A French Table Feast

My mother-in-law was out of town for Christmas and well into the new year, so we did not get a chance to celebrate Christmas with her.  This past weekend we had her over for dinner for a mini post-Christmas celebration.

Tapenade Batons

Tapenade Batons

I decided to make the entire meal from Around My French Table.   My mother-in-law spent a good couple of hours pouring through it last week, so I knew she would be up for a French feast.  Also, I am still excited about my new cookbook and there are so many recipes I want to try.

We started off with Tapenade Bâtons, a variation of Mustard Bâtons.  Delicious and so easy to make!  I had leftover puff pastry in the freezer and tapenade in the fridge, so this one was a no-brainer.

Roast Chicken

Just Out of the Oven

For the main course, I made Roast Chicken for les Paresseux (Roast Chicken for Lazy People) and Brown-Sugar Squash and Brussels Sprouts en Papillote.  The chicken was fabulous with crispy brown skin and tender meat.  My husband especially loved the garlic that roasted along with the chicken.  My mother-in-law and I both enjoyed “the bread trick” (the chicken is roasted on top of a piece of bread which soaks up the cooking juices and gets wonderfully carmelized).  The squash and Brussels spr0uts were also a big hit – even my seven year old daughter ate her share.

The grand finale was also this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe: Michael Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Mouse Cake

Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

I had a few issues making this cake.  The biggest issue was that I did not have the right size pan.  The recipe calls for an 8-inch springform pan.  The pan I used measured 9½ inches.  I also have a 6-inch springform pan.  In retrospect I wish I had used the smaller pan and put the extra batter in a ramekin or two.  There was also a problem with the egg whites that are folded into the mousse.  I’m not sure if I over-whipped them or if I folded them in too vigorously, but the resulting batter did not seem “light” enough and kind-of seemed to “liquidy”.  When baked, the cake did not rise as much as the recipe described.  Finally, the recipe has you place the pan without its bottom on a baking mat or parchment paper.  I noticed some pretty big gaps under my pan, and my batter was fairly thin, so I decided to use the pan bottom to prevent seeping.  The cake would have been difficult to move to a serving platter, but luckily I did not care about that.

Despite the few issues, the cake was delicious!  It was met with rave reviews.  The recipe provides three ways to serve this dish.  The first night we went with the warm option: part of the batter is baked and then cooled, then the rest of the batter is poured onto the chilled base and baked again, then served warm.  The next night we had the baked and chilled option.  While I enjoyed both versions, I preferred the texture of the chilled one.

I will certainly be making this one again.  I’d love to resolve my egg white issues and I like to track down an 8-inch springform pan or try it with my smaller pan.  This cake is definitely worth perfecting!



Filed under Cooking

9 responses to “A French Table Feast

  1. Maureen

    This meal sounds and looks wonderful! It makes me want to buy the cookbook. I am guessing practice will help you resolve the eggwhite issue along with having the right size pan.

  2. pam

    I can’t believe you made a whole meal from that book! I’ve only managed to make one recipe so far!

  3. Kristi

    Great job Karen! I personally love brussel sprouts – and seeing you made them makes me want some even more! Heck with the rest of the family here….I may have to opt for some roasted ones soon 😉

  4. I had the same problem with the crust. Wish I had purchased a smaller spring form pan for that reason alone. Your still looks great! Nice job!

  5. Wow, that is one heck of a meal! The thing that’s the best about the chocolate cake is that even if we mess up, it still tastes great. There’s not a ton of recipes out there like that–where you can still serve it and not feel totally embarrassed.

  6. Great fun to make a whole meal from the book! You picked a set of winners – since the chicken is probably one of the best recipes I have ever used. And the batons are so simple, but such a huge crowd pleaser – and anything with brussels sprouts is good in my book!
    Good luck on the redo.

  7. Teresa

    I’m so impressed that you made an entire meal from the book. I haven’t tried her en papillote yet. I’m glad to hear yours turned out so well.

    It’s good you have an excuse to try this cake again soon – I have an 8-inch springform, so can’t use that. I’ll have to come up with something, though. This cake is so good.

  8. I wanted to let you know that I put you on my list for the Stylish Blogger Award over on my blog!

  9. Aggghh! I love your French Table spread!!! I have made the chocolate mousse cake a few times since the assignment and WOW, I have loved it every single time! 🙂

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