FRENCH RECIPES FOR CHILDREN : A TOUCH OF FRANCE IN YOUR AMERICAN KITCHEN
Sharing is caring! Proud of our French cuisine, we love nothing more than giving our favorite recipes to our international friends. When Stephanie asked us for cooking ideas to try out with her two children, Emma and Parker, we were thrilled. Living in North Carolina, US, she had to slightly adapt the ingredients and make sure she understood the instructions well! That's how the idea of this article was born!
Here are three easy to make recipes, a way to bring a touch of France to your American kitchen : Quiche Lorraine, Quart Quart and Tarte Tatin translated by Stephanie herself.
A vos fourneaux (literally 'to your stoves', idiom meaning 'get cooking')
But before heading to the kitchen, let's meet the chef and her family!
MEET THE CHEF
How did your love of cooking begin?
My love for cooking started with my family, specifically my father and grandfather. It was obvious at a young age that cooking for both of them was a way to show their passion and love for their family. Around the age of six, I started to show an interest in cooking on my own by “making” breakfast for my mom and dad by simply adding water and flour together and putting it in the microwave. It was as unappetizing as you can imagine but it was the thought that counts as they say. My passion continued to grow with age.
Cooking has always been a way for me to share my love for my family as well as brightening other people’s day. Creating something special and giving it to others is truly a way to actually be happier overall.
How do you share this passion with your children?
I try to include them in the process of cooking and baking. Since they are both under the age of five, I have to plan accordingly to make sure they do not end up making a mess. Given their age, I try to let them spoon in flour or mix the ingredients in a deep bowl. If you have older kids, you could allow them to cut ingredients if they have a dull knife or even measure ingredients. Measuring ingredients is a great way to teach kids about numbers.
Can you compare American and French cuisine?
After trying these French recipes, I noticed that French cooking differs by American by the number of ingredients that are required. I love how a relatively simpler recipe can be but still full of flavor. For example, I have made other quiche recipes in the past that had more ingredients but did not taste as good as the traditional French recipe which only has four ingredients with a touch of nutmeg and pepper.
In addition, we noticed that the sweet recipes were not as sweet as you would find in the U.S. You were able to taste and enjoy the apples in the Tarte Tatin.
TRY OUT THE FRENCH RECIPES
Genuine Quiche Lorraine
- 1 pie pastry
- 7 oz (just under ½ lb) thick slices of bacon. Suggest using a non-smoked variety.
- 3 large eggs
- 1.25 cup (30 cl) whole double cream (aka heavy whipping cream)
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 392°F (200°C) bake.
- Prepare the bacon by dicing. Brown in a pan on high heat for 3 minutes. Due to the fat content of the bacon, you will not need any oil or butter. Drain the excess oil from the bacon, if applicable to your bacon.
- Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the heavy whipping cream. Salt, pepper, and nutmeg are added to taste. I would recommend a pinch or two of salt, pepper to your preference, and a pinch of nutmeg. Whisk the mixture until getting a smooth and homogeneous texture. I would recommend mixing the eggs briefly prior to adding the heavy whipping cream in the event you find it difficult to adequately mix the ingredients.
- Roll out the pie crust in a buttered pie plate. Once in place, prick the pastry all over with a fork or toothpick. Hint this is a great step for little ones to complete.
- Spread the cooked diced bacon on the pastry and cover with the egg and cream mixture.
- Once the Quiche Lorraine is prepared, lower the temperature of the oven to 338°F (170°C). It is recommended to place the Quiche Lorraine into the bottom rack of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. This time could be more or less depending on the size of your pie plate and oven. A typical pie plate is about 9” (~23 cm) took closer to 45-60 minutes to bake. It is recommended to check the progress regularly. The Quiche Lorraine filling should jiggle a little to ensure it is not overcooked.
- Once finished, remove from the oven and let it cool and serve warm not hot with a green salad.
If you prefer a different meat or are a vegetarian, there are endless opportunities to make different variates that fit your desires.
- Cheese: Beaufort, Comté, or cheddar cheese.
- Chopped onion, spinach (drain excess liquid), asparagus
- Half and half instead of heavy whipping cream. This could be made by using half milk and half cream. (Keep in mind the texture will be different)
- Smoked ham
Read more about the origins and story of the Quiche Lorraine
Quatre Quart (French Pound Cake)
This recipe relies on a scale to weight the ingredients as opposed to measuring. Keep in mind this is very important for this recipe. The weight of the ingredients will all match the weight of your four large eggs (with the shell) that must be a room temperature.
- 4 large eggs (room temperature)
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 200 grams unsalted butter (melted and cooled slightly)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 orange zest
- 200 grams unbleached, all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9 x 5" loaf and lightly coat with flour.
- Once the eggs are at room temperature, weigh your eggs to determine the weight of the additional ingredients. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites in separate bowls. It is recommended that you directly separate the yolks in a large mixing bowl and the egg whites in a stand mixer bowl. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can place the egg whites in a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the egg whites and mix on low speed. While this is mixing you can begin on the other ingredients.
- Add the sugar directly to the egg yolks and beat for about a minute with a wooden spoon. Mixture should be thick and pale yellow. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and zest and mix well until completely smooth. The flour should be added last and mixed just until a batter forms.
- Return to the egg whites and increase the mixing speed to medium-high. Beat the eggs until egg-white peaks form. The peaks should be firm. Crank the mixer to medium-high speed and beat until the egg whites until peaks form. If you are unsure if your egg whites are ready, you can take your whisk off and flip it upside down. If the peaks are ready, you’ll see the point of the peak fall slightly over. Make sure you do not over beat. Using a spoon or spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter until just incorporated.
- Add the prepared batter to the loaf pan. Tap the loaf pan on the counter a few times to make sure all air bubbles are removed. Be careful if you are using a glass or ceramic loaf pan. Bake for an hour, or until the cake is springy in the middle or a skewer/toothpick comes out cleanly. Cool for approximately 10 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.
If your family enjoys this recipe, you can add different ingredients to enhance the flavor based on their tastes. You can even have fun with different baking dishes to give your kids different shapes to eat. You can even add sliced almonds, glaze, or jam. Some additional ingredients that can be added prior to baking include:
- Strawberries, blueberries
- Lemon zest
Like many famous recipes, the legend goes that this dish was born out of clumsiness. In North Central France, in a small hotel in Lamotte-Breuvon, the Tatin Sisters, in an attempt to bake an apple pie, left the apples cooking too long. Just in time before letting it burn, they saved the dish by placing the pastry on top...
For the shortcrust pastry
- 2 cups flour (sifted)
- 10 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp fleur de sel (or salt)
- ⅓ cup almond flour
- 1 egg (slightly beaten)
For the apples
- 4 apples (peeled) and each cut into 8 pieces
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 7 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 pinch fleur de sel (or salt)
- 1 vanilla bean
For the shortcrust Pastry
- Mix the softened butter and powdered sugar at medium speed in a bowl or stand mixer for a few minutes until a sandy texture is reached.
- Add salt and almond flour and mix for 1 minute.
- Add the slightly beaten egg and continue mixing for 1 minute.
- Add all of the flour and mix quickly until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out to a thickness of about ¼ inch (5 mm). Try to make a shape that matches the shape of the mold that will be used for baking.
- Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
For the apples
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Add the butter in a saucepan over low heat and melt. Add the sugar and continuously stir for 2-3 minutes.
- Split the vanilla bean in half to remove the seeds. Add the lemon juice and vanilla seeds directly to the saucepan. Stir together.
- Pour the mixture into a pan with high sides and bake for 15 minutes. Be careful to not let the caramel mixture burn during this time.
- Remove the pan from the oven and cool.
- Place the cut apples on top of the caramel. It is recommended to place the curved part facing the outside of the pan. Add a pinch fleur de sel (or salt).
Tarte Tatin assembly and baking
- Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and place on top of the apples. Make sure to fold the edges inside around the pan.
- Make two small cross-shaped incisions in the middle of the dough using a knife.
- Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove the Tarte Tatin from the oven and wait a minimum of 10 minutes before unmolding. It is recommended to place the plate on top of the cooled model and then flip it upside down.
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