Parisian gastronomy is one of the most renowned and has given rise to some mythical dishes such as onion soup and rum baba. And today, top chefs are putting them back in the spotlight and paying tribute to them by adding their own personal touch. A look at 5 typical recipes from the city's most talented chefs.
The financiers of Pierre Hermé
For a dozen financiers
- 150g icing sugar
- 50 g flour
- 60 g ground almonds
- 20 g ground hazelnuts
- 3 egg whites
- 140 g butter
1. Lightly roast the ground hazelnuts for about ten minutes in the oven at 160°C for more flavour. Let them cool down. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (th7/8) convection oven.
2. In a saucepan, melt the butter until it has a hazelnut colour and leave it to cool.
3. In a salad bowl, mix the dry ingredients: icing sugar, flour, ground almonds and sifted ground hazelnuts.
4. Incorporate the egg whites and whisk together, then add the melted butter while continuing to whisk well until the mixture is smooth.
5. Pour the mixture into the moulds. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn them out of the moulds and leave them to cool, they will be even better!
Did you know? First known by the name of Visitandines, this little almond cake was updated by a pastry chef in the square named ‘Place de la Bourse’ (stock exchange) in the 19th century. His main customers were of course the financiers of the district. As a nod to these prestigious businessmen, he gave the cake the shape … of a golden ingot!
The onion soup of Alain Ducasse*, chef of the gastronomic restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée
Ingredients for 4 people:
For the onion preparation:
- 1 kg ‘paille’ onions
- 40 g butter
- Olive oil
For the soup:
- 1 l beef stock
- 1 branch of thyme
- The onions sauteed
- 1 laurel leaf
For the presentation :
- 200 g gruyere
- 4 slices of farmhouse bread
- 10 cl red port
1. Prepare the onions. Peel and finely chop them. Heat some of the butter in a casserole dish. Add the onions and leave them to sweat for a few minutes until they become lightly browned. Add a little water and then scrape off the juice with a spatula. Leave the liquid to reduce, then repeat this process 5 or 6 times. The onions should be well caramelized.
2. In another pan, heat the beef stock. Pour it onto the onion preparation stirring gently. Add the thyme and laurel leaf. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour.
3. Pre-heat the grill of the oven. Remove the thyme and laurel leaf and add the port. Mix. Divide the onions and the soup into 4 oven-proof bowls. Grater the gruyere and put into the bowls. Grill the toast and add a slice to each bowl. Place in the oven for 2-3
Did you know? Onion soup as we know it today – grated with cheese and a slice of bread – became popular in Les Halles, to warm up workers and visitors to the famous market as well as night owls. What’s more, it is from this Parisian marketplace that it derives its nickname ‘Gratinée des Halles’.
* Recipe from the book ‘Grand Livre de Cuisine Bistrot’ (published by Éditions Alain Ducasse)
Terrine of chicken and apricots by Maison Vérot to prepare the previous day
Ingredients for 4 or 6 people:
- 600 g pork belly
- 500 g chicken fillets
- 150 g dried apricots
- 100 g crème fraîche
- 2 eggs
- 15 g salt
- 2 g pepper
1. Cut the chicken fillets into 1 cm cubes. Remove the rind and bone from the pork belly. Chop very finely. Keep the fat. Cut the dried apricots into 1 cm cubes.
2. Put the pork in a mixer, add salt and pepper, then mix at low speed. Add the eggs and crème fraîche. Beat again at low speed. Stir in chicken and apricots and mix together.
3. Put the mixture into a terrine. Press down firmly, especially around the sides. Place in an unheated oven then heat at 160°C. Leave to cook for 1hr30 then allow it to cool before leaving it overnight in the fridge.
The polenta croque-monsieur of Éric Frechon, chef at the restaurant Épicure at the Bristol
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 75 cl full cream milk
- 40 cl single cream
- 150 g polenta
- 4 slices of boiled ham
- 200 g Emmental cheese
- 4 slices of sandwich bread
- 4 knob of butter
- Salt, pepper
1. Cut the Emmental cheese into slices 10 cm by 10 cm and 3 mm thick. Cut the ham in the same way. Remove the crust from the bread and mix it until you obtain fine breadcrumbs.
2. For the polenta, pre-heat the oven to 160°C. In a saucepan, bring the milk to the boil, gradually pour in the polenta while stirring gently. Leave to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly and adding the cream so that it does not stick. When it is cooked, spread it onto a baking sheet 1 cm thick. Leave it to cool for at least 10 minutes in the fridge. Cut it into 12 squares 10 cm by 10 cm.
3. Put together your croque-monsieur on a baking sheet. Place 4 squares of polenta, then add a slice of Emmental cheese and a slice of ham, then make a second layer with a square of polenta, Emmental cheese and ham. Finish with a layer of polenta. Repeat this process for the other croque-monsieurs. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and add a knob of butter.
4. Place in the oven for 15 minutes to reheat them and melt the cheese then place under the grill for 30 seconds.
* Recipe from the book ‘À Partager !’, by Eric Frechon & Clarisse Ferreres (Editions Solar)
Did you know? In 1918, the croque-monsieur even became a part of French literature as Marcel Proust mentioned it in his book ‘A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs’!
The rum baba of Jeffrey Cagnes, executive head pastry chef at Stohrer
Ingredients for 8/10 people:
For the baba mix:
- 400 g flour
- 10 g salt
- 18 g sugar
- 20 g yeast
- 5 eggs
- 120 g butter
For the rum flavoured syrup :
- 500 g caster sugar
- 530 g water
- 110 g dark rum
For the vanilla chantilly:
- 500 g whipping cream
- 50 g mascarpone
- 30 g icing sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
1. For the mix: Melt the butter and put it to one side Use a mixer with the dough hook. Sift the flour into the bowl and add salt and sugar. Mix rapidly.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the milk and then, in a saucepan, let them cool. Add them to the dry ingredients. Add the eggs then knead the dough in the mixer until it is smooth, elastic and comes away from the edge.
3. Add the softened butter and knead again. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough expand for at least one hour in a warm place.
4. Butter the baking tin and pour the mix into it halfway up. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (th. 6) and then let it rise at room temperature until it doubles in volume. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. For the sirop, boil the water and sugar together and add the rum. Dip the baba into it until it is well soaked. Let it drain.
6. Whip up the Chantilly in the mixer, then place it on the cake.
Did you know? Stohrer is the oldest patisserie in Paris as it was established in 1730 by the pastry chef of king Louis XV, Nicolas Stohrer to whom we owe the creation of the Rum Baba!