Basic French Macarons
Want to learn how to make macarons? We've taken the guesswork out of making these patisserie beauties, so you can prepare them at home. Our foolproof macarons recipe calls for making your own almond flour (it's so much easier than it seems), then adding just four other ingredients: powdered sugar, egg whites, white sugar, and any filling you please.
This versatile dish goes from brunch buffet to dinner table in a snap and is great with a leafy green salad. The flaky crust and custard filling make it a perfect vehicle for an array of mix-ins.Baking the crust before adding the filling, known as blind baking, ensures it won't get soggy. Our favorite pie dough recipe is Basic Pie Crust.
Soufflés have a reputation for being temperamental, but they're actually very simple. They get their signature height from stiffly beaten egg whites. Using a few staple ingredients, you can whip up a chocolate dessert that's guaranteed to impress at a dinner party yet easy enough for a casual supper.
Chicken Fricassee (Fricassee de Poulet a L'Ancienne)
Also see our step-by-step photo tutorial for making Chicken Fricassee. A fricassee is halfway between a saute and a stew. A true classic -- with as many variations as there are grandmothers in France -- it relies on humble ingredients and just a single pot. It's the original French comfort food: simmered chicken with hearty vegetables in a rich, silky sauce. And almost as satisfying as the dish itself is having our one-pot master recipe in your repertoire.
Pate Brisee (Pie Dough)
Pate brisee is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry. Pressing the dough into a disc rather than shaping it into a ball allows it to chill faster. This will also make the dough easier to roll out, and if you freeze it, it will thaw more quickly.
Chocolate mousse is the ultimate dessert for any chocolate lover. We like to make ours using bittersweet chocolate, which is high in pure chocolate (at least 35 percent cocoa solids) and makes for a deep chocolate flavor. (Plus, it's also a great eating chocolate.) If you prefer semisweet chocolate, which has more sugar and fewer cocoa solids than bittersweet, know that it can often be substituted in recipes without significantly affecting the flavor or texture.
This versatile dish goes from brunch buffet to dinner table in a snap and is great with a leafy green salad. The flaky crust and custard filling make it a perfect vehicle for a variety of mix-ins. Baking the crust before adding the filling, known as blind baking, ensures it won't get soggy. Our favorite pie dough recipe is Basic Pie Crust.
Pave, the French word for "paving stones," is a term chef Thomas Keller uses to describe any such rectangular or square food preparation. Try his recipe -- a slightly more refined version of scalloped potatoes -- for an unforgettable holiday side dish. Excerpted from "Ad Hoc at Home," by Thomas Keller (Artisan Books. (c)2009. Photo credit: Deborah Jones