Jacques’s Daughter Dishes for Children

This cookbook makes French cuisine a breeze for children (and grown-ups too).

Do you know a child who is a budding French chef? Kids Cook French would make a welcome addition to their cookbook collection. As renowned chef Jacques Pépin says (father of author Claudine Pépin), “The moment for a child to be in the kitchen is from the moment they are born.”

Kids Cook French (Les Enfants Cuisinent Á La Francaise)

By Claudine Pepin with illustrations by Jacques Pépin

Kids Cook French has classic and simple French recipes ranging from starters to desserts that are written in English and French. Illustrations by author Claudine Pépin’s père are captivating and colorful.

So get out une batterie de cuisine and try Deviled Eggs Jeannette, Cheese Fondue, Boeuf Bourguignon, Crème Brulee or Crepes. Although this book is geared for children, we tried and loved this recipe for Ham and Leek Quiche.

Ham and Leek Quiche

We love quiche! Served with a soup and a salad, it makes a delightful meal. It is also wonderful to bring to a friend’s house, since it is perfect at room temperature. We removed what I think is the most difficult part, making the dough, and have used store-bought Pepperidge Farm puff-pastry dough that is found in the freezer section of most grocery stores. I hope you like this as much as we do!

Serves 8


1 leek, washed and chopped (about 1/2 cups [134 g] raw)

4 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter

4 ounces (115 g) premium deli ham, diced (about 1 cup)

4 ounces (115 g) Swiss cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 1/4 (295 ml) cups heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 sheet (10 x 10 inches [25 x 25 cm]) unsweetened puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm)


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Cut the leek in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly between each of the leaves.

Cut off the top part of the leek that is dark green and leathery. (Lighter-green leaves are perfectly tender and delicious.)

Cut off the bottom, including the roots and about 1/4 inch (6 mm) of the white stem. Chop medium to fine, about 1/2 inch (1 cm).

Sauté the leeks with butter and a pinch of salt on medium-low heat, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. You may need to add a little water to prevent browning. Set aside to cool.

Dice the ham and grate the cheese.

Whisk together the 3 eggs and the 2 egg yolks. After they’re well beaten, add the cream, salt, and pepper. Stir in the grated cheese and the cooked leeks. Butter the glass pie pan with 1 to 2 teaspoons of butter.

Roll the 10 x 10-inch (25 x 25 cm) puff pastry to 12 x 12 inches (30 x 30 cm), about 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick.

Gently press the rolled puff pastry into the buttered pie pan.

Use a paring knife to trim the hanging corners/edges. Press the scrap pieces onto the pastry in the pan to fill in any gaps.

Prick the bottom of the dough evenly with a fork in 8 to 10 places.

Fill the pie shell with the egg, cream, cheese, and leek mixture, and then evenly distribute the ham. Stir gently for even distribution.

Place the quiche on a sheet tray and into the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes on 350°F (180°C), then lower the heat to 300°F (150°C) and bake for 1 hour, until the top is slightly browned, puffed in the middle, and a cake tester comes out clean. The crust should be thoroughly browned across the bottom.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Reprinted with permission from Quarry Books (2015).

Kids Cook French Cover (hi-res)

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