French Specialties from The Cook’s Atelier

French Specialities from The Cook's Atelier

Culinarians from the novice to the gourmand find a hearty Gallic welcome at The Cook’s Atelier, in Beaune, France. Mother-and-daughter team Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini established the cooking school and boutique to share their passions for food and wine. Menus brim with delectable seasonal offerings—from delicate Gruyère-flavored choux pastries called Gougères to the earthy mix of tender vegetables in Fava Bean Fennel Salad. Whether learning fundamentals of gastronomy during a class, sampling garden-fresh fare over dinner, or shopping in the retail space, visitors discover an authentic taste of Burgundy in this epicurean oasis. Read more about their venture in the May/June 2016 issue of Victoria

Makes approximately 24 hors d’oeuvres
Write a review
  1. 5 ounces water
  2. 2½ ounces unsalted butter
  3. ½ teaspoon fleur de sel
  4. 2½ ounces all-purpose flour
  5. 4 eggs
  6. ½ cup Comté cheese, coarsely grated
  7. Comté cheese, finely grated for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make an egg glaze: Whisk one of the eggs in a bowl, and set aside. Put the remaining eggs in a separate bowl or measuring cup with a spout. Do not mix. Set aside.
  3. To make the choux paste, combine water, butter and sea salt in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil. Immediately add flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan and a film is present on the bottom of the pan. Continue to beat the mixture over low heat for a minute or so more to remove the excess moisture and dry the dough.
  4. With a wooden spoon, beat whole eggs into the dough one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Beat just enough of the reserved beaten egg into the dough until it is shiny and just falls from the spoon. (Note: you might not need to add any additional egg at this point, depending on the size of the eggs that you use. You are looking for a certain consistency and shine to the dough. The texture should be thick enough to fall from the spoon, as mentioned above. If you get the dough too thin, the dough will fall off the spoon in a stream and the gougères will be too flat. When in doubt, it is best to err on the side of slightly dry.)
  5. Beat in coarsely grated Comté cheese. Using a small spoon, drop dough by the spoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, taking care to keep the mounds the same size and being careful not to flatten them. Brush the tops with the egg glaze, and lightly sprinkle the tops with a little finely grated Comté cheese.
  6. Place the gougères in the oven immediately. Bake until they have puffed, are nicely browned, and feel light for their size, about 25 minutes. Serve warm straight from the oven, or let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to two days, and warm in a 350° oven for 5 minutes before serving.
  1. Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini, of The Cook’s Atelier, suggest adding a teaspoon of freshly ground mustard seeds, as well as a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, to the dough for a little extra zip. Depending on the season and what they have growing in their herb garden, the chefs also like to add freshly picked thyme or chives.
  2. Image courtesy of The Cook's Atelier.
Fava Bean Fennel Salad
Write a review
  1. 8 to 10 pounds fresh young fava beans in the pod (10 pounds will yield about 6 cups of beans)
  2. 3 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  3. 1 handful of radishes
  4. 1 bunch scallions or chives, thinly sliced
  5. Sea salt
  6. Freshly ground black pepper
  7. Fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  8. 1 handful mint leaves
  9. 1 handful parsley leaves
  10. 1 handful chervil
  11. 2 lemons, one sliced and the other cut in half
  12. Mizuna leaves
  13. Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Shuck fava beans from their pods. Blanche beans in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. Plunge them into a bowl of ice water to cool them and preserve their color.
  2. Once cool enough to handle, pop the beans out of their grey-green skin to release the bright green bean.
  3. Trim and wash fennel.
  4. When you are ready to make the salad, slice fennel into very thin slices (a mandoline works well for this task) and put them in a bowl. Add radishes, fava beans, scallions and a good sprinkling of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Drizzle generously with olive oil to coat. Add mint, parsley, chervil, lemon slices, and mizuna leaves, then squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the salad. Toss well with your hands, then taste and correct the seasoning. Top with Parmesan shavings, if desired. Serve immediately.
  1. Image courtesy of The Cook's Atelier.

Previous articlePurple Reign: Cape Cod Lavender Farm
Next articleBedtime Stories: Five Rituals for Relaxation


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.