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Best Jacques Pepin Recipes

Best Jacques Pepin Recipes

Jacques Pepin Shopping Tips

Plan out and shop for a week's worth of dinners. Keep essential oils, spices, and herbs in your pantry at all times.

Jacques Pepin Cooking Tips

Applesauce and plain yogurt are good fat substitutes in most recipes. For maximum texture and flavor, replace no more than half the amount of the fat listed in the recipe.

7 Super-Simple Jacques Pépin Recipes to Master

Here, seven of Jacques Pépin&rsquos best and simplest dishes.

In this video from F&W’s Chefs in Conversation series, master chef Jacques Pépin explains what it takes to become a chef. For him, a true chef knows how to take a basic, simple, unremarkable dish like a hamburger or hot dog and make it into something amazing. He is a man who practices what he preaches. Here, seven of Pépin’s best and simplest dishes.

1. Jacques Pépin’s Favorite Pound Cake
The French call pound cake quatre-quarts (𠇏our-fourths”) because it is made with equal parts flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Pépin likes to dip slices in espresso.

2. Quick-Roasted Chicken with Mustard
For this delicious, mustardy chicken, Pépin splits the chicken and cuts between the leg and shoulder joints to halve the cooking time.

3. Country Apple Galette
The miraculously easy and versatile pastry dough for this galette comes together in a food processor in less than 20 seconds and can be filled with all sorts of fruits of vegetables.

4. Crunchy Cabbage Salad
Sometimes Jacques Pépin makes this simple salad with just one color of cabbage sometimes he arranges it in alternating rows of color. The salty-tangy dressing would also be delicious on other crisp salad greens.

5. Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Pépin uses leftover cooked meat from a roast, stew or even steak to make these meatballs.

6. Margherita Tortilla Pizzas
The possibilities for these quick pizzas are endless.

7. Maple-Baked Sweet Potatoes
The secret to these delicious sweet potatoes is to parboil them. It shortens the cooking time and keeps them moist.


Brioches are buttery, moist, light breads made with a yeast dough. The perfect accompaniment to a café au lait in the morning, brioche can be made as a large loaf or small individual ones. The dough is also ideal for encasing sausage or pâté. A food processor and yields excellent results.

If possible, make the dough the day before you plan to use it — it will be more malleable after it has rested overnight.

Makes 12 small brioches or 1 large one

1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon unsalted butter to coat the mold(s)
1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash

FOR THE DOUGH: Combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a food processor. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbly.

Add the salt, eggs, and flour to the yeast mixture and process for about 30 seconds. With the machine running, add the butter in chunks, and process for another 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (about 70 degrees) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until it has doubled in bulk.

Flour your hands and push the dough down with your fingers. Cover for at least 4 hours, or up to 12 hours. Wrap the dough with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate. (The dough can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 month, but not longer, because the yeast is affected by the extreme cold. If you freeze it, defrost it in the refrigerator before using it.)

If making small brioches, butter twelve individual brioche molds if making one large brioche, butter a 9-by-9-inch loaf pan or large brioche mold.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For little brioches, cut the dough into 12 pieces (about 2 1/2 ounces per brioche) and roll into little balls. Place in the buttered brioche molds. Brush with the egg wash and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled. For a large brioche, put the dough in the buttered pan. Brush with the egg wash and let rise for about 3 hours, until almost doubled.

Bake individual brioches for about 25 minutes, the large brioche for about 45 minutes, until puffed and beautifully browned. Unmold and cool on a rack.

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

The best lessons Jacques Pépin has taught us

Jacques Pépin is a wonderful and charming food educator. His French accent and calm self-assurance put you at ease, allowing you to freely absorb his teachings. Moreover, his French-bourgeois/American-middle class kitchen sensibilities produce the type of kitchen tips you’ll find yourself actually practicing. At the heart of Jacques’ PBS shows is what many consider to be true, soulful cooking: the frugal kind that’s done at home.

Nobody is more relatable than Jacques. He cooks with ketchup. He doesn’t shy away from choosing a food processor over a mortar and pestle. He will peel open a container of cream cheese to make a quick mousse, blanch basil in the microwave, and clean out a nearly empty bottle of mayonnaise with a little vinegar to whip up a vinaigrette. Jacques’ recipes are, maybe more than those on any other cooking show, pragmatic.

Jacques’ profound greatness as a cook is almost hidden by his understated benevolence. Years spent working in the business have molded him into the man you see today: a sharp, mindful, seasoned chef. Though his approach might be relatable, his skills are otherworldly. Still, he remains unassuming, and that is what makes him so consistently watchable. There is humility, wonder, grace, and warmth in his work. But, more than anything, there is an unspoken kindness to Jacques that people are drawn to. It’s refreshing, in this day and age, to see somebody exude so much gentleness on screen. Jacques does not have the demeanor of somebody who has ever belittled a sous chef. Nothing about his personality suggests that he’s ever thrown a plate against a wall in unchecked rage. He is not a petulant chef-baby in need of therapy. He proves you don’t have to be an asshole to be a great cook.

Jacques’ television career began in the ’90s, so everything he does is a throwback to the old-school cooking program days. His shows aren’t thoughtless TikTok challenges or Tasty videos where somebody completely fucking butchers a mac and cheese. There aren’t smash cuts and 30-second recipe videos with jacked-up ukulele loops. He isn’t cracking a 200-egg omelet purely for the spectacle or recreating a home-cooked version of the Baconator for you to mindlessly enjoy while lying uncomfortably in your bed. Watching a Jacques Pépin show is meant to be a pleasant, immersive, and educational experience, because that’s what cooking is. And that’s the thing about Jacques Pépin: he actually wants you to cook.

Dozens of episodes from his TV shows are available online for free, and he’s still, to this day, making videos. Here are some of his best lessons. Happy Cooking.

Chef Jacques Pepin Selects His 'Essential' Favorites

Chef Jacques Pepin was inducted into the French Legion of Honor, his home country's highest civilian honor, in 2004.

International Culinary Center hide caption

Chef Jacques Pepin's career in food began long before he started teaching home cooks how to chop an onion and perfect a cheese souffle. He may be best known in the U.S. for his popular PBS programs, including Fast Food My Way and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, with cooking legend Julia Child.

The French-born chef began cooking as a child in his parents' restaurant, Le Pelican. At 13, he apprenticed in the Grand Hotel de L'Europe in Lyon, France. Pepin has worked as the personal chef for three French heads of state and cooked at New York's historic French restaurant, Le Pavillon.

Watch episodes of Jaques Pepin's TV series, Essential Pepin, and find more recipes on

In a new book, Essential Pepin, Pepin culls his favorite dishes from six decades in the kitchen. The book also includes a DVD of cooking tutorials, but Pepin tells NPR's Neal Conan that the recipes don't necessarily reflect the ways he cooked the dishes in decades past.

"That was my conundrum. Do I leave it the way I wrote it at that time . or do I change it so that it's useful and people can do it now?" he says. "I chose the second option."

That meant a lot of retesting of recipes — and much less cream and butter. (Click here to try Pepin's recipes.)

More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food

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Interview Highlights

On making food a family event

"This is what a family is all about — one another, sitting around the table at night. And it's very, very important, I think, for the kid to spend time not only around the table eating with their parents, but in the kitchen.

"I mean, when my daughter was a year old, 2 years old, I [held] her in my arms and she stirred the pot. Since she stirred the pot, she, quote, 'made it,' so she was going to taste it. And now I do the same thing with my granddaughter, who is 7 years old. So, yes, you see the sharing occupation and it's very, very important, certainly in our family."

On the incredible egg

"It's one of the greatest foods that you can have. And most [countries] in the world, so-called poor [countries] of the world — whether it's Africa, South America — eggs [are] really the main diet. I mean, it's a beautiful protein, better than meat even, and there [are] so many [ways] of doing eggs. And I could be on an island with an egg, a chicken, a glass of wine and be happy, you know?"

On making a written recipe your own

"If you do a recipe, you should probably follow the recipe to do justice to whoever wrote the recipe. And if it turned out good, you're probably likely to do it again. And the second time, you take a faster route. Maybe the third time, you still take a look at the recipe time of cooking, and by the fourth time you . improve the recipe, you like it with a little more tomato or cooked a little less or more. And a year later, you don't even remember where it came from. There is that gradation. And it has become your recipe, you know, and that's the proper way of doing it."

Recipe: Butternut Squash Gratin
Serves 6

This rich butternut squash gratin is a perfect companion to a roast leg of lamb or a grilled steak.

1 large butternut squash (3 3⁄4 pounds)
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup grated Jarlsberg or other Swiss-type cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut off the stem of the butternut squash and split it in two at the bottom of the neck this will make it easier to peel. Peel the neck lengthwise with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, removing enough skin so the orange flesh appears (there is a layer of green under the first layer of skin). For the body of the squash, remove the skin with a knife by going around it in a spiral fashion (it is easier to peel a round object in this manner) then cut lengthwise in half and, using a sharp spoon, remove the seeds. With the slicing blade of a food processor or a knife, cut the squash into 1/8- to 1⁄4-inch-thick slices.

Put the squash in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil over high heat for 1 1⁄2 to 2 minutes, then drain in a colander the pieces will break a little.

Transfer the squash to a gratin dish and add the salt, pepper and cream, mixing with a fork to distribute the ingredients. Cover with the cheese.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned. Serve.

Recipes fromEssential Pepin: More than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pepin. Copyright 2011 by Jacques Pepin. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe: Little Corn Fritters
Serves 4 as a first course

These little fritters are a treat served with an aperitif or drinks before a meal or as an accompaniment for soup. You can prepare them a few hours ahead and reheat them on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet in a 375-degree oven for a few minutes.

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice-cold water
2 large ears corn, husked and kernels cut off (2 cups)
6 tablespoons canola oil

Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and half the salt together in a bowl. Add the egg and 1⁄4 cup of the water and mix with a whisk until smooth. Add the remainder of the water and mix until smooth. Mix in the corn kernels.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet until hot. Drop 1 tablespoon of batter into the skillet for each fritter, making about 10 fritters, and cook over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack (this will keep them from becoming soggy) and repeat with the remaining batter and oil. Sprinkle them with the remaining salt and serve immediately.

Recipes fromEssential Pepin: More than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pepin. Copyright 2011 by Jacques Pepin. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe: Sauteed Haricots Verts And Shallots
Serves 4

This harmonious combination of green beans, shallots and butter is a winner. Try to get authentic haricots verts — thin, very young green beans — available in specialty food stores or at farmers' markets, or choose the smallest, firmest regular string beans you can find. Make sure to cook them fully they should be tender, not crunchy. Too often beans are just blanched, and their taste is not what it should be.

1 pound haricots verts or very small string beans, tips removed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring 1 1⁄2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the beans and cook, covered, over high heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until they are tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the beans and spread them on a large platter to cool.

At serving time, heat the butter and oil in a large skillet. When they are hot, add the shallots and saute for about 10 seconds. Add the beans, salt and pepper and saute for about 2 minutes, until the beans are heated through. Serve.

Recipes fromEssential Pepin: More than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pepin. Copyright 2011 by Jacques Pepin. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted by permission.

  • 1 (2 1/2 pound) piece beef brisket (ground)
  • 8 ciabatta rolls (about 3 ounces each and 4 inches across, split)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 8 slices Comte cheese (or Beaufort, or Gruyere cheese, about 8 ounces)
  • 8 leaves lettuce (iceberg)
  • 8 slices onion (mild, thin, such as Vidalia or Maui)
  • 8 slices tomato (ripe, thick)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • Optional: ketchup, mustard, and/or mayonnaise (for serving)

Divide the ground meat into 8 portions of about 5 ounces each and form them into patties about 3/4 inch thick.

At serving time, heat a grill until hot or preheat a grill pan for about 3 minutes. Preheat the broiler.

Toast the rolls on the grill or in a toaster oven and rub them with the garlic.

Arrange the hamburgers on the hot grill or in the grill pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Put 1 slice of cheese on each patty and run the patties under the hot broiler (about 2 inches from the heat source) for 1 minute.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on top of the bottom buns, add the onions and tomatoes, and sprinkle with a little of the salt and pepper. Top with the burgers, sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper, and finish with the tops of the buns.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.

  • 1-1/2 cups of room temperature water
  • 1 teaspoon of yeast (or a bit more)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (or a bit more)
  • 4 cups of flour

Step 1

Stir it up until it is thoroughly mixed, then let it sit, uncovered, at room temperature for about an hour and a half.

When you check back, the dough should have puffed up a little bit. Knock it down by mixing it up again for a moment, you don't have to do too much. Then cover it and put it in the refrigerator overnight (10-12 hours).

The next day, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. When it is at temperature, take the dough out of the fridge and take the cover off (it should have risen again overnight), and put it straight into the oven. Then walk away for about 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, take the pot out of the oven. You will see that you have a perfect crust poking out from the pot. Let it sit and cook for a few minutes before turning it out on a cutting board.

Jacques Pépin’s vegetable soup recipe is satisfying, simple cooking at its best

Pépin, 86, can slice and dice with the best of them — I’ve seen him turn garlic and salt into a paste in mere seconds, using nothing more than a knife — but he also is refreshingly fond of shortcuts. He’s demonstrated countless timesaving techniques on his many public-television shows, including my favorite series, “Fast Food My Way,” and its follow-up. In his latest cookbook, “Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple,” an update of an earlier work, Pépin continues spreading the gospel of effective cooking made fast by smart choices. He writes about his love for, among others, the microwave, the pressure cooker, the toaster oven and the food processor, every one of them a timesaver in the kitchen.

Just because you can chop a mountain of vegetables by hand more quickly than the average cook doesn’t mean you want to.

The recipe that jumped out at me in “Quick & Simple” is exactly what the book’s title promises: a light soup that uses water, not stock, to showcase the vegetables and uses a food processor, not a knife, to slice them thinly enough that they soften in 15 or 20 minutes. You use the same food processor (without bothering to clean it) to puree parsley, garlic and a little olive oil into a vibrant paste that you stir into the soup right before serving.

On the cusp of spring, when the days can still be crisp, it makes for a soothing lunch or dinner, with a side of crusty bread for dipping.

The recipe also contains a multitude of lessons, about using whatever you have, about seasoning at the right time, about letting flavors shine — and about being willing to use whatever tools you need to get dinner on the table in a flash.

And that befits Pépin’s reputation as perhaps the world’s best cooking teacher, a reputation he lives up to year after year through not only his books and YouTube videos but through his foundation, which supports community kitchens that offer culinary training to adults with high barriers to employment. To support the foundation’s work, you can become a member and get access to content such as two Web-based “books” that offer a total of 100 recipes and videos from some of the nation’s most acclaimed chefs — Pépin included, of course.

Storage: The soup can be refrigerated, without the herb-garlic garnish, for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months. Defrost and reheat on the stove top or in the microwave, and add the garnish right before serving.


  • 1/2 medium onion (about 4 ounces), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 rib celery (about 2 ounces)
  • 4 scallions, trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large carrot (about 4 ounces), trimmed and scrubbed
  • 1 zucchini (about 6 ounces), trimmed
  • 1 small white turnip (about 3 ounces), scrubbed
  • 1 wedge green cabbage (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 to 2 russet potatoes (8 ounces total), scrubbed
  • One (15-ounce) can no-salt-added navy or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves, or a mixture
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Step 1

Fit a food processor with a slicing blade and process the onion, celery and scallions. (Alternatively, you can roughly chop them by hand.)

Step 2

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the sliced vegetables and saute until tender, about 3 minutes

Step 3

Meanwhile, cut the carrot, zucchini, turnip, cabbage and potatoes in halves or quarters lengthwise (getting them narrow enough to go through the food processor chute), and use the processor to thinly slice them. (Alternatively, you can thinly slice them by hand.)

Add the vegetables to the stockpot, along with the beans, salt and water, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vegetables are very soft and the soup is flavorful, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, taste, and add more salt and/or lemon juice if needed.

Step 4

While the soup is cooking, change the food processor to the chopping blade. Combine the garlic and herbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the bowl and puree until smooth. (Alternatively, you can finely chop the garlic and herbs by hand, and stir together with the oil.)

Step 5

Divide the soup among serving bowls, top each with a generous dollop of the herb mixture, season with the pepper, and serve hot.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 215 Total Fat: 10 g Saturated Fat: 1 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 518 mg Carbohydrates: 27 g Dietary Fiber: 6 g Sugar: 4 g Protein: 7 g.

Baguettes ala Jacques Pepin

Put the 4 1/2 cups flour, yeast, salt and water in a stand mixer bowl and mix with the dough hook for 2-3 minutes, until a smooth, elastic dough forms-alternatively,process the ingredients in a food processor for 45 seconds.

Step 2

Transfer the dough to a deep bowl-cover and let rise in a warm place for at least 4 1/2 hours or until doubles and light.

Step 3

Break down the dough by bringing the outer edges into the center of the bowl and pressing down to release the air inside-then form the dough into a ball.

Step 4

Sprinkle the work surface with 2 Tb of remaining flour and place the dough on top and press down to form it into a rectangular shape.

Step 5

Cut the rectangle into 4 equal strips and roll each strip under your palms into an 18 inch length.

Step 6

Line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick mat ( silpat)and sprinkle with cornmeal-place the dough on the sheet and let the baguettes rise, covered with an upside-down plastic box or roasting pan, in a warm place, x 1 hour.

Step 7

Step 8

Sprinkle the tops of the risen loaves with the remaining 1/2 Tb flour. Cut 4 diagonal slits in each loaf and place in the oven. Using water in a spray bottle, mist the inside of the oven to create steam and immediately close the door-repeat this in 3 minutes.

Recipes From 'Quick And Simple'

Processor Baguettes With Bran

I love to make bread but sometimes don’t have time to prepare it in the conventional way. This dough, made in a food processor, is easy and gives terrific results. The dough is not kneaded by hand and doesn’t even touch the work table, so there isn’t much cleanup involved, which suits me fine. I have a large plastic bowl with a tight-fitting lid that I use for letting the dough rise, and I use this same bowl beforehand for measuring the flour. So, when I finish this recipe, all I have to wash are the food processor bowl and steel blade, and the plastic bowl. I oil the bowl, which makes cleanup easier, and since the dough retains a little of that oil, it doesn’t stick to the baking sheet.

If the air is dry, the dough will tend to form an outer skin or crust while it is rising, especially during the second rise. To prevent this, either spray the baguettes a few times with water while rising (I use a standard plant sprayer for this), or slide the baking sheet with the baguettes into a large plastic bag, taking care to prevent them from coming into contact with the bag and sticking to it as they rise.

In professional bread-baking ovens, steam is automatically injected into the oven at the beginning of the baking time this gives the bread a thick, strong crust. To imitate this situation, I spray about 2tablespoons of water into the oven when I first put the bread in, and then repeat this a few minutes later.

If you like, you can partially bake the baguettes—creating “brown and serve” loaves—and then finish baking them later. Securely wrapped in plastic, the partially baked loaves will keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days or in the freezer for weeks. When you are ready to eat them, all you have to do is moisten them lightly and bake them until they are brown and crusty.

I added bran to this recipe to create a type of whole wheat bread if you prefer, you can add cracked wheat instead.


  • 3 cups tepid water
  • Two 1/4-ounce envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 cups (1½ pounds) organic bread flour, also called strong or winter flour
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) wheat bran
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • About 1/4 cup water in a spray bottle


Place the tepid water in a food processor and sprinkle the yeast and sugar over it. Let proof for 5 minutes.

Measure the flour, bran, and salt into a large bowl and add the mixture to the processor bowl. Process for 1½ to 2 minutes, holding the base of the machine to prevent it from “walking” on the counter. The dough should have formed a ball at this point.

Oil the bowl you used for the flour mixture with the peanut oil and transfer the ball of the dough to the bowl. Cover and allow to rise at room temperature for about 1½ hours, until the dough has doubled or tripled in bulk.

When the dough is ready, pull it away from the sides of the bowl and push it down into the bowl, forming it into a ball. Line a heavy aluminum cookie sheet that measures about 14 by 18 inches with nonstick aluminum foil. Place the ball of dough on the sheet and press down on it until it is about 8 inches wide and about the length of the cookie sheet. Cut the rectangle of dough into 4 lengthwise strips and arrange them on the cookie sheet so that they are equidistant from one another. Sprinkle the baguettes with half the cornmeal, then turn them over and sprinkle with the remaining cornmeal. Set aside for about 45 minutes. Spray (or sprinkle or brush) the dough with water if it begins to form a dry crust as it rises.

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using a serrated knife, cut 4 or 5 gashes 1/4 to ½ inch deep on a slight diagonal across the top of each baguette, or cut one long gash down the center of each. Place the cookie sheet on the middle oven rack and immediately spray about 2 tablespoons of water into the oven before closing the door. After 3 or 4 minutes, repeat the procedure.

If you are baking the bread completely, continue baking it for 30 to 35 minutes, until the loaves are brown and crusty. Remove and cool on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If the bread is to be partially baked, remove the loaves from the oven after about 12 minutes, when they will have reached their ultimate size. (They will still be whitish at this point.) Cool completely, then wrap securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 or 4 days or freeze for up to 3 weeks. When you are ready to finish baking them, pass the frozen or refrigerated loaves under cool tap water to moisten them lightly all over. Arrange the loaves on a cookie sheet and bake in a 425-degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until nicely browned and crusty. Remove and cool on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: Good bread dough is made with high-gluten (high-protein) flour, water, yeast, and salt. You can find good-quality packaged fresh or frozen pizza dough in most supermarkets. Fresh dough is ready to bake right away frozen dough, which has a substantially longer storage life, is ready to use with very little advance notice—it thaws in a few hours in the refrigerator or in an hour or so at room temperature.

Bartlett Pears In Puff Pastry

Bartlett Pears in Puff Pastry (Photo by Tom Hopkins)

For this easy dessert, I cover pear halves with frozen puff pastry and serve them right in the gratin dish in which they are baked. You can use apples instead of pears, if you prefer.


  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large ripe Bartlett pears (about 8 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 8 ounces ½ package), partially defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Crème fraîche or sour cream, for serving (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.

Peel the pears and cut them lengthwise in half. Remove the core from each half and arrange the pear halves cut side down in one layer in a gratin dish. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and half the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Unfold the sheet of puff pastry and cut it apart at the seams to get 3 pieces approximately 10 inches by 3 inches. Cut each of these crosswise in half to create 6 pieces. Lay a pastry piece on top of each pear half, and as the pastry starts to defrost a little more and relax slightly, press the pieces gently around the pears so they take on the shape of the pear halves. Spread the butter on the pastry and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture on top.

Place the gratin dish on a cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, until the pastry is browning nicely and the juices around the pears are bubbling and caramelized.

Pour the water around the pears and return them to the oven for 5 minutes. The water will melt the caramel and create a sauce. Serve the pears warm, with crème fraîche or sour cream, if desired.

Black Bean Hummus With Smoked Oysters And Sour Cream

Black Bean Hummus with Smoked Oysters and Sour Cream (Photo by Tom Hopkins)

This interesting variation on traditional Middle Eastern chickpea hummus was inspired by the black bean purees found in Mexico. Served with sour cream and smoked oysters, it makes an exciting dish.

I use canned black beans, but of course you can cook your own, which will tend to be darker than the canned variety. This is also good made with red kidney or other types of beans. I suggest serving it as a first course, but it can also be served as a dip with corn chips or Melba or other toasts.


  • One 16-ounce can black beans
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ¹⁄³ cup oil, preferably half olive oil and half walnut or peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Two 33/4-ounce cans smoked oysters (about 30)
  • Toast triangles or Melba toast, for serving


Drain the black beans in a sieve and place them in a food processor, along with the garlic. Process until the garlic is finely chopped and the mixture is smooth. Add the oils, vinegar, Tabasco, and salt and process for another 5 to 10 seconds to blend. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the chopped cilantro. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

At serving time, spoon about ¹⁄³ cup of the hummus onto each of six plates and spread it out in the middle of the plate. Place a generous spoonful of sour cream in the center and top with cilantro leaves. Arrange the oysters around the hummus, dividing them evenly. Serve the toasts alongside.

Excerpted from JACQUES PÉPINQUICK & SIMPLE© 2020 by Jacques Pépin. Photography © 2020 by Tom Hopkins. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

This segment aired on October 13, 2020.