Essential Pepin Desserts: 160 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food

Essential Pepin Desserts: 160 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food

by Jacques Pépin

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Essential Pepin Desserts showcases more than 150 of Jacques Pépin’s top dessert recipes from his lifetime in food. The five chapters (Fruit Desserts; Puddings, Sweet Soufflés, and Crepes; Cakes, Cookies, and Candies; Tarts, Pies, and Pastries; and Frozen Desserts) display his many cooking styles, from homey French (Mémés Apple Tart), to haute cuisine (Coffee and Hazelnut Dacquoise), to fast food Jacques style (Warm Chocolate Soufflés), to fresh contemporary American dishes (Top-Crust Cherry Pie). In the accompanying videos, Pépin demonstrates ten essential techniques, including segmenting an orange, working with pie dough, and making chocolate “balloons.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547394015
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 11/06/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 100
Sales rank: 530,215
File size: 443 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

The winner of sixteen James Beard Awards and author of twenty-nine cookbooks, including A Grandfather's Lessons, Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen, and Essential Pépin, Jacques Pépin has starred in twelve acclaimed PBS cooking series. He was awarded France's highest distinction, the Legion of Honor.

Read an Excerpt


Fruit Desserts


* Video: Peeling and Julienning Orange Skin and Segmenting an Orange (3:50)

* Video: Removing the Seeds from a Pomegranate (0:50)


* "Good Lady" Apples (Apples Bonne Femme)

* Cheese, Apples, and Pecans with Black Pepper

* Apple Compote with Calvados

* Caramelized Apple Timbales

* Caramelized Apple Loaf with Apple Ice Cream

* Apple Fritters

* Spiced Apple Charlotte

* Poached Apricots with Sour Cream and Raspberry Sauce

* Baked Apricots with Walnuts

* Apricot Compote

* Broiled Bananas with Lemon and Vermouth

* Flambéed Bananas

* Banana Fritters

* Lemon Bananas in Crisp Shells

* Berries Rafraîchis

* Blackberries in Creamy Honey Sauce

* Blueberries with Brown Sugar

* Blueberry Crumble

* Cream of Raspberries and Yogurt

* Raspberry Trifle with Nectarine Sauce

* Red Wine and Cassis Strawberries

* Glazed Strawberries

* Strawberries in the Sun

* Strawberries with Raspberry Sauce

* Strawberry and Orange Coupe

* Strawberry Buttermilk Shortcakes

* Cherry Compote

* Cherry Summer Pudding with Port

* Cranberry Kissel

* Pecan-and-Armagnac-Stuffed Dates

* Figs Vilamoura

* Calimyrna Figs in Spicy Port Sauce

* Grapefruit in Nectar

* Broiled Grapefruit Suprêmes

* Grapes in Red Wine Sauce

* Cooked Grapes with Cream

* Crystallized Grapes and Oranges

* Mangoes with Rum

* Mango Symphony

* Mangoes and Kiwi with Pastry Cream

* Honeyed Rum Melon

* Melon in Port Wine

* Melon in Madeira

* Oranges in Blackberry Sauce

* Orange Cubes in Orange "Baskets"

* Poached Oranges

* Orange and Grapefruit Suprêmes

* Citrus and Raisin Compote

* Peaches in Red Wine

* Poached White Peaches with Almond "Leaves"

* Cold Peach Soup

* Peach Gratin

* Croûte of Fruit

* Fresh Fruit with Minted Apricot Fondue

* Pears in Red Wine

* Pears in Grenadine

* Pears in Espresso

* Pears in Chocolate

* Pear Brown Betty with Pear Sauce

* Braised Pears in Caramel Sauce

* Caramelized Roast Pears

* Pears au Gratin

* Pineapple in Peach Sauce

* Diced Pineapple with Crème de Cassis

* Pineapple Finale

* Grilled Pineapple with Maple, Rum, and Mint Sauce

* Potted Plums with Phyllo Dough

* Prune Plums au Sucre

* Stew of Red Summer Fruits

* Prunes and Grapefruit in Red Wine Sauce

* Rhubarb Compote with Mascarpone

* Rhubarb and Strawberry Coulis

* Rhubarb and Blueberry Nectar with Mint

* Jam "Sandwiches"


There is video content at this location that is not currently supported for your device. The caption for this content is displayed below.

Peeling and julienning orange skin and segmenting an orange (03:50)

There is video content at this location that is not currently supported for your device. The caption for this content is displayed below.

Removing the seeds from a pomegranate (00:50)

"Good Lady" Apples (Apples Bonne Femme)

Serves 6

For these baked apples, ubiquitous in home cooking as well as in country inns and restaurants, only a few ingredients are needed. Inexpensive and quickly prepared, the dish can be made year round. Use an apple that will keep its shape during cooking, such as Golden or Red Delicious, russet, Granny Smith, or Pippin.

The apples look best when they have just emerged from the oven, puffed from the heat and glossy with rich color. But it's best to serve them barely lukewarm, even though they will shrivel a bit as they cool. If you have leftovers, the apples can be reheated the next day (baste them with the juice). These are delicious served with a slice of pound cake or with sour cream.

The mixture of apricot jam, maple syrup, and butter makes a flavorful sauce. If you don't have maple syrup, substitute granulated sugar. You could also add lemon juice and cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, or any other spice that you like.

* 6 large apples (2 pounds)

* 1/3 cup apricot jam

* 1/3 cup light maple syrup

* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Using a corer or a knife, core the apples. Be sure to plunge the corer or knife straight down so that it doesn't miss the core (if this happens, remove any remaining seeds).

With the point of a knife, make an incision in the skin about a third of the way down each apple and cut through the skin 1/8 to ¼ inch deep all around. As the apple cooks, the flesh expands, and the part of the apple above this cut will lift up like a lid. Without scoring, the apple could burst.

Arrange the apples in a gratin dish or other baking dish that is attractive enough to be brought to the table. Coat the apples with the apricot jam and maple syrup and dot with the butter. Bake for 30 minutes.

Baste the apples with the juice and cook for another 30 minutes. The apples should be cooked throughout — plump, brown, and soft to the touch. Let cool to lukewarm before serving.

Cheese, Apples, and Pecans with Black Pepper

Serves 4

The combination of flavors here — blue cheese, nuts, and apples that have been rolled in lemon juice and sprinkled with black pepper — is delicious.

To coarsely crush whole peppercorns (creating what the French call a mignonnette), spread them on a flat work surface and press on them with the base of a saucepan until they crack open. Pepper prepared this way is much less hot than ground pepper. If you must use a pepper mill, set it to grind the pepper as coarsely as possible.

* 2 large apples, such as russet, Red Delicious, or Rome Beauty

* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

* ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed

* 2/3 cup pecans

* 5 ounces blue cheese (Gorgonzola, Stilton, or Roquefort), cut into 4 pieces

* Leaves from 4 fresh basil sprigs or a handful of arugula leaves (about 5 ounces)

* Crusty French bread, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the unpeeled apples into quarters, remove the cores, and roll the quarters in the lemon juice. Sprinkle with the pepper.

Spread the pecans on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

To serve, arrange 2 pieces of apple, a piece of cheese, and a few pecans on each of four plates. Arrange a few basil or arugula leaves around the apples. Serve with crusty French bread.

Apple Compote with Calvados

Serves 6

Pureed apples capped with sweetened whipped cream is a classic home dessert. Choose a soft-fleshed apple. Serve with thin slices of pound cake or cookies.


* 7-8 large apples, such as Mcintosh or Rome Beauty (about 3 pounds), peeled, quartered, and cored

* ½ cup sugar

* ½ cup water

* Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

* 2 tablespoons Calvados or applejack


* 1 cup heavy cream

* 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

* 2 tablespoons Calvados or applejack

FOR THE COMPOTE: Combine all the ingredients except the Calvados or applejack in a heavy casserole. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Uncover the pot and push the apple pieces down into the juices. Cook, uncovered, over very low heat for 30 more minutes. By this time, practically all the liquid should have evaporated.

Stir the mixture with a whisk to break the apple pieces into a very coarse puree. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When the compote is cold, add the Calvados or applejack.

FOR THE GARNISH: Whip the cream. Whip in the sugar and Calvados or applejack.

Transfer the cold apple puree to a serving bowl. Put the whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and decorate the top of the compote with the cream, or just spoon the cream onto the compote. Serve.

Caramelized Apple Timbales

Serves 4

Arranging the cooked caramelized apples for these timbales in plastic-lined soufflé dishes or ramekins makes them easy to unmold. The apples are not peeled; the skin gives some chewiness and texture to the dish. The timbales can be made up to a day ahead.

* 4 large Golden Delicious or Pippin apples (about 1½ pounds)

* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

* ¼ cup sugar

* 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons water

* 2 teaspoons julienned lemon rind

* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

* ¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt

Using a paring knife, remove the apple stems with a little of the adjoining skin and flesh and toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice, for use as a decoration. Cover and refrigerate.

Cut the apples lengthwise in half and core them. Cut each half crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices. (You should have about 6 loosely packed cups.)

Combine the sugar and the 3 tablespoons water in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture turns into a dark brown caramel, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the apple slices, lemon rind, the remaining 1/3 cup water, and the butter, mix well, reduce the heat, and cook at a gentle boil, covered, for about 7 minutes. The apples should be tender and most of the moisture gone.

Remove the lid and cook over high heat, stirring the apples in the liquid, for about 5 minutes, until the juices have turned into caramel again and the apple pieces are browned. Let cool to lukewarm.

Meanwhile, line four small soufflé dishes or ramekins (½- to ¾-cup capacity) with plastic wrap.

Pack the lukewarm apple mixture into the soufflé dishes, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold. (The timbales can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

At serving time, unmold the timbales onto serving plates and decorate with the reserved apple stems. Top each with a tablespoon of sour cream or yogurt.

Caramelized Apple Loaf with Apple Ice Cream

Serves 8

For this autumn or winter dessert, apples are caramelized, then a portion is poured into a loaf pan, where it sets. (Only part of the apples' skin is removed; it lends texture to the mixture.) The remaining portion is pureed with cream, sour cream, milk, and Calvados. Part is made into a sauce, and the rest is frozen into an apple ice cream to be served with the dish.

The loaf should be made at least 1 day ahead so it has time to set in the refrigerator.

* 5 pounds Golden Delicious apples (about 12)

* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

* Grated rind and juice of 1 large lime (1 tablespoon rind plus 3 tablespoons juice)

* ½ cup sugar


* Reserved caramelized apples (from above)

* 1 ½ cups milk

* 1 cup heavy cream

* 1 cup sour cream

* ¼ cup sugar

* 2 tablespoons Calvados or applejack


* 8 strips lime rind, removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into leaf shapes (optional)

* 1-2 teaspoons grated lime rind

With a vegetable peeler, remove 1 wide strip of peel from around the middle of each apple. Cut the apples lengthwise in half and remove the cores and seeds. Cut each apple half into thirds.

Melt half the butter in each of two saucepans, preferably nonstick. When the butter is hot, add half the apples to each pan and sprinkle each with half the lime rind, juice, and sugar. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the apples are soft and caramelized and there is basically no liquid left in the saucepans. Remove from the heat.

Line the bottom and ends of a narrow 6-cup loaf pan or terrine mold (preferably porcelain or enamel) with a strip of parchment paper to make unmolding easy later.

Reserve one third of the apple mixture for the sauce and ice cream. Pack the remaining apples into the mold, pressing them well with a spoon so they are tight. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap lightly on the surface of the apples, and refrigerate overnight.

MEANWHILE, FOR THE SAUCE AND ICE CREAM: Put the reserved apples in a food processor, add the milk, heavy cream, sour cream, and sugar, and process until pureed. (You should have 4½ to 5 cups.) Transfer 2 cups of this mixture to a bowl for the sauce and add the Calvados or applejack to it. Refrigerate.

Spoon the remaining mixture into an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer container and freeze until hard.

Using an ice cream scoop, make 8 ice cream balls. Arrange the balls on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer.

At serving time, unmold the apple loaf onto a serving platter and remove the paper. Pour some of the sauce around the loaf. Place the ice cream balls on top of the sauce and, if desired, decorate them and the cake with the lime rind cut to resemble leaves. Sprinkle the grated lime rind on the sauce (for color as well as taste) and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

Apple Fritters

Serves 4 to 6 (makes about 12 fritters)

Apple fritters sprinkled with confectioners' sugar and eaten piping hot are simplicity itself. The fruit can be cut into sticks or slices or fan shapes and dipped into the batter and fried, or it can be coarsely chopped or cut into julienne.

If you are making the fritters ahead, be sure to cook them until they are crisp and well browned. Then reheat and recrisp them in a toaster oven or under the broiler just before serving them heavily dusted with sugar.

* 1 cup all-purpose flour

* 1 large egg

* 1 cup ice-cold water

* 1 pound apples (any variety; about 3)

* 1 cup canola oil

* ½ cup confectioners' sugar

Vigorously mix the flour, egg, and 1/3 cup of the water in a bowl with a whisk. The mixture will be fairly thick. When it is smooth, add the remaining 2/3 cup water and mix again until the water is incorporated and the batter is thin and smooth.

One at a time, stand the unpeeled apples upright on a cutting board and cut each one vertically into ½-inch-thick slices, stopping when you reach the core; pivot the apple and cut again, and repeat until only the core remains. Stack the apple slices and cut them into ½-inch-thick sticks. (You should have 4 cups.) Stir the apple sticks into the batter.

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. When it is hot, pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan for each fritter, making 4 or 5 at a time. Using two forks, spread the batter out so the fritters are no more than ½ inch thick. Cook for about 4 minutes on one side, until brown and crisp, then turn and cook for about 3 minutes on the other side. Drain the fritters on a wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Sprinkle the fritters liberally with the sugar and serve.


Instead of adding apples to the fritter batter, stir in some thinly sliced vegetables — anything from carrots, onions, and zucchini to whole parsley leaves. Drop large spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Serve 1 large pancake per person as a vegetable side dish with a roast or stew.

Spiced Apple Charlotte

Serves 6 to 8

For this charlotte, apple slices are cooked on top of the stove in a flavorful mixture of sugar, honey, and spices. Then, when most of the moisture has evaporated and the apple slices are brown, they are baked between layers of bread in a cake pan. The charlotte is unmolded and sauced with peach jam, sliced, and served, warm or at room temperature, with sour cream or yogurt, if desired.

I like to use russet apples, which are available in my market in the fall. They are firm, juicy, and tasty, with a hint of quince flavor. If they are unavailable, use another variety that holds its shape such as Pippin, Golden Delicious, or Granny Smith.

* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

* 1 ½ tablespoons corn or safflower oil

* 2 pounds russet apples (see the headnote; about 5), peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

* ¼ cup sugar

* ¼ cup honey

* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

* 11 thin slices fine-textured white bread (6 ½ ounces)

* 3 tablespoons strained peach jam

* 1 ½ teaspoons Calvados or applejack (optional)

* Sour cream or plain yogurt, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan until hot. Add the apples and sauté for 1 minute. Add the sugar, honey, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, mix gently, cover, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Most of the moisture from the apples should be gone at this point. Remove the lid and cook the apples, uncovered, for 5 to 6 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the heat.

Using the remaining ½ tablespoon oil, oil an 8-inch round cake pan.

Cut 7 slices of the bread into triangles: first cut the slices in half diagonally, then trim the crusts to create smaller triangles; reserve the trimmings. Lay the triangles side by side to cover the bottom of the prepared pan. Trim the remaining 4 slices bread, cut each of them in half to make rectangles, and arrange them around the sides of the pan.

Spoon the apple mixture on top of the bread and spread it evenly into the corners of the pan. Smooth the surface and arrange the bread trimmings on top of the apples so most of them are covered.

Bake the charlotte for 20 to 25 minutes. Let the charlotte cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a plate and remove the mold.

Meanwhile, combine the peach jam with the Calvados or applejack, if using, in a small bowl.

No more than 30 minutes before serving, coat the surface of the charlotte with the peach jam mixture (if it is applied earlier, the coating will be absorbed by the dessert).

Slice the charlotte and serve with dollops of sour cream or yogurt, if desired.


Excerpted from "Essential Pepin Desserts"
by .
Copyright © 2011 Jacques Pépin.
Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

List of Videos,
Fruit Desserts,
Puddings, Sweet Soufflés, and Crepes,
Cakes, Cookies, and Candies,
Tarts, Pies, and Pastries,
Frozen Desserts,

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