This little guy has been hiding out on my blog for a little while now, so time to give you guys some directions to it! I baked these soufflés as part of my tour de cook-along … and I must say they were a highlight. A little soufflé never fails to delight!
I love soufflé! It is delicious, barely qualifies as calories (it is obviously mostly just air!) and feels wickedly indulgent. It is also dead easy to make. I know, I know. I can hear you already disagreeing and sounding dubious, but I challenge each and every one of you to give it a go.
This one pictured here I served to my 6 year old daughter with a side dish of ice cream as a rather decadent dessert following her dinner of the more standard spaghetti bolognaise… ‘Wow mum’, she said. ‘Just wow! It looks like a fancy restaurant chocolate pudding!’
Yes, once again I am cooking alongside the Tour de France however this time for something different, I am cooking in spirit of Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat.
FWDGF hit our shelves in 2005 and presented us with an inspiring view on the French paradox of eating for pleasure without blowing your waistline. I am intrigued to try out Mireille’s philosophy…
But! Before you worry that this will be a diet version of Musette, do not despair. My first recipe for Stage 1 is drawn from Mireille’s FWDGF Cookbook (which I can highly recommend) and it suitably addresses my deepest darkest fear … how you can you eat for pelasure without eating chocolate?!
Okay, so I am running a bit behind this race – I’ve been dropped by the peloton but as we head into the mountains perhaps I’ll be able to make up some ground … maybe.
Anyway, tonight I am back tracking to Stage 8 in Renne with a traditional treat from the bakers of Brittany, the Kouign Amann. Yep – I tried to make a laminated pastry (like a croissant) and I think I succeeded. They are flakey and taste delicious. So now you know, if I can do it, so can you! Click the link, check out the recipe and have a go yourself!
Tonight, we are showcasing the best of Normandy with an authentic French dessert made from Apples, Calvados, butter, cream and eggs. It is an absolutely delicious dessert that reminds me how the French enjoy a little of everything with an easy notion of restraint. This is a fabulous dessert, easy to make, delicious to eat, but devastatingly rich. Go easy, enjoy a little and love it a lot!
Still in catchup mode – tonight we are baking from the recipe book of Picardy. Le gateaux battu Picardie(or ‘beat cake’) is a specialty of the Somme area of France, and more specifically, Abbeville. It is basically a yeast cake, rich in butter and eggs. It is traditionally hand beaten and baked in a tall fluted metal mould that resembles a chefs hat. The end result, when baked in the correct mould, is a cake that I think most closely resembles the Italian panettone in shape and an airy brioche in texture. This cake is traditionally served either for breakfast with jam or for goûter – the almost universally observed French ‘afternoon tea’. A tradition worth adopting, I think!
So, my lesson of the day is to read your recipes ahead of time – planning is everything. Today I was to bring you a recipe harking back to the days of Catherine de Medici – the Amiens Macaron.
It is said that Catherine de Medici’s cook brought the recipe for these treats with her from Italy in 1533 when Catherine travelled from Italy to marry the Duc d’Orleans, who later went on to become the King of France (Henry III) in 1547 – long before the invention of the modern day double decker macarons we know today.
The recipe is simple – the only snag being the 6 – 8 hours resting time it requires! I am not sure as to the reason but who am I to argue with the cook of a woman sometimes described as the most powerful woman in sixteenth-century Europe!
So, while the dough rests in my fridge, put your feet up and watch Le Tour de France. Then tune back in tomorrow night to see how my Amiens Macarons turn out!
Today’s recipe showcases a traditional Flemish Yeast Dough Summer Berry Tart courtesy of Ruth Van Waerebeek and her cookbook ‘Everybody Eats Well in Belgium’. I’ve made a few adaptations – used a food processor for example – but otherwise have remained true to her traditional Flemish yeast dough.
I must admit that leaving a tart case to ‘rise’ was a new experience, but the result was a lovely, almost cakey cradle for the summer fruit and red currant glaze. Well worth the extra hour proving time, as they say the proof is in the pudding …let’s see how long this tart lasts in the office tomorrow!