December 14, 2012

French Desserts You Can Make Ahead (and Freeze!) From The Bonne Femme Cookbook - And A Giveaway

La Belle France inspires everyone in a different way. 

For Wini Moranville, it was the classic, delicious recipes that are cooked every day in the kitchens of France that became her greatest inspiration. Drawing on her many years of traveling and living in France, Wini wrote a cookbook detailing how to cook authentic French food without fuss, fear, or all that butter-- the way real French families eat today.

Without further ado, I am delighted to present Wini Moranville and a few French Desserts You Can Make Ahead...

Merci mille fois, Chez Loulou, for hosting my guest post.

The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day is all about how you can get a life-enhancing, true-to-France meal on the table any night of the week—often in 30 minutes or less.  In fact, an entire chapter offers 30-minute entrées.

Does that include dessert? Yes, indeed, it can. 

Of course, lucky French women have it easy—they can just pop into their favorite neighborhood pâtisserie on their way home from work and pick up something beautiful.

But for those of us that don’t have glorious pastry shops in our neighborhoods, there’s another way: Turn your freezer into that dessert shop.

As I point out often in the book, quite a few French desserts freeze well, including crèpes, pound cakes (les quatres quarts, as they’re known in you-know-where), and profiteroles. Whenever I make one of these desserts for dinner, I usually have extra, which I stash in the freezer and bring out for any-night enjoyment.

This Chocolate-Cherry Pound Cake Bonne Femme is a prime example of a dessert that freezes beautifully. Enjoy some on the day you make it; then wrap the leftovers well in plastic freezer wrap and refrigerate up to one month.  

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cherry Pound Cake
(Le Quatre-Quarts aux Cerises et Chocolate)

While the photo shows fresh cherries, now that it’s winter, I suggest garnishing this with frozen cherries that have been macerated (that is, soaked) in a cherry liqueur. You could also serve it with a little fruit compote or poached pears. Enjoy!

Makes 10 servings

For the cake:

1 1/4 cups 2 percent or whole milk
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon kirsch (cherry brandy)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the topping

2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved, or frozen pitted cherries, well drained and halved
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kirsch (cherry brandy)
Sweetened crème fraîche or sweetened whipped cream

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and lightly flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.

2. For the cake: Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it steams. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted; set aside to cool. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate mixture in batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, beating on low speed after each addition until combined; stir in the kirsch and vanilla. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.

4. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake come out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and place it on the rack to cool to room temperature.

5. For the topping: At least 1 hour before serving, combine the cherries, sugar, and kirsch. Let the cherries macerate at room temperature for about 1 hour; refrigerate for longer storage (up to 2 hours).

6. To serve, slice the cake and place on individual dessert places. Spoon some macerated cherries atop each slice of cake and add a generous spoonful of sweetened crème fraîche or whipped cream. To store, wrap the cake well in plastic wrap; refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 1 month. 

Two more make ahead and freeze ideas:

Yes! You can freeze crêpes. Stack each cooled crêpe on a plate with a sheet of waxed paper between each. Cover with plastic freezer wrap and freeze up to 2 weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave. Refresh each thawed crêpe in a sauté pan over medium heat before serving. 

Freeze unfilled profiteroles in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Refresh from a frozen state on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 6 to 10 minutes. Cool and fill. 
Photo by Andy Fjellman.

Thank you, Wini!

As an added gift, Wini and her publisher have offered a copy of The Bonne Femme Cookbook to one of my readers.
To enter, simply leave a comment including your email so I can contact you if you win. Comments will be closed promptly at noon Paris time on Wednesday, December 19. 
The winner will be chosen by a random number generator, then announced here.

*The giveaway is now over. Thanks for your comments everyone and congratulations to Libby! Hope you enjoy the book!*

For more information on the Bonne Femme Cookbook, check it out on . Or go to Wini’s blog at

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