Chef Eric Kayser Brings Paris to NYC

Paris is an enchanting city with its elegant people and beautiful gardens. Foodies from all over the world know that Paris is celebrated for the finest coffee, buttery delicious croissants, incredible French pastries and of course the perfect baguettes.

Fortunately for New Yorkers, some of the best Parisian treasures are now available in four locations in Manhattan thanks to Chef Eric Kayser.

Chef Kayser’s signature artisan Boulanger, Maison Kayser combines his passion for using natural ingredients and seasonal fruits and vegetables to create mouthwatering bread and pastry.

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down for coffee with the French Master Baker at the Maison Kayser in the Flatiron District(921 Broadway, New York, NY).

Kayser is not only a genius in the kitchen but he has a warm, charming and passionate personality that lights up a room when he talks about food.  As he says “Being a good baker means making a little miracle everyday by transforming simple foods: water, leaven, salt and flour into complex and varying flavors.  That is my passion”.  

As a fourth generation baker, Eric knew at the early age of 5 that he would continue the family tradition. He was always curious about flavors and he spent a lot of his childhood in the kitchen experimenting with his grandmother. At the age of 18, he became a companion of the prestigious Tour de France of baking. In 1994, Kayser invented the Fermento Levain. This piece of equipment allows for the continuous use of liquid levain, a breakthrough in bread making.

This unique piece of equipment mixes the levain while controlling the temperature, producing a mild flavor that does not overpower the bread. By using this machine Kayser has accomplished what many (including ourselves) call the best baguette anywhere.

Chef Kayser opened his first bakery in Paris in 1996. It was an instant success. The opening of many more bakeries in Paris and in various countries abroad followed very quickly. Today, there are over 80 Maison Kayser locations worldwide.

Each bakery adapts to the local tastes and flavors in each country. This dynamic touch has helped the growth of Maison Kayser throughout the world. Each location also produces its products fresh on-site daily.

Some of our favorites in the New York City locations include the unique turmeric and nut bread(actually addictive) and Financiers, which are soft cushiony mini cakes flavored with chocolate, pistachio or almond, a wonderful accompaniment to Maison Kayser’s authentic Parisian coffee.

Since it is fresh fig season, we are sharing a delicious fig tart recipe from Chef Kayser's.

Fig and Pecan Tart

Preheat Oven to 300 degrees F.

  • ½ lb. of Shortbread Pastry (see recipe below)
  • ½ cup of unsalted, softened butter
  • 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of cake flour
  • 1-1/2 cups of ground almonds
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 ozs of fresh figs
  • 4 ozs of pecans

Line a tart pan with the shortbread pastry. Cream the butter in a mixing bowl.  Add 2/3 cup of the sugar, flour, ground almonds and rum. Add the eggs one at a time, beating rapidly.

Wash the figs and cut in 8 pieces each. Pour half the batter into the pastry shell. Arrange half the figs and pecans over the mixture.  Top with the remaining batter and bake for 30 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet, caramelize the remaining ½ cup of sugar until it contains an amber color. With a fork, roll the remaining pecans in the caramel. Remove one by one and let them cool on wax paper.

Arrange the pecans and figs on top

Shortbread Pastry

  • 1 1/3 cups (300 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams ) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (125 grams ) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 pound or 6 1/2 cups (560 grams) cake flour

Cream the butter in the mixing bowl of a food processor.
Mix in the sugars and salt. Add the eggs, one by one. Pour in the flour and mix thoroughly. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Bon Appetit

Charlotte and Leslie Goldblatt

cgoldblatt@dailyfoodandwine.com

lgoldblatt@dailyfoodandwine.com

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