say ‘picked up’ because when I went to pay for it (for a mere 2 euros [...]

May 12th, 2017|4 Comments

Marc’s Chocolate Custard Tart

One of the bright spots during an otherwise dark time in my cooking career was working with Marc, a pastry chef from Tours. Marc had been brought into the French bakery/resta [...]

May 4th, 2017|0 Comments

Rhubarb Muffins

Still reeling from the jacked-up rhubarb prices in the US, (FIVE DOLLARS A POUND! That’s almost as much as organic strawberries—for a perennial that grows like a weed whereve [...]

April 20th, 2017|0 Comments

Spicy Gingerbread

When and why did gingerbread get pigeonholed as a *strictly* holiday treat? Sure, I get that all things gingerbread are a holiday tradition, but must that mean that they vani [...]

March 16th, 2017|3 Comments

Pumpkin Purée

In France, pumpkins, like other winter squash, are sold by weight. This can make a great big Halloween jack o’ lantern prohibitively expensive (I know. I’ve blown my wad on t [...]

December 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

Gingery Pumpkin Bread

The first time I made pumpkin bread in France was for an English class I taught in a sunny ground floor room of a small town community center. The class ran from 2:30 to 4 in [...]

December 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

True Caramel

These days, when I dream of dessert, I dream of the caramel profiteroles at L’Ormeau restaurant in Cancale. Sure, the rest of the food at Christophe and Julie Wasser’s restau [...]

November 23rd, 2016|0 Comments