French baking sometimes gets a bad rap—the elaborate confections can be described as fussy or time-consuming, but Greenspan’s book combines both the traditional “fancy” French desserts with the simple, comforting recipes that her French friends serve to their families and guests. Yes, there are certainly Macarons, Baked Alaskas, and Pithiviers, but there are also coffee cakes, rustic galettes, and chocolate chip cookies.
So far, the intrepid bakers in our group have tried recipes far and wide:
Joy Huang had a bonne idée (as Dorie would say) when she turned the Custardy-Apple Square (thus far a group favorite!) into a stunning custardy-apple rose. Proving that we don’t forget our past, Joy also added that her rose’s beautiful sheen is a result of being brushed with apricot jam—a tip picked up from last month’s book, Classic German Baking.
Rhea Santos also improvised, using her mini-rose bundt pan for her cannéles, resulting in a perfectly-browned, firm exterior and the expected moist, chewy center.
While the book is chock full of the traditional recipes you’d find at your neighborhood’s patisserie, there are plenty of variations that come seemingly out of left field.
Cardamom doesn’t seem like a flavor commonly found in French baking, but the Cardamom Crumb Cake made Bebe Black Carminito a believer: “Using this Indian spice in the crumb topping and the batter really works beautifully in this recipe,” she says. “I'm adding this recipe to my repertoire for a crowd-pleasing breakfast cake.” Give it a try yourself.
So are you convinced yet? Join the fun and bake along with us for the rest of July!
And better yet, we're giving away four copies of Baking Chez Moi, each with a matching tea towel (shown at the top of the post). To enter, simply leave a comment on this post by Sunday night—winners will be selected Monday morning. (Giveaway open to US addresses only.)