Simple ways to bake and serve cakes like the French, according to a cookbook author living in Paris

sour cherry savarins

sour cherry savarins

yun hee kim

How do you say cake in French? Cake. And how would you describe French pastries? They are discreet and elegant, timeless and tasteful. French pastries are just as sophisticated and worldly as Parisian ones, and also practical and dependable in a truly French way.

The French have a knack for making style look natural. From a simple silk scarf tied around the neck to a judicious touch of perfume behind the ear, the know to do The message is clear: careful presentation is important. This style is also manifested in the kitchen. So how can you bring French flair and ease to your dessert repertoire? We asked Aleksandra Crapanzano, author of the new cookbook Gateau: the surprising simplicity of French pastriesfor your best advice.

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The spirit of French pastry

Ultimately, baking like a French woman means your cake isn’t overly sweet, nor would you automatically use vanilla extract. Instead, the flavor of each candy can and should be adapted to suit the desired outcome.

Focus on the taste, not the decoration

French pastries are not frivolous. They are full of subtle and distinct flavours, and are neither too cloying nor fancy decorated. “Homemade French pastries have a simple beauty,” says Crapanzano. “They can be finished with a dash of cocoa powder, a dollop of crème fraiche or smooth Chantilly cream, or perhaps a few slices of perfectly ripe fruit—these touches never fail.” She recommends pralines, lavender sugar, and “lightly sweetened, dried rose petals.”

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Perfect a basic recipe

Crapanzano’s general baking tip is smart and practical: if you know you can whip up a lovely cake with a minimum of fuss, you’ll be more relaxed and enjoyable when it’s time to prepare for that get-together with friends. That’s why French home bakers use basic recipes that have stood the test of time. “Having a beloved recipe in your repertoire, one that uses practiced skill and great ingredients, is more important than any novelty, trend, or decoration,” Crapanzano says.

Citizens of France, for example, start learning how to bake a yogurt cake, a simple recipe based on proportions that anyone can remember, in preschool. This provides a level of comfort when baking that is almost universal.

Know when to buy dessert

Work with what you know and use it with confidence, says Crapanzano. When it comes to entertainment, Parisians cleverly take advantage of the resources around them, such as wonderful cakes Y chocolatiers, where you can buy delicate pastries and fine chocolates. If in neighborhood pastry shops you can buy millefeuille and special cakes to serve on special occasions, why compete?

bake frequently

the french cake a batch, which is why Crapanzano advocates baking simple cakes often for a myriad of reasons, or just because. They shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions: serve slices for afternoon tea, after-school snacks, or top the cake he’s been making regularly and serve it at a dinner party with friends.

In weekendBake a treat for a mid-afternoon snack, or dress it up for dinner with an easy glaze, like orange blossom, elderflower, or one spiked with your favorite liqueur (for a lively end to the meal).

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Try making savory pies

French tart can also be salty, Crapanzano reminds us. These iterations are salty, crazy, and perfect for happy hour (or cocktail hour): These are the best snacks to serve with drinks. They can also be toasted and cut into pieces to serve as snacks.

Fancy Desserts Must Be Affordable

Simple desserts may reign supreme, but French home bakers do make more elegant cakes. Crapanazano’s book includes things like christmas loglayered cakes with buttercream, and Pavlova For special occasions. But even these desserts are surprisingly approachable: They’re all well-structured and can handle flavor adjustments to suit the mood, the occasion, or whatever’s in your pantry.

embrace variety

This variation is key – if you have some special items, like a bottle of limoncello, rum, Armagnac or orange flower water; well, dark chocolate; or fresh nuts and spices, you can easily create an elevated riff on a classic dessert.

In Pie, Caprapanzano offers dozens of inventive and thoughtful twists on cupcakes; This section alone has 39 attractive twists and ideas. Toss some diced strawberries into limoncello, add some finely grated citrus zest and fennel seeds, add some chai spice, and dip the muffins in chocolate. These simple and elegant updates work for cakes too, and are so French.

Enjoy dessert every day

When it comes to desserts, the French mantra is sensible moderation. “Give yourself little comforting indulgences every day,” says Crapanzano. “Celebrate the moment when the beautiful peaches are perfectly ripe and the brightest cherries just hit the market.” Bake using those fresh, seasonal ingredients and a reliable, simple recipe. Give it a French twist, then serve it up with confidence and a smile.

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