Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Sweet Life in Paris: Cooking fish is hard, fromage blanc is easy

In the recent comments (thank-you very much!) there were a lot of votes for tackling the fromage blanc souffle from David Lebovitz's Sweet Life in Paris. I've never actually tasted fromage blanc and given your accounts of its tastiness and scarcity, decided to see if it would be hard to make at home. 

It isn't. I tried Emeril's recipe, the first one that popped up on the search engine, and it took about 10 minutes of so-called "active" time. You slowly heat milk with buttermilk and lemon juice until curds form, drain off the whey, and there's your cheese. It doesn't differ all that much from homemade ricotta, except it was smoother and slightly more delicious, maybe because I added the optional cream. I always add the optional cream, a personality trait and perhaps a problem. Tomorrow night: fromage blanc souffle.

I also baked Lebovitz's lemon-glazed madeleines, the recipe for which is here

Pretty. Lebovitz's innovation is to "swathe" each madeleine in a "puckery" lemon glaze to ensure that they are as moist as the madeleines at his favorite Paris bakery. I haven't actually tasted one yet, am trying to wait until after lunch.

In other news, I've decided it's silly to rush through the remaining dishes I want to try from Paris. Like, what's going to happen if I don't keep to a schedule? I'm going to have to fire myself? So I'm going to start cooking from the next book tomorrow -- Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen -- and we'll just have a few days of overlap. Vietnamese entrees, French desserts.

Also, this interesting story by Joel Stein made me want to buy both the books he mentions and brew some cherry bounce


  1. I am glad that the fromage blanc turned out well, and I am looking forward to hearing about the souflé! Here in Austria (well, i guess in most european countries) we also make cheesecake with fromage blanc - if interested, I can share my recipe! It is also good spread on bread with a bit of salt and some herbs. :)
    I have never tried cooking Vietnamese food, so I am looking forward to your take on it. All the best and good cooking!

  2. I would love your Austrian cheesecake recipe, LizA. When I was growing up I used to make a so-called "Austrian cheesecake" out of the old Gourmet cookbooks. It was my mother's favorite cheesecake, though I wonder how Austrian it actually was.

  3. the technique for fromage blanc sounds very similar to paneer in indian cooking. re your previous post, the ile flottante was really good, and not that difficult. it's just the timing that's crucial for each component.

    by the way, did you know that michael ruhlman is quite taken with your review of his ratio? he tweeted about it (which is how i got to it) and even did a blog post about it here

    Just wanted to let you know!

  4. Bakingepiphanies,
    Fromage blanc is very similar to paneer, almost identical but for the final pressing.
    Ok, now I will go read that Ruhlman link. Did not know about that, so thank-you.

  5. Thanks for the Time article link. Cherry bounce sounds intriguing. As for whoopie pies, I despised them when my grandmother made them (she called them yo-yos) and, far from going extinct, they seem to be popping up all over the blogosphere.

    Good call in not rushing to finish Lebovitz. Clearly you've worked against deadlines for too long if they're infiltrating your off-work activities too! :)

  6. Went to the Ruhlman blog and enjoyed the debate on the review. Some real nice compliments therein on your Slate article. Good for you!

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