Kids Cook French and Gougeres

Thursday 18 June 2015

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One of the many perks of being a food blogger is that I occasionally get sent cookery books to review.   I love it when that happens as I really love cookbooks.  I was recently sent the book, Kids Cook French, by Claudine Pepin, with illustrations by Jacques Pepin to review.  This one is a delight!

I grew up in Canada watching Jacques Pepin cook on PBS along with Julia Child, and so I was excited to get this book, which has been written by his daughter Claudine.  It only seems natural that Claudine (an accomplished home cook and wine educator who married a chef), should publish a cookbook for kids, since she grew up with the fine cuisine of her father and now cooks most nights for her own family.

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This book was designed for the foodie chile and in a way which is sure to inspire children to want to get in the kitchen and cook and we all know that a way to get children to eat healthier and to eat a more varied diet is to get them in the kitchen cooking.  Kids LOVE to cook what they eat!

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As a keen artist myself, and a writer of my own small illustrated cookbooklets, I really enjoyed the illustrations done by Jacques Pepin himself.  They are bright and colourful and quite entertaining.  The recipes range from uncomplicated to somewhat complicated,  with recipes for everything from croque monsieur to roasted cauliflower to apple tarts with almond frangipane.

There is a note to each the child and the parent to begin with, followed by four chapters . . .  To Start (appetizers and beginnings), To Continue (main courses), On the Side (delicious side dishes) and To Finish (as you would expect some tasty desserts).  Also included are a range of tasty menus using the recipes from the book.

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Everything is in both English and French, which may even inspire your children to learn a second language.  I find it quite charming . . .

 french and english recipe

There are also little tips interspersed throughout in colourful little boxes . . .  ie. "Everything you cut, dice, slice, or chop is going to be eaten by someone, so take care and do it well."

True to Claudine’s guiding philosophy . . . that there is no such thing as “kids food,” only “good food” . . .  Kids Cook French doesn’t look or read like a children’s cookbook. You won’t find rebus-like directions in large print with little measuring spoons, or yet another “recipe” for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This is not to say that the recipes are overly complicated, only that adult supervision is required for what are clearly family projects.

I love the idea of families cooking together.

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And once again, the illustrations truly are delightful.

I always like to try at least one recipe to show you from the cookbooks I review and so this time I chose Gougeres.   Gougeres are a delicious cheese puff type of appetizer, which is composed of choux paste, which can be somewhat complicated to cook.   The instructions were quite easy to follow however and I think you will agree that my Gougeres turned out just lovely!

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Makes 30

Little airy puffs of deliciousness.  From the book, Kids Cook French by Claudine Pepin. 

5 TBS (70g)  unsalted butter, divided
1 cup whole milk (235ml)
1 cup all purpose flour (125g)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 pinch fresh ground white pepper
4 eggs
6 ounces Guyere or Swiss Cheese, grated (170g or 2 cups)
1 tsp Dijon style mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper 

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Butter a cookie sheet with 1 TBS (15g) of the butter. 

In a 4 QT (4 L) saucepan, heat the milk and remaining 4 TBS (55g) of butter.  As soon as it comes just to the boil, and before it boils over, add the flour, salt and pepper all at once, stirring in thoroughly.    This will make a very sticky ball of dough.   Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. 

Put the dough into the food processor.   Using the pulse setting, add the eggs, one at a time.   Add the cheese, mustard and cayenne and blend until just incorporated. 

With a piping bag or using two spoons, make balls of about 1 TBS of dough, 3/4 inch in diameter on the buttered cookie sheet.  Don't place too close together as the dough will roughly triple in size. 

Bake at 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6 for 10 minutes, rotating the tray if necessary.   Turn the oven temperature down to 150*C/300*F/ gas mark 3 and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Gougeres should be brown and firm on the outside and light and airy on the inside.

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If you haven't already gotten a gift for the special Father in your life for Father's Day on Sunday, I think this would be a fabulous gift.   Nothing like getting Dad and the children into the kitchen for a little bit of family bonding over some cookery and good food!

All in all I think this is a purely delightful book, for parent and child alike.   It's just complicated enough to make it interesting to the older child and adult, but not so complicated that it can't be understood by a younger child with supervision!

Kids Cook French
Les Enfants Cuisinent a La Francaise
by Claudine Pepin
with illustrations by Jacques Pepin
Cookbook for ages 5+, 96 pp.

ISBN 978-1-59253-953-6
Published by Quarry Books
RRP - $21.99 US/ £12.99 UK/ $23.99 CAN


  1. How her..her dad:) The artwork looks so sweet,,and your Gougères♥
    Must check it out..would never have known w/out you!

  2. In fact I love the book..just Amazon'd it:)

  3. What lovely and fun book Marie!!
    I love this:))

  4. Oh MOnique! You ARE in for a treat! The Alphabet Boys will love it! Popped something into the post yesterday, another treat for you. Look for it in about a week and a half! So excited. xoxo

    It is a great book Gloria! xoxo

  5. Wow my grandchildren are going to love this as they are English but grew up in France and speak both English and French fluently.
    I shall look on amazon for it thanks Marie

  6. I hope you all enjoy it Wendi!


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