Sometimes I have pie dough fantasies in madeleine molds while wearing a lily flower shirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, an apron that fits tightly around my waist and some kind of cake stand beautifully. adorned waiting to receive the delicate, powdery candy dusted with sugar.
It’s easy to visualize when you take Molly Wilkinson, born in Dallas. Simplified French pastry: foolproof recipes for éclairs, pies, macaroons and more which was released in June (Page Street Publishing Co.). She wrote it from her apartment in Versailles, where she lives and teaches face-to-face and, since the pandemic, virtual lessons.
Her Dallas roots show in the book’s dedication to her mother, who fed the budding crumb artist who baked chocolate chip cookies and brownies endlessly. “My mom would just fill the fridge with butter and I would cook all summer,” Wilkinson says of his childhood to Richardson. In college (at TCU), it was the friend who would stay awake until 3 a.m. to bake a nine-tier birthday cake for you.
After working for five years for a digital marketing agency in Fort Worth, Wilkinson flew to Paris to pursue studies at Le Cordon Bleu – basic, intermediate and advanced degrees in pastry making – which she entwined with long walks. in the city eating pastries on a low budget. With her diploma in hand, she creates desserts in a castle in Ariège at the foot of the Pyrenees and in a nearby Gascony farmhouse. She started teaching outside her home. And when the pandemic struck and its lessons went virtual, a publisher contacted the book. It was a perfect match: the class participants would be the guinea pig recipe instruction testers for the book.
And “I knew what measuring equipment [American home cooks] have, how they think about things. I was able to break it down and say, “Okay, you don’t need to have these special molds; you can just have a muffin pan, and we’ll make it work, ”says Wilkinson.
In the book, interspersed with photos taken in her apartment with its herringbone parquet floor and marble tops, she will teach you the foundations of a century-old tradition of French pastry. This is not a book with the weight of Julia Child’s work, but it is thoughtfully divided into sections with 10 items that you can mix and match to learn how to whip up sweet dough (the glorious base of pies), pastry cream, meringue or choux pastry. With these you can create the works exhibited on delicate cake displays: a rolled raspberry sponge cake, a chocolate-nut pear pie with caramel sauce, cream puffs, macaroons, light éclairs and the absurdly fabulous turn of a drizzle of caramel. amuse bouche.
With a firm hand, pastry chef Molly Wilkinson pipe in a madeleine mold.
Quite a delicious pastry crate, probably pictured right on Molly’s table.
Ten elements can be reconfigured in more than 60 desserts. It is a dizzying and whimsical whirlwind. But her motto is also not to sweat it. “My style is not those perfect, crisp lines. Rather, it is about celebrating the beauty of French pastry. It’s that rustic elegance. You know it’s done right and the flavors are going to be good, but there isn’t that intimidating perfection. But she adds “a bit of drama or height,” streams of meringue or whipped cream that are more suited to Texas. It is, she says laughing, “my style, which is a bit Alice in Wonderland” meets Marie-Antoinette.
So if you want to unleash all that pent-up creative energy by watching way too many episodes of baking shows or flaunt all of those pandemic baking skills, take the plunge. If you want to turn your Dallas kitchen into a Parisian pastry wonderland, she’ll help.
But, says Wilkinson, “if I want something that reminds me of home, it’s chocolate chip cookies.”