Your Ultimate Guide to French Cookware
Recently, I was online shopping for some new kitchen necessities and came to a major realization. While I always kept things super simple in the kitchen, I soon realized that there were a lot more cookware available than I originally thought.
While I was only knowledgeable about the basics—sauce pans, frying pans, and cookie sheets— my eyes were opened to a whole new world of luxurious, albeit, confusing products, mostly of French origin. The French have always been famous for their deep appreciation for the culinary arts and to create their fancy dishes, they use a lot of specialty cookware.
French cookware is sometimes very exclusive to the French methods of cooking, and sometimes just American cookware with a fancy French name. Whichever the case, if you don't know the difference between a coquelle and a cocotte, this glossary of terms will hopefully clear things up for you.
And even if you never use one of these items in your entire life, being knowledgeable about any French terminology is très chic!
What is a cocotte other than what appears to be an adorable heart-shaped pot? A cocotte is simply a French term referencing a Dutch oven. The enameled cast-iron vessel can be used to braise, bake, stew, fry, sauté, and even boil and often come in different sizes, shapes, and colors to suit your fancy and personal style.
This crepe pan is pretty self-explanatory and is perfect for creating the best crepes possible, but it can also be used for omelettes or any other everyday pan-frying that you need to do.
In French kitchens, you may hear the term "coquelle" tossed around. This is not in fact, a type of pot but is actually a line of Le Creuset cast-iron pots designed by industrial designer, Raymond Loewy in 1958. Le Creuset has re-introduced the range of cast-iron Dutch ovens so now you can say your cooking supplies are almost vintage.
A chinois is basically a fancy French word for a strainer. Perfect for straining sauces and soups or mashing fruits and vegetables, they typically come with a wooden pestle and a chrome stand. A chinois is especially perfect for mashing berries for compotes or jams.
A sauteuse pan has sloping sides and a large surface area ideal for simmering and reduction but also of great use for searing, sauteing, braising and frying. The sauteuse looks very similar to a Dutch oven in style, as they are both cast iron cooking vessels, but the shape is a bit different.
French Rolling Pin
A French rolling pin or a dowel has tapered edges, which is the main way that it differs from a traditional rolling pin. This allows you to roll out pie and tart dough so that the center of the crust is slightly thinner than the outer edges.
A fait tout is a super versatile pan in any kitchen, so much so that it literally translates to "does everything" in French. This pan combines the best of a saute pan and frying pan with sloping sides to provide more surface area for evaporating liquids, while still providing ample contact with the heat source.
This special Champagne glass is a connoisseur's choice for serving sweeter sparkling wines. The saucer-shaped bowl on a slim stem best showcases Champagne, prosecco, or colorful cocktails.
Tart Tatin Dish
Named for the famous French upside-down apple tart, the enameled cast iron Tart Tatin dish has a great shallow design for cooking traditional pastries, pies, and quiche, but also some unconventional recipes like pizza.
A couscoussier is essentially just a fancy French word for a special pot to make couscous in. It is a traditional double-chambered food steamer, typically made of two interlocking metal pots.
Petite Tart Dish
This petite dish is almost too cute to use! With its 4 1/4-inch diameter, the stoneware petite tart dish is the perfect choice for small fruit tarts, shortcakes, or even mini quiches. The undulating sides give crusts and pastry shells a unique and distinctive shape.
The doufeu was first introduced by Le Creuset and features a recessed lid designed to hold ice rather than embers. The vessel can be used like any other round oven, but it also can be used for slow cooking. As moisture begins to evaporate inside, the cool ice-filled lid causes the moisture to condense. This self-basting effect minimizes the need to add water.
Terrine dishes are traditionally used to compact a meat mixture like pâté. Le Creuset’s classic design includes a weighted press that molds the mixture from all sides. The stoneware pâté terrine also makes a great serving dish for a small loaf of bread or homemade custard as it maintains even temperatures without scorching.
Round Au Gratin Dish
Designed to create oven-baked gratins with golden-brown crusts, this dish is perfect for cobblers and crisps. The white porcelain gives it a great look to be served in so taking it from cooking to table is an easy transition.
A French oven isn't much different from your classic Dutch oven, other than the fact that the inside is typically enameled while Dutch ovens are cast iron. Either way, they both serve the same purpose to braise or deep fry large meat dishes, and are easy to move straight from cooking to tabletop.