C'est Bien! French Recipes from Food Blogger Mimi Thorisson
This wonderfully traditional cake, a favorite among author Mimi Thorisson's kids—rum and all—is simple, custardy, and not overly sweet, which makes it ideal not only for teatime or after dinner but also for the next morning's breakfast. "It's made with eggs and milk, so why not?" says Thorisson with a laugh. The key to success here is patience—the custard must cool and set completely before using.
"I listen to romantic music when I cook, from Cole Porter to Ella Fitzgerald." —Mimi Thorrison
Read on for Mimi's mouthwatering recipe for gâteau basque, adapted with permission from her new book A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse ($26, amazon.com).
Serves: 6 to 8
Total Time: 6 hours, 50 minutes (includes chill time)
Active Time: 30 minutes
2 cups whole milk 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted 1 large egg 2 large egg yolks 2 tbsp dark rum
1 cup granulated sugar 13 tbsp unsalted butter, diced at room temperature, plus more for the pan 2 large eggs 5 large egg yolks, divided 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for rolling and for the pan Fine sea salt 1 tsp baking powder
1. In a medium saucepan, bring milk and vanilla seeds to a low boil over medium-low heat. 2. Add sugar and whisk for 30 seconds. 3. Gradually add flour, ∂ whisking for 2 minutes to prevent any lumps (move the saucepan on and off the heat a few times if you are afraid of scorching the mixture). 4. Reduce heat to low; add egg and egg yolks one at a time, still whisking. Continue whisking until mixture has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. 5. Remove from heat; add rum and mix well. 6. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to keep mixture from forming a skin; set aside to cool completely. 7. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
1. In a large bowl, mix sugar and butter with a wooden spoon until smooth. 2. Gradually add eggs and 4 egg yolks, mixing until smooth. 3. Add flour, ½ tsp salt, and baking powder; mix well (dough will be soft). 4. Divide dough and shape into 2 disks, one slightly larger than the other, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 2. Butter a 9" round cake pan and lightly dust with flour. 3. Roll out each disk of dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper into ¼"-thick rounds, one about 15" in diameter and the other 9". 4. Line the cake pan with the larger round of dough, leaving a ¾" overhang. 5. Pour cream filling into the pan; cover with the smaller round. 6. Stir together remaining egg yolk and a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the dough overhang with egg wash. Fold the overhang up and over, and press the edges together. 7. Brush top with the egg wash, and use a fork to score lines across the surface. Make 3 to 4 tiny incisions in the dough with the tip of a sharp knife to release steam. 8. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean (filling should not be watery). Cool on a wire rack for 40 minutes before serving.
Coq Au Vin
The trick to making this hallowed French dish without much fuss is mostly a matter of good organization, advises Mimi Thorisson of the gorgeous food blog Manger. "You have to marinate the chicken a day in advance," she says, "but using ready-made stock cuts the work in half." Boiled potatoes tossed in olive oil and chopped parsley are her favorite accompaniment. Get the recipe here.
Taking advantage of the season's abundant pumpkins and butternut squash, this satisfying puréed soup showcases fall's mellow flavors. Get the recipe here.
"With salad and a glass of good wine, this savory tart creates the perfect meal," says Thorisson of this hearty dish. Made with caramelized onions tossed in a honey and balsamic vinegar glaze, it has just a hint of sweetness. Get the recipe here.
This wonderfully traditional cake, a favorite among Thorisson's kids—rum and all—is simple, custardy, and not overly sweet, which makes it ideal not only for teatime or after dinner but also for the next morning's breakfast. Get the recipe here.