Did We Have Fun?

Last night I conducted my first cooking class as part of my book tour for In a French Kitchen. The menu was chosen from the book; everyone “put their hands in the dough” and participated in creating a delicious meal.  Herewith, the class which was held in the Shapiro home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Laughing over salt
Laughing over salt


The soon to be main course
The soon to be main course
Hard at work
Hard at work
Ann and Chuck made this
Ann and Chuck made this
Thank you, Nell and Ed!
Thank you, Nell and Ed!
A close up of the fabulous chocolate and raspberry tart
A close up of the fabulous chocolate and raspberry tart


You can garnish this chocolate tart, originally from Baptiste Bourdon, with ripe pears in winter (I like to sauté them in a bit of butter and lemon first), with strawberries, raspberries, or the berry or fruit of your choice.

One recipe for Sweet Pie Pastry (see below)


For the chocolate:

8 ounces (250g) semi-sweet (about 52%) chocolate, diced

6 tablespoons (90ml) water

½ cup (125ml) heavy, non ultra-pasteurized cream

2 generous cups raspberries (1 pint)


For garnish:

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
  1. Roll out the pastry to fit a 10-1/2 inch (26.25cm) removable bottom tart pan. Line the pastry with aluminum foil and pastry weights. When the oven is hot, bake the pastry until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Remove the weights and continue baking until the bottom of the pastry is just golden, an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and spread with the marmalade.
  1. While the pastry is baking, place the chocolate and the water in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. As the chocolate melts, whisk it so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When the chocolate is melted, remove it from the heat and whisk in the cream. Pour the chocolate into the pre-baked pastry shell, urging it towards the edges without spreading it.
  1. When the chocolate has “set”, arrange the raspberries on top, close enough together that you cannot see any chocolate. Just before serving, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar.


8 to 10 servings



This pastry is the basis of those gorgeous fresh fruit tarts that decorate patisserie shelves throughout France. It bakes up crisp and golden, and you can fill it with pastry cream, dot it with raspberries, use it for a chocolate tart, among other things. With the scraps, you can make buttery cookies that are delicious with coffee!

I recommend making this pastry by hand, but you can use a food processor, mixing the yolks, sugar and butter together, then adding the flour and salt and pulsing just until it the mixture is homogenous.


1-3/4 cups (230g) all-purpose flour

½ teaspoons fine sea salt

½ cup vanilla sugar

4 large egg yolks

8 tablespoons (125g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  1. Sift the flour onto a work surface and make a large well in the center. Place the salt, the sugar, the egg yolks, and the butter in the well and mix them with your fingers until they are thoroughly combined.
  1. Gradually work in the flour with the fingertips of your hands, pulling flour from the sides into the butter mixture until large crumbs form. Continue blending the pastry by cutting it into pieces with a dough scraper. You will think you’ve got a mess on your hands, but don’t worry! It will all work out.
  1. Gather the crumbs into a ball then continue to work it by pushing it away from you and against the work surface with the heel of your hand, gathering it up and pushing it out again until it is thoroughly combined. Roll it out as specified in the recipes.


Dough for a 10-1/2 inch (26.5cm) tart


Photos by Documentalist, Betsy Regnell

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