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A 12-course French banquet for a college final exam

Robert Sasse, a college senior at Middlebury with a penchant for good food and a major in French offered to teach a 4 week course on the gastronomy history of France.

He chose for textbooks the works of Taiilevent, author of the first French cookbook in the fourteenth century; La Varenne, the sixteenth century master; Careme, considered by many to be the greatest French chef; and Escoffier, who carried French cooking into the twentieth century.

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There were five women students in the class, which met for a three hour technique workshop in the morning, took a break for lunch, then were lectured by Sasse or a member of the French department on gastronomic history or some other aspect of French life. For two hours in the afternoon, they each worked on an independent project.

The piece de resistence was the final exam when the students prepared a 12 course dinner for 72 guests.

The menu included Black Mushroom Soup, Consomme with Chicken Quenelles, Fettucini with Roquefort Cheese, a fish and beef releve, an entree of Poached Salmon With a Salmon Mousseline, Grapefruit Ice to clear the palate, Roast Duck, Lobster, fresh artichokes and asparagus, a green salad and a plate of cheeses, and a selection of eight desserts, among them an Almond Tart, Mocha Cake, Cheesecake, Iced Pineapple Mousse, and Fresh Strawberries.

Here is the recipe the class used for a very rich, smooth cheesecake. Cheesecake de Mme. Kelley 2 cups zwieback crumbs 4 tablespoons sugar 4 tablespoons butter, melted 5 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened 5 eggs 2 egg yolks 3 tablespoons flour 1/4 cup heavy cream 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine first 3 ingredients for crust and pat gently into 9-inch springform pan. Place cheese in blender or food processor and beat until smooth and creamy. Add all remaining filling ingredients and blend together until smooth. Pour into springform pan.

Bake in preheated 500 degrees F. oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 250 degrees F. and continue baking for 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature, then chill in refrigerator. Serves 12.

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