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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Food and Drink Part II: Pastry as Art

As someone who loves to bake, I took notice of the recent death of Gaston Lenotre. Lenotre, 88, died on January 8, 2009, at his home in France. He "was considered the best patissier of 20th century France, and therefore, arguably, the world" wrote Phil Davison in The Financial Times. Not only a leader in the art of pastry, Lenotre made his mark with restaurants, a cooking school, and in catering and retail.

The FT quotes Lenotre from one of his final interviews as saying, "I was born with a palate like the best parfumeurs [perfume creators] are born with a nose . . . I have never had [high] cholesterol despite all the desserts I have devoured . . . all my life I have loved hard work, women and cakes."

Inspired by this joie de vivre, I decided to bake savory gougeres. Gougeres, as you may know, are French cheese puffs. They are made from cream puff dough (pate a choux). While a sweet item, such as cream puffs, may have been more in the spirit of Gaston Lenotre, that project is being postponed a few weeks until some special house guests arrive for a visit. For today: gougeres.

Here they are:

I followed this linked recipe from Food and Wine by French chef Alain Ducasse. As with many delicious things, they are shockingly easy to make.

Give gougeres a try, and bon appetit!